Refers to the Roman emperor Heliogabolus (or Elagabolus). We are told (105) that he was born in a.d. 204 and was named Varius Avitus Bassianus. (Do you suppose that first name reflects on there being various possible fathers?) While a youth he was appointed high priest of the Syro-Phoenician sun god Elagabol, and thereupon assumed the name Elagabolus. Appointed emperor after a military revolt in a.d. 218, he imposed the worship of Elagabol upon his subjects. Historians believe his religious rites involved human sacrifice. He appointed obvious misfits to high office and sent more than his share of dissident generals to early graves. His reign was marked by openly held homosexual orgies. He was killed by the Praetorian Guard after only four years in office. But that was quite enough.

Act I