Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/151

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would take at least three or four weeks to reach Egypt, after which new coin dies would have to be cut, and the money, ordinary debased coins in common usage, issued. The latest possible date, therefore, at which the marriage could have taken place, to find coins in circulation recording the event, before 28th August, was the second week in July. This leaves neither time to the Emperor for the choice of his consort after his arrival — which would, after all, have been only a natural wish on his part — nor, which is more important, time to make the necessary preparations for what Herodian tells us were the most stupendous celebrations that Rome the magnificent had yet witnessed. Wirth's date is just possible, especially if Maesa had chosen the wife and had made the preparations beforehand ; otherwise, knowing Maesa's propensity for management, we must suppose an earlier date of arrival, especially as no two of the biographers agree as to the length of the reign, which is variously stated as having lasted from six years (Herodian) to thirty months (Victor).

Unfortunately, the one known inscription is mutilated. It is set up to the Sun in honour of the return of somebody and Totius Domus Divinae. It was found in 1885 under the Via Tasso on a pedestal, and bears only the date of its erection, 29th September 219, not the date of the return of the house. It seems therefore safest, in order to allow time before 21st July for the marriage and festivities, to conjecture a start made either late in April or early in May, which, after a journey of