Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/257

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VIII
207
WIVES OF THE EMPEROR

attempted six times in two and a half years, it inclines us to the opinion that this was his first experiment in that direction, especially as the evidence of coins and medals is perfectly conclusive on this point. Tristran and Serviez, however, place Annia Faustina as first wife, on Dion's faulty arrangement of the events at Nicomedia.

Cornelia Paula was, as we have said, a lady of some renown and position. Serviez tells us that it was generally believed she had been married before; was already, in fact, a mother of children; and Tristran adds, enceinte by some one else at the time of the marriage. The Emperor's pretext for marrying her seems to lend support to this contention. It was that he wished the sooner to provide an heir for the Empire, though, as Dion says, he was not as yet a man himself. Since Cornelia had no children by Antonine, and the reason of her divorce, as given publicly, was a secret blemish in her body, which was only discovered after about eighteen months of married concord, the presumptive evidence is against Serviez' theory; in fact, it presupposes sterility rather than some corporal deformity, or even over-fruitfulness; and it, of course, gives the lie to the gratuitous assumption of Tristran that the lady was enceinte when Antonine married her. What amount of genuine feeling existed between Julia Paula and her husband we cannot even surmise. From a psychological point of view, one would be inclined to predicate very little. The Emperor was too much wedded to his friends, was too feminine in character to appreciate a wife, other