Augustus AD 193 - 211 (9 April AD 193 - 4 February 211)
Lucius Septimius Severus.
Husband of Julia Domna;
Father of Caracalla and Geta;
Uncle of Julia Soaemias and Julia Mamaea;
Great-uncle of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander;
AD 193 - 198 Sole reign
AD 195 - 198 with Caracalla as Caesar
AD 198 - 209 with Caracalla and Geta as Caesares
AD 209 - 211 with Caracalla and Geta as co-emperors
Lucius Septimius Severus was acclaimed as Augustus by his troops after it became known that Didius Julianus had accepted the throne in 193. The Praetorians preferred Severus and murdered Julianus. Severus was able to enter Rome after a token resistance and his first act was to disband the existing Praetorians and replace them with a force drawn from the Danubian legions who had made him ruler. He then spent the next four years eliminating his rivals, Claudius Albinus in Britain and Gaul and Pescenius Niger in the east. By early 197 he was the undisputed master of the empire and it was time to punish those of the barbarian nations who had supported his enemies. The Parthians felt his heavy hand in that same year. Their capital, Ctesiphon, fell, and Severus annexed most of Mesopotamia. The borders and empire thus pacified, Severus enjoyed time for building, sponsoring cultural life, and strengthening the military arm of the state. Under him, the number of legions reached thirty-five, a new legion was stationed in Italy along with a number of irregulars, the powers of the Praetorian Prefect extended into several spheres of the administration, and army officers and rank and file alike saw raises and honors coming their way. The troops also got payments in kind to compensate for inflation and something that had made sense long ago—legal recognition to soldiers’ unions with local women. A military man who wore continuously a military uniform, Severus evidently believed that stability could be achieved by a vast expansion of the military basis of his own power, and this he did. He died, fittingly, in 211, in the middle of a massive expedition aiming at pacifying Northern England and Southern Scotland, after getting fatally ill at York, at the age of sixty-six.
Mints: Alexandria, Emesa, Laodicea ad Mare, Rome.
List all Septimius Severus coins in the Catalog.