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Severan dynasty: imperial dynasty of Rome, ruling from 193 until 235, with a brief interruption from 217-218.

Julia Domna, Septimius Severus, Geta (erased), and Caracalla
Julia Domna, Septimius Severus, Geta (erased), and Caracalla

The Severan emperors were

Septimius Severus 193-211
Caracalla 211-217
Geta 211
Heliogabalus 218-222
Severus Alexander 222-235

The dynasty was founded after a series of civil wars (193-194, 197) in which Septimius Severus defeated his rivals. In other wars, he expanded the Empire, which reached its greatest extent after he had added Mesopotamia, parts of Libya, and southern Scotland. His sons succeeded him, but Geta was murdered by Caracalla. In 212, the latter offered Roman citizendship to all male, free-born citizens (Constitutio Antoniniana).

Family tree of the Severi
Family tree of the Severi

After his death and the brief reign of Macrinus, the dynasty was restored. Young Heliogabalus is presented in our sources as a religious fanatic, while his relative Severus Alexander is presented as a kind of saint.

During their reigns, the Roman Empire continued to flourish, but the first signs of an economic crisis started to show themselves.

This page was created in 2014; last modified on 16 August 2015.