— Elagabalus Roman Emperor 203 - 222
Context: Scholars have often viewed the failure of Elagabalus' reign as a clash of cultures between "Eastern" (Syrian) and "Western" (Roman), but this dichotomy is not very useful. The criticisms of the emperor's effeminacy and sexual behavior mirror those made of earlier emperors (such as Nero) and do not need to be explained through ethnic stereotypes. With regard to religion, the emperor's promotion of the cult of the Emesene sun-god was certainly ridiculed by contemporary observers, but this cult was popular among soldiers and would remain so. Moreover, the cult continued to be promoted by later emperors of non-Syrian ethnicity, calling the god The Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus).
Elagabalus is best understood as a teenager who was raised near the luxury of the imperial court and who then suffered a drastic change of fortune brought about by the sudden deaths — probably within one year — of his father, his grandfather and his cousin, the emperor Caracalla. Thrust upon the throne, Elagabalus lacked the required discipline. For a while, Romans may well have been amused by his "Merrie Monarch" behavior, but he ended up offending those he needed to inspire. His reign tragically demonstrated the difficulties of having a teenage emperor.
Michael L. Meckler, in "Elagabalus (218-222 A.D.)" in De Imperatoribus Romanis : An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors (1997) http://www.roman-emperors.org/elagabal.htm