NIGHTBRINGER | The Arthurian Encyclopedia

Septimius Severus

Lucius Septimius Severus
Born: 11 April 145, Africa
Died: 4 February 211, Britain
Roman Emperor: 193-211 AD

A Roman emperor who ruled from 193 to 211 AD. He was born on April 11, 145, in Leptis Magna, a city in present-day Libya. Severus was the first Roman emperor of African descent and played a significant role in shaping the late Roman Empire.

Severus came from a prominent family, and he pursued a successful military career before ascending to the imperial throne. In 193 AD, he emerged victorious in the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors, a period marked by civil war and power struggles. Severus defeated his rivals and established himself as the sole emperor, bringing stability to the empire.

Duing his reign, Severus focused on strengthening the military and centralizing the imperial power. He expanded the Roman legions, increased their pay, and rewarded them with land grants, which secured their loyalty. Severus led successful military campaigns against external threats, such as the Parthian Empire in the east and the Caledonians in northern Britain. He also built extensive defensive fortifications in Britain, known as Hadrian’s Wall, to consolidate Roman control. He also reoccupied the Antonine Wall.

Severus implemented several reforms to improve the administration and legal system of the Roman Empire. He granted greater rights and privileges to the imperial bureaucracy and promoted the career advancement of talented individuals from non-aristocratic backgrounds. Severus also reformed the Roman currency to stabilize the economy.

Another notable aspect of Severus’ reign was his relationship with his family. He was married to Julia Domna, a powerful and influential woman of Syrian descent, and they had two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who would eventually become co-emperors. However, their relationship was marked by conflicts and tensions, and after Severus’ death, Caracalla had his younger brother Geta assassinated.

Severus’ reign marked a turning point in the history of the Roman Empire. His military reforms and consolidation of power influenced subsequent emperors, and his policies favored the military over the Senate, foreshadowing the decline of senatorial authority. Despite his efforts to stabilize the empire, Severus’ reign also witnessed increased military expenditures and financial strain, which would become significant challenges for his successors.

Lucius Septimius Severus died on February 4, 211 AD, in Eboracum (present-day York, England) during a military campaign in Britain. His death sparked another period of instability and conflict within the empire, leading to further changes in the imperial power structure.

Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth says he was a Roman senator and general, sent by the senate to pacify Britain after the death of King Lucius in the late second century. Nennius says that he was the third Roman emperor to cross to Britain. Severus, leading Romans and Roman-loyal Britons, became immersed in a great war with the Briton duke, Sulgenius. He and Sulgenius were killed in a battle at York. After his death, Severus’s sons vied for the kingdom.