Alexander Severus

Reece Period attributed: Period 11

Obverse image of a coin of Alexander Severus

Member of the The Severans dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 222 until 235.

Bassianus Alexianus was born in AD 208 in Phoenicia. He was adopted in 221 by his cousin Elagabalus, as a last attempt to save Elagabalus’ legitimacy as emperor. The military and Praetorian Guard favoured Alexander, and would not carry out Elagabalus’ command to kill the future emperor. Upon the death of Elagabalus, Alexander was proclaimed emperor almost unanimously.

Alexander was 14 when he became emperor, and his mother Julia Mamaea oversaw the appointment of a variety of advisors. She herself ruled in his name, and had many honorific titles (which Alexander grew to resent); she also confiscated much land to add to her personal wealth. Julia Mamaea also arranged his marriage to Orbiana, of whom she grew very jealous. Orbiana was banished shortly thereafter, to the dismay of the weak Alexander.

In 231/2, Alexander set out on an eastern campaign against Persia, and soon after to Germany, with his mother in tow. Already there had been several conspiracies against Alexander, but now Maximinus (one of Alexander’s commanders) arose as a serious threat when the troops supposedly hailed him as imperator. Maximinus’ men then killed Alexander and his mother in their tent, where they were hiding and weeping.

Alexander is remembered as a great emperor, although much of his reign was controlled by his mother and he himself was a weak individual. Had he been more generous to the armies, he likely would have lasted longer. Alexander often appears as a calm youth, in contrast to his predecessor Elagabalus. Portraits and busts show his maturity, from adolescent to young man.

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Information from Wikipedia

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