Human Gods: More Names

We have come across two more names to add to our list of deified mortals from ancient Rome: Diva Paulina and Divus Valerian II.

Paulina was the wife of Emperor Maximinus Thrax and died in 235 or 236 ce.  We know very little about her. An inscription gives her name and titles as Diva Caecilia Paulina Pia Augusta.  She is given the title of Diva – divine – on Roman coins and is sometimes called thea – goddess – on Greek coins. The title of Pia – pious – might give some indication of her character.  She is favorably, if very briefly, mentioned in the surviving text of the Histories written by Ammianus Marcellinus in the fourth century ce, more than a century after her death. Her husband Maximinus appears to have been rather a bad egg and was executed by his own soldiers after a reign of only three years.

Valerian II was never an emperor, but was in line for the imperial succession. He was given the title of Caesar, at the age of 15 or 16, by his grandfather the Emperor Valerian I. His father was the Emperor Gallienus, son and co-emperor of Valerian I. After his appointment to the position of Caesar, Valerian II was sent to the Illyrian provinces, where he died soon after in suspicious circumstances in 257 or 258 ce. Suspician fell upon his principal administrative advisor, a man whose whose name I shall not mention, who promptly started a revolt against Valerian I, but was quickly suppressed.  Other than his parentage, we know even less about Valerian II than we do about Paulina. He did not have much time to accomplish anything in his short life. An Imperial teenage boy, a sacrificial victim to the murderous intrigues that had infected the ruling class of that era. And yet, he was rememberd afterward.  

Remember that all of the divi and divae are real people, who once walked this earth as mortal human beings. There are stories, whether triumphant, tragic, or trivial, behind their names. Unfortunately, most of the stories have not survived.




Paulina being carried to heaven by a peacock. Auction price in 2013: $750.


Valerian II

Valerian II


A silver antoninianus issued in honor of Valerian II by the mint in Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne).

Youthful portrait of Valerian II, with reverse showing Valerian being carried to heaven by an eagle. Auction price in 2013: $200.

Published in: on May 21, 2013 at 7:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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Human Gods: Divus and Sanctus

The Sacred College of the Cult of the Gods of the Antonine Imperium has issued a decree recognizing the status of divus (divine) and sanctus (holy) for various persons. See the new page at right for the Sacred College for details. In general, the Sacred College accepts the status of divus or its equivalent that was granted to various members of the Ptolemaic dynasty and various Roman emperors by the ancient Greeks and Romans. It is the opinion of the Sacred College that the people so selected may receive the customary honors and rites that are offered to the heroic dead and the honored ancestors. Divus is an ancient title. Sanctus is a new concept, inspired by the usage of this term by the Ekklesia Antinoo.

No one is required to worship these honored persons, but we should remember them. Reflect upon their lives, their accomplishments, successes and failures, triumphs and tragedies.

These persons have been accepted as divus: Alexander the Great, Ptolemy I, Berenike I, Ptolemy II, Arsinoe I, Ptolemy III, Arsinoe II, Ptolemy IV, Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Lucius Caesar, Gaius Caesar, Livia Drusilla, Claudius I, Poppaea Sabina, Vespasian, Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Plotina, Matidia I, Marciana, Hadrian, Sabina, Antoninus Pius, Faustina I, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Faustina II, Pertinax, Septimius Severus, Julia Domna, Severus Alexander, Julia Maesa, Gordian I, Gordian II, Gordian III, Philip I, Philip II, Decius, Valerian, Gallienus, Claudius II, Aurelian, Probus, Diocletian, Galerius, Julian.

The title of divus has been granted to the following persons: Marcus Antonius, Aelius Caesar, Mindia Matidia II, Zenobia, Maxentius, Maximinus Daia.

The title of sanctus has been granted to the following persons: Marcus Agrippa, Maecenas, Otho, Caenis, Germana, Herodes Atticus, Lucilla, Flavius Eugenius, Arbogast.

The title of divus has been revoked for the following persons: Constantius I, Jovian, Valentinian I, Valens, Valentinian II.

The following persons have been condemned: Helena, Constantine I, Constantius II, Gratian, Theodosius I.

The title of divus was discontinued after the time of Theodosius I and the Sacred College makes no judgment on the succeeding emperors of Rome and Constantinople, other than to condemn their religious intolerance.

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm  Comments (7)  
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