About Azisus, Priest-King of Emesa
The royal family of Emesa, also known as the Emesani Dynasty or the Sempsigerami of Emesa (Arabic: آل شميس غرام), sometimes known as The Sampsiceramids were a ruling Roman client dynasty of priest-kings in Emesa, Syria Province (modern Homs, Syria).They can be viewed both as Arameans and Arabs.
Emesa was famous for the worship of the strong ancient pagan cult El-Gebal, also known as Elagabal.The city was renowned for El-Gebal’s place of worship the Temple of the Sun. El-Gebal was worshipped in the form of a conical black stone.El-Gebal was the Aramaic name for the Syrian Sun God and means God of the Mountain.
After the death of Sampsiceramus II, his first son Azizus succeeded him. Azizus reigned from 42 until 54. Little is known on Azizus’ reign, however he is known for his brief childless marriage to the Herodian Princess Drusilla. Azizus married Drusilla after 51, on the condition that he was to be circumcised. Drusilla ended their marriage and divorced him because she fell in love with Marcus Antonius Felix, a Greek Freedman who was the Roman Governor of Judea, whom she later married. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_family_of_Emesa
- D. C. O'Driscoll, Emesa
- Wikipedia, Royal Family of Emesa
- Sir Anthony Richard Wagner; Pedigree and Progress: Essays in the Genealogical Interpretation of History (1975)
Priest-Kings of Emesa: Azizus, Sohaemus and Afterwards
After the death of Sampsiceramus II, his first son Azizus succeeded him. He was the namesake of his paternal ancestor Aziz (Azizus), the father of Sampsiceramus I and reigned from 42 until 54. Little is known on the reign of Azizus, however he is known for his childless marriage to the Herodian Princess Drusilla. Azizus married Drusilla after 51, on the condition that he was to be circumcised. She was briefly married to Azizus and Drusilla ended their marriage. She divorced him because she fell in love with Marcus Antonius Felix, a Greek Freedman who was the Roman Governor of Judea, whom she later married.
As Azizus died in 54, his brother Sohaemus succeeded him. Sohaemus reigned from 54 until his death in 73. Under the rule of Sohaemus, Emesa’s relations with the government of Rome grew closer. In 70 in the Roman Siege of Jerusalem, Sohaemus had sent Emesene archers to assist the Roman army. He also assisted the Roman emperor Vespasian in 72, in annexing the Client State of the Kingdom of Commagene.
Sohaemus had died in 73 and was succeeded by his son, Alexio II. Despite the fact that the Emesani dynasty was loyal allies to Rome, for unknown reasons the Roman State reduced the autonomy rule of the Emesani dynasty. Sohaemus was apparently the last king of the Emesene Kingdom and after his death, the Emesene Kingdom most probably was absorbed by the Roman Province of Syria, but there is no explicit evidence of this occurring.
Alexio II and his successors held only ceremonial authority. Alexio II died in 78 and was succeeded by his son, Sampsiceramus III. Little is known about the Emesani dynasty after the rule of Alexio II. By the 3rd century, the Emesani dynasty became Governors over Emesa, then Priest-Kings over a Roman Client Kingdom. Between 211-217, the Roman emperor Caracalla, made Emesa into a Roman Colony, as this was partly due to the Severan dynasty’s relations and connections to Emesa. Partly due to the influence and rule of the Emesani dynasty, Emesa had grown and became one of the most important cities in the Roman East. Despite the Emesenes were a warlike people; they exported wheat, vines and olives throughout the Roman world and the city was a part of the Eastern trade route which stretched from the mainland to the coast which benefited the local and the Roman economy. The Emesenes sent men into the Roman legions and contributing their archers to the auxiliary of the imperial army. In modern Syria, Emesa has retained its local significance as it is the market centre for surrounding villages.