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Severan dynasty

From Academic Kids

The Severan dynasty is a lineage of Roman Emperors, reigning several decades from the late 2nd century to the early 3rd century. It was the last lineage of the "Principate", preceding the Crisis of the 3rd century.

Contents

Emperors and Caesars

For dynastic relationships: see Severan dynasty family tree - see also Roman Emperor (Principate)

The Severan dynasty spanned the reigns of (who were Emperor and/or Caesar):

Septimius Severus (193211)

Caracalla (198217)

Publius Septimius Geta (209211)

Intermezzo: Macrinus (Emperor, 217218) and Diadumenian (Caesar, 217218)

M.M. Opelius Macrinus was born in 164 at Caesarea. Although coming from a humble background (not dynastically related to the Severan dynasty), he rose through the imperial household until, under the emperor Caracalla, he was made prefect of the praetorian guard. On account of the cruelty and treachery of the emperor, Macrinus became involved in a conspiracy to kill him, and ordered the praetorian guard to do so. On April 8th 217, Caracalla was assassinated traveling to Carrhae. Three days later, Macrinus was declared Augustus.

His most significant early decision was to make peace with the Persians, but many thought that the terms were degrading to the Romans. However, his downfall was his refusal to award the pay and privileges promised to the eastern troops by Caracalla. He also kept those forces wintered in Syria, where they became attracted to the young Elagabalus. After months of mild rebellion by the bulk of the army in Syria, Macrinus took his loyal troops to meet the army of Elagabalus near Antioch. Despite a good fight by the praetorian guard, his soldiers were defeated.
Macrinus managed to escape to Chalcedon but his authority was lost: he was betrayed and executed after a short reign of just 14 months.

M. Opelius Diadumenianus was the son of Macrinus, born in 208. He was given the title Caesar in 217, when his father became Emperor. After his fathers defeat outside Antioch, he tried to escape east to Parthia, but was captured and killed before he could achieve this.

Elagabalus (218222)

Born Varius Avitus Bassianus on May 16th 205, known later as M. Aurelius Antonius, he was appointed at an early age to be priest of the sun God, Elagabalus, represented by a phallus, by which name he is known to historians (his name is sometimes written "Heliogabalus"). He was proclaimed emperor by the troops of Emesa, his hometown, who were instigated to do so by Elagabalus's grandmother, Julia Maesa. She spread a rumor that Elagabalus was the secret son of Caracalla. This revolt spread to the entire Syrian army (which, at the time, was swollen with troops raised by the Emperor Caracalla, and not fully loyal to Macrinus), and eventually they were to win the short struggle that followed by defeating Macrinus at a battle just outside Antioch. Elagabalus was then accepted by the senate, and began the slow journey to Rome.

His reign in Rome has long been known for outrageousness, although the historical sources are few, and in many cases not to be fully trusted. He is said to have smothered guests at a banquet by flooding the room with rose petals: married his male lover - who was then referred as the 'Empress's husband', and married one of the vestal virgins. Some say he was transgender, and one ancient text states that he offered half the empire to the physician who could give him female genitalia.

The running of the Empire during this time was mainly left to his grandmother and mother (Julia Soamias). Seeing that her grandsons outrageous behavior could mean the loss of power, Julia Maesa persuaded Elagabalus to except his cousin Alexander Severus as Caesar (and thus the nominal Emperor to be). However, Alexander was popular with the troops, who viewed their new Emperor with dislike: when Elagabalus, jealous of this popularity, removed the title of Caesar from his nephew the enraged praetorian guard swore to protect him. Elagabalus had to beg the troops to let him live, and this humiliation could not last for long.

Alexander Severus (222235)

On March 6th, 222, a rumor went around the city troops that Alexander had been killed. Elagabalus and his mother were taken from the palace, dragged through the streets,murdered and thrown in the river Tiber by the praetorian guard, who then proclaimed Alexander Severus as Augustus.

Women of the Severan Dynasty

The women of the Severan dynasty, beginning with Septimius Severus's wife Julia Domna, were notably active in advancing the careers of their male relatives.

See also

Template:Epochs of Roman Emperors

External links

pl:Sewerowie

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