Elagablus, raised to the throne at the age of fourteen in 218 AD, and assassinated only four years later, remains among the most notorious and enigmatic of Roman Emperors. The contemporary and Byzantine sources on his reign portray a life of decadence and sexual and criminal excess, as well as religious affront to Rome's traditions. In this entertaining but scholarly read Martijn Icks treats the lurid contemporary stories alongside the emperor's afterlife in art and literature, seeking both to get at what may actually have happened in his reign and how his actions should be interpreted and at how they have resonated down the centuries. He takes a thematic approach, examining aspects of the reign and Elagabalus' otherness in turn, including his Syrian upbringing, his religious reforms and his reputation for decadence, whilst at the same time showing that religion aside, there is little from the non literary sources which actually marks out his reign as unusual.
Martijn Icks is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany. He obtained his PhD cum laude at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands in 2008.
Introduction; Chapter 1: The Child Priest from Emesa; Chapter 2: The Boy on the Throne; Chapter 3: The Invincible Priest-Emperor; Chapter 4: The Rejected Ruler; Chapter 5: The Evil Tyrant; Chapter 6: The Decadent Emperor; Chapter 7: The Modern Monarch; Bibliography