Ca. 193—194 CE. Paris, Louvre MuseumInv. Nos. MR 638 / Ma 1103.
Ca. 193—194 CE.
Inv. Nos. MR 638 / Ma 1103.
Paris, Louvre Museum
In Julia Domna’s later portrait types, the wig is so rigid that the coiffure has been called the helmet hairstyle. The hair is still parted in the center and falls in deep waves on either side of the face, almost to the bottom of the neck where it is further embellished with thick coils of hair twisted from bottom to top and fastened at the level of the temples. The wig encloses the head like a confining helmet and covers the ears and cheeks, although a few tendrils of real hair escape onto the cheeks. The Leptis type can be seen in the reliefs of the Arch of Septimius Severus in Leptis Magna and in a portrait of the empress as Ceres from Ostia (fig. 291). The latter is also an example of the continued interest of the imperial patrons of the Severan dynasty in having themselves depicted in the guises of divinities and heroes. A silver medallion struck in Rome (fig. 292) also represents Julia Domna in a similar portrait and in the guise of the personification of Abundance. The empress, whose distinctive physiognomy is immediately recognizable, cradles a cornucopia in her left arm and carries a statuette of Abundance, also with a cornucopia, in her right hand. The implication is that Julia, who is designated in the accompanying legend as Julia Augusta, is thus doubly abundant. In fact, it is her fertility that has provided the empire with the two male heirs who will fulfill the Severan destiny. A tiara emerges from her wig, which is of the close-fitting helmet type with a central part, long, deep waves with braided coils at the front edges, and a large bun at the back of the head.