Elagabalus, Or Heliogabalus, Varius Avitns Bassianus, a Roman emperor, son of the senator Varius Marcellus and cousin of Caracalla, born in Emesa, Syria, about A. D. 205, killed in Rome in 222. He has been called the Sar-danapalus of Rome. While yet a child he was made priest of Elagabalus, the Syro-Phoe-nician sun god, in his native city; and the Roman soldiers, beholding the elegant figure of the young pontiff, thought they recognized in him the features of Caracalla. His grandmother, Julia Maesa, willing to advance his fortune at the expense of her daughter's reputation, spread a report that he was the offspring of an intrigue between her and the murdered emperor. The army, disgusted with the parsimony and rigid discipline of Macrinus, was disposed to admit his pretensions. Elagabalus, as he was called from his sacred profession, took the name of Antoninus, was received with enthusiasm by the troops of Emesa, and declared emperor under the name of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (218). Macrinus sent detachments of his army from Antioch to crush the rebellion, but the legions murdered their commanders and joined the enemy. At length Macrinus himself marched to meet the pretender, but was signally defeated. He was soon after captured and put to death, and the Roman senate recognized Elagabalus as emperor.
His elevation he thought to be due to the power of the sun, which he worshipped in the form of a black conical stone, and Rome saw her hills covered with altars and her streets filled with processions in honor of the god of Emesa. The Palatine hill became the seat of a magnificent temple, where lascivious dances were performed by Syrian damsels. The Qui-rinal was occupied by a senate of women, who gravely discussed matters of toilet and ceremonial. In a mystical fancy about the sun and moon, he married the Carthaginian priestess of the moon, which was adored in Africa under the name of Astarte. He abandoned himself to the wildest pleasures, but neither a rapid succession of wives, nor a long train of concubines, nor the art of his cooks, could satisfy his passions or save him from satiety. Wearied at length with playing the part of a man, he declared publicly that he was a woman, wished to be dressed like the empress, chose a husband, and worked upon lace. His cruelties were as fantastic as his follies. Having at one time invited the patricians of Rome to a dinner, in the midst of the repast he opened the doors and let in upon them several furious tigers and bears.
The patience of the populace and soldiers being exhausted by his vices and tyranny, a sedition was about to break out, when Elagabalus was induced to adopt as his colleague his cousin Alexander Severus. Alexander cherished the rigid manners and primitive usages of Rome, and quickly became the favorite of the army. When Elagabalus sought to withdraw from him the power which he had granted, or to compass his death, the pra3-torians mutinied, killed the emperor and his mother, and threw their bodies into the Tiber. ELAM, afterward Susiana (called by the Greeks Cissia and Susis), an ancient country of S. W. Asia, bounded N. by the river Diyaleh, E. by the Kebir Kuh range, W. by the Tigris, and S. by the Persian gulf. It comprised a low and fertile tract, originally peopled by Turanians and descendants of Shem, who were conquered at a very early time by a Hamitic or Cushite race from Babylon. According to the Biblical account, a very important power had been built up in this region by the time of Abraham. The dynasty of the Chaldean empire mentioned by Berosus after the Median or Aryan, occupying the throne from about 2300 to 2100 B. C, was probably of Elamite origin.
It is certain that Chedorlaomer, who belongs to this period, was master of the whole Tigro-Euphrates basin, having as vassals Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, and Thargal, the Tidal of the Bible, "king of nations," probably nomadic tribes. He made with them an expedition toward the west, temporarily subjugated parts of Syria, plundered the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, led Lot away captive, and was at last defeated by Abraham. As-shur-bani-pal mentions in two inscriptions that he took Susa 1,635 years after Kedor-nakhunta or Kudur-nanhundi, king of Elam, had conquered Babylonia, which would give the year 2295 B. C. as the date of the establishment of the Elamite dynasty in Chaldea. Other names of Elamite kings of this dynasty, obtained from inscriptions recently discovered, are: Kedor-mabug and his son Zikar-Sin, Burnaburyash I. and his son Kurigalzu I., Ishmi-Dagan and his sons Gungun and Shamshi-Bin. It is certain that Elam was afterward a formidable feudatory of Babylonia and Assyria, and had its own monarchs and an independent government. An inscription of the 9th century includes Elam in the Assyrian empire; and others show that the Assyrian kings were continually engaged in war with Elamites, who in conjunction with Babylon attempted to assert their independence.
About 790 the Elamites became again an independent state under Shutruk-Nakhunta. About 60 years after, Sargon or Saryukin defeated, as he relates in his annals, Humbanigash I., king of Elam, in the plains of Kalu. During the time of Sennacherib, 704 - 680, Elam revolted again under Kedor-nakhunta II. in concert with Babylon. Sennacherib devastated the whole southern part of the country, and captured Suzub, the Babylonian king, who contrived to escape, and "opened the treasure of the pyramid, the gold and silver of the temples of Bel and Zar-panit; he plundered them to give to Um-man-Minan, king of Elam," brother and successor of Kedor-nakhunta. Umman-Minan accepted the bribe and joined the invasion of Assyria. Sennacherib bribed in turn Hum-ba-undasha, the Elamite general-in-chief, and gained an easy victory over the combined army of 150,000 men. Babylon and Elam made renewed efforts, and Sennacherib, exasperated by these continued revolts, chastised them with the utmost severity, and the sacred city of Babylon, revered by the Assyrians as much as by the Chaldeans, was given up to be plundered.
Esarhaddon or Asshurakh-iddin (680-667) established in the Israelitish territory large numbers of captives from the land of Elam. Esarhaddon and his son As-shur-bani-pal were constantly kept busy by the troublesome and rebellious inhabitants of Elam. Nine kings of Elam are mentioned in the inscriptions of these two monarchs. They maintained the struggle against Assyria without abatement, and often came near overwhelming it, but Asshur-bani-pal put an end to it by devastating the whole country, and reducing the populace to slavery. At the subsequent conquest of the Assyrian empire and its division between Cyaxares and Nabopolas-sar, the Elamite country was assigned to the Medes. It became afterward part of the Persian empire, forming a distinct satrapy and paying an annual tribute of 300 talents. At the time of Darius the Elamites had regained sufficient strength to venture on an insurrection under Martius, the son of Sisiscres, who made himself king, representing himself as Omanes, a descendant of the old native dynasty.
Da-rius relates in the Behistun inscription: " Upon this I was moving a little way in the direction of Elam; then the Elamites, fearing me, seized that Martius who was their chief, and slew him." Shortly after the Elamites joined their old friends the Babylonians in another revolt, which was suppressed in the following year by Gobryas, Darius's general. This was the last effort of the Elamites to regain their independence; their country remained a Persian province, sharing the fortunes of the empire. - In regard to the various names assigned by Greek and Roman writers to the country, Elymais seems to be less comprehensive than Elam, and Susiana and Susis are terms formed artificially from the capital city Susa; Cissia is used by Herodotus as the name of the territory of the Cushites. The modern Khuzistan nearly corresponds to it.