In A.D. 220 the Emperor Elagabalus prevailed on the Senate to allow his unprecedented marriage with a Vestal Virgin, Julia Aquilia Severa. He argued that as high priest of the god Sol Invictus, his offspring by her would be divine. He divorced her shortly thereafter under continuous pressure from the Senate and married Annia Faustina, a descendant of Marcus Aurelius. After only a few months, the emperor divorced Annia Faustina and remarried Julia Aquilia Severa. These events occurred only months before Elagabalus was murdered.
As wife of the Emperor, Julia Aquila Severa appears on coinage from the period (see illustration above) and, as such, can be identified in this portrait. For another portrait see no. 159, pl. 186 in Fittschen and Zanker, Katalog der römischen Portraits in den Capitolinischen Museen und den anderen kommunalen Sammlungen der Stadt Rom, Band III.