Gaius Julius Alexio

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Gaius Julius Alexio also known as Alexio II (Greek: Γάϊος Ἰούλιος Άλεξιὣνος, flourished 1st century) was a Syrian Prince and Roman Client Priest King of Emesa.

Alexio was a monarch of Assyrian, Greek, Armenian, Medes, Berber and Roman ancestry. He was the child born to the monarchs Sohaemus of Emesa and Drusilla of Mauretania.[1] The father of Alexio, Sohaemus was an Emesene Prince and ruled as Priest King from 54 until his death in 73. He was the second son of the previous ruling Emesene Monarchs Sampsiceramus II and his wife Iotapa. Alexio’s late paternal uncle was the childless Emesene King Gaius Julius Azizus who was the first husband of the Herodian Princess Drusilla, while he had two paternal aunts, Iotapa who married the Herodian Prince Aristobulus Minor and Mamaea.[2]

The mother of Alexio was Drusilla of Mauretania, a Princess from Mauretania North Africa. Drusilla was the child of the late Roman Client Monarchs Ptolemy of Mauretania and Julia Urania.[3] The mother of Drusilla may have been a member of the Royal family of Emesa[4] and her father was a maternal grandson of the Ptolemaic Greek Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman Triumvir Mark Antony.[5]

The name Alexio is a variant of the ancient Greek name Alexander.[6] The name Alexander was a dynastic name in the Emesani Royal Family;[7] the Seleucid dynasty; the Ptolemaic dynasty[8] and perhaps Alexio’s parents named him an intent to recover their heritage and connections to Alexander the Great. Alexio was a descendant of the Seleucid dynasty; the Ptolemaic dynasty and a distant relative of Alexander the Great through his paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather.

Alexio was born and raised in Emesa. After his father died, Alexio succeeded his father as Priest King of Emesa. Alexio ruled as a Priest King from 73 until his death in 78, thus he was a contemporary of the ruling Roman emperor Vespasian. He was the priest of the Syrian Sun God, known in Aramaic as El-Gebal. Little is known on him. What is known about Alexio is from surviving inscriptions from Emesa.[9]

There is a noted sepulchral Greek inscription on a monument dated 78/79[10] at Emesa, dedicated by his son to his family:

Γαΐος Ἰούλιος, Φαβίᾳ, Σαμσιγέραμος ὁ καὶ Σείλας, Γαΐου Ἰουλίου Ἀλεξιῶνος υἱὁς, ζῶν ἐποίησεν ἑαυτῷ καὶ τοῖς ἰδίοις, ἔτους Οτʹ
Gaius Julius Fabia, Sampsiceramus, also called Silas, son of Gaius Julius Alexio, while still living made this for himself and his family, year 390

He married an unnamed noblewoman by whom; he had a son called Gaius Julius Fabia Sampsiceramus III Silas. When Alexio died in 78, his son ruled as Priest King from 79 until his death in 120. After the death of Alexio, the generations after him are not recorded sufficiently to accurately present a pedigree.[11] A descendant of Alexio's is the Emesene high priest Gaius Julius Bassianus, who was the father of the Roman Empress Julia Domna and another possible descendant was the Syrian Queen of the 3rd century, Zenobia of Palmyra.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants: credited by Karl Leon Ciccone at Ancient History by Suite101
  2. ^ Levick, Julia Domna, Syrian Empress, p.xx
  3. ^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants: credited by Karl Leon Ciccone at Ancient History by Suite101
  4. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy - Cleopatra Selene, Footnote 10
  5. ^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants: credited by Karl Leon Ciccone at Ancient History by Suite101
  6. ^ Alexio meaning and name origin
  7. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: the African emperor p.71
  8. ^ Ptolemaic Genealogy - Alexander Helios, Footnote 1
  9. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus: the African emperor p.71
  10. ^ Temporini, Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im spiegel der neueren Forschung p.219
  11. ^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants at Ancient History by Suite101
  12. ^ Cleopatra’s Children and Descendants at Ancient History by Suite101

Sources[edit]

Ancestry[edit]