Julia Cornelia Paula

Julia Cornelia Paula or Julia Paula was a distinguished Roman noblewoman who became Empress of Rome as the first wife of the Roman emperor Elagabalus.

Bust of Julia Cornelia Paula


Julia Cornelia Paula was Empress of Rome from 219-220. She was a member of the gens Cornelia through her maternal line. Her father, Julius Paulus, was a Roman Nobleman of Greek descent and a historically noted jurist active throughout the Severan Dynasty becoming a praetorian prefect in Rome. She was thus of both Patrician Roman and Greek descent and was therefore part of the established upper Roman aristocracy.

In early 219, Julia Maesa, eldest sister of powerful Roman Empress Julia Domna, arranged for Cornelia Paula to marry her grandson, the new emperor Elagabalus. Their wedding was lavishly celebrated in Rome. Cornelia Paula became Elagabalus' first wife and was given the honorific title of Augusta and the family name "Julia".

In late 220, Elagabalus divorced her to marry the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa in a union that was considered scandalous because she was still a Vestal. Apart from falling in love with Severa, Elagabalus married Severa as a part of the religious process of worshiping the Syrian Sun God El-Gabal and integrating El-Gabal into Roman religion.

After the divorce, Elagabalus removed Paula's Augusta title. As they had no children, she withdrew from public life and her fate afterwards is unknown.


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