The Life and Reign of Roman Empress Julia Domna

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Kelly Macquire
published on 08 February 2022

Julia Domna was a Roman Empress born in Emesa, Syria who lived between 160 to 217 CE. She was the wife of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, and mother to the Emperors Geta and Caracalla. Whilst her husband and then her son was emperor, Julia Domna exercised some power (the extent of it is still being disputed), but there is evidence for her receiving petitions, handling official correspondence, and managing the empire. She was well-read and astute in political matters and surrounded herself with artists, scholars, and thinkers and gained the title ‘Mother of Camps’ from 195 CE due to her accompanying Severus on campaigns.

Under the reign of Caracalla, Julia was placed in charge of the empire's administration and she mostly carried out her duties from the Syrian city of Antioch near her hometown, essentially running the empire in her son’s name because he found administrative tasks boring. Domna was deified by her great-nephew (and Macrinus’ successor), Elagabalus, and she may have even been worshipped across the empire.



0:00​ Introduction
0:52 Who was Julia Domna?
1:47 Early Life of Julia Domna
3:20 Julia Domna as Empress of the Roman Empire
5:04 Julia Domna as Mother of the Roman Emperor
7:08 Death of Julia Domna
8:51 Outro

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The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Carole Raddato
CC BY SA 4.0 -
Carole Raddato
CC BY SA 2.0 -

World History Encyclopedia

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, February 08). The Life and Reign of Roman Empress Julia Domna. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Life and Reign of Roman Empress Julia Domna." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 08, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Life and Reign of Roman Empress Julia Domna." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 08 Feb 2022. Web. 20 Mar 2023.