Page:The Amazing Emperor Heliogabalus.djvu/270

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218
CHAP.
LIFE OF ELAGABALUS

of any offices held by them, or official appointments given, taken, or received by men of their name. Of course, they may have got jobs which came under the generic term of "appointment of unfit persons"; if so, we have no record of what they got, while the duration of the marriage was so abbreviated that there was scarcely time for any scandal to develop. The date of the divorce, like all the dates of the reign, can only be fixed approximately. It was not before the early spring and not later than the end of June, by which time Julia Maesa had regained her power (what she had of it) over the mind of Antonine, that she persuaded him to return both Minerva and her personification to their respective homes, to send for Astarte, for Elagabal, to marry Annia Faustina himself, and, above all, to adopt Alexianus; which latter ceremony took place some time before 10th July 221. We can well imagine the boy's disgust at the failure of his plans and at the early loss of a friend in Aquilia, who, as both Dion and Herodian tell us, was Empress for only a little time.

One of the greatest obstacles which the imperial family had met with was their lack of connection with the Roman nobility. No doubt this could easily have been remedied. Maesa might have tried to make her first alliance in this direction; she seems to have imagined, however, that such persons were extinct. They had died twice, we are told, at Pharsalus and Philippi, and those who had not died then had suffered for real or imaginary crimes under succeeding Emperors. The absolutely neces-