Lucius Septimius Severus

Severus, Lucius Septimius

 

Born AD. 146; died 211. Roman emperor from 193 to 211. founder of the dynasty of the Severi.

Severus had served as quaestor, tribune of the plebs, governor of several provinces, consul, and senator. In 190 he became commander of the Roman armies in Germany. He was proclaimed emperor by the Pannonian legions.

Severus relied on the support of the soldiers, to whom he granted a number of privileges: for example, he made the legionaries the equals of the Praetorian Guard. His policy was consistently antisenatorial. He ruled with the help of an imperial council, which included a number of eminent jurists, and with the help of the bureaucratic apparatus—consisting in part of military personnel—that swelled under Severus’ rule. His reign saw the introduction of a system of taxation, forced labor, military conscription, and other compulsory services, based on property assessments. Severus fortified the Danube, Rhine, British, and eastern frontiers of the empire.

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When Lucius Septimius Severus (AD 145-211) wrested control of the Roman empire from Didius Julianus in 193, he became Rome's first African emperor--and the last native-born Libyan to rule over his homeland until Gaddafi seized power in 1969.