‘He possessed the craftiness of his mother and the Syrians, to which race she belonged.’ Thus Cassius Dio, a Roman senator and historian who lived between the second and the third centuries CE, referred to the cunning of Caracalla, a quality that this emperor inherited from his mother Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and the first Augusta who came from the Eastern provinces of the Empire. She maintained the role of ‘first lady’ for twenty years, a period covering the reigns of two emperors, Septimius Severus (193-211 CE) and Caracalla (211-217 CE). Despite this, her role in both establishing and strengthening the Severan dynasty is only barely traceable in the historical accounts concerning this period. These are the epitome of Cassius Dio’s Roman History, the biographies of the Historia Augusta and the History of Herodian. Their reliability and accuracy, however, are still debated. The epigraphic, numismatic and artistic evidence, on the other hand, attests to the fact that she was one of the most honored imperial women in the course of the Principate. Almost 600 inscriptions bear her name; numerous coin types portray her together with the emperors; important artworks where she is depicted (such as the Kassel Cameo, the Arch of the Argentarii and the Severan Arch in Leptis Magna) demonstrate that she occupied no secondary position in the Severan regime. She appears, consequently, to be a key figure of this period. This is the interdisciplinary discussion to which this investigation contributes. By combining examination of literary sources and material culture, it provides insights concerning not only the political influence of this imperial woman, but also her contribution to the shaping of the Severan dynasty from a cultural point of view.