Annia Faustina

Annia Aurelia Faustina
Born c. 201
Died c. 222
Spouse 1. Pomponius Bassus 2. Elagabalus
Father Tiberius Claudius Severus Proculus
Mother Annia Faustina

Annia Aurelia Faustina (c. 201 AD – c. 222 AD) was an Anatolian Roman noblewoman. She was briefly married to the Roman emperor Elagabalus in 221 and thus a Roman empress. She was Elagabalus' third wife.

Ancestry and family

Annia Aurelia Faustina is an ancient Roman noblewoman who has been scarcely noticed by ancient and modern Roman historians.[1] She was of noble descent, daughter and only child of the wealthy heiress Annia Faustina and the Roman Senator, consul Tiberius Claudius Severus Proculus. Her parents were maternal second-cousins.

Her paternal grandparents were the Pontian Greek Roman Senator and Peripatetic Philosopher, Gnaeus Claudius Severus and his second wife, the Roman Princess Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina. Her maternal grandparents were wealthy Roman heiress Ummidia Cornificia Faustina and an unnamed Roman Senator. Her paternal half-uncle was Marcus Claudius Ummidius Quadratus, who had been adopted by the Roman Consul Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus, the nephew of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was a Roman citizen of Pontic Greek and Italian ancestry.

Her paternal great-grandparents were the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius; Roman Empress Faustina the Younger; the Roman Senator, Philosopher Gnaeus Claudius Severus Arabianus and his unnamed wife. Her maternal great-grandparents were Marcus Aurelius’ sister, the noblewoman Annia Cornificia Faustina and Gaius Ummidius Quadratus Annianus Verus a Roman Senator who served as a suffect consul in 146. Thus she was a descendant of the former ruling Nerva–Antonine dynasty of the Roman Empire. Although by birth, Annia Aurelia Faustina was of the gens Claudia, she was not named after her father; instead she was named in honor of her parent’s relations to the gens Aurelia, the gens Annia and the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

Early life

Annia Aurelia Faustina was born and raised on her mother's estate in Pisidia, one of a number in that area called the "Cyllanian Estates". These estates were very large properties, established from the time of the dictator of the Roman Republic, Lucius Cornelius Sulla (c. 138-78 BC).

About 216, her father may have made a political alliance with a Roman Senator who was a member of the Pomponia (gens) that resulted in her marrying Pomponius Bassus.

Upon her marriage, they settled at her Pisidian estates. Pomponius treated Annia well and they both lived in domestic tranquility. She bore at least two known children during her marriage: a daughter, Pomponia Ummidia (born 219), and a son, Pomponius Bassus (born 220).

By 218, her parents had died and Annia inherited her mother's estate and their fortune, becoming a very wealthy heiress. On the site of the estate inscriptions have survived proclaiming her inheritance of the property from her parents and that she was its owner.

Second marriage to Elagabalus

In the year 221, Roman Emperor Elagabalus was induced to end his highly controversial and politically damaging marriage to the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa by powerful courtiers, led by his grandmother Julia Maesa. In its place he was advised to marry Annia Aurelia Faustina as an alliance with the powerful clan represented by her blood connections with the prior Nerva–Antonine dynasty. Annia Aurelia Faustina was recently widowed as her late husband, Pomponius Bassus, had been executed for subversion and treason. The senatorial Roman ruling class was more receptive of this imperial marriage than the previous one.

Annia became Empress of Rome and it seemed for a time that the Nerva–Antonine dynasty rule had returned to Rome. Elagabalus gave her the title of Augusta. Supporters of Elagabalus had hoped that Annia, the mother of two small children would bear him a natural heir however, she bore him no children. In the end of 221, Elagabalus, reasserting his previous course of action, divorced her and returned to Julia Aquilia Severa, remarrying her as his fourth wife. Due to her second brief marriage, there are no surviving sources describing Annia Aurelia Faustina's rule as a Roman empress.

Life after Elagabalus

When her marriage to Elagabalus ended, Annia Aurelia Faustina returned with her children to the Pisidian estate. She spent the final years of her life there. When she died, her daughter Pomponia Ummidia inherited the estate, and her descendants had become various distinguished nobles and politicians in Roman Society.


  1. Smyth, Descriptive catalogue of a cabinet of Roman imperial large-brass medals: Annia Aurelia Faustina article


External links

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Royal titles
Preceded by
Aquilia Severa
Empress of Rome
Succeeded by
Aquilia Severa
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