Join Date: Apr 2008
Septimius Severus (Latin: Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus), also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through 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...Septimius Severus was born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna (in modern Libya), son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia. Severus came from a wealthy, distinguished family of equestrian rank. He was of Italian Roman ancestry on his mother's side and of Libyan-Punic ancestry on his father's...(The Punics (from Latin pūnicus) were a group of western Semitic-speaking peoples from Carthage in North Africa who traced their origins to a group of Phoenician settlers, but also to North African Berbers)...With the succession of his sons, Severus founded the Severan dynasty, the last dynasty of the empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.
The Crisis of the Third Century (also "Military Anarchy" or "Imperial Crisis") (235–284 AD) was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression.
Although Septimius Severus successfully restored peace following the upheaval of the late 2nd century, the dynasty was disturbed by highly unstable family relationships, and constant political turmoil, foreshadowing the imminent Crisis of the Third Century. It was the last lineage of the Principate founded by Augustus.
Tondo, probably from the year 199, Septimius Severus with Julia Domna, Caracalla and Geta, whose face is smeared out...A tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture. The word derives from the Italian rotondo, "round."
Between 170 and 180 the activities of Septimius Severus went largely unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession. The Antonine Plague had severely thinned the senatorial ranks and with capable men now in short supply, Severus' career advanced more steadily than it otherwise might have...In 173, Severus' kinsman Gaius Septimius Severus was appointed proconsul of the Africa Province. The elder Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore. Following the end of this term, Septimius Severus travelled back to Rome, taking up office as tribune of the plebs, with the distinction of being candidatus of the emperor...
Upon his arrival at Rome in 193, he discharged the Praetorian Guard which had murdered Pertinax and auctioned the Roman Empire to Didius Julianus. Its members were stripped of their ceremonial armour and ordered to remove themselves within 100 miles of the city on pain of death. Severus then raised a new Guard composed of 50,000 loyal soldiers mainly camped at Albanum, near Rome (also probably to grant the emperor a kind of centralized reserve). During his reign the number of legions was also increased from 25/30 to 33. He also increased the number of auxiliary corps (numerii), many of these troops coming from the Eastern borders. Additionally the annual wage for a soldier was raised from 300 to 500 denarii...Although his actions turned Rome into a military dictatorship, he was popular with the citizens of Rome, having stamped out the rampant corruption of Commodus's reign.
Christians were persecuted during the reign of Septimius Severus. Severus allowed the enforcement of policies already long-established, which meant that Roman authorities did not intentionally seek out Christians, but when people were accused of being Christians they would be forced to either curse Jesus and make an offering to Roman gods, or be executed...
The Guisborough Helmet is a Roman cavalry helmet found in 1864 near Guisborough in Redcar and Cleveland (at the time part of the North Riding of Yorkshire)...The helmet was found in what appears to have been a carefully arranged deposition in a bed of gravel, distant from any known Roman sites.
Detail of the figure of Mars on the front of the helmet...Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome...The consort of Mars was Nerio or Nerine, "Valour." She represents the vital force (vis), power (potentia) and majesty (maiestas) of Mars...
In late 202 Severus launched a campaign in the province of Africa. The legate of Legio III Augusta Quintus Anicius Faustus had been fighting against the Garamantes along the Limes Tripolitanus for five years, capturing several settlements from the enemy such as Cydamus, Gholaia, Garbia, and their capital Garama - over 600 km south of Leptis Magna...
In 208 Severus traveled to Britain with the intention of conquering Caledonia. Modern archaeological discoveries have made the scope and direction of his northern campaign better understood...Severus rebuilt and garrisoned many abandoned Roman forts along the east coast, including Carpow which could house up to 40,000 soldiers.
An interesting story from around this time is when Severus' wife, Julia Domna, criticised the sexual morals of the Caledonian women, the wife of Caledonian chief Argentocoxos replied: "We fulfill the demands of nature in a much better way than do you Roman women; for we consort openly with the best men, whereas you let yourselves be debauched in secret by the vilest"
Severus' campaign was cut short when he fell fatally ill. He withdrew to Eboracum and died there in 211. Although his son Caracalla continued campaigning the following year, he soon settled for peace. The Romans never campaigned deep into Caledonia again: they soon withdrew south permanently to Hadrian's Wall.
He is famously said to have given the advice to his sons: "Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, and scorn all other men" before he died at Eboracum (York) on 4 February 211...Eboracum was a fort and city in Roman Britain. The settlement evolved into York, located in North Yorkshire, England.
Upon his death in 211, Severus was deified by the Senate and succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta, who were advised by his wife Julia Domna. The cameo glass Portland Vase is said to have been excavated in the 16th century from his tomb...