Septimius Severus

Reece Period attributed: Period 10

Obverse image of a coin of Septimius Severus

Member of the The Severans dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 193 until 211.

Lucius Septimius Severus was born in AD 145 in Lepcis Magna, Libya; he was the first African-born Roman emperor. He came to Rome shortly after turning 18 and Marcus Aurelius made him a senator.

News of the deaths of Commodus and Pertinax reached Severus while he was in Upper Pannonia. The Danube troops hailed him as imperator and he headed for Rome. The Senate realized that his accession was inevitable and hailed him as Caesar. Severus then executed or expelled all those of the Praetorian Guard for taking part in the murder of Pertinax.

Severus had to deal with uprisings and civil war on all sides of the empire; he consolidated his power, but began ailing as he aged. He chose his son Caracalla as successor and married him to the daughter of the leader of the Praetorian Guards.

Severus died at York, while trying for the conquest of Scotland. His sons, with whom he was on the campaign, abandoned the project and took his cremated ashes back to Rome. He was soon deified and fondly remembered as a successful consolidator of Roman power. According to the historian Dio, Severus’ last words to his sons were:

Agree with each other, make the soldiers rich, and ignore everybody else.

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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Septimius Severus
  • Full names:
    • Septimius Severus
    • Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Eusebes Pertinax Augustus (as emperor)
    • Lucius Septimius Severus (from birth to accession);
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Didius Julianus
  • Successor: Publius Septimius Geta, Caracalla
  • Definition: Septimius Severus (/səˈvɪərəs/; Latin: Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211), also known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul. After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. Furthermore, he enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202, he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes; capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern frontier of the empire. Late in his reign he travelled to Britain, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In 208 he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland), but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum (today York, England), succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta. With the succession of his sons, Severus founded the Severan dynasty, the last dynasty of the empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.
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    • List of Roman Emperors
    • Consul of the Roman Empire
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