Barbia Orbiana

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Barbia Orbiana was Augusta of the Roman Empire from 225 AD - 227 AD. Her full name was Gneaea Seia Herennia[1] Sallustia Barbia Orbiana. She was the wife of Alexander Severus. The emperor married her in late 225, following the death of his grandmother. Severus was around sixteen years of age at this time.


Not much is known about Orbiana, including her age. She is known in history entirely through coins. Careful attention was paid to the coinage of copper money during the reign of Severus. Following his reign, the art and undiluted quality of money declined.[2]

Marital discord[edit]

She was selected for marriage by Julia Avita Mamaea. Their union was short in duration and childless.[3] It ended in August 227.[1] Mamaea treated her daughter-in-law cruelly because of her unwillingness to share power. She also extended her meanness to Orbiana's father. Eventually Mamaea had Macrinus executed and forced Severus to divorce Orbiana.[4] Orbiana was banished to North Africa.[5]


Orbiana was from a noted family, the daughter of Seius Sallustius Varius Macrinus. He was a nobleman of senatorial rank. He was promoted to the rank of Caesar following his daughter's marriage to Severus. This fact is quite difficult to confirm however.[3]


  1. ^ a b Alexander's Court And Character, The Life of Alexander Severus, Sir Richard Valentine Nind Hopkins, The University Press, 1907, pg. 57.
  2. ^ A Guide to the Collection of Roman Coins at Eton College: With an Appendix' About Some Byzantine Coins, Francis St. John Thackeray, London, England, J.S. Virtue & Co., 1882, pg. 70.
  3. ^ a b Orbiana, Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, 82 BC - 480, Volume 1, David L. Vagi, Taylor & Francia, 2000, pg. 308.
  4. ^ A Dictionary of the Roman Empire, Matthew Bunson, Oxford University Press, 1995, pg. 51.
  5. ^ Orbiana,, internet article, retrieved on 29 June 2010.