39 Facts About Septimius Severus


Septimius Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa.

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Septimius Severus seized power after the death of the emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors.

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Later that year Septimius Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province.

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Septimius Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul.

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Septimius Severus then enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea.

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Septimius Severus travelled to Britain in 208, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall.

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Septimius Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum, and was succeeded by his sons, who were advised by their mother and his powerful widow, Julia Domna, thus founding the Severan dynasty.

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Septimius Severus had Italic and Punic ancestry; the Roman ancestry came from his mother's side, while his Punic ancestry came from his father's side.

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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.

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Septimius Severus had two siblings: an elder brother, Publius Septimius Geta; and a younger sister, Septimia Octavilla.

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Septimius Severus spoke the local Punic language fluently, but he was educated in Latin and Greek, which he spoke with a slight accent.

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Presumably, Septimius Severus received lessons in oratory: at the age of 17, he gave his first public speech.

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Thus, Septimius Severus spent the remainder of his second term as quaestor on the island of Sardinia.

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The elder Septimius Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore, a senior military appointment.

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Septimius Severus probably met her during his tenure as legate under his uncle.

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Septimius Severus executed Pertinax's murderers and dismissed the rest of the Praetorian Guard, filling its ranks with loyal troops from his own legions.

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Septimius Severus devoted the following year to suppressing Mesopotamia and other Parthian vassals who had backed Niger.

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Septimius Severus embarked at Brundisium and probably landed at the port of Aegeae in Cilicia, travelling on to Syria by land.

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Septimius Severus immediately gathered his army and crossed the Euphrates.

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Septimius Severus travelled on to Nisibis, which his general Julius Laetus had prevented from falling into Parthian hands.

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Septimius Severus's legions sacked the Parthian royal city of Ctesiphon and he annexed the northern half of Mesopotamia to the empire; Severus took the title, following the example of Trajan.

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Septimius Severus was unpopular with them from the outset, having seized power with the help of the military, and he returned the sentiment.

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Septimius Severus ordered the execution of a large number of Senators on charges of corruption or conspiracy against him and replaced them with his favourites.

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Septimius Severus replaced the old guard with 10 new cohorts recruited from veterans of his Danubian legions.

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Septimius Severus garrisoned Legio II Parthica at Albanum, only 20 kilometres from Rome.

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Septimius Severus gave his soldiers a donative of a thousand sesterces each, and raised the annual wage for a soldier in the legions from 300 to 400 denarii.

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Septimius Severus was the first Roman emperor to station some of the imperial army in Italy.

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Septimius Severus realized that Rome needed a military central reserve with the capability to be sent anywhere.

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Septimius Severus, possibly, issued an edict that punished conversion to Judaism and Christianity.

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The Christian apologist Tertullian stated that Septimius Severus was well disposed towards Christians, employed a Christian as his personal physician and had personally intervened to save several high-born Christians known to him from the mob.

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Septimius Severus captured several settlements such as Cydamus, Gholaia, Garbia and their capital Garama—over 600 kilometres south of Leptis Magna.

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In 208 Septimius Severus travelled to Britain with the intention of conquering Caledonia.

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Septimius Severus probably arrived in Britain with an army of over 40, 000, considering some of the camps constructed during his campaign could house this number.

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Septimius Severus strengthened Hadrian's Wall and reconquered the Southern Uplands up to the Antonine Wall, which was enhanced.

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Septimius Severus built a 165-acre camp south of the Antonine Wall at Trimontium, probably assembling his forces there.

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Septimius Severus, accordingly, desiring to subjugate the whole of it, invaded Caledonia.

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The Caledonians sued for peace, which Septimius Severus granted on condition they relinquish control of the Central Lowlands.

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Septimius Severus 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.

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On his death, Septimius Severus was deified by the Senate and succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta, who were advised by his wife Julia Domna.

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