A Roman Marble Fragmentary Portrait Head of Julia Mamaea, Mother of Alexander Severus; Carrara marble, Severan, 222-235 C.E., From Italy
This face from a portrait head and its twin in Bochum were reputedly found in Italy together with the mutilated head of Alexander Severus and fragments of his bust. Alexander Severus became emperor in A.D. 222 at the age of thirteen. At that time, his mother, Julia Mamaea, assumed the regency with full powers, bearing the resounding title “Mother of our most sacred lord … Mother of the armed forces, of the Senate, of the Country and of the entire human race”. Though under Alexander’s rule the country had known fourteen years of peace “with no evil or bloodshed as far as his subjects were concerned … he was known for his gentleness and good deeds,” he was weak, cowardly, and rather lazy. Apparently, it was the overbearing personality of his mother and her “petty minded greediness … that brought shame upon him”. At the beginning of a campaign in Illyria to stop the incursions of the Germanic tribes from the other shores of the Rhine and Danube, Maximinus, whom Alexander had put in charge of the army, rallied the troops around him, seized power, and had the emperor, his mother, and all his partisans murdered.