Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Julia Domna

signature image

Judy Chicago (American, b. 1939). The Dinner Party (Heritage Floor; detail), 1974–79. Porcelain with rainbow and gold luster, 48 x 48 x 48 ft. (14.6 x 14.6 x 14.6 m). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, 2002.10. © Judy Chicago. Photograph by Jook Leung Photography

Julia Domna
b. circa A.D. 170, Syria; d. 217, Rome

Julia Domna was born in Syria to an influential family and was married, probably as a teenager, to future Roman emperor Septimius Severus, who was said to have valued her sage political advice and wide-ranging knowledge of philosophy. They had two sons, Caracalla and Geta, and Julia Domna traveled with Severus on his military campaigns, earning her the title "mother of the camp." As empress, she hosted a salon of Rome's leading intellectuals, whose activities were recorded in the writings of the orator Philostratus. When Severus died in the year 211, Julia Domna was an important mediator between her sons, who became contentious co-emperors. Geta was murdered by Caracalla's soldiers and some years later Caracalla was assassinated by enemy troops. The news precipitated Julia Domna's suicide in that same year, 217.

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