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Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus

Lucius Septimius Severus was Roman emperor from April 193 to February 211 CE. He was of Libyan descent from Lepcis Magna and came from a locally prominent Punic family who had a history of rising to senatorial as well as consular status

His first visit to Rome was around 163 CE during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. He was protected by his cousin Caius Septimius Severus and entered the Roman Senate in 170 CE. When his cousin went to Africa as a proconsul around 173-174 CE, he chose L. Septimius Severus to be his legatus. L. Septimius married Paccia Marciana around 175 CE who had Punic origins like him; however, she died ten years later. When he was governor of Gaul and he lived in Lugdunum (Lyon), he married Julia Domna from Emesa (Syria) around 187 CE. She was descended from a family of great priests of Eliogabal.

Septimius’ rise to emperor began with the murder of the dissolute ruler Commodus on the last day of 192 CE. Commodus’ immediate successor, the well-respected if elderly Pertinax, was quickly made emperor afterwards. Pertinax’s actions as emperor, however, enraged members of the Praetorian Guard who disliked his efforts to enforce stricter discipline. Moreover, the inability of Pertinax to meet the Guard’s demands for back pay led to their revolt which ended in the emperor’s assassination. The Praetorian Guard then cynically proceeded to auction off the imperial throne to the highest bidder with the person willing to pay the most being promised the support of the Praetorian Guard and therefore the imperial throne. A rich and prominent senator, M. Didius Julianus, perhaps as a joke at first, proceeded to outbid all others at the auction and thus was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorians solely for the reason that he promised to pay them the most money. This affair caused considerable resentment among the population at Rome who openly denounced Julianus and the way in which he acquired the throne. Word of such unrest at Rome spread to the provinces and led to the emergence of three possible candidates to challenge Julianus’ rule.

After securing the loyalty of the sixteen legions of the Rhine and Danube to his cause, Septimius marched into Italy and was recognized by the Senate as emperor.

The first candidate was Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain. The second was Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, and the third was, of course, Septimius Severus who governed the province of Pannonia Superior on the Danube frontier. All three governors emerged as possible candidates mainly because each of them held provinces that were defended by three legions apiece. Not only did this give each governor a powerful military base of three legions but also ensured that the provinces adjacent to them would more often than not join in their cause if they decided to rise up and make a bid for imperial power. Both Albinus and Niger did so. Septimius, in making his claim, had an edge over these two men. He had an advantage not only in terms of propaganda (Septimius had served with Pertinax previously and successfully portrayed himself as the ‘avenger of Pertinax,’ even adopting the slain emperor’s name) but also in terms of location as Pannonia was the closest of these provinces to Italy and Rome. To prevent a possible clash with Clodius Albinus in Britain, he secured Albinus’ support mainly by promising him the title of Caesar and thus a place in the imperial succession should Septimius be successful. After securing the loyalty of the sixteen legions of the Rhine and Danube to his cause, Septimius marched into Italy and, 60 miles outside of Rome, was recognized by the Senate as emperor. Julianus was executed, and Septimius was welcomed into Rome on 9 June 193 CE. With his accession, the year 193 CE is known as ‘The Year of Five Emperors.’

Septimius quickly dissolved the existing Praetorian Guard and replaced it with a much larger bodyguard recruited from the Danubian legions under his command. To strengthen his rule in Italy, he also raised three new legions (I-III Parthica), based the second of these not far from Rome at Alba, and increased the city of Rome’s number of vigils, urban cohorts, and other units, greatly enlarging Rome’s overall garrison.

Having now secured Rome (and, for the moment, Albinus’ loyalty in the west), Septimius now organized a campaign to march to the eastern provinces to eliminate his rival Niger. Severan forces handed out successive defeats to Niger, driving his forces out of Thrace, then defeating him at Cyzicus and Nicaea in Asia Minor in 193 CE, and ultimately defeating him at Issus in 194 CE. While in the East, Severus turned his forces against the Parthian vassals who had backed Niger in his claims. He quickly subdued the kingdoms of Osroene and Adiabene, taking the titles Parthicus Arabicus and Parthicus Adiabenicus to commemorate these victories. To solidify his reputation and attempt to link his new dynasty with that of the Antonines, he declared himself the son of the now deified former emperor Marcus Aurelius and brother of the deified Commodus. Moreover, he conferred upon his eldest son M. Aurelius Antoninus (later the emperor Caracalla) the title of Caesar. This last move led him into direct conflict with his erstwhile ally Clodius Albinus who was initially given this title in return for his loyalty. Realizing that Severus intended to discard him, Albinus rebelled and crossed with his legions into Gaul. Severus hurried west to meet Albinus in battle at Lugdunum and defeated him in a bloody and hard fought battle in February 197 CE. After defeating Albinus, Severus was now the sole emperor of the Roman Empire.

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In the summer of 197 CE, Severus once again travelled to the eastern provinces where the Parthian Empire had taken advantage of his absence to besiege Nisibis in Roman occupied Mesopotamia. After breaking the Parthian siege there, he proceeded to march down the Euphrates attacking and sacking the Parthian cities of Seleucia, Babylon, and ultimately the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon. He would have liked to have continued his campaigns deeper into the Parthian Empire, although Dio states that he was prevented from doing so due to a lack of military intelligence and knowledge that the Romans had of the Parthian heartland. Septimius then turned against the fortress of Hatra in Iraq, but failed to take it after two attempted sieges. After coming to a face-saving agreement with Hatra, Septimius declared victory in the East, taking the title of Parthicus Maximus (indeed, the Senate voted him a Triumphal Arch in the Roman Forum which still stands today). It was during this time that he organized the lands of northern Mesopotamia, captured from the Parthians, into the new province of Roman Mesopotamia which Dio states Severus hoped would serve as a ‘bulwark for Syria’ against any future Parthian invasions (how effective this policy was in the years after Severus’ reign is a matter which is open to debate).

Severus then travelled to Egypt in 199 CE, reorganizing the province. After returning to Syria for a year’s stay (end of 200 to beginning of 202 CE), Severus finally travelled back to Rome in summer 202 CE to celebrate his decennalia with a victory game as well as giving his son Antoninus in marriage to the daughter of his confidant, the Praetorian Prefect Plautianus (who was later murdered thanks to the intrigues of Antoninus). In autumn of that same year, Severus travelled to his homeland of Africa, touring (and greatly patronising) Severus’ home town of Lepcis Magna, as well as Utica and Carthage. At Lepcis Magna, he conducted an energetic program of monument building, providing colonnaded streets, a new forum, a basilica, and a new harbor for his hometown. He also used this time to crush the desert tribes (most notably the Garamantes) who had been harassing Rome's African frontiers. Severus expanded and re-fortified the African frontier, even expanding Rome’s presence into the Sahara thus curtailing the raiding activities of these border tribes who could no longer attack Roman lands with impunity and then escape back into the desert.

Severus then returned to Italy in 203 CE where he stayed until 208 CE, holding the Secular games in 204 CE. With the murder of his Praetorian Prefect Plautianus, Severus replaced him with the jurist Papinian. His patronage of this new prefect as well as the jurists Ulpian and Paul made the Severan era a golden one for Roman jurisprudence.
In 208 CE, small scale fighting on the frontier of Roman Britain gave Severus the excuse to launch a campaign there which would last until his death in 211 CE. With this campaign, Severus was hoping for a chance to achieve military glory. Moreover, he brought with him his sons Antoninus and Geta in the hopes of providing them with some administrative and military experience necessary for holding the imperial power (until this point, the two sons had spent their time violently quarrelling with each other as well as behaving like libertines carousing at Rome’s less reputable establishments).

Severus’ intentions in Britain were almost certainly to subdue the entire island and bring it under Roman rule completely. In order to do this, Severus completely repaired and renovated many of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall with the intention of using the Wall as a base from which to launch a campaign to conquer the north of the island of Britain. Leaving Geta south (supposedly leaving him responsible for the civil administration of Britain south of the wall), Severus and his son Antoninus campaigned in the north, especially in what is now Scotland. The course of the campaign was one that was mixed for the Romans: the native Caledonian tribes did not meet the Romans in open battle and engaged in guerrilla tactics against them and caused the Romans to suffer heavy casualties. By 210 CE, however, the northern tribes sued for peace, and Severus used this opportunity to build a new advance base at Carpow on the Tay for future campaigning. He also took the title Britannicus for himself and his sons to commemorate this victory. This success was short-lived, however, as the tribes soon rose up in revolt. By this time (211 CE), Severus could not continue his campaigns against them. He was a long-time sufferer of gout which appears to have taken a toll on him: He died at Eburacum (York) on 4 February 211 CE.

Severus’ reign witnessed the implementation of reforms in both the provinces and the military which had long term consequences. After the defeat of his rivals, Severus resolved to not have another take power in the fashion that he did. Consequently, he divided the three legion provinces of Pannonia and Syria to discourage future governors to rise up in revolt (Pannonia was divided into the new provinces of Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior; Syria was divided into Syria Coele and Syria Phoenice). Britain was also divided into two provinces (Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior), although it is debated whether or not Severus or his son and successor Caracalla did this.

Severus is also noted for his reforms of the army. Not only did he greatly increase the size of the army, in order to ensure its loyalty he also raised the annual pay of the soldiers from 300 to 500 denarii (many would have seen this pay rise as overdue, as the last raise in soldiers’ salaries was granted by the emperor Domitian in 84 CE). Severus, to pay for these raises, had to debase the silver coinage. It seems that the long term effects this may have had on inflation were minimal, although Severus set a precedent for future emperors to continuously debase the coinage in order to pay for the army. The historians Dio and Herodian criticized Severus for these pay rises, mainly because it put more financial pressure on the civilian population to maintain a larger army. Moreover, Severus ended the ban on marriage which had existed in the Roman army, giving soldiers the right to take wives. This measure has been argued by some to be a positive reform as it gave legal rights to the wives of soldiers who before the ban had no legal recourse as their relationships were informal and not legally binding. So concerned was Severus with the loyalty of the army that, on his deathbed, he is said to have advised his two sons to ‘Be good to one another, enrich the soldiers, and damn the rest.’

Severus could be ruthless towards his enemies. When he defeated Niger in the East, not only did he attack many of the cities in that region which supported his rival, he is noted for taking metropolitan status away from the city of Antioch (Niger’s base of operations), and giving it to its chief rival, the city of Laodicaea. After defeating Albinus at the battle of Lugdunum, Severus released his wrath on the Roman Senate, many of its members having given either muted or open support to Albinus. Severus, after declaring his intentions to purge the Senate in a speech to that body in 197 CE, proceeded to execute 29 senators of that body for having supported his rival (many other non-senatorial supporters of Albinus met the same fate).

Despite emerging victorious from a period of civil war and bringing stability to the empire, Severus’ sense of accomplishment may have been mixed. His last words, according to various historians, seem to imply that he felt he may have left his work unfinished. Aurelius Victor reported that Severus, on his deathbed, despairingly declared ‘I have been all things, and it has profited nothing.’ Dio, who knew Severus personally, wrote that, as the emperor expired, he gasped ‘Come, give it to me, if we have anything to do!’


Family and education Edit

Born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna (in present-day Libya) as the son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia, [3] Septimius Severus came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank. He had Italian Roman ancestry on his mother's side, and was descended from Punic forebears on his father's side. [7]

Severus' father, an obscure provincial, held no major political status, but he had two cousins, Publius Septimius Aper and Gaius Septimius Severus, who served as consuls under the emperor Antoninus Pius r . 138–161 . His mother's ancestors had moved from Italy to North Africa they belonged to the gens Fulvia, an Italian patrician family that originated in Tusculum. [8] Septimius Severus had two siblings: an elder brother, Publius Septimius Geta and a younger sister, Septimia Octavilla. Severus's maternal cousin was the praetorian prefect and consul Gaius Fulvius Plautianus. [9]

Septimius Severus grew up in Leptis Magna. He spoke the local Punic language fluently, but he was also educated in Latin and Greek, which he spoke with a slight accent. Little else is known of the young Severus' education but, according to Cassius Dio, the boy had been eager for more education than he actually received. Presumably Severus received lessons in oratory: at the age of 17 he gave his first public speech. [10]

Public service Edit

Severus sought a public career in Rome in around 162. At the recommendation of his relative Gaius Septimius Severus, the emperor Marcus Aurelius ( r . 161–180 ) granted him entry into the senatorial ranks. [12] Membership in the senatorial order was a prerequisite to attain positions within the cursus honorum and to gain entry into the Roman Senate. Nevertheless, it appears that Severus' career during the 160s met with some difficulties. [13]

It is likely that he served as a vigintivir in Rome, overseeing road maintenance in or near the city, and he may have appeared in court as an advocate. [13] At the time of Marcus Aurelius he was the State Attorney (Advocatus fisci). [14] However, he omitted the military tribunate from the cursus honorum and had to delay his quaestorship until he had reached the required minimum age of 25. [13] To make matters worse, the Antonine Plague swept through the capital in 166. [15]

With his career at a halt, Severus decided to temporarily return to Leptis, where the climate was healthier. [15] According to the Historia Augusta, a usually unreliable source, he was prosecuted for adultery during this time but the case was ultimately dismissed. At the end of 169 Severus was of the required age to become a quaestor and journeyed back to Rome. On 5 December, he took office and was officially enrolled in the Roman Senate. [16] Between 170 and 180 his activities went largely unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession. The Antonine Plague had thinned the senatorial ranks and, with capable men now in short supply, Severus' career advanced more steadily than it otherwise might have. [17]

The sudden death of his father necessitated another return to Leptis Magna to settle family affairs. Before he was able to leave Africa, Mauri tribesmen invaded southern Spain. Control of the province was handed over to the emperor, while the Senate gained temporary control of Sardinia as compensation. Thus, Septimius Severus spent the remainder of his second term as quaestor on the island of Sardinia. [18]

In 173, Severus' kinsman Gaius Septimius Severus was appointed proconsul of the Province of Africa. The elder Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore, a senior military appointment. [19] Following the end of this term, Septimius Severus returned to Rome, taking up office as tribune of the plebs, a senior legislative position, with the distinction of being the candidatus of the emperor. [20]

Marriages Edit

About 175, Septimius Severus, in his early thirties at the time, contracted his first marriage, to Paccia Marciana, a woman from Leptis Magna. [21] He probably met her during his tenure as legate under his uncle. Marciana's name suggests Punic or Libyan origin, but nothing else is known of her. Septimius Severus does not mention her in his autobiography, though he commemorated her with statues when he became emperor. The unreliable Historia Augusta claims that Marciana and Severus had two daughters, but no other attestation of them has survived. It appears that the marriage produced no surviving children, despite lasting for more than ten years. [20]

Marciana died of natural causes around 186. [22] Septimius Severus, now in his forties, childless and eager to remarry, began enquiring into the horoscopes of prospective brides. The Historia Augusta relates that he heard of a woman in Syria of whom it had been foretold that she would marry a king, and so Severus sought her as his wife. [21] This woman was an Emesene Syrian named Julia Domna. Her father, Julius Bassianus, descended from the Arab Emesene dynasty and served as a high priest to the local cult of the sun god Elagabal. [23] Domna's older sister, Julia Maesa, would become the grandmother of the future emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. [24]

Bassianus accepted Severus' marriage proposal in early 187, and in the summer the couple married in Lugdunum (modern-day Lyon, France), of which Severus was the governor. [25] The marriage proved happy, and Severus cherished Julia and her political opinions. Julia built "the most splendid reputation" by applying herself to letters and philosophy. [26] They had two sons, Lucius Septimius Bassianus (later nicknamed Caracalla, born 4 April 188 in Lugdunum) and Publius Septimius Geta (born 7 March 189 in Rome). [27]

In 191, on the advice of Quintus Aemilius Laetus, prefect of the Praetorian Guard, emperor Commodus appointed Severus as governor of Pannonia Superior. [28] Commodus was assassinated the following year. Pertinax was acclaimed emperor, but he was then killed by the Praetorian Guard in early 193. In response to the murder of Pertinax, Severus's legion XIV Gemina acclaimed him emperor at Carnuntum. Nearby legions, such as X Gemina at Vindobona, soon followed suit. Having assembled an army, Severus hurried to Italy. [29]

Pertinax's successor in Rome, Didius Julianus, had bought the emperorship in an auction. Julianus was condemned to death by the Senate and killed. [30] Severus took possession of Rome without opposition. He executed Pertinax's murderers and dismissed the rest of the Praetorian Guard, filling its ranks with loyal troops from his own legions. [31] [32]

The legions of Syria had proclaimed Pescennius Niger emperor. At the same time Severus felt it reasonable to offer Clodius Albinus, the powerful governor of Britannia, who had probably supported Didius against him, the rank of Caesar, which implied some claim to succession. With his rear safe, he moved to the East and crushed Niger's forces at the Battle of Issus (194). [32] While campaigning against Byzantium, he ordered that the tomb of his fellow-Carthaginian Hannibal be covered with fine marble. [33]

He devoted the following year to suppressing Mesopotamia and other Parthian vassals who had backed Niger. Afterwards Severus declared his son Caracalla as his successor, which caused Albinus to be hailed emperor by his troops and to invade Gallia. After a short stay in Rome, Severus moved north to meet him. On 19 February 197 at the Battle of Lugdunum, with an army of about 75,000 men, mostly composed of Pannonian, Moesian and Dacian legions and a large number of auxiliaries, Severus defeated and killed Clodius Albinus, securing his full control over the empire. [34] [35] [36]

War against Parthia Edit

In early 197 Severus departed Rome and travelled to the east by sea. He embarked at Brundisium and probably landed at the port of Aegeae in Cilicia, [37] travelling to Syria by land. He immediately gathered his army and crossed the Euphrates. [38] Abgar IX, titular King of Osroene but essentially only the ruler of Edessa since the annexation of his kingdom as a Roman province, [39] handed over his children as hostages and assisted Severus' expedition by providing archers. [40] King Khosrov I of Armenia also sent hostages, money and gifts. [41]

Severus travelled on to Nisibis, which his general Julius Laetus had prevented from falling into enemy hands. Afterwards Severus returned to Syria to plan a more ambitious campaign. [42] The following year he led another, more successful campaign against the Parthian Empire, reportedly in retaliation for the support it had given to Pescennius Niger. His legions sacked the Parthian royal city of Ctesiphon and he annexed the northern half of Mesopotamia to the empire, [43] [44] taking the title Parthicus Maximus, following the example of Trajan. [45] However, he was unable to capture the fortress of Hatra even after two lengthy sieges, just like Trajan who had tried nearly a century before. During his time in the east, though, he also expanded the Limes Arabicus, building new fortifications in the Arabian Desert from Basie to Dumatha. [46]

Relations with the Senate and People Edit

Severus' relations with the Senate were never good. He was unpopular with them from the outset, having seized power with the help of the military, and he returned the sentiment. Severus ordered the execution of a large number of Senators on charges of corruption or conspiracy against him and replaced them with his favourites. Although his actions turned Rome more into a military dictatorship, he was popular with the citizens of Rome, having stamped out the rampant corruption of Commodus's reign. When he returned from his victory over the Parthians, he erected the Arch of Septimius Severus in Rome. [47] [48]

According to Cassius Dio, [49] however, after 197 Severus fell heavily under the influence of his Praetorian Prefect, Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, who came to have almost total control of the imperial administration. At the same time, a bloody power crisis erupted between Plautianus and Julia Domna, Severus' influential and powerful wife, which had a relatively destructive effect on the centre of power. Plautianus's daughter, Fulvia Plautilla, was married to Severus's son, Caracalla. Plautianus's excessive power came to an end in 204, when he was denounced by the emperor's dying brother. In January 205 Julia Domna and Caracalla accused Plautianus of plotting to kill him and Severus. The powerful prefect was executed while he was trying to defend his case in front of the two emperors. [50] One of the two following praefecti was the famous jurist Papinian. Executions of senators did not stop: Cassius Dio records that many of them were put to death, some after being formally tried. After the assassination of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus in the rest of his reign, he relied more on the advice of his clever and educated wife, Julia Domna, in the administration of the empire. [51]

Military reforms Edit

Upon his arrival at Rome in 193, Severus discharged the Praetorian Guard, [31] which had murdered Pertinax and had then auctioned the Roman Empire to Didius Julianus. Its members were stripped of their ceremonial armour and forbidden to come within 160 kilometres (99 mi) miles of the city on pain of death. [52] Severus replaced the old guard with 10 new cohorts recruited from veterans of his Danubian legions. [53]

Around 197 he increased the number of legions from 30 to 33, with the introduction of the three new legions: I, II, and III Parthica. [54] He garrisoned Legio II Parthica at Albanum, only 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Rome. [53] He gave his soldiers a donative of a thousand sesterces (250 denarii) each, [55] and raised the annual wage for a soldier in the legions from 300 to 400 denarii. [56]

Severus was the first Roman emperor to station some of the imperial army in Italy. He realized that Rome needed a military central reserve with the capability to be sent anywhere. [57]

Reputed persecution of Christians Edit

At the beginning of Severus' reign, Trajan's policy toward the Christians was still in force. That is, Christians were only to be punished if they refused to worship the emperor and the gods, but they were not to be sought out. [58] Therefore, persecution was inconsistent, local, and sporadic. Faced with internal dissidence and external threats, Severus felt the need to promote religious harmony by promoting syncretism. [59] He, possibly, issued an edict [60] that punished conversion to Judaism and Christianity. [61]

A number of persecutions of Christians occurred in the Roman Empire during his reign and are traditionally attributed to Severus by the early Christian community. [62] This is based on the decree mentioned in the Historia Augusta, [60] an unreliable mix of fact and fiction. [63] Early church historian Eusebius described Severus as a persecutor. [64] The Christian apologist Tertullian stated that Severus was well disposed towards Christians, [65] employed a Christian as his personal physician and had personally intervened to save several high-born Christians known to him from the mob. [63] Eusebius' description of Severus as a persecutor likely derives merely from the fact that numerous persecutions occurred during his reign, including those known in the Roman Martyrology as the martyrs of Madauros, Charalambos and Perpetua and Felicity in Roman-ruled Africa. These were probably the result of local persecutions rather than empire-wide actions or decrees by Severus. [66]

Africa (202) Edit

In late 202 Severus launched a campaign in the province of Africa. The legatus legionis or commander of Legio III Augusta, Quintus Anicius Faustus, had been fighting against the Garamantes along the Limes Tripolitanus for five years. He captured several settlements such as Cydamus, Gholaia, Garbia, and their capital Garama – over 600 kilometres (370 mi) south of Leptis Magna. [67] The province of Numidia was also enlarged: the empire annexed the settlements of Vescera, Castellum Dimmidi, Gemellae, Thabudeos and Thubunae. [68] By 203 the entire southern frontier of Roman Africa had been dramatically expanded and re-fortified. Desert nomads could no longer safely raid the region's interior and escape back into the Sahara. [43]

Britain (208) Edit

In 208 Severus travelled to Britain with the intention of conquering Caledonia. Modern archaeological discoveries illuminate the scope and direction of his northern campaign. [69] Severus probably arrived in Britain with an army over 40,000, considering some of the camps constructed during his campaign could house this number. [70]

He strengthened Hadrian's Wall and reconquered the Southern Uplands up to the Antonine Wall, which was also enhanced. Severus built a 165-acre (67 ha) camp south of the Antonine Wall at Trimontium, probably assembling his forces there. [71] Supported and supplied by a strong naval force, [72] Severus then thrust north with his army across the wall into Caledonian territory. Retracing the steps of Agricola of over a century before, Severus rebuilt and garrisoned many abandoned Roman forts along the east coast, such as Carpow. [73]

Around this time Severus' wife, Julia Domna, reportedly 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". [74]

Cassius Dio's account of the invasion reads:

Severus, accordingly, desiring to subjugate the whole of it, invaded Caledonia. But as he advanced through the country he experienced countless hardships in cutting down the forests, levelling the heights, filling up the swamps, and bridging the rivers but he fought no battle and beheld no enemy in battle array. The enemy purposely put sheep and cattle in front of the soldiers for them to seize, in order that they might be lured on still further until they were worn out for in fact the water caused great suffering to the Romans, and when they became scattered, they would be attacked. Then, unable to walk, they would be slain by their own men, in order to avoid capture, so that a full fifty thousand died. But Severus did not desist until he approached the extremity of the island. Here he observed most accurately the variation of the sun's motion and the length of the days and the nights in summer and winter respectively. Having thus been conveyed through practically the whole of the hostile country (for he actually was conveyed in a covered litter most of the way, on account of his infirmity), he returned to the friendly portion, after he had forced the Britons to come to terms, on the condition that they should abandon a large part of their territory. [75]

By 210 Severus' campaigning had made significant gains, despite Caledonian guerrilla tactics and purportedly heavy Roman casualties. [76] The Caledonians sued for peace, which Severus granted on condition they relinquish control of the Central Lowlands. [69] [77] This is evidenced by extensive Severan-era fortifications in the Central Lowlands. [78] The Caledonians, short on supplies and feeling that their position was desperate, revolted later that year with the Maeatae. [79] Severus prepared for another protracted campaign within Caledonia. He was now intent on exterminating the Caledonians, telling his soldiers: "Let no-one escape sheer destruction, no-one our hands, not even the babe in the womb of the mother, if it be male let it nevertheless not escape sheer destruction." [80] [72]

Severus' campaign was cut short when he fell ill. [81] [82] He withdrew to Eboracum (York) and died there in 211. [4] Although his son Caracalla continued campaigning the following year, he soon settled for peace. The Romans never campaigned deep into Caledonia again. Shortly after this the frontier was permanently withdrawn south to Hadrian's Wall. [82]

Severus is famously said to have given the advice to his sons: "Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers, scorn all others" before he died on 4 February 211. [83] On his death, Severus was deified by the Senate and succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta, who were advised by his wife Julia Domna. [84] Severus was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. His remains are now lost. [85]

Though his military expenditure was costly to the empire, Severus was a strong and able ruler. The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under his reign – over 5 million square kilometres. [86] [87] [ disputed – discuss ]

Edward Gibbon famously levelled a harsh indictment of Septimius Severus as a principal agent in the empire's decline. "The contemporaries of Severus, in the enjoyment of the peace and glory of his reign, forgave the cruelties by which it had been introduced. Posterity, who experienced the fatal effects of his maxims and example, justly considered him as the principal author of the decline of the Roman empire." According to Gibbon, "his daring ambition was never diverted from its steady course by the allurements of pleasure, the apprehension of danger, or the feelings of humanity." [88] His enlargement of the Limes Tripolitanus secured Africa, the agricultural base of the empire where he was born. [89] His victory over the Parthian Empire was for a time decisive, securing Nisibis and Singara for the empire and establishing a status quo of Roman dominance in the region until 251. [90] His policy of an expanded and better-rewarded army was criticised by his contemporaries Cassius Dio and Herodianus: in particular, they pointed out the increasing burden, in the form of taxes and services, the civilian population had to bear to maintain the new and better paid army. [91] [92] The large and ongoing increase in military expenditure caused problems for all of his successors. [87]

To maintain his enlarged military, he debased the Roman currency. Upon his accession he decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 81.5% to 78.5%, although the silver weight actually increased, rising from 2.40 grams to 2.46 grams. Nevertheless, the following year he debased the denarius again because of rising military expenditures. The silver purity decreased from 78.5% to 64.5% – the silver weight dropping from 2.46 grams to 1.98 grams. In 196 he reduced the purity and silver weight of the denarius again, to 54% and 1.82 grams respectively. [93] Severus' currency debasement was the largest since the reign of Nero, compromising the long-term strength of the economy. [94]

Severus was also distinguished for his buildings. Apart from the triumphal arch in the Roman Forum carrying his full name, he also built the Septizodium in Rome. He enriched his native city of Leptis Magna, including commissioning a triumphal arch on the occasion of his visit of 203. The greater part of the Flavian Palace overlooking the Circus Maximus was undertaken in his reign. [95] [48]

Persecution in the Third Century, Part 1

The History of Christianity #56

Our Scripture verse today is 1 John 3:13 which reads: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”

Our quote today is from Cyprian of Carthage. He said: “The present confession of the faith before the authorities has been all the more illustrious and honorable because the suffering was greater. The struggle intensified, and the glory of those who struggled grew with it.”

Today, we are looking at “Persecution In the Third Century” (Part 1) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

In the last years of the second century, the church had enjoyed relative peace. The empire was involved in civil wars and in defending its borders against barbarian inroads, and therefore had paid scant attention to Christians. Trajan’s old principle, that Christians were to be punished if they refused to worship the emperor and the gods, but that they ought not to be sought out, was still in force. Therefore, whatever persecution existed was local and sporadic.

In the third century, things changed. Trajan’s policy was still valid, and therefore the threat of local persecution was constant. But over and beyond that there were new policies that deeply affected the life of the church. The emperors who created and applied these policies were Septimius Severus and Decius.

Persecution Under Septimius Severus

Early in the third century, the reigning emperor, Septimius Severus, had managed to put an end to a series of civil wars that had weakened the empire. But even so, it was not easy to govern such a vast and unruly domain. The “barbarians” who lived beyond the borders of the Rhine and the Danube were a constant threat. Within the empire there were dissident groups, and there was always the danger that a legion might rebel and name its own emperor, thus precipitating a new civil war. Faced with such difficulties, the emperor felt the need for religious harmony within his territories, and thus settled on a policy of promoting syncretism. He proposed a plan to bring all his subjects together under the worship of Sol invictus (the “Unconquered Sun”) – and to subsume under that worship all the various religions and philosophies then current. All gods were to be accepted, as long as one acknowledged the Sun that reigned above all.

This policy soon clashed with what seemed the obstinacy of two groups that refused to yield to syncretism: Jews and Christians. Septimius Severus then decided to stop the spread of those two religions, and thus outlawed, under penalty of death, all conversions to Christianity or to Judaism – for at that point both religions were gaining numerous converts. This was in addition to the still existing threat of Trajan’s legislation.

The net result was an increase in local persecution akin to those of the second century, to which was now added a more intensive persecution aimed directly at new converts and their teachers. Therefore, the year 202 AD, when the edict of Septimius Severus was issued, is a landmark in the history of persecutions. There is a tradition affirming that Irenaeus suffered martyrdom in that year. It was also at that time that a group of Christians, including Origen’s father, were killed in Alexandria. Since Clement was a famous Christian teacher in that city, and since the imperial edict was particularly directed against those who sought new converts, he had to seek refuge in areas where he was less known.

Next time, we will continue looking at Persecution Under Septimius Severus.

How did Emperor Septimius Severus change the Roman Empire?

Emperor Septimius Severus (145-211 AD), while not one of the better known Roman Emperors, was one of the most important in the history of Rome. He was a very capable man, a successful administrator, and an excelent general. He reformed the government of Rome and was extremely successful on the battlefield. Under Severus, the Roman Empire reached its greatest extent and he successfully founded a dynasty. Despite these very real achievements, many regard Septimius Severus as fatally undermining Rome.

Septimus Severus was a successful emperor and achieved numerous short term goals, but some historians argue that ultimately his reign marked an important stage in Rome's decline. Severus created a ‘military monarchy’, marginalized the Senate and his expansion of the army weakened the economy. He was also at least partially responsible for the so-called ‘Crisis of the Third Century’ when the Roman Empire almost collapsed.

How did Septimius Severus's achievements undermine the long term stability of the Roman empire?

Life and Reign of Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus was born in, Leptis Magna, Tripolitania (now in Libya). He was the son of a knight or a member of the equestrian order and he was of Punic or Carthaginian descent. Severus first language was Punic, and he remained proud of his Carthaginian heritage. [1] He entered the Senate about 173 AD, he was very young to become a senator but his way was eased because so many members of the elite had died in a great plague the previous year.

Severus was a senator at a very difficult time as Commodus the unstable son of Marcus Aurelius was embarking on a reign of terror in Rome and he had many Roman aristocrats murdered. The African senator managed to stay alive and even to flourish during these dark days and was made governor of a key province and the command of three legions. When the mad Emperor Commodus was assassinated there was turmoil in Rome. His successor was murdered by the Praetorian Guards and the next Emperor (Marcus Didius Julianus) purchased the Imperial diadem or crown. Severus on the Danube was the commander of the largest army in the Empire. [2] He ordered his army to march on Rome and he entered the city without resistance and he became Emperor. However, he was not unchallenged.

Severus had to agree to recognize Clodius Albinus as the de-factor ruler of the western part of the Empire. While in the East, Gaius Pescennius Niger held several provinces. After a series of civil wars, Septimius Severus emerged victoriously and he became the unchallenged ruler of the Roman World. First, he defeated Niger in the east before he vanquished Clodius Albinus in a close fought battle. After this, he was the absolute ruler of the Roman Empire. Severus was the first African native to be Emperor of Rome. He used his power to reform the system and made sweeping changes to the army. For example, he replaced the Praetorian Guard with a large Imperial bodyguard, that was drawn from the legions. In 197 AD Septimius Severus turned to Rome’s old enemy Parthia and he invaded the large province of Mesopotamia (now in Iraq). He was successful and even attacked the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon and he permanently annexed Mesopotamia for the Empire. [3]

In late 2001 he traveled to his native Africa and campaigned against the Garamantes, these were an African people who had developed a sophisticated kingdom in what is now Libya. Severus army overwhelmed the Garamantes and even occupied their capital. He also campaigned in Numidia and defeated a local confederation of tribes and added more territory to the Empire. From 202 to 208 AD he overhauled the Imperial administration and government. [4]

A provincial himself he helped many provincials and those from poor backgrounds to rise in the Roman government. Severus devoted himself to the reform of the law, something which had not been done in over a century. As he grew older he raised his sons Geta and Caracalla to positions of power. They were both elevated to the status of Caesars and the co-rulers of the Empire. Severus was keen to secure the support of the people and he made himself popular with his lavish donations and by staging games. However, the elite hated him, and he reciprocated this, and he had poor relations with the aristocracy in Italy.

In 208, Severus journeyed to Britain with a larger army to conquer the Picts (in modern Scotland). Severus campaigned successfully against the Picts and occupied much of Scotland, the first Roman to do so for over a century. He extended the Roman frontier and added southern Scotland to the Empire. Severus succumbed to the disease at Eboracum, now the city of York. His sons succeeded him as co-Emperors. Apart from the rule of the usurper Macrinus (218 AD), Severus’s descendants remained in power until 235 and the start of the Third Century Crisis, when the Empire almost imploded under the pressure of economic problems, military mutinies, and barbarian invasions.

Septimius and the Provinces

Septimius was a very active campaigner and unlike many of his predecessors was very knowledgeable about the provinces. He was very loyal to his native Africa and did much to help that region of the Empire which despite its wealth had been neglected. [5] Severus helped to pay for a lavish building program that greatly benefited the cities of Africa. His patronage brought a great deal of prosperity to the African provinces. His defeat of the Garamantes was intended to secure Rome’s African frontier as was his campaign in Numidia. Prior to these campaigns the Garamantes and others would regularly raid the African provinces. After Septimius campaign, there was an era of peace and stability in Africa.

Septimius expanded the frontier and established a series of limes (defensive lines) that protected the Romans in Africa for many generations. In Britain, Severus reoccupied territory that had been abandoned and he rebuilt the Antonine Wall. [6] This protected the Roman province of Britannia from Pict attacks for many years. Moreover, he divided the British province in two. This was to make the administration of the provinces more efficient and this was a success. Successive Roman Emperors maintained the division of Britannia into two. In the east, Severus won several significant military victories and he added Mesopotamia (northern Iraq) to the Empire.

After his reign, the eastern frontier was pacified for several years. This was partly because of the growing weakness of Parthia but it was also because Severus' acquisition of Mesopotamia meant that the Romans were in a very strong strategic position in the east. The victories secured by the first African Emperor helped to secure the eastern frontier for some fifty years. However, there are those who argue that in the longer term the African Emperor’s conquest of Mesopotamia weakened Rome in the east, especially after the rise of the Sasanian Empire. [7]

Severus and the law

Severus was very concerned with the administration of justice. The Italian courts were removed from senatorial jurisdiction and put under the control of the praetorian prefect. Severus hoped that this would reduce corruption in the administration of justice. He also removed the right of Senators to sit in courts and act as judges. This was part of his campaign against Senatorial privilege and also another part of his effort to improve the quality of justice.

In 205 AD, Severus executed the praetorian prefect and replaced him with the great jurist Papinian. Under him, the law was codified and reformed. Severus also consulted with the renowned jurist Ulpian and the Roman law code was updated and rationalized. Severus oversaw perhaps the most extensive reform of the laws of the Empire since Augustus. [8]

Severus and the Army

Severus needed the support of the army to stay in power. He was after all not the legitimate Emperor and the support of the legions had allowed him to seize the Imperial diadem. The African was very conscious of the fact that he was technically a usurper and he invented spurious claims that he was the descendant of Emperor Nerva. He gave the army a leading role in the state and expanded the number of legions. [9] The first African Emperor is often stated to have made the army the most important institution in the state and in fact the only one that mattered in the Empire.

The army attained a level of unprecedented level of influence in the Empire under Severus, which it never lost. Moreover, the size of the army was a considerable burden on the economy and weakened it in the longer term. The elevation of the military's influence lead to instability in the decades following Severus death. The founder of the Severin dynasty gave the army a pay increase, according to the one source he ‘gave his soldiers sums of money such as no emperor had ever given before.’ [10] To fund these increases, Severus was forced to debase the Imperial currency.

It has often been claimed that because he debased the currency, he ultimately caused the catastrophic inflation of the Third Century. However, Severus had a full treasury and his administration of the Imperial finances was excellent. It cannot be denied that he established a precedent for Emperors to debase the currency to pay the soldiers and this was to have disastrous financial and economic consequences for the Empire, especially in the Third Century. Severus ended a long tradition by allowing soldiers to marry. This, it is claimed led to a decline in standards of discipline in the army.

Later commentators deplored Severus decision to allow soldiers to marry and believed that it diminished the army as a fighting force. [11] Married soldiers were reluctant to be transferred to other provinces and they would often mutiny if ordered to do so. Severus was very conscious of the threat of rebellion and to limit the risk of a powerful military rival, he reduced the number of legions under his general's control. This did not limit military rebellions and may even have reduced the effectiveness of the legions. Severus military policies at once placed a great strain on the Roman economy and created a military that was conscious of its power. This was to have terrible consequences in the Third Century when the legions could make and unmake Emperors at their will. [12]

Severus and the Senate

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Severus raised the status and influence of the army. However, he ignored and even persecuted members of the old senatorial order. Septimius was aware that he had seized power and was not a constitutional monarch. He knew that the Senate disliked him and saw him as a usurper. [13] He marginalized both the Senate and the Italian aristocracy that had traditionally played an essential role in the government of the Empire. Severus ended this tradition. He would often appoint commoners and non-Italians to high offices and governorships. This shift infuriated the Senatorial class. However, Severus did not tolerate any opposition and he either executed or exiled several Senators.

The reign of the first African Emperor was to see a rapid decline in the prestige and the influence of the Senate. Real power no longer lay with the Senate but with the bureaucracy and the army. Severus dismantled the long-established system that was established by Augustus where the Emperor would share power with the Senate and the Italian aristocracy. Instead, Septimius Severus reign was one that has been characterized as a ‘military monarchy.’ [14] Severus legitimacy did not come from any political institution but the army.

In subsequent periods, any general with the support of the legions could claim the Imperial throne leading to endemic instability. The development of a ‘military monarchy’ was one of the main reasons for the so-called ‘Crisis of the Third Century.’ [15]

Severus raised the status and influence of the army. However, he ignored and even persecuted members of the old senatorial order. Septimius was aware that he had seized power and was not a constitutional monarch. He knew that the Senate disliked him and saw him as a usurper. [16] He marginalized both the Senate and the Italian aristocracy that had traditionally played an important role in the government of the Empire. Severus ended this tradition. He would often appoint commoners and non-Italians to high offices and governorships. This infuriated the Senatorial class. However, Severus did not tolerate any opposition and he either executed or exiled several Senators.

The reign of the first African Emperor was to see a rapid decline in the prestige and the influence of the Senate. Real power no loner lay with the Senate but with the bureaucracy and the army. Severus dismantled the long-established system that was established by Augustus where the Emperor would share power with the Senate and the Italian aristocracy. Instead, Septimius Severus reign was one that has been characterized as a ‘military monarchy.’ [17] Severus legitimacy did not come from any political institution but from the army.

In subsequent periods, any general with the support of the legions could claim the Imperial throne leading to endemic instability. The development of a ‘military monarchy’ was one of the main reasons for the so-called ‘Crisis of the Third Century.’ [18]


Septimius Severus was in many ways a successful Emperor and could even lay claim to the title of a great Emperor. He was a successful general and administrator and strengthened and expanded the Empire and established a dynasty. Severus was also a great legal and administrative reformer. However, during his reign, he expanded the army so much that ultimately it undermined the financial health of the Roman economy. The first African born Emperor also established a de-facto military monarchy and he gave the army unprecedented power and privileges and this contributed to the period of near-anarchy known as the Third Century Crisis, during which the Empire almost collapsed.


This statue is one of a few large Roman bronzes to have been preserved. It was found in Rome in 1643 during construction commissioned by Pope Urban VIII on the Janiculum, one of Rome’s seven hills.

The fragmented statue, which is missing its right arm and head, was soon identified as Emperor Septimius Severus and restored as such by the baroque sculptor, Paolo Naldini, one of Bernini’s collaborators.

The idealised body is that of a man who is nude, save for a loin cloth.

His tall ornate boots with folding flaps, called mullei, feature lion’s heads. This type of sculpture points to an emperor, or the personification of Rome.

The head is a perfect copy of the main portrait type of Septimius Severus.

The restored arm, however, is not based on an ancient model.

The sculpture belonged to the Barberini family and was one of the most famous statues in Rome for many centuries. The Belgian state acquired it in 1904 with the support of a group of patrons.

Come see this object with your own eyes in our Rome collection.

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5. He married his second wife 6 years before he became Emperor

Septimius Severus married his first wife around the time he was proconsul in Africa. Her name was Paccia Marciana and she was from his home town of Leptis Magna. Remarkably, during their marriage of over 10 years from around 175 until 186, they didn’t have any children.

His wife died of natural causes in the year 186 and he was quick to find himself another wife, this time a woman from Roman Syria (modern-day Syria) named Julia Domna whom he married in 187.

Her father, named Julius Bassianus, was an important figure in the Arab Emesan dynasty, a client-state of the Roman Empire. This means that she was a pretty good catch for the future Roman Emperor. Bust of his second wife Julia Domna / Wiki Commons

In "Unbiased History" [ edit | edit source ]

"The Five Good Emperors" [ edit | edit source ]

Severus was one of many officers who hated being ruled under Commodus, in his case culminating in him being one of twenty-five people made as consuls in the same year, which he was really unhappy about.

"The Severan Dynasty" [ edit | edit source ]

Severus was one of three generals who rebelled against Didius Julianus after he bought the empire after Pertinax was murdered. After having Clodius Albinus accept being his heir, his first order of business was to depose Julianus.

It is here where his backstory shows: he was a descendant of those who settled in the non-satly parts of Carthage after the Punic Wars. Climbing the Cursus Honorum quickly, despite being surrounded by plague, he married Julia Domna, a descendant of one of Pompey's client kings and the daughter of the high priest of Sol, for which he had two children: Caracalla and Geta. After helping Marcus Aurelius, he then had to clean up after Commodus, up until his appointment in Pannonia, where he led three veteran legions, and where news of Pertinax's death had reached him.

Marching to Rome, he first occupied Ravenna, home of the imperial fleet, just a Julianus declared him an enemy of the state. He commanded so much respect that the assassins sent to kill him never went through with it, often joining his side in fear. Instead of conquering Rome, he offered an ultimatum to have Julianus, Laetus, and the rest of Pertinax's assassins come out, only to execute them all, becoming emperor, not caring about the Senate in the process. He then replaced the rest of the Praetorian Guard with veterans from his own legions.

However, that still left Albinus and Niger around. Niger fought him first, getting his army crushed all the way to Issus, where Severus won decisively, leaving Albinus left. Before he could do so, he had to siege Byzantium, the last of Niger's strongholds, which took two years and infuriated him to the point of destroying the fortifications of the city, letting the rest of his rage out onto the Parthians. It was on his trip to finding Albinus that he found the teenage Maximinus Thrax beating his best legates with his 8-foot stature, impressing him so much that he was allowed to be a legionnaire.

His last order of business before the empire was stable was to defeat Albinus, but not before appointing Caracalla as heir. He and Albinus would clash with their legions, and after sorting his shitty left flank, his legion won the battle, later beheading Albinus' corpse as well as executing his family. With this, he consolidated his rule over the empire by not only purging the Senate of those who supported Niger and Albinus, but also doubling the pay of his soldiers at the expense of the Denarii's silver content dropping from 98% to 50%.

After finding the life of an administrator hell, he preemptively invaded the readying forces of Parthia, sieging Hatra after Julius Laetus was executed for insubordination. He would then end up conquering nearby oasis cities like Palmyra as well, giving a civilized noble family there citizenship and his first name as well. To celebrate his victories, he would construct the Arch of Septimius Severus as a commemoration. He then led expeditions into North Africa, expanding the empire's borders there to protect his home city.

When his brother was on his deathbed, he was told of Plautianus' crimes as Prefect, just as Caracalla informed him of Plautianus' plot. He ordered the prefect to be executed and his family exiled. This resulted in him having full control over the Seante once more, driving him to the point of warring against the Picts in Caledonia. It was during this invasion that he uttered the phrase "Let none escape sheer destruction, not even the babe in the womb of the mother." Though Geta was plotting against him, Severus made it so that when he died, both Geta and Caracalla, who hated each other, would be co-emperors, if they were to be harmonious with each other and ignored everyone but the legions. It was at this moment that Severus had died in modern-day York.

"Diocletian's Tetrarchy" [ edit | edit source ]

His spirit appears when Dovahhatty mentions that his bloodline is unrelated to Ulpia Severina.

"Barbarians at the Gates" [ edit | edit source ]

His spirit, along with those of Aeneas, Nero, Augustus, Paulinus, Decius, Pompey, Hadrian, and Diocletian, all scold Theodosius after his decrees made paganism illegal and forced Christianity to be the only religion in the empire.

"The Fall of Rome" [ edit | edit source ]

He is seen in the ending montages alongside his sons, the four Julias, Elagabalus and Alexander, Ardashir and his Sassanids, Plautianus, Pertinax, and DEVS*SOL*INVICTVS.

Septimius Severus - History

[1765] During the early years of the reign of Septimius Severus the Christians enjoyed comparative peace, and Severus himself showed them considerable favor. Early in the third century a change set in, and in 202 the emperor issued an edict forbidding conversions to Christianity and to Judaism (Spartianus, in Severo, c. 16 cf. Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 58). The cause of this radical change of conduct we do not know, but it is possible that the excesses of the Montanists produced a reaction in the emperor's mind against the Christians, or that the rapidity with which Christianity was spreading caused him to fear that the old Roman institutions would be overturned, and hence produced a reaction against it. Why the Jews, too, should have been attacked, it is hard to say,--possibly because of a new attempt on their part to throw off the Roman yoke (see Spartianus, in Severo, c. 16) or perhaps there underlay the whole movement a reaction in the emperor's mind toward the old Roman paganism (he was always superstitious), and Judaism and Christianity being looked upon as alike opposed to it, were alike to be held in check. The edict was aimed, not against those already Christians, but only against new converts, the idea being to prevent the further spread of Christianity. But the change in the emperor's attitude, thus published abroad, at once intensified all the elements which were hostile to Christianity and the popular disfavor, which continued widespread and was continually venting itself in local persecutions, now allowed itself freer rein, and the result was that severe persecutions broke out, which were confined, however, almost wholly to Egypt and North Africa. Our principal authorities for these persecutions (which went on intermittently, during the rest of Severus' reign) are the first twelve chapters of this book of Eusebius' History, and a number of Tertullian's works, especially his De corona milites, Ad Scap., and De fuga in persecutione.

War with Clodius Albinus

Septimius Severus' victory over his eastern rival Pescennius Niger opened a new opportunity to cement himself as sole emperor and his family as an imperial dynasty. Despite an earlier arrangement with the governor of Britain Clodius Albinus, to keep him from also making a claim for the throne, Severus initiated a policy to establish connections and continuity between himself and imperial predecessors. By late AD 195 Severus identified himself with Marcus Aurelius proclaiming himself the son of the former emperor (and brother of Commodus) to legitimize his claim and renamed his eldest son Bassianus as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. In so doing, Bassianus (who would later be known as Caracalla after the hooded cloak that he wore) was named Caesar to replace the previously appointed Clodius Albinus who was also declared a public enemy. Expectedly, Albinus had himself declared emperor, prepared his legions and crossed the Mare Britannicum (English Channel) into Gaul.

Clodius Albinus, like his rival Severus, was born (c. AD 150) into a wealthy North African family of senatorial distinction and rose rapidly through the Roman political system. Also like fellow imperial claimant Pescennius Niger, Albinus displayed distinction in the Dacian campaigns of Commodus reign (early 180s). He reached the consulship by the middle of that same decade and served various provincial commands and governorships throughout Commodus' reign before ultimately governing Britannia in AD 192. The Historia Augusta suggests that Commodus either intended to, or actually did name Albinus as Caesar (his heir), but coinage does not reflect this title until after the death of Commodus and the appointment by Septimius Severus to that position following the events of AD 193. Regardless, Albinus did enjoy marginal popularity among the aristocracy and he was undoubtedly considering many possible options even prior to the official break with Severus.

By early AD 196 Albinus had secured support among the aristocracy of Gaul and Hispania and established a continental base at Lugdunum (modern Lyons). Initially, Albinus enjoyed success in battle against Severan loyalists but he was unable to capitalize on these early victories. By mid AD 196, Albinus bid for the throne had stalled in southern Gaul, just short of the Alps and a march on Rome itself. Severus' personal arrival at the head of a massive army from the east began to turn the tide in his favor.

In early AD 197 (February 19) two massive armies met at Tinurtium (modern Tournus) on the River Arar (modern Saône). Cassius Dio reported 150,000 men on each side though a third, roughly 50,000 men each, of this number is much more likely. The resulting contest was among the bloodiest and hardest fought in Roman history (considering that both sides were ultimately Roman). The battle was in doubt from its onset, with each army facing opportunities for victory and potential for disaster. Albinus' left flank was initially overrun, but the right held firm and lured the Severan forces into a trap. Severus' advance was in such jeopardy of being turned into a rout that he attempted to intervene personally. At the head of a detachment of Praetorians Severus launched himself into the battle but this too was nearly a disaster. Severus lost a horse in the ensuing mayhem and was forced to fight valiantly in order to stem the tide of retreat and inspire renewed effort. His personal involvement seems to have allowed his army to hold firm. At this critical juncture, Severus' cavalry under Laetus intervened and helped overwhelm the army of Albinus.

Cassius Dio describes the resulting aftermath and the ultimate defeat of Albinus:

"Thus Severus conquered but the Roman power suffered a severe blow, inasmuch as countless numbers had fallen on both sides. Many even of the victors deplored the disaster, for the entire plain was seen to be covered with the bodies of men and horses some of them lay there mutilated by many wounds, as if hacked in pieces, and others, though unwounded, were piled up in heaps, weapons were scattered about, and blood flowed in streams, even pouring into the rivers. Albinus took refuge in a house that stood beside the Rhone, but when he saw the whole place surrounded, he slew himself. I am not stating, how, what Severus wrote about it, but what actually took place. The emperor, after viewing the body of Albinus and feasting his eyes upon it to the full, while giving free rein to his tongue as well, ordered all but the head to be cast away, but sent the head to Rome to be exposed on a pole."

Severus' victory ensured his continued authority and the establishment of his dynasty, but the emperor proved to have cruel streak that would taint his legacy. Many supporters of Albinus (including his immediate family) were executed and purges of the aristocracy were similar to those of Sulla in the Late Republic. While Severus' victory ensured imperial stability at least temporarily, it also helped establish the continued rise of military and bureaucratic supremacy in the government of the later Roman Empire.

Septimius Severus, a Nephilim

About 400 years after Hannibal, Septimius Severus becomes Emporer after killing his 2 other African competitors, one called "Niger" meaning "Black", and he looks African and has Egyptian ties, and the other is "Albinus" meaning "White" who has the Britsh and African ties, but they are clearly calling him "Light Skinned" as his peers in Rome tell Albinus he is "not like the others", not that calling someone Light Skinned insults others but these Romans literally were insulting others when complimenting him as well. And Septimus is a Light Skinned Libyan, who after defeating them becomes Emporer then kicks out the Praetorian guard (the Roman CIA) taking their ceremonial armour and banning them from coming within 99 miles of Rome or die, and kills a bunch of Senators creating a Dictatorship but the people of Rome love it because they were corrupt, he then Auctions off the Empire. Then saves Christians he knows the families of from Death. Basically completely reforming Rome, and in a way that seems like:

A nearly equal opposite reaction to destruction of CarthageRome was an African enterprise at that point, even before he took control

Septimius Severus - Wikipedia


This may then also explain the Angels which arranged for the Kings to follow the star to find Jesus, tell Mary to name her son Emmanuel, and tell Joseph to go to Egypt to escape Herod and return after Herod died. In Egypt they may also have been aware of the Bloodline of Jesus, given they were in Sebbenytos, where Manetho wrote Aegyptiaca. This may also then be associated with Joseph Smith and Mormon Tradition, there is actually evidence, and we need more of course, that the Greek Giants, are the Phaiakians, are the Nephilim, are the Punics, are the Subjects of King Agenor long before Rome, but built Dolmens before they met King Agenor.

So Christian Angels, then are the Greek Phoenix, and affiliated with the so called Giants in Greek Mythology and Nephilim in the Old Testament. And the Wax Headcones seen in Egypt and on Statues in Carthage are Serapis related, and may be the precursor to the modern Halo along with the Apis and other deity Sun Disk, which for Serapis is replaced with a Soap Mold Cup or Soap Dish.

Also, when Septimius Severus removed the Praetorian Guard, he apparently replaced them with Danubians.

Danube - Wikipedia


Danubian provinces - Wikipedia


Religion in Armenia - Wikipedia


Between Hannibal and Jesus the Nephilim, Phaiakians or Giants as the Greeks called them, seem to be called Angels, then may have also been what are called Archons to the Gnostics, in the Nag Hammadi Scripture.

Hypostasis of the Archons - Wikipedia


And I am kind of Bias against the Ancient Aliens Theory, as I see it as a Racists explanation to what happened before Europe became the Premiere Civilization, just "Aliens then White People", so I have not read the Epic of Gilgamesh, but when explaining this to someone they said automatically "then they would be Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh too". So that might be them also.

And this lines up with my Theory, as they would have been 2 distinct Cultures until what the Greeks call Typhon, the Jews call the Flood, then the Greeks also call the Flood, and then they became aligned with King Agenor, and King Phoenix, who may be the Gilgamesh part, or the merge part. The merge is Western Phoenicians, and Eastern Phoenicians.

I will get a genetic timeline I have with 2 examples of these Ancient peoples.

This shows a Timeline and Migration that would likely be in the Punic Heritage along the line, at some point having the Indian-Oceanic roots (Denisovan type lifestyle) from far back, and then the Native American, Serbian, West European Roots from the Neolithic Temple Culture of Europe from less far back, mixing maybe multiple times Economics and DNA, and becoming the Boating Cultures leading to the Phoenicians and Phaiakians, and thereby the Punics. Serbia probably by way of Phrygia or Lebannon, and India-Oceanic by way of Punt. Punt is going to shine light on all of this as the "Land of the Gods" according to the Egyptians.

"East Africa occupies a central position in the emergence of hominid species, since it is the location of the earliest fossil evidence for anatomically modern humans, dating back 150,000–160,000 years (Clark et al. 2003 White et al. 2003). Its geographic position makes it one of the most likely sections of Africa from which the colonization of Eurasia by the ancestors of European, Asian, and Oceanian populations started ∼50,000–70,000 years ago: both the “southern” and “northern” routes can be logically drawn as springing from there (Sauer 1962 Cavalli-Sforza et al. 1994 Lahr and Foley 1994 Stringer 2000 Walter et al. 2000 Kivisild et al. 2003a)." -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182106/

"One explanation is that Europeans managed to cross the Atlantic in small boats some 20,000 years ago and joined the Native Americans from Siberia.
Dr. Willerslev thinks it more likely that European bearers of the X lineage had migrated across Siberia with the ancestors of the Mal’ta culture and joined them in their trek across the Beringian land bridge." -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182106/

Siberian DNA found shows that 24,000 years ago Siberians were related to Native Americans and Western Europeans, and to the Giants/Nephilim, who are thought to be associated with Malta (not because it was found in Mal'ta, Siberia, but because Malta is like the most Ancient Western point this DNA could be associated with), Scheria and King Agenor's lands.

Ancient DNA from Siberian boy links Europe and America

Marcus Aurelius - Wikipedia


The Internet Classics Archive | The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Commodus - Wikipedia


Septimius Severus - Wikipedia


This would explain why the people supported the takeover, they were all being prepped for it in a way, and had come from these roots. Jesus, then this.

"The twelve labours of Hercules, which took the hero far and wide, may have been an attempt by the Greeks to account for the presence of Phoenician colonies throughout the Mediterranean. Certainly, cities such as Gades (also Gadir, modern Cadiz) and Carthage were thought to have been founded, in one way or another, by Hercules-Melqart, no doubt springing from the original Phoenician practice of building a temple to Melqart at new colonies. Finally, as Christianity grew Hercules-Melqart faded into the religious background and acquired a more benign association with the sun." -https://www.ancient.eu/Melqart/

This is a good non-Theistic quote that can help you begin to understand Gods.

"Before there were intelligent beings, they were possible they had therefore possible relations, and consequently possible laws. Before laws were made, there were relations of possible justice. To say that there is nothing just or unjust, but what is commanded or forbidden by positive laws, is the same as saying that, before the describing of a circle, all the radii were not equal." -Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 (The Spirit of Laws) [1748]

Gandhi used the metaphor that if a Villager in India does not know the name of their British Governor, why should he understand God who is dissociated physically from himself in a far greater way than the Governor to the Villager. Gandhi compared it to Natural Law, which is what Newton wrote about. Zeno, the Stoic, called it "Divine Will". Jesus said it was not in the Jots and Tittles of the Law. And King Tut found it in the Heiroglyphs of Worm Eaten Scrolls. Polybius was an educated Roman Prisoner who wrote the History of Rome living to be very old for that time. He claimed the Ancients gave the people fear of Gods and Hell to control them, but that the moderns (200 BC-ish) were too rash for trying to ban them. So even some Educated Ancient people misunderstood the Gods and thought they were just stories. But Gods exist and may be invoked by Theurgy, or Mimickry. And retained through Mnemonics. Some just come regardless.

Gandhi also said that while the Villager might not know about the Governor, he knows God Rules the land.

"Eventually Damis' notes are said to have come into the possession of the Empress Julia Domna, wife of the emperor Septimius Severus (194-211), who commissioned Philostratus of Athens to use them to assemble a biography of the sage.

The narrative of Apollonius's travels, as reported by Philostratus, is replete with miracles and legends. In the words of historian Edward Gibbon, "we are at a loss to discover whether he was a sage, an impostor, or a fanatic." Apollonius reportedly continued to travel widely after his return from Europe, going far up the river Nile as far as Ethiopia, and in Spain as far as Gades (modern Cádiz). Though he had many followers and admirers, Philostratus admits that he also made many enemies, notably the Stoic philosopher Euphrates of Tyre.

Both Apollonius's friendships and his quarrels are also reflected in his supposed extant letters. In these he claimed only the power of foreseeing the future. Philostratus, on the other hand, relates a number of miracles performed by Apollonius. For example, he either raised from death or revived from a death-like state the daughter of a Roman senator and miraculously escaped death himself after being accused of treason both by Nero and by Domitian.

After further travels in Greece, Apollonius finally settled in Ephesus. Philostratus keeps up the mystery of his hero's life by saying, "Concerning the manner of his death, if he did die, the accounts are various." Philostratus seems to prefer a version in which Apollonius disappears mysteriously in the temple of the goddess Dictynna in Crete."