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Lucius Septimius Severus

Bust of Septimius Severus. Archaeological Museum, Thessaloniki (Greece). Photo Marco Prins.
Septimius Severus (Archaeological Museum, Thessaloniki)
Lucius Septimius Severus: emperor of the Roman world (193-211).


  • 11 April 145: Lucius Septimius Severus 
  • 9 April 193: Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus 
  • 4 February 211: natural death
Successor of: Pertinax, Didius Julianus


Early career:

Main deeds:

  • 193 Murder of Pertinax; Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus proclaimed emperor; Severus marches on Rome; recognized by the Senate; marches to the east
  • 194 Consul II (with Clodius Albinus II); siege of Byzantium; recognized in Egypt; defeats Niger near Issus; Baalbek raised to the rank of colonia; claims to have been adopted by Marcus Aurelius
  • 195 Sack of Byzantium; First war against the Parthian empire; accepts the titles Arabicus, Adiabenicus, and Pius; war declared upon Clodius Albinus
  • 196 Caracalla made caesar; Severus returns to Rome
  • 197 Clodius Albinus defeated; beginning of Second Parthian War
  • 198 Parthian victory; accepts the title Parthicus
  • 199 Stay in Syria and Egypt
  • 200 Stay in Rome
  • 201 Preparation of visit to Africa; foundation of Gholaia
  • 202 Consul III (with Caracalla); decennalia in Rome; Caracalla marries Plautilla; moves to Africa
  • 203 Campaign against the Garamantes; visit to Lepcis; dedication of the Arch of Septimius Severus; Byzantium refounded
  • 204 Ludi Saeculares
  • 205 Caracalla consul II (with Geta); fall of Plautian, the praetorian prefect
  • 206 War against the bandits of Bulla Felix
  • 208 Caracalla consul III (with Geta II); Leaves for Britain
  • 210 Accepts the title Britannicus
  • 211 Death in York
New legions: I Parthica, II Parthica, III Parthica
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Wooden tondo, showing Julia Domna, Septimius Severus, Geta (erazed) and Caracalla. Berlin (Germany). Photo Jona Lendering.
The Severus family. Geta's portrait was destroyed after he had been killed by his brother (Altes Museum, Berlin)

Buildings (Rome)

Arch of Septimius Severus, Arch of the Bankers, Baths of Severus, Septizodium

Buildings (outside Rome)

Contemporary events:

  • 197 Tertullian publishes his Apologeticum
  • 203 Martyrdom of Perpetua
Succeeded by: Caracalla, Geta


    "No battles and no victories can be compared to those of Severus, and no army to the size of his army; there are no comparable uprisings among nations, or total number of campaigns, or length and speed of marches."
    [Herodian, History of the Roman Empire, 3.7.7]

This brief article has been written to offer background information
to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, this webpage will be
improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.

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