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Septimius Severus, emperor of Rome from 193-211CE, was one of the most difficult and yet one of the most intriguing men of anti uity! "oday, some eighteen hundred years after his death, he still e#cites strong emotions amongst students of ancient history, stimulating $oth intense regard and intense animosity in almost e ual measure! "he elusive figure $ehind the legend remains $oth comple# and enigmatic! %orn into one of Roman &frica's leading families, most pro$a$ly in 1()CE, he had a fairly ordinary senatorial career $efore $ecoming part of a conspiracy to topple the emperor Commodus and, in the chaotic period afterwards, he launched his own, ultimately successful, $id for power 1! &fter defeating two rival claimants in four years of civil war, Septimius $ecame the undisputed ruler of the Roman world in 19*CE! +t is perhaps fitting that Septimius' personality was similarly comple#! &lthough he was a ,een student and stood in awe of the li$eral arts, religion and history in particular, he removed $oo,s of sacred lore from Egypt, closed the tom$ of &le#ander the -reat and mutilated the famous statue of .emnon2! /e was also as capa$le of ruthless cruelty as of open-handed generosity! "hose who stood in his way were persecuted without mercy, whilst his close supporters were

Septimius' date of $irth is disputed! HA Sev. 1!3-( states plainly that Septimius was $orn 0si# days $efore the +des of &pril, in the first consulship of Severus and the second of Erucius Clarus' 1/& Sev! 1!3-(23 that is, on 4 th &pril 1(5! Elsewhere, a num$er of conflicting dates are given! "owards the end of the vita 1HA Sev.22!12, the author contradicts himself, stating that Septimius died at the age of eighty-nine! "he same claim is repeated in the largely fictitious 6ife of 7escennius 8iger 1HA Nig.)!12! &lthough these fantastic claims do not definitively refute a date of $irth in 1(5CE, they do seriously wound the author's credi$ility as a truthful witness! 9io, in his summation of the reign, disagrees somewhat3 he states that Septimius was si#ty-five years, nine months and twenty-five days old when he died on (th :e$ruary 211CE 19io *5 1**2! 1)!2, 1*!(2! &ccording to 9io's calculation therefore, Septimius was $orn on 11th &pril 1()CE! See %irley 119*;2, p!5)3 Septimius, &pp! 2 no! 2*3 Syme 119*1$2, (23 %arton 119*22, *1! Cf! 7latnauer 119142, 343 /ammond 119(;2, p!1393 .agie 1195;2, 3*1, who all argue for 1(5CE! 2 HA Sev 1*!3-(3 9io *5!13!1-2!

treated with patient indulgence3! 0"owards friends not forgetful, to enemies most oppressive' is 9io's <udgement 19io **1*52! 15!12! +t is therefore no surprise to discover two distinct historical traditions, which ancient writers were una$le to reconcile fully(! "he Historia Augusta remar,s that= 0the senate declared that Severus either should never have $een $orn at all or never should have died, $ecause on the one hand, he had proved too cruel, and on the other, too useful to the state' 1HA Sev. 14!*-42! .odern writers, deeply affected $y this dichotomy, have $een e ually attracted and repelled $y the character of Septimius! "o -i$$on, he was a tireless and a$le ruler and yet fatally flawed3 he was inherently deceitful, had a 0dar, and <ealous temper' and was ultimately the 0principal author of the decline of the Roman Empire')! "his harsh verdict sprang largely from -i$$on's own unconscious acceptance of ancient stereotypes! &fricans, the descendants of /anni$al, were innately unfaithful and could not therefore $e trusted3 an &frican emperor would therefore possess these ualities in larger measure! .iller, writing in the early twentieth century, is characterised $y many similar ideas! /e praises his 0realism unem$arrassed $y historical

sympathies or scruples' whilst elsewhere, he remar,s that 0"o such a man the Roman tradition was alien'5! .iller felt that Septimius' unsu$tle approach to government sprang directly from his 7unic $ac,ground! /e descri$es the period as a ,ind of Carthaginian revenge, Septimius $eing a 08ew /anni$al on the throne of the Caesars'*!

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&lfoldy Senat, p!122! See /erodian's account of Septimius' march on Rome 12!9!9-1(!32 which is full of the author's admiration for the emperor! :or his accusations of duplicity see 2!9!13 and 2!1(!3-(, amongst others! ) -i$$on 1>omersley ed! 199(2, 1(;, 1(4, 1);! 5 .iller 119392 2(! * .iller, op! cit!, 25! See also, 7latnaeur 119142, 343 -raham 119;22, *)-4;!

6ater writers, conscious of this failing, sought to $ring Septimius within the -reco-Roman fold! >here $efore he had $een the archetypal other, he now $ecame the 0Roman %ureaucrat' 4! "his re-evaluation was given further impetus $y the growth of epigraphic studies! "he increasingly sophisticated analyses of senatorial career patterns demonstrated that Septimius' own progress stood firmly within the traditional framewor, of patronage! "his process reached its logical conclusion with the attempt of one scholar to argue that Septimius was, in fact, from a family of +talian ?migr?s9! 9espite these advances, intense de$ate regarding Septimius' heritage, and its ultimate significance, continues1;! &s we have seen, this is due in part to our own historical pre<udices! +t is in large measure also due to the am$iguous nature of the evidence itself! Septimius is clearly connected with &frica in the literature of the period, whilst his own imperial propaganda 1largely, $ut not restricted to, the coinage and inscriptions2 ma,es fre uent mention of his home city and province! +n spite of many tantalising remar,s, there are few une uivocal statements of the emperor's true allegiances! "o use one particularly clear e#ample, the Historia Augusta remar,s enigmatically that the Septi@onium was $uilt in the capital so as to 0Astri,e the eyes of those who came to Rome from &frica' 1S/& Severus 2(!32! 9oes this mean, as some have thought, that Septimius was there$y somehow rewarding his fellow compatriots with a monument in their honour in the capital, or does it merely reflect what our sources believed his motives to $eB &lso, as this is an isolated reference, in an am$iguous source, we may even <ustifia$ly uestion its veracity! +n any case, the comple#ity of the relationship $etween

4 9

"he title of /ammond 119(;2, pp!13*-1*(! %arnes 1195*2, pp!9*-1;(! 1; %irley Septimius, &pp! 2!

Septimius and &frica is made clear! %y any measure therefore, &frica plays a ,ey role in understanding Septimius and his era, which any informed discussion must address! 9uring the initial research for this dissertation it soon $ecame apparent that the ,ey to the larger uestion lay within Septimius' relationships with his senatorial peers! "he central uestion of the place of &frica and &fricans under Septimius can only $e addressed $y first e#amining his route to power! %efore any attempt to study the character of Septimius' principate can $e underta,en, it is necessary to e#amine the pillars upon which his reign was $ased! +n other words, we must ac uaint ourselves fully with those responsi$le for helping Septimius into power! -iven the range and intended scope of this paper, it is not the o$<ective here to underta,e an e#haustive $iographical study! Rather, focus will $e given to three particularly significant aspects, which it is hoped, will shed valua$le light on the wider uestion! "hus in Chapter Cne, we will e#plore the connections of Septimius and his family to their apparent home city! >e will e#amine the historical development of 6epcis and loo, closely at the impact of Roman rule upon native traditions! >e will then ta,e a detailed loo, at the origins of Septimius' family 1the gens Septimii2! "his will necessitate an in-depth e#amination of the relationship $etween individual mem$ers and will involve recourse to much epigraphic and prosopographical evidence, though with due recognition of the limits of such techni ues! +n the second chapter, focus will $e given to the development of Septimius' earlier career, from his first official post in the mid-15;s CE up to his first provincial command in -aul in 144CE! >e will e#amine his rise through the ran,s chronologically, and attempt to isolate significant episodes where his connections with the wider Roman world $ecome clear! "he second chapter

will also attempt to discuss the principal features of Romano-&frican society, its concerns and preoccupations! &lthough due consideration will $e given to the constraints of space, such an analysis is vital3 $efore we can properly understand the impact of &frica and &fricans on Rome and Septimius, we must first understand Rome's effect on &frica! +n the third chapter, the present study will conclude with an e#amination of Septimius' later career, from 149CE until the defeat of his last rival Clodius &l$inus in 19*CE! +n an influential article, %irley has argued that an emerging &frican faction, which had its ultimate victory with Septimius' own accession, orchestrated the ,ey events of this latter period! "o test this theory, a step-$y-step e#amination of the significant events and principal characters will $e necessary! %efore we can $egin, we must pause for a moment and e#amine our source material! 9espite some significant gaps, the literary, epigraphic, numismatic and archaeological record for the Severan period is relatively full! -iven this, it is e#pedient that we loo, at them in greater detail! &rgua$ly the most accurate source for the Severan period is the Roman History of the senator 9io Cassius Cocceianus! %orn at %ithynian 8icaea to a wealthy senatorial family, most pro$a$ly in 153-15(CE, 9io was 0Athe only man who ,new Severus personally and left a <udgement of him to posterity' 11! 9io's career, which saw consulships in c!2;( and 229, though not

outstanding, $rought him into contact with the emperor and many of the period's chief figures 12!


6! Cassius 9io Cocceianus, henceforth 9io, seems to have $een from a senatorial family first appearing in the Dulio-Claudian period! /e may also have $een related to the famous second century rhetorician 9io of 7rusa! "he evidence is presented $y .illar 1195(2, 9-113 Syme 119*1d2, pp!13)-1()3 7+R 2 C(92! 12 :or 9io's career see .illar, op! cit!, 1)-2(3 Syme, i$id! 9io first rose to prominence during Septimius' early years, when he wrote a pamphlet on the 0dreams and portents which gave Severus reason to hope for the imperial power' 1*3 1*(2 !23!1-22!

:or the Severan era itself, 9io's wor, is only e#tant in two late epitomes, which despite some faults are remar,a$ly close to the original where it is possi$le to chec,13! 9espite a tendency to wander, 9io's wor, is generally relia$le! :irstly, as we have seen, he ,new the emperor personally! Secondly, as a senator, 9io was present himself during certain ,ey episodes1(! &s a senior consular, 9io also had access to senatorial archives 1)! .oreover, despite some e#amples of gross sycophancy, his overall view of Septimius remains remar,a$ly $alanced15! :inally, notwithstanding a certain chronological wea,ness and a penchant for

archaisms, 9io's wor, is a su$stantially trustworthy account of the Severan period! "he wor, of the -ree, writer /erodian forms our second ma<or written source! 6i,e 9io, /erodian was Septimius' contemporary! /owever, unli,e 9io, /erodian is an altogether more shadowy figure! 6ittle is ,nown a$out him for certain! +t is possi$le that he lived $etween appro#imately 14; and 234CE, it is also possi$le that he was a <unior senator 1*! /is wor, is divided into * $oo,s and chronological precision is not a strong point 14! /e is somewhat naEve, literary style fre uently ta,es precedence over accuracy and the distortion of events to fit rhetorical devices is common19! /erodian is sometimes guilty of $asic errors and occasionally he


"he History, which seems to have originally contained eighty $oo,s, has only partially survived! %oo,s 35 to )( 1from 54 to 1;%CE2 have survived in their su$stantially original form! %oo,s ))-5; 1from 9%CE-(5CE2 survive in si@ea$le fragments! Scraps of $oo,s *9-4; 1from the death of Caracalla to midway through the reign of Elaga$alus2 are also e#tant! "wo epitomes of 9io's wor, still survive, one written in the eleventh century $y Fiphilinus of "rape@us 1$oo,s 35-4;2 and another in the twelfth century $y +oannes Gonaras! See .illar, op! cit!, 1-3! 1( Such as the night on which 9idius Dulianus was acclaimed emperor, 9io *3!12!2-)! 1) See ** 1*52! 15!(-)! 15 :or enthusiastic passages, see *(!1!3-)3 cf! /& Sev! *!1-33 /er! 2!1(!1! :or criticisms, see *(!(!1-)3 *(!)!5-*3 *5!15!1-1*3 .illar, op! cit!, 134-1(;! 1* >hitta,er 119592, #-#viii, ###iii, suggests that /erodian may have $een present in Rome during the last years of Commodus until 193CE, though this is uncertain! 14 Rather than give firm dates, /erodian commonly uses phrases such as 0for a few yearsA' 11!4!12, and 0soon after thisA' 11!9!*3 1!1;!12! Reference to events occurring 0after one or two daysA' 12!5!32, and 0after one or two daysA on the third dayA' 1*!(!53 *!4!92 should therefore $e treated with caution= >hitta,er, op! cit!, ###i#-#l! 19 8aivet?= /er! (!11!9! Style= 2!9!3!

omits significant material2;! Het despite these faults, he does supply us with some otherwise un,nown information and seems to have $een genuinely interested in his su$<ect21! "he collection of imperial $iographies, ,nown today as the Historia Augusta, forms the period's third ma<or literary source! "he Historia, which is argua$ly the most notorious historical wor, of anti uity, claims to $e the wor, of si# authors writing under 9iocletian and Constantine! Current scholarly consensus re<ects this however, and holds a single author responsi$le, most pro$a$ly writing under "heodosius22! 9espite this apparent agreement, intense de$ate regarding the wor,'s li,ely sources and the relative strengths and wea,nesses of individual lives continues! &lthough an in-depth discussion of these important pro$lems is well $eyond the scope of this short introduction, a few relevant points can $e made! "he vita Severi is of most relevance to the present study! &lthough generally accurate, there is much invention, archaism and outright fa$rication, as well as serious dislocation of events! &lso, the later stages of the vita are compressed into a virtual summary, the author $ecoming $ored with 0minor details' 1/& Sev! 1*!)2 23! "he other relevant lives are of varying uality! "he lives from &ntoninus 7ius through to 9idius Dulianus are of generally good uality, with much otherwise un,nown material! "he lives of Septimius' challengers Clodius


&t 1!9!1 he neglects to mention the presence of Ilpius .arcellus in %ritain, whilst in 2!2!1; he seemingly forgets to refer to 7ertina#' vital donative to the 7raetorian -uard! .ore seriously, however, he fails to mention Severus' second 7arthian war, which he undou$tedly ,new a$out 1see 3!)!1ff2! &lthough generally in awe of Septimius' military achievements, he fails to record the formation of the new provinces of 8umidia and .esopotamia 13!1;!1-33 3!*!*-42! 21 Commodus' presence in the north during his father's northern wars is only recorded $y /erodian 11!)!32, as is 8iger's alliance with foreign ,ings 13!1!2-32! See >hitta,er, op! cit!, #lii3 lii-liii 22 See Syme 119*1a2, pp!1-15! 23 +n HA Sev. 2;!2, Caracalla is said to $e Severus' son $y his first wife! "his is contradicted at 3!9 and (!2 where Caracalla's correct parentage is given! %etween HA Sev. 1(!11-15!*, the author loses his way during the second 7arthian war in 194CE3 a long interpolation, data$le to 2;3CE, then appears, followed almost as suddenly $y a return to 194CE! See %irley Septimius, 2;53 .agie 1195;2, (;3-(;)3 Syme 119*1$2, pp!3;-)33 Syme 119*1d2, pp!13)-1()!

&l$inus and 7escennius 8iger, and other more ephemeral figures, are virtual fictions 2(! Scholars, long aware of a ualitative difference in the earlier lives, have argued that the editor of the Historia made use of a num$er of older literary sources 2)! Syme argues that the $asic source of the earlier lives was Ignotus, an unattested and otherwise un,nown author, ending his account during the reign of Caracalla25! Cur other literary sources may $e summed up $riefly! "he Church :ather "ertullian ma,es a few references to the state of &frica and Christianity under Septimius 2*! -iven Septimius' penchant for legal matters, rescripts 1imperial replies to legal petitions2 are understanda$ly plentiful 24! "he 0uneven and at times incongruous' De Caesaribus of &urelius Jictor, most pro$a$ly written around 3)4CE, devotes a fair amount of space to Septimius! &part from some anecdotal

references to the emperor's thirst for learning, it is mostly erroneous29! Eutropius' Breviarium, written at much the same time, is of much the same uality and is descri$ed $y Dones as 0an elegant summary for gentlemen who had not the patience to plough through 6ivy' 3;! "he scattered and confused references found in other such late writers need not delay us here31! +nscriptions form the second ma<or source of evidence! &frican cities, which had their own traditions of inscri$ing records on stone, swiftly adopted the Roman 0epigraphic ha$it', to <udge from the region's appro#imately (;,;;; e#tant 6atin inscriptions! Septimius' home city of 6epcis has a wealth of such inscriptions! "hese documents are vital in a num$er of ways!
2( 2)

See .agie, op! cit!, #ii-###iv3 Syme 119*1$2, pp!3;-31! See %irley Septimius, 2;5-2;* for a summary! 25 Syme 119*1$2, pp!)1-)23 largely followed $y 6eaning 119492, pp!)(4-)5)! 2* -lover 119552, 12;-12)! 24 See /onore 119522, pp!-152-232! 29 %ird 1199(2, #ii-#iv3 #v! Jictor ma,es the false claim that Severus was responsi$le for $uilding /adrian's >all= De Caes. 2;! 3; Dones 119*32, 1;1;! "he Breviarium was pro$a$ly written during Eutropius' spare time! "he wor, is full of erroneous and legendary material3 Brev. 2; states that Caracalla married his mother Dulia! See %ird 119932, vii-lvii! 31 See %irley Septimius, 2;*!

:irstly, the languages inscri$ed on these monuments are an important indication of social change! "he survival of 7unic and 6i$yan inscriptions helps reveal the comple#ity of

"ripolitanian culture! 6atin inscriptions, and their social and spatial conte#ts, illustrate the width and depth of Romanisation in 6epcis! &s will $ecome clear in Chapter one, such information is vital in assessing Septimius' early life! +nscriptions from elsewhere in the empire are also important to this study! "hese documents record vital information a$out the origins, careers and outloo,s of the imperial aristocracy! "hey can also illustrate the connections $etween individuals and groups! :or instance, the Septimii are recorded on a num$er of inscriptions that help us to reconstruct, with some degree of accuracy, the family's relationships with 6epcis and the wider empire 32! +nscriptions can also help reveal developing trends! "hus the social, administrative, political and military changes of the Severan era are all illuminated $y epigraphic material! "here are however, some significant draw$ac,s, which are worth noting! "he primary disadvantage of epigraphic evidence is its selectivity! +n general, only especially noteworthy events are recorded, which means that much of the day-today information, of the type vital to modern historians, is missing! Secondly, the survival of inscriptions is $ased entirely upon random factors! "his ma,es statistical analyses especially difficult! "hirdly, inscriptions rarely allow access to the mentalities of the ancient world! &s >allace-/adrill points out, 0+nscriptions only divulge formalities, not the $ac,ground of patronage and intrigue that in practice made a career'33! "he Roman coinage is another meaningful source of information! Successive emperors used the coinage as a means of disseminating official propaganda! "he use of su$tle and richly sym$olic

32 33

See %arton 119**2, pp!1-13! >allace-/adrill, op! cit!, 5!

imagery helped the imperial government to highlight specific themes3 coin issues could emphasise an emperor's strength, mercy or religious $eliefs! Septimius' manipulation of the coinage was particularly adept! :or e#ample, the literary sources indicate that Septimius declared $efore the senate that he would ta,e 7ertina# as a role model 3(! "hereafter, virtually his entire coinage ma,es reference to his apparent mentor! "he name 7ertina# is added to Septimius' official nomenclature3)! 9uring mid-193, a special denarius commemorating the consecration of 7ertina# was issued35! &n especially significant issue recalls another important episode! 9io states that shortly $efore 7ertina#' death, Septimius dreamt that a horse threw 7ertina# from the saddle, which was then given to him 3*! "his dream, widely pu$licised as an omen, was made reality in 2;1 when an e uestrian statue was set up in the forum! & sestertius issued shortly afterwards $ears a depiction of this statue, with the legend SEJERJS 7+JS &J- and C7"+.C 7R+8C S7KR "R 7 J+++ SC 1:igure 132 34! Cther issues pu$licise Septimius' religious piety towards 6epcis' ancestral deities, 6i$er 7ater and %acchus, and his dedication of a temple at Rome to Eshmun, whilst others still honour his home province of &frica39! +t is important to $ear in mind however, that the coinage has its own peculiar draw$ac,s! :irstly, coins need not always reflect the actual will of the emperor under whom they were minted3 some are $etter understood as a ,ind of $ureaucratic 0default setting'! Secondly, there is a limit to the
3( 3)

/er! 2!1(!3! "he name 7ertina# is found on virtually all Severan coinage! See BMC J, 21-2) for a few e#amples of this otherwise u$i uitous issue! 35 BMC J, 2), nos! 35 L 3*, pl!5!5 L 5!*! "he o$verse legend reads 9+JJS 7ER" 7+JS 7&"ER! "he reverse shows an eagle standing upon a glo$e with the legend CC8SECMR&"N+C! 3* 9io *( 1*)2! 3!2-3! 34 BMC J, 52(, no!4;1a3 /ill 119**2, 2( no!4;23 /ill 119492, 54 n!1(1! 39 See /ill 119**2, nos! 5(a, 4(, 1;2, 24;, 24), 3;;, 3;3, for 6i$er 7ater and %acchus! "he temple of Eshmun is referred to in /ill, op! cit!, nos! 49;-4923 /ill 119492, 31! :or Severan coins referring to &frica, see /ill 119**2, nos! 59, 9(, 11;, 4*), 91(!


amount of information that even the most tantalising coin can reveal! +ssues honouring &frica do not $y themselves disclose Septimius' true feelings! 9espite these draw$ac,s, this study will ma,e repeated recourse to numismatic material where appropriate! &rchaeological evidence forms another useful $ody of information! "here are two distinct types of archaeological data relevant to the present study! :irstly, there are the material remains of "ripolitania, Septimius' $irthplace! "he wealth of the region's native culture is a significant factor in determining its cultural allegiances! /ence it is an essential part of illustrating the environment in which Septimius spent his formative years! :ortunately, "ripolitania has $een increasingly surveyed in recent years, its fascinating economic, social and military history are now $eing increasingly $rought to light(;! Secondly, archaeology is an e#tremely useful means of assessing Septimius' own $uilding programmes, and the ideological content within them! "wo of his pro<ects are of special relevance! "he complete refur$ishment of 6epcis under Septimius reveals a mass of vital data, especially in how the emperor wanted to $e pu$licly perceived(1! "he remains of Severan $uilding wor, at Rome and elsewhere form another

category, of which the remains of his "riumphal &rch at Rome is the most important e#ample! +n any case, the part to $e played $y archaeological research in this study is made clear! "his introductory chapter has attempted to e#plore the current fascination with Septimius and his era! "he principal factor $ehind Septimius' appeal has $een shown to $e his provincial origin! "he am$iguity and de$ate surrounding his apparent &frican heritage has in many ways made him the archetypal e#ample of historical uncertainty and scholarly misconception! +t is with these ideas in mind that our true e#amination of the emperor's $ac,ground can $egin!

(; (1

.attingly L /itchner 1199)2, pp!15)-213! See >ard-7er,ins 119932, passim!


Chapter ne! "epcis Magna and the #ens Septimia.

&ncient writers perceived a deep connection $etween Septimius and &frica! /erodian calls him a 06i$yan' 12!9!2-32, whilst later writers, such as Jictor and the author of the Historia Augusta, all ma,e him a native of 6epcis (2! Dohn .alalas, in his si#th century chronicle, interestingly descri$es the emperor as a man of medium height, with 0dar, s,in' 112!192! &lthough this is almost certainly wrong, it shows the continuing strength of the connection, some three hundred years after his death(3! +n this chapter, we shall e#amine this association for ourselves $y attempting to assess where e#actly the emperor's roots lay! %efore however, we can loo, at the origins of the gens Septimia, we need to place our discussion in its proper conte#t $y tracing $riefly the history of their native city and its relationship with Rome! Septimius seems to have $een $orn in 1()CE, at 6epcis .agna, then the largest city of "ripolitania((! -eographically, the ruins of 6epcis lie along the Syrtic coast of 6i$ya, at the mouth of the >adi 6e$dah, toward the eastern end of the -efara plain! "he city seems to have $een founded during the mid-seventh century %CE $y 7hoenician settlers, whilst its near neigh$ours, Sa$ratha and Cea, were pro$a$ly esta$lished a little later, during the si#th and fifth centuries respectively()! /owever, the original names of all three cities are 6i$yan in form rather

Jictor De Caes. 2;!193 HA Sev. 1!23 Eutropius Brev. 4!143 &usonius pus 1(!21!3-(! .alalas' usefulness for the Severan era is limited! /e is at the mercy of faulty sources and is himself often guilty of $asic errors! +n any case, 9io 1**!15!12 contradicts .alalas' physical description of Septimius! See Deffreys 1199;2, 15*-2153 Cro,e 1199;2, pp!1-25! +n the %erlin tondo, a small colour cameo, the emperor is shown standing with his wife and sons! &lthough he is noticea$ly dar,er than his 0pale' family, this reflects a convention of ancient portraiture, in which a dar, male contrasts a pale female! :or e#amples, see /anfmann 1195(2, pl! FJ+++-FF, pl! FF+F, pl! F6++-F6+++, pl! F6J+++3 Ro@en$erg 119932, 129, pl! 513 -rant 119*)2, 33-35, )2-)3, and 1((-1()! (( &ncient 6epcis pro$a$ly covered some *,;;; s ! ,m!= %arton 1199)2, pp!*-93 cf! .attingly 1199)2, 1(3! () .attingly, op! cit!, 1153 .acOendric, 1194;2, 1(3!


than 7unic, which suggests the possi$ility of some ,ind of older native settlement (5! 9espite this, the earliest archaeologically attested settlement at 6epcis seems to have $een under the later :orum Jetus, although later on a new site was esta$lished on an island in the har$our 1called Neapolis2(*!

:igure 1= 6epcis!

8otwithstanding its ade uate har$our facilities, it was the city's agricultural and economic potential that uic,ly esta$lished it as the region's premier ur$an centre! "his potential was $ased upon a fortunate com$ination of climatic and geographic factors, which meant that the city's territory covered some of "ripolitania's most fertile and well-weathered land (4! &s such, it attracted the glowing praise of /erodotus, who remar,ed that the near$y River Cinyps 1the modern >adi el-Caam valley2 was=

(5 (*

%irley Septimius, 3! .attingly, op! cit!, 11*3 Dones 119492, pp!92-9)! (4 S<PstrPm 119932, (-153 .attingly, op! cit!, 4-9, 2(-25!


0Ae ual to any country in the world for cereal crops and is nothing li,e the rest of 6i$ya! "he soil here is $lac, and springs of water a$ound so that there is no fear of drought and heavy rains Q for it rains in that part of 6i$ya Q do no harm when they soa, the ground! "he returns of the harvest come up to the %a$ylonian measuresAthe Cinyps region yields three hundred fold' 1/erodotus, (!1942! >ith the aid of artificial irrigation techni ues, 6epcis could $oth feed itself and generate a reasona$le grain surplus! +t also seems to have had a good source of tim$er in the near$y -e$el .sellata region(9! +n addition, the city was the focus of an ancient trans-Saharan trade route, which made it a small, yet important, mar,et for gold, slaves and e#otic animals from >est &frica);! /owever, the city's most important asset was the olive! "he olive tree, which can survive in arid areas with little attention, was ideally suited to local conditions! +n a good year the city could produce vast uantities of oil for domestic use and e#port, which created

su$stantial revenue)1! +t is not, therefore, surprising that 6epcis' Carthaginian over-lords were a$le to e#tract one talent per day in tri$ute, whilst Caesar could later impose the enormous fine of three million pounds of olive oil per year)2! -iven this wealth, the city was an attractive target! Competition for control of the region's resources was fierce! +ndeed, from its very $eginnings, 6epcis had to use its wits to survive! 8ot only did it have to contend with its am$itious neigh$ours and local tri$es, it also had to defend itself from outside attac,! 9uring the late si#th century, a Spartan adventurer named 9oreius founded a strong rival $ase at the mouth of the >adi el-Caam! +t too, an uneasy alliance of Carthaginians, .acae and other 6i$yans to dislodge 9oreius from his camp)3!

(9 );

/dt! (!1*)! .attingly, op! cit!, 1))-1)*! "he Saharan caravan route passed through -arama, 0capital' of the -aramantian tri$e! See 9aniels 119*;2, passim! )1 .attingly, op! cit!, 1(33 .attingly 119442, p!313 %arton, op! cit!, p!*3 Carandini 119432, p!1)1! )2 6ivy 3(!523 Caesar BA$r.*, 9, 29,9*3 BC 343 7lutarch Caesar ))! )3 /dt! )!(2!


>hen 6epcis ne#t appears in the historical record, it was again fighting off the unwanted attentions of outsiders! "he Roman destruction of Carthaginian supremacy, during the third and second centuries, created a regional power vacuum into which stepped the Roman-appointee .assinissa! "his powerful and dynamic 8umidian ,ing repeatedly attempted to wrest control of the emporium from its former masters and $y the 15;s %CE had finally succeeded in esta$lishing some ,ind of su@erainty)(! 9espite his victory however, 6epcis seems to have en<oyed a large measure of autonomy3 soon afterwards it $egan to mint its own coinage ))! "his semi-

independence was possi$ly the result of a growing Roman interest in &frica, which sought to e#ploit the county's considera$le natural resources! +n any case, the half-century following the final destruction of Carthage in 1(9%CE saw a government-inspired e#pansion of +talian $usiness interests throughout the province! +t also saw the arrival of large num$ers of +talian settlers, principally retired veterans, who were granted wide lands in the con uered territories and formed into a num$er of coloniae, most nota$ly at Carthage and Itica)5! 6epcis responded to the out$rea, of the Dugurthine war in 112%CE $y see,ing a direct alliance with Rome! "he city's ruling cli ue sought help against one /amilcar, a renegade 6epcitane and ally of Dugurtha, who had made several attempts to wrest control from them )*! "he emporium's strategic importance, as well as a hefty $ri$e, ensured Roman support3 6epcis $ecame an allied state and Roman troops arrived, suppressing the revolt! +n return, the city was o$liged to ma,e 0donations' to the private funds of three successive consuls)4!
)( ))

6ivy 29!33! See %irley Septimius, (-*3 %adian 119952, pp!*99-4;;! .uller et al 119**2, *;-*)! )5 "he +talian $usiness community at Cirta is a good e#ample, as is /erennius, the Roman $an,er $ased at 6epcis in the early first century! "he colony at Carthage, founded under the auspices of -aius -racchus, was soon a$andoned! See Sallust B% 2;!2-33 25!1-33 Cicero II &err!1!1(3 )!1))f3 "hompson 11959a2, pp!132-1413 "hompson 11959$2, pp!23)-2(93 Sherwin->hite 119392, 1*2ff3 Stra$o #eog. 1*!432-433! )* Sallust B% **!1-2! )4 Sallust B% **!2-(! 6! Calpurnius %estia 1cos! 1112, Sp! 7ostumius &l$inus 1cos! 11;2 and K! Caecilius .etellus 1cos! 1;92! %roughton 119)12, )(;-)()!


"he city's active participation in Roman politics led to it $ecoming em$roiled in the disastrous civil war of the mid-first century! Shortly $efore the war, 6epcis was involved in a $order dispute with Du$a + of 8umidia! Significantly, a senatorial commission found in 6epcis' favour! 7ossi$ly influenced $y this turn of events, Du$a sided with 7ompey and used the ensuing conflict to sei@e control of the emporium, with the aid of a pro-8umidian party within the city itself! "he Repu$lican victory over Curio at Itica confirmed Du$a in his control, which led to the e#ecution of a num$er of Caesarian sympathisers! "he tide turned against Du$a however, with the death of 7ompey in Egypt in (4%CE! 9espite regrouping under Cato at 6epcis, Repu$lican forces in &frica were overwhelmed $y Caesar two years later )9! Conse uently, the city was fined an enormous three million pounds of olive oil per year5;!

:igure 2= "he .ar,et of &nno$al "apapius Rufus


See Caesar BC 2!3*3 BA 9*! Caesar BA$r.*, 9, 29, 9*3 BC 11, 343 7lutarch Caesar ))!


9espite this apparent set$ac,, the region recovered rapidly under &ugustus! Regardless of some early campaigning in the :e@@an, "ripolitania was peacefully a$sor$ed into the newly formed province of A$rica 'roconsularis51! 6epcis' evident wealth and am$ition made it one of the area's principal cities! &s such, its leading citi@ens $egan to adopt Roman customs and

architectural fashions! "hus in 4%CE, one &nno$al "apapius Rufus, whose name shows an accurate understanding of Roman nomenclature, $uilt a large new tholos-style mar,et along the &ia (rion$ale, in apparent imitation of the capital's new macellum! & few years later, under the proconsul Cn! Calpurnius 7iso, a new Roman-style :orum was laid out52! & large new "heatre in the city's western district, paid for $y &nno$al, followed this in 2CE53! "en years later, his compatriot +ddi$al $uilt a temple to Jenus and the spirit of &ugustus 1the Chalcidicum2, as well as paying for a college of fifteen attendant priests 5(! "his was the first such temple in an allied treaty-state and, interestingly, its dedication recalls Jenus #enetri), the patron deity of the Dulian house5)! 9uring the last two years of &ugustus' life, &nno$al made yet another pu$lic donation, erecting a "emple to Rome and &ugustus on the 8orthwest side of the :orum55! "wo other ma<or forum temples may well have $een constructed at around this time, one dedicated to 6i$er 7ater and the other to an as yet un,nown deity 5*! >or, also $egan on the


Inusually, an e#-consul with military command governed &frica! Caligula removed this anomaly $y restricting the proconsul to civilian affairs and granting the legate of III Augusta control over the entire southern $order of 8umidia! >ilson et al 119952, p!3(! Conventional wisdom dates the foundation of 'roconsularis to 2*%CE! Shaw 1199)$2, 359-34;, proposes the much earlier date of c!(;-39%CE! 6! Cornelius %al$us, proconsul in 2; %CE, fought several campaigns against the -aramantes and -aetuli! 7liny NH )!)!353 Jell! 7at! 2!)1!3! Syme 119392, 4;, 23), 32), 339, 35*3 9aniels 1194*2, 223-25)3 9aniels 119492, p!()! 52 "he :orum Jetus is dated $y IR()2; to 7iso's proconsulship 1)%CE Q 2CE2, /aynes, op! cit!, 4)-9;! 53 IR( 3193 "ibya, )5-593 /aynes, op! cit!, 49-9)3 .acOendric,, op! cit!, 1(43 %irley Septimius, 13-1)! "he "apapii are one of the most important families in first century 6epcis! 5( IR( 32(3 "ibya, *;-*)! "he man's full name was +ddi$al Caphada &emilius! 5) "ibya, *)3 /aynes, op! cit!, 92-93! 55 IR( 321-3233 /aynes, op! cit!, 49-9;! 5* /aynes, op! cit!, 44-49, 9;!


Carthage to &le#andria highway, with si@ea$le sections $eing laid out at near$y Cea and "acape54!

:igure 3= & 7lan of the "heatre of &nno$al "apapius Rufus

"he civic donations of the "apapii have their counterparts in other cities of the empire! &t 7ompeii, for e#ample, the early &ugustan period saw a very similar re-modelling! 6i,e their 6epcitane contemporaries, leading 7ompeian families cemented their social position $y financing the construction of pu$lic $uildings and amenities, as well as refur$ishing e#isting ones! "hus .! /olconius Celer and .! /olconius Rufus 1who seems to have $een a younger $rother2 paid for a ma<or renovation of 7ompeii's theatre, for which Rufus was called 0$enefactor of colony'59! Rufus also paid for restoration wor, on the temple of &pollo *; and interestingly, Eumachia, a female mem$er of another nota$le family, paid for the construction of an e#pensive Chalcidicum*1!

54 59

See A* 19)2!2323 19;)!1**3 -oodchild 119592, pp!1))-1*13 "homasson 1194(2, col! 3*3! Gan,er 119942, 1;*-1;93 *93 6aurence 1199(2, 32-3(! *; Gan,er, op! cit!, *9-42! *1 Gan,er, op! cit!, 93-1;2!


9uring "i$erius' reign, "ripolitania's apparent tran uillity was $ro,en $y the revolt of "acfarinas, a former Roman au#iliary soldier! "he dispute, which seems to have $een caused $y interference with traditional migration routes, lasted for seven years $efore $eing $rought under control and involved the transfer of an entire legion from the 9anu$e frontier*2! "acitus notes the interest that "acfarinas' e#otic loo,ing -aramantian allies caused at Rome when they $rought news of their unconditional surrender*3! 6epcis pro$a$ly served as the campaign head uarters! 7! Cornelius 9ola$ella, the victorious general, placed a dedication to &ictoria Augusta inside the city's :orum*(!

:igure (= "he Chalcidicum at 6epcis

Inder Claudius and 8ero, the city's pu$lic amenities were further e#panded! +n ()-(5CE a large statue-group was dedicated to Claudius and placed in the :orum *)! Shortly afterwards, the :orum itself was refur$ished! "he floor was completely re-paved in white limestone and a colonnaded portico added in the 8orthwest corner! "his e#pensive restoration was important
*2 *3

"ac! Ann.2!)23 >hitta,er 119*42, pp!3((-3()3 >hitta,er 119432, pp!11;-111! "ac! Ann!3!2;-21, *3-*(3 (!23-25! *( A* 195;, 1;*! *) IR( 33*, 339-3(;!


enough to $e dedicated $y the then proconsul, 7ompeius Silvanus! "he wor, was paid for $y #+y ben Hanno in honour of his grandson #+y! /is adoptive grandson Ba+alyaton ,md+ ben M+-r supervised the pro<ect*5! "he grateful city responded $y erecting a statue of #+y near$y**! Inder 8ero, a new amphitheatre was added and the city's vital har$our underwent ma<or renovation wor,*4! 7art of the new har$our comple# was a large new portico, dedicated in 52CE $y the proconsul Crfitus and his legate Silius Celer and financed $y Ithymbal Sabinus (apapius, the 0curator of pu$lic money'*9!

:igure )= 6epcis City Centre

"he conflict caused $y 8ero's suicide allowed a territorial dispute $etween 6epcis and neigh$ouring Cea to escalate into open war! Cea, ta,ing full advantage of Rome's distraction, allied itself with the -aramantes and attac,ed 6epcis! &fter Jespasian's victory at Cremona, Jalerius :estus led a punitive e#pedition against the tri$esmen and uic,ly restored order 4;!


"he wor, is recorded in a $ilingual inscription! IR( 334 gives the 6atin te#t and I'( 25 gives the 7unic translation! #+y ben Hanno may $e the $rother of the su$es during whose term the :orum statue group was dedicated! See I'( 223 "ibya, *5! ** IR( 51), here given the e#tra name 'helyssam! *4 "ibya, 4;-43! *9 IR( 3(1, dedicated 1;th 9ec! 51 Q 9th 9ec! 52! "he 7unic te#t 1I'( 232 honours +thym$al's aunt &rishut, the daughter of Haton$aal 0the $uilder'! :or the har$our, see "ibya, 4;-43! 4; "acitus Hist. (!);3 7liny NH )!)!35-343 %arton 1199)2, p!*!


Rutilius -allicus was sent to calm the situation further, as a specially appointed provincial governor! Jespasian rewarded 6epcis' loyalty in *4CE, granting it the ius "atii 10or 6atin right'241! "his meant that all city officials automatically received Roman citi@enship! Inusually however, although the municipal priests 1the maha.im2 were called $y their 6atin e uivalents 1aediles2, its chief magistrates, the su$etes, remained distinctly &frican42! &s such, the num$er of Roman citi@ens dramatically increased! +n response to this largesse, a new temple to

Cy$eleR.agna .ater was placed inside the :orum3 Jespasian was honoured $y the erection of a triumphal arch at 6epcis, near the later %y@antine -ate 43! "he city also paid for a pair of honorary statues of the proconsul and his wife to $e erected in their home city of "urin4(!

:igure 5= "he /adrianic %aths at 6epcis

6epcitanes during the late first and early second centuries were affluent and upwardly mo$ile! "hus under 9omitian, one Septimius $ecame part of the literary circle of Statius, an influential
41 42

%irley Septimius, 15! IR( 3(2, 3(5, 3(*3 Sherwin->hite, op! cit!, )2f!, 1;9f!, 19)ff! IR( 3;) has IIIv/ir01 pot. I'( 3; gives! See also I'( 9! 43 IR( 3(2! 4( CI")!599;! &lthough only the statue to -allicus' wife survives, it seems to have $een one of a pair! See IR( 3;;3 "ibya, *5, dedicated in *2CE!


court poet4)! "he city was sufficiently well connected to successfully convict a wealthy e#proconsul of &frica, .arius 7riscus, of e#tortion and murder! "he trial came to court in 1;;CE and was deemed important enough for "ra<an himself to attend! 6epcis hired the services of several senior advocates, including "acitus, the Hounger 7liny and "i Dulius :ero# 1 cos.99245! &lthough the lost revenue was never returned, "ra<an may well have felt that the city had $een harshly treated! "his may e#plain why 6epcis' first senator, ' ANo :rontMoNni', is recorded soon afterwards4*! +n any case, during 1;9-11;CE, "ra<an granted 6epcis the singular honour of $ecoming a Roman colony! +t now $ecame a fully Roman ur$an settlement, with the su$etes $eing transformed into duumviri! Septimius' eponymous grandfather served as its first duumvir! "he city was e#empted from tri$ute and perhaps most significantly, all free$orn 6epcitanes $ecame Roman citi@ens44! +n gratitude, the people of 6epcis dedicated a large -uadri$ons arch to "ra<an, close to the .ar,et and Chalcidicum49! "he city's growth continued under /adrian with the construction in 119-12;CE of an a ueduct, which $rought water into the city from the >adi el-Caam! K! Servius Candidus, a mem$er of a local family pro$a$ly enfranchised under Claudius, paid for the wor, 9;! +n 13*CE an immense new pu$lic $aths was inaugurated! 7laced cleverly on alluvial soil reclaimed from the >adi 6e$dah, the %aths were monumental in scale and modelled on the imperial $aths at Rome, though with significant variations91! %y the time of &ntoninus 7ius, 6epcis had $ecome one of &frica's chief cities! .any of the city's pu$lic monuments were re-faced with mar$le! "i!

4) 45

Statius Silvae ( prae$. 1;! 7liny *p. 2!113 Syme 119)42, *;-*13 %irley, Septimius 213 %irley 119442, p!53 "al$ert 119432, 24(! 4* IR( 52(3 Reynolds 119))2, p!129! 44 IR( (123 3)33 24(3 .acOendric,, op! cit!, 1(93 Sherwin->hite, op! cit!, 34! 49 IR( 3)33 "ibya, 45! 9; IR( 3)*-3)9! "his important amenity allowed the construction of a num$er of fountains throughout 6epcis, "ibya, 49-9;! +R" 2*) records Candidus ma,ing a dedication to the temple of 6i$er 7ater! 91 "ibya, 92-9)!


7lautius 6upus, a duumvir from an eminent senatorial family, seems to have paid for much of the wor,, whilst his contemporary Rusonianus restored the "heatre 1now over a hundred years old2 92! Cne inscription of particular interest records the dedication of a statue of Cupid to the emperor $y C! Claudius Septimius M&Nfer 93! "his man seems to have $een the father of 6epcis' first consuls, 7! Septimius &per 1cos.1)32 and C! Septimius Severus 1cos.15;2, and is presuma$ly related to the future emperor! Septimius' own father, 7! Septimius -eta, who may well have served as an aedile, set up a statue to Septimia 7olla his sister at a$out this time which was, according to 9uncan-Dones, 0the mostAe#pensive in &frica'9(! %y the mid-second century, 6epcis had $ecome one of &frica's leading cities! +n the course of little over a century, the emporium went from an allied, though still 0foreign', city to a municipium and thence to a fully-fledged Roman colony! &n e#amination of the spread of Roman citi@enship and the 6atin tongue demonstrates 6epcis' desire for upward mo$ility still further! "he first thing to note a$out 6epcis during the first century was its conspicuous lac, of immigrants! +n mar,ed contrast to the rest of &frica, the city did not see the official

esta$lishment of a large +talian community in its midst 9)! "hus although individual +talians did settle at 6epcis, li,e the $an,er "! /erennius during the early first century %CE, there was no mass influ# of settlers95! Conse uently, immigrant families ma,e up a surprisingly small

percentage of 6epcis' ,nown no$ility! Cf particular importance are the 2ulvii "epcitani, who are first attested under &ugustus, and who are seemingly connected to Septimius through :ulvia 7ia,
92 93

"i! 7lautius 6upus= IR( )93, 532, 53(! "ibya, 9)-95, gives 7lautianus, whilst IR( 253 reads Rufinianus! IR( 315! 9( 9uncan-Dones 119522, no!54! 9) :or &frica, see "hompson, op! cit!, pp!132-141! 95 Cic! In &errem 2!)!1))3 "hompson 11959$2, p!235!


his mother9*! Cther e#amples include the 'erperna "epcitanus, recorded on an inscription dedicated to "i$erius, and the family of Carminius Saturninus, who set up an inscription in the city's main street94! "he complete lac, of any organised $ody of resident Roman citi@ens, such as a conventus civium Romanorum or a pagus also demonstrates the a$sence of a large +talian community99! "here is no record of there ever having $een any such organisation at 6epcis! "hese corporations are found throughout 8orth &frica and $ecause of their high status, they e#erted a disproportionate influence on their respective cities1;;! "hat 6epcis did not have such a corporation suggests that the native aristocracy retained their importance under Roman rule1;1!

:igure *= "he &rch of Severus at 6epcis

9uring the early principate, grants of citi@enship were e#tremely rare! "hus although we find eleven %ulii in the city's epigraphic record, without further corro$orative evidence, it is

IR( 32;3 324! "he epithet 06epcitani' seems to have $een intended to distinguish this family from others with the same name! :or their e#act relationship to Septimius see $elow, pageB Romanelli 119)42, 2)4-2513 "hompson 11959$2, p!23*3 %irley 119442, p!3! 94 IR( 33)3 *;53 "hompson 11959$2, pp!23*-234! 99 "hompson, op! cit!, p!239! 1;; :or e#amples of this influence, see Caesar BC 2!353 BA 35, 54, 44, 9;, 9*3 Sallust B% 25, 5(! 1;1 "hompson, op! cit!, pp!239-2(;!


e#tremely unli,ely that any of them were enfranchised under the early Dulio-Claudian period 1;2! "here are also a large num$er of names suggesting connections with early proconsuls! Some thirty-eight names recall &ugustan officials and some forty-two suggest "i$erian magistrates 1;3! >hilst it seems li,ely that few of these actually reflect such early enfranchisement, there are some possi$le e#ceptions! "hus an ancestor of the 6! &elius &eMA, recorded on an inscription from 6epcis, could possi$ly have $een granted citi@enship under the early "i$erian proconsul, 6! &elius 6amia1;(! Inder Claudius and 8ero, there seems to have $een a small e#tension in the num$ers of Roman citi@ens! +t is from this period that the first solid dating evidence emerges! :rom this time onwards, inscriptions with proper Roman nomenclature, including filiation and details of voting tri$es $egin to appear! :rom an analysis of this data it can $e seen that all new citi@ens enrolled at 6epcis $efore the grant of colonial status in 1;9-11;CE, were placed in the Kuirina tri$e, whilst those enfranchised afterwards appear in the 7apiria tri$e1;)! "he surviving epigraphic record includes thirteen e#amples of Claudii at 6epcis1;5! +t is virtually certain that the families of two of them were enfranchised during this time! "i! Claudius Sestius, a su$es and priest of Jespasian, dedicated a podium to 9omitian in the "heatre at 6epcis! "he inscription dates to 91-92CE and his tri$e is given as the Kuirina3 his nomenclature suggests that

IR( 2*;, 2*5, 2** K! Dulius Dustus3 2*5 Dulia :austa3 )*3 Dulius /oMAN3 )94 1#22 "i! Dulius :rontinus L his son "i! Dulius :ronto3 5); Dulius Oamerinus3 593 .! Dulius Cethegus3 *13 Dulia Capitolina3 *1( Dulia Clymenis3 *1) C! Dulius Silvanus3 4)4 Dulius MANnus "MAN! "orelli 119*32, stemma, adds one Dulia Serviliana! Cf these, "i! Dulius :rontinus and his son "i! Dulius :ronto were most pro$a$ly granted citi@enship under "ra<an! "heir tri$e is the 7apiria, in which all 6epcitanes were enrolled after the city $ecame a colony, whilst their names recall "i! Dulius :ero# 1cos. 992, who acted as advocate for 6epcis during the trial of .arius 7riscus! 9i Jita-Evrard 119422, p!()*3 %irley 119442, p!5! 1;3 See the inde# to IR( and %irley 119442, pp!*-4! 1;( IR( (42! Cther Aelii are also a possi$ility! +n particular, see the C! &elius Rufinus mentioned in IR( )4* L )933 C! &elius Crescens L &elia .yris 15)423 &elia 9onata 144323 5)4! %irley, op! cit!, *-4! 1;) "hompson, op! cit!, p!2((! 1;5 "here are thirteen e#tant Claudii in IR(, nos! 3153 314 L 3(*3 (5*3 )1*3 )333 )3(3 5(53 54;3 5413 5423 543!


an ancestor, pro$a$ly his father, was given citi@enship under Claudius or 8ero1;*! "he neo-7unic te#t is a direct translation of the 6atin1;4! &nother set of inscriptions from the city mar,et records one "i Claudius &micus, a first century aedile1;9! Cther evidence is less precise! "here are nineteen names recalling either Claudian or 8eronian officials 11;! & num$er of names recall the cognomina of the short-lived emperors -al$a, Ctho and Jitellius! /owever, it is worth noting that these men, or their relatives, all served as proconsuls of &frica under Claudius or 8ero111! K! Servius Candidus, who dedicated a large statue group to Claudius in the :orum Jetus, also seems to have $een enfranchised at this time112! Cne especially interesting inscription records the dedication of a statue of Cupid to /adrian $y C! Claudius Septimius M&Nfer 113! +t is possi$le that this man was a relative of Septimius11(! +n any case, his nomenclature strongly suggests that he, or another mem$er of his family, was given the franchise during this period! 9espite this gradual e#pansion of Roman citi@enship, it is significant that even at this time the epigraphic corpus demonstrates the importance of the indigenous non-citi@en elite! &s we saw a$ove, in ()-(5CE 6epcis' "heatre was completely refur$ished and a large statue-group was dedicated to Claudius inside the :orum Jetus! Jarious mem$ers of -'y $en /anno's family paid for this wor,11)! "hey are clearly still of peregrine status and were o$viously wealthy and socially influential!

1;* 1;4

IR( 314 L 3(* I'( 2*! 1;9 IR( )9;! 11; %irley, op! cit!, pp!*-4! 111 %irley, op! cit!, p!*! 112 IR( 2*), 3)*-3)93 "ibya, 49-9;! 113 IR( 315! 11( See $elow, page 39 11) "ibya, *5!


"he first ma<or e#pansion of citi@enship at 6epcis came with Jespasian's grant of municipal status in *4CE! &s a result, the city's four annual magistrates 1 aediles and su$etes2 received automatic citi@enship! "he appearance of these offices on inscriptions of the :lavian period may therefore $e ta,en as an accurate indicator of citi@en status! "he 7unic word su$es 10<udge'2 appears thirteen times in the local epigraphic record! Cf these, si# seem to date to this period 115! %y contrast, there are only four aediles recorded at 6epcis, three of which fit these criteria 11*! 7erhaps not surprisingly, 2lavii form the largest single group of imperial cognomina at 6epcis, with forty e#amples! Cf these, however, only five can $e more securely dated 114! Caution is re uired however, $ecause Jespasian himself served as proconsul under 8ero, whilst his successor was 6! "ampius :lavianus119! +t is also worth remem$ering that the name :lavius was very popular during the later empire! %irley records the names of twenty-two individuals that seem to recall :lavian officials at 6epcis, though ten of these are e#tremely du$ious12;! >hen the city $ecame a colony under "ra<an all free$orn 6epcitanes automatically $ecame citi@ens! Surprisingly however, only si# 3lpii survive in the epigraphic record 1three of which share the emperor's praenomen2121! 7resuma$ly those new citi@ens who did not adopt the imperial cognomen too, the name of the then proconsul, K! 7omponius Rufus 122! "he presence of Aelii and Aurelii at 6epcis therefore pro$a$ly reflects the activity of proconsuls from an


Su$es= IR( 29( 1Sobti23 3193 3213 3223 3233 3(13 3(*3 3(43 3(9a3 (123 )993 5;;3 5;2! "he si# :lavian e#amples are IR( 29(3 3(*3 3(43 3(9a3 (123 5;;! 11* Aediles= IR( (943 )9;3 )9*3 )99! IR( (943 )9; L )99 appear to date to the later first century! 114 See the inde# to IR( for full details! "he five clear e#amples are= IR( )52-)53 :l1avius2 &rchonitis 8ilus3 *;;*;1 :lavius Capito3 292 "! :lavius M!!Narinus3 )5( L )9) "! :lavius :rontinus /eraclius3 444 "! :lavius Capito +oMA3 )5*-)54 "! :lavius Ji$ianus! 119 "homasson, op! cit!, 7 no!(3! 12; %irley, op! cit!, p!4! %irley cites ten mem$ers of the gens Septimii on the $asis that their name recalls Septimius :laccus, a :lavian legate $ased at 6epcis! +t is e#tremely unli,ely that this man's cognomen was Septimius! See $elow, pages 31-32! 121 3lpii= IR( 2413 344 L ((;3 5313 *)33 4);3 4)9! 344 L ((;3 *)33 4)9 all share the emperor's praenomen! 122 "here are no e#tant 'omponii in the local epigraphic record! "homasson "', col! 3*9, no! 53!


earlier period, rather than direct imperial grants, such as the very early 6! &elius 6amia, or an otherwise un,nown &urelius123! "he linguistic history of 6epcis reveals a num$er of comple# phenomena at wor,! :irstly, although 7unic survives as the city's native tongue, 6atin seems to have swiftly esta$lished a position of dominance in the pu$lic world of the :orum12(! "hus the last e#tended inscriptions written in neo-7unic script date to the reign of 9omitian 1or in other words <ust after the city had $ecome a municipium212)! Secondly, despite 6atin's apparent dominance, its penetration at, and $eyond, 6epcis is rather difficult to measure! &lthough 6atin was certainly a prere uisite for those see,ing social advancement, it is unclear to what e#tent those at the other end of the spectrum used 6atin! &lthough we ,now little a$out ordinary people, the 6atinity of "ripolitania appears to $e somewhat distinctive 125! Cstraca from %u 8<em reveal a num$er of peculiar e#pressions, as well as a$normal synta# and $i@arre grammar 12*! "wo long, supposedly

he#ameter poems from %u 8<em also reveal similar features! Cne, $y a centurion named .! 7orcius +asucthan, contains so many errors that it has $een descri$ed $y &dams as 0Aone of the most incompetent he#ameter poems ever writtenA'124! "he other, $y K! &vidius Kuintianus, though generally much $etter, also ma,es fre uent mista,es 129! Such grammatical pro$lems, coupled with reasona$ly accurate spelling and inflection, suggest that 6atin was to some e#tent
123 12(

%irley, op! cit!, p!*! See &ugustine *p. 55!23 4(!2 L1;4!1(3 2;9!33 7rocopius de Bello &andalico (!1;!2;! 12) IR( 314, 3(* S I'( 23 IR( 3(9a S I'( 9! 125 &frican 6atin, as a whole, was ,nown for its peculiar vocalisations, including mispronouncing the letter 6, lengthening initial short vowels and a particular ina$ility to adapt 7unic si$ilants! &puleius Apol. 2(!13 2lor! 9!*3 St! &ug! Con$ess!1!143 Doctr. Christ.(!1;!2(3 +sidore rig.1!31!43 7ompeius .aurus #ramm. "at.)!24)!53 Consentius #ramm. "at.3923 Derome *p.1;3!)3 De Musica 2!1!1! %irley Septimius, 3), suggests that Septimius may have pronounced his own name as 0Sheptimiush Sheverush'! 12* &dams 1199(2, pp!4*-112! 124 "he poem dates to early 222! +asucthan's ina$ility to distinguish vowel length seems to have $een the underlying cause of the pro$lem! "hus lines 11, 1), 1*, 21, and 23 all have too many sylla$les for a he#ameter poem, whilst &dams remar,s that lines 2; and 22 are so $adly wrong that 0Aanalysis is pointless'! &dams 119992, pp!1;9-11(! 129 &vidius' poem dates to 2;2-2;3= &dams, op! cit!, pp!12(-12)!


an ac uired language for $oth men, as does +asucthan's failure to properly distinguish vowel lengths13;! "his suggests that whilst 6atin uic,ly $ecame the primary language of refined culture and pu$lic $usiness, native tongues, whether 6i$yan or 7unic, remained the first language for most of the region's inha$itants, especially in 6epcis' pre-desert hinterland! "his is further $orne out $y the survival of 7unic loan words in modern 6i$ya's collo uial &ra$ic131! -iven this comple#ity, it is legitimate to as, to what e#tent Septimius himself understood 7unic! &s an educated mem$er of the no$ility, he must certainly have $een fluent in 6atin, and possi$ly in -ree, too132! Some degree of fluency is strongly suggested $y the continuing strength of 7unic! Cne source, al$eit rather late, states, uite une uivocally, that he was a fluent 7unic spea,er133! "he Historia Augusta+s remar,s that Septimius' sister could $arely spea, 6atin are, however, of argua$ly greater significance 13(! &lthough caution is re uired, the $asic thrust of the story, that a female mem$er of the 6epcitane elite had noticea$ly poorer 6atin than her $rother, seems fairly accurate! +t may also mean that her 6atin was distinctive, rather than <ust poor, which would seem to fit the pattern outlined a$ove! "his may well $e the essence of another stray remar, in the vita, that Septimius retained an &frican accent throughout his life13)! &lthough the evidence for the origins of the gens Septimia is sometimes difficult to interpret, it is certainly not a hopeless tas, 1see the stemma on page viii2! Cur evidence, largely in the form of ancient literature and inscriptions, though sometimes e uivocal and occasionally patchy, is sufficiently full to allow a plausi$le reconstruction! +ndeed, as we shall see, it is possi$le to

13; 131

&dams, op! cit!, p!11(-11), p!123! Elmayer 1194(2, pp!93-1;)! 132 See .arrou, op! cit!, 25)-291! 133 *pit. De Caes. 2;!4! 13( HA Sev. 1)!*! 13) HA Sev.14!9!


untangle the complicated networ, of relationships and ultimately, to argue that on the $alance of pro$a$ilities Septimius' family did originate at 6epcis! Cur investigation $egins with one .acer, said $y the Historia Augusta to $e Septimius' paternal grandfather 1avus paternus2135! &n inscription from 6epcis has shown this to $e inaccurate 13*! .acer, a fairly common 6atin name meaning 0lean', is found throughout "ripolitania 134! +nterestingly enough, inscriptions from 6epcis record the donations of one &nno .acer and his family during the mid-first century CE139! "he last of them records the dedication of a statue to his son, -aius 7helyssam, in )(CE1(;! +n light of this, %irley suggests that .acer was Septimius' great-grandfather, citing a possi$le corruption of the Historia Augusta in support1(1! /e then goes on to suggest that .acer, active during the :lavian period, may well have received his citi@en status under one Septimius :laccus, a legate of III Augusta out-stationed at 6epcis, thus giving him the name of Septimius .acer 1(2! >hilst this interpretation is certainly attractive, it is $ased on somewhat tenuous evidence! +n the first place, .acer's identification as Septimius' great-grandfather is far from certain! Secondly, the e#istence of a fault in the te#t of the vita is not universally accepted 1(3! "hirdly, Septimius :laccus is an e#tremely shadowy figure! Cnly 7tolemy definitely records his presence at 6epcis, though other references, including two inscriptions, refer to a :lavian legate $y the name of
135 13*

HA Sev. 1!2! IR( (12 gives his name as 6ucius Septimius Severus! 134 Oa<anto "C, 2((, gives thirteen e#amples of the name in &frica! +n addition to HA Sev. 1!2, it also appears as the name of a su$es on Cea's coinage and on IR( 334 1SI'( 252 L 51)! +t is possi$le that it could also derive from a 7unic or 6i$yan root! See .uller et al, op! cit!, *;-*)3 .attingly 1199)23 Dongeling 1199(2, *-4, **, 9(-9)3 Elmayer 1194(2, p!93f for e#amples! 139 IR( 334SI'( 25! 1(; IR( 51)! 1(1 %irley Septimius, &pp! 2 no! 23! "he earlier "ives of the HA often record such relationships! See HA Marc. 1!(3 HA Comm. 1!1-23 HA &erus 1!*-4 1records his great-grandfather's consular ran,23 HA Hadr. 1!2-3 1/adrian's greatgrandfather's grandfather23 HA 'ius 1!2 1grandfather only2! %irley 119*;2, pp!)9-*43 .agie 1195;2, 3*1-(29! 1(2 %irley Septimius, 14, 21*ff! 1(3 .agie 1195;2, pp!3*;-3*1, does not mention it!


Suellius :laccus, who may or may not $e the same man 1((! +nterestingly however, a 6! Septimius :laccus 1cos! suff! 1432 served as a proconsul of 7annonia +nferior early in Commodus' reign 1()! 9espite these uncertainties, it is uite plausi$le that the Historia Augusta has recorded the name correctly, merely erring with regards to the e#act relationship! +n other words, it is possi$le that .acer was another, more distant relative, although in the a$sence of fresh evidence we cannot advance much $eyond this! >ith Septimius' grandfather, we move onto more solid ground! +ndeed, as will $ecome clear, the current de$ate centres on him! %efore advancing any further therefore, it is worth setting out the evidence as it stands! &n inscription, set up in 2;3, gives this man's name as 6ucius Septimius Severus and supplies us with details of his pu$lic career 1(5! /e held the post of su$es, 6epcis' chief native magistracy, was prae$ectus when the city $ecame a colony and immediately afterwards he $ecame its first duumvir! /e served as a priest of the imperial cult at some point and was also a <uryman at Rome itself 1 iude) inter selectos2! +t is also possi$le that he is the 0ANs .1arci2 f1ilius2 Kuir1ina tri$u2 SeveMrus fNlameMnN divi ClauMdiN' referred to in an inscription in the early part of "ra<an's reign1(*! +n any case, he was clearly an important man= he was undou$tedly of e uestrian status, had served in his city's chief magistracies and had evidently spent time at Rome1(4! &s such, he appears to have $een commemorated $y the late first century Roman poet Statius1(9!

7tolemy 1!4!(! Cf! CI" 4!1439 S 15(99 and I"Alg. 1!3;;2 Cn! Suellio :lMaccoN leg! &ug! pro pMr!N and IR( 4)( S A* 19(;!*; 0Suelli :lacci &ug! pro! pr!'3 Gonaras 11!193 Euse$ius chron. ..C++! %irley, Coup p!2)) n!35, no dou$t realising the wea,ness of his identification, plaintively remar,s that "homasson 0does not identify Suellius :laccus with Septimius :laccus'! +t must $e said however, that "homasson's <udicious inclusion of $oth names is only to $e e#pected in such a $asti 1"', 39)3 2A, 812-8132! 1() "homasson "', col! 11( no!213 6eunissen 4onsuln, 131! 1(5 IR( (12-(13! 1(* IR(3)2, dedicated some time $etween Danuary 1;1 and 9ecem$er 1;2! 1(4 HA Sev. 1!2 states that Septimius' family had e uestrian status $efore citi@enship was made universal! 6ucius' post as iude) proves it! 1(9 "his identification is disputed! %irley accepts it, see Coup, p!2)3-2)(3 119*;2, p!51-523 Septimius, &pp!2 no!25! See also Raven 119932, 1(*3 %arton 119*22, *1-*(3 /ardie 119432, 1*9! %arnes 1195*2, p!4* disagrees! See also


+n 9(-9)CE, Statius pu$lished %oo, :our of his Silvae and dedicated it to his influential patron Jitorius .arcellus! "he fifth poem of this $oo,, a rather unusual alcaic ode, is addressed to Septimius Severus, a young e uestrian and 6atin poet from 6epcis, now living in +taly 1);! "he poem, the te#t of which is set out in &ppendi# "wo, clearly shows that Statius' friend was $rought to the capital as a child! 6ines 3( to 35 descri$e the young Septimius entering 0Athe havens of &usonia', there$y su$tly comparing him to &eneas, who was li,ewise an 0Aadopted child, on "uscan waters'! 6ine 33 depicts him crawling 0Aas an infant on all the hills of Rome'1)1! "he poem also suggests that Septimius was educated at the capital, although if not actually physically located there then at least with the hallmar,s of classical Roman education! +n lines 3) to 35 Statius invo,es the legendary waters of the $onte Iuturnae and li,ens them to a mother's mil,= 0>ho would not say that he had drun,, his weaning done, of Duturna's fountainB'1)2! +n 6ine (), Statius sums up Septimius' Romanitas= 08either your speech nor your dress is 7unic, yours is no stranger's mind= +talian, you are, +talianT' 108on sermo 7oenus, non ha$itus ti$i, e#terna non mens= +talus, +talus'2 1)3! "he use of three repeated negatives 10nonA nonAnon'2 forcefully emphasises Statius' point that Septimius really is 0one of us' 1)(! "his pro$a$ly e#plains why, in the preface to this poem, Statius goes so far as to name Jeii, instead of 6epcis, as Septimius' origo1))!
Coleman 119442, 1)9! 1); Silvae ( prae$. 1;! "his style of poem was popular during the later first century and $orrowed heavily from /orace! See 7liny *p! 9!223 /ardie, op! cit!, )4-*23 Coleman, op! cit!, 1)5-1)*! 1)1 Coleman 119442, 155! 1)2 Silvae (!)!3)-5! Cf! #ell! 12!1!2;! .artial 2!95, descri$es a -erman drin,ing from the & ua .arcia as though it were the Rhine! See Coleman, op! cit!, 15*! 1)3 Sermo which primarily means speech and language, also has the sense of good diction and hence manners, see Coleman, op! cit!, 159! Cicero uses sermo in this sense in his description of "ullia= Cic! ,.2r. 1!333 also .o#ley, op! cit!, 2(1 n!9! Septimius, as a poet himself, must have paid particular attention to correct pronunciation, <ust as -ree, sophists of the period went to great lengths to imitate &ttic -ree,= Coleman, op!cit!, 1)43 %owersoc, 119592, 1-29! 1)( Coleman, op! cit!, 1543 %irley Septimius, 2;! 1)) Silvae ( prae$. 1;!


9espite this however, there must have $een something percepti$ly 0foreign' a$out Septimius! "he poem ma,es little real sense otherwise! Statius himself hints at this! Septimius is referred to as an 0+ndian /arvest' and as the 0rare cinnamon' of the Sa$aeans 1)5! /is flattery is designed to show that Septimius is fully 0Roman' in his manners and lifestyle and so conse uently, $ears no trace of the stereotypical 0faithless &frican'! /anni$al came to typify this stereotype and was often evo,ed in late first century literature as an image of savagery3 Statius himself ma,es fre uent use of this motif in his poems1)*! Septimius, as a $udding 6atin poet in his own right, also had another reason for wishing to emphasise his Romanitas! 9omitian, an emperor with literary pretensions of his own, actively prevented &fricans from winning poetry competitions 1)4! >hat then, lin,s this Septimius with the emperor's grandfatherB & close e#amination of the evidence demonstrates $eyond reasona$le dou$t that the Septimius of Statius' poem was the same man as the emperor's grandfather! "o start with, $oth men were $orn at 6epcis and were active during the late first and early second centuries 1)9! Secondly, $oth were wealthy! Statius' friend must have had at least moderate wealth to move in Statius' literary circle, whilst the emperor's grandfather, as one of 6epcis' leading citi@ens, must have $een immensely wealthy! "hirdly, $oth men held land at Jeii! Statius gives his friend's origo as Jeii15;! "he Historia Augusta states that in 191CE, <ust $efore he $ecame the governor of 7annonia, the future emperor purchased 0ela$orate gardens' at Rome, where $efore his only property in +taly had $een 0an unpretentious dwelling in the city and unum $undum in 0iam' 1/&
1)5 1)*

Silvae (!)!3;3 Coleman, op! cit!, 155! 7liny *p. 3!*, remar,s that Silius +talicus' 'unica contained some 12, 2;; versesT See /ardie, op! cit!, 1*4-14;! 1)4 /ardie, op! cit!, 14;, 235 n!51! 1)9 Statius' friend was pro$a$ly in his early twenties when Silvae %oo, :our was pu$lished! "he emperor's grandfather, a iude) at Rome in the late first and early second centuries, was pro$a$ly $orn in the mid to late 5;s! See %irley Coup, p!2)3! 15; Silvae ( prae$. 1;!


Sev. (!)2151! &lthough this corrupt portion of the te#t has often $een restored as 0a single farm in Jenetia' 10unum fundum in Jenetia'2, /ammond convincingly argues that the te#t should $e emended to read 0unum fundum Jeientanum 1vel Jeientem2' 10a single farm at Jeii'2 152! +n other words, the future emperor received this farm $y inheritance from his grandfather! "his is supported $y the discovery of a near$y lead pipe, with the name 07! Septimius -eta' inscri$ed upon it153! &lso, $oth men were of e uestrian status! Statius' friend was clearly an e-ues, whilst the emperor's grandfather served in the e uestrian legal post of iude) selectus at Rome15(! :urthermore, $oth were active in the courts! Statius praises his friend's legal elo uence=

07leasing too is your voice in the strident courts, $ut your elo uence is never venal' 1 Silvae (!)!(9-)22! Cf greater significance are the names of 6ucius' children, which $oth evo,e Statius' literary circle! "hus 7! Septimius -eta, the emperor's father, recalls Jitorius .arcellus -eta, the dedicatee of Silvae %oo, :our15)! +t is interesting to note that this is the first attested e#ample of the name at 6epcis, although it was later used as a derivative of the popular &frican name -aetulusR-aetulicus155! Similarly Septimia 7olla, the emperor's aunt, recalls &rgentaria 7olla, 6ucan's famous widow and a mem$er of Roman high society15*!
151 152

HA Sev. (!) 1erroneously recorded as -ermania23 %arnes, op! cit!, p!4*3 %irley Coup, pp!2)3-2)(! See /ammond, op! cit!, pp!1(;-1(3! Supported $y %irley Coup, p!2)(3 ignored $y %arnes, op! cit!, p!!44! "he a$ove translation is .agie's, op! cit!, 3*4-3*4! 153 CI" 11!3415 1Jia Cassia2! "his is pro$a$ly 6ucius' son 7u$lius! 15( Statius' friend is descri$ed as a iuvenis 1Silvae ( prae$. 1;2! &lthough the term strictly means 0youth' it was used to refer to young no$lemen, of either e uestrian or senatorial $ac,ground, aged $etween fourteen and seventeen! +t was also used in a wider sense to include e-uites under 3)= %alsdon L 6evic, 119952, pp!*91-*923 9i#on 119922, 133-134! :or 6ucius see IR( (12!12-13 10inter selctos Romae iudicavit'23 %arnes, op! cit!, p!443 %irley Coup, pp!2)3-2)(! 15) Statius' friend is stated to have $een a fellow school pupil with Jitorius= Silvae ( prae$. 1;3 Coleman, op! cit!, 1)4! 155 -eta is a rare name! Cf the eighteen surviving e#amples, ten are found in &frica 1seven of which come from "ripolitania2, Oa<anto "C, 2;(3 %irley 11944$2, pp!1)-15! -aetulusR-aetulicus 1referring to the -aetulii tri$e2 was often spelt as -etulusR-etulicus and could also $e shortened to -eta! IR( 5(9 records one .! 7ompeius -aetulicus and his son .! 7ompeius -eta Chirit! See also Oa<anto 1195)2, 2;5! 15* Some time after 6ucan's death in 5)CE, 7olla married one 7ollius :eli#! Statius fre uently mentions 7olla! See Silvae 2!2!1;3 3!1!4*, 1)9, 1*93 (!4!1(3 2! 'rae$ and *! See 8is$et 119*42, pp!1-113 %irley Septimus, &pp!2 no!1;3


&s such, we can $uild up a fairly accurate picture of the emperor's grandfather!


Septimius Severus was $orn to a wealthy 6epcitane family during the later first century CE 1most pro$a$ly in the late 5;s to early *;s2, of pro$a$le e uestrian status, possi$ly to the mysterious Septimius .acer! /e was ta,en to +taly 1Jeii to $e e#act2 as a child, where he was presuma$ly educated! &s a young man, li,e others of his class, he turned his hand to poetry 1none of which survives2 $efore em$ar,ing upon the more serious $usiness of a career, pro$a$ly $ecoming a iude) shortly $efore 9omitian's assassination in 95-9*CE! Returning to 6epcis after 9omitian's death, 6ucius $ecame a leading mem$er of the local elite, holding the posts of su$es and prae$ectus $efore finally $ecoming its first duumvir in 1;9-11;CE! 9espite his &frican origin, 6ucius remained completely romanised, giving his children names recalling powerful mem$ers of his former literary circle! +t is clear, then, that he was an important figure in his grandson's early life! &lthough Septimius' father, 7! Septimius -eta, was of some interest to ancient writers, he seems to have $een a less prominent figure than his father 154! "hus, very little is ,nown a$out him $eyond his name and the fact that he was the emperor's father 159! &s no details survive, it is

therefore impossi$le to go $eyond mere guesswor, in assessing his career! &lthough he was certainly not a senator 1his relatives, Septimius and &per, were the first Septimii to hold that distinction2, it is possi$le that he was the aedile 0MANs -eta' recorded on an inscription found inside the "heatre at 6epcis1*;! 9espite this, he was clearly a man of considera$le wealth! "he inscription he set up in honour of his sister, Septimia 7olla, was, according to 9uncan-Dones, 0the
233 n!1! 154 HA Sev.1!23 HA #eta2!1 states that .arius .a#imus wrote a$out -eta at great length! %irley Septimius, &pp!2!no!2;! 159 CI" 4!19(93 1Cirta2 and IR((1( 16epcis2 are the only two e#tant inscriptions set up in his honour! 1*; IR()9*!


most e#pensiveAin &frica'1*1!

/is marriage to :ulvia 7ia, of the 2ulvii "epcitani, also

illustrates his social and financial importance at 6epcis1*2! &s we saw a$ove, the emperor's sister, Septimia Cctavilla, is an important figure in our search for the origins of the gens Septimia! Some time after 194, she was honoured posthumously $y three of 6epcis' curial wards as 0a woman of most no$le memory' 10c1larissimae2 m1emoriae2 f1emina2'21*3! +n other words, it seems that she was married to a senator! .ore significantly for our particular study, however, is an oft- uoted incident in the Historia Augusta! +n the midst of a passage dealing with the events of 194, the author remar,s that during Septimius' time as emperor= 0/is sister from 6eptis once came to see him, and, since she could $arely spea, 6atin, made the emperor $lush for her hotly! &nd so, after giving the $road stripe to her son and many presents to the woman herself, he sent her home again, and also her son, who died a short time afterwards' 1HA Sev.1)!*21*(! +t is possi$le that Septimia's son, who remains unnamed $y the Historia Augusta, is the e uestrian 6! :lavius Septimius &per Cctavianus recorded on an inscription at Rome1*)! &s we saw a$ove, 6epcis' first two native consuls were $oth relatives of the emperor! "he Historia Augusta gives their names as &per and Severus and descri$es them as great-uncles 1patrui magni2 of the emperor1*5! &per, or 7! Septimius &per, was suffect consul in 1)3, whilst Severus, or C! Septimius Severus, held the office seven years later in 15; and in 1*( $ecame the

1*1 1*2

IR( 5;*3 9uncan-Dones 119522, no!54! HA Sev.1!23 IR( (1)-(15! 1*3 IR( (1*! Cctavilla must have come from an otherwise unattested relative! 1*( Septimia's hus$and 1name un,nown2 cannot have $een a senator $efore this incident3 otherwise the emperor's grant of the $road stripe to their son would have $een unnecessary! %irley Septimius, &pp! 2, no!4! 1*) CI" 5!1(1)! :lavia 8eratia Septimia Cctavilla, Cctavianus' daughter, set up the inscription! %irley Septimius, &pp! 2, no!1*3 IR(, p!193 7+R 2 8);! 1*5 HA Sev.1!2!


proconsul of &frica, with the future emperor serving as his legate 1**! &s such, Severus is recorded on a num$er of inscriptions throughout &frica! Cne from "hu$uriscu 8umidarum records him as the city's patron and gives us details of his career 1*4! &nother inscription, from the arch of .arcus &urelius at 6epcis, was dedicated in 1*(, 0when the proconsul was C! Septimius Severus, and his legate was 6! Septimius Severus'1*9! %arnes argues that Severus is also the su$<ect of an inscription from 7raeneste, which records a MC!N Sept! C!f! Severus of the 7apinia tri$e 14;! &t first glance, this idea seems attractive3 this Severus is also a 0Caius filius', whilst 7raeneste is very close to the +talian estates of the Septimii at Jeii! Cf particular importance is this man's tri$e, the 7apinia! "his voting tri$e was almost e#clusively restricted to +taly! Conse uently, %arnes concludes that the Septimii were, therefore, originally +talian settlers141! %arnes' hypothesis stands and falls upon the lin, $etween this Severus and the consul for 15;! "hus, if the lin, is wea,ened, then so is his conclusion! &s it happens, an inscription from .auretania "ingitana directly challenges this connection! "his inscription, ,nown as the (abula Banasitana, records the grant of citi@enship in 1** to Dulianus, a .auritanian tri$al leader 142! &ppended to the main te#t of the document is an archival copy of the senatorial de$ate, which includes the names of those present143! C! Septimius Severus, as a senior e#-consul, attended3 interestingly, his name is given as 0Caii :ilius Kui1rina tri$u2' 10the son of Caius, of the Kuirina

1** 1*4

%irley Septimius, &pp!2 no!1), no!2)! See pages )*-)4! I" Alg.1!1243! "he te#t names the proconsul as 0-mius Severus' and so surely refers to the emperor's relative! 9i Jita-Evrard 119532, p!394ff! 1*9 A* 195*!)35! "homasson 119952, 7 49, reproduces the te#t! 14; CI" 1(!3;;(3 %arnes 2amily, p!49! 141 %arnes, op! cit!, pp!49-9;! 142 A* 19*1!)3(! E#amined $y Sherwin->hite 119*32, pp!45-94! 143 Sherwin->hite, op! cit!, pp!45-49!


tri$e'214(! "his significant piece of evidence reveals a num$er of things! :irstly, it shows that he cannot have $een the man referred to in the 7raeneste inscription3 although the praenomen is the same, the tri$e is not! &s was seen a$ove, those 6epcitanes who were enfranchised at 6epcis $efore "ra<an's grant of colonial status in 1;9-11; were automatically enrolled in the Kuirina tri$e14)! "herefore the highest-ran,ing mem$er of the gens Septimia $elonged to a voting tri$e widespread amongst the pre-colonial elite! +n other words, the emperor's family was almost certainly enfranchised at 6epcis be$ore "ra<an's time, possi$ly during the :lavian period! +t also means that Severus cannot $e the emperor's great-uncle, for which he would need to $e a son of 6ucius the su$es! &n inscription from 6epcis supplies a very plausi$le candidate for this Severus' father! 9uring the reign of &ntoninus 7ius, one C! Cl1audius2 Septimius M&Nfer set up a statue to honour the emperor in the Chalcidicum 145! &lthough he is otherwise un,nown, his nomenclature suggests a possi$le lin, 1he is a Caius and Severus is a Caius filius2! /is name also suggests a relationship with 7! Septimius &per, 6epcis' first native consul, &per $eing merely a variant spelling of &fer14*! +f true, this would put him in the same generation as the emperor's grandfather 6ucius, to which no serious o$<ection arises 144! "he additional name of Claudius is easily e#plained as deriving from a marriage lin, with a family of Claudii, of which there are two nota$le native e#amples at 6epcis149!

14( 14)

A* 19*1!)3(!((! See page 24! 145 IR( 315! 14* "he meaning of &fer is unclear! +t could mean either 0&frican' or 0%oar'! %irley Coup, 2)4ff!3 %irley Septimius, &pp!2!no! 1)! 144 Caius, as a senior figure in &ntonine 6epcis, is li,ely to have $een a mature man! & $irth date in the later first century CE is therefore eminently possi$le! 149 IR( 314 L 3(*= "i! Claudius Sestius 1senior and <unior2! IR( )9;= "i! Claudius &micus! %oth names are suggestive of native origin!


"here is also a distinct possi$ility that Septimius was a distant relative of the powerful second century orator, .! Cornelius :ronto! +n a letter to one 7etronius .amertinus, :ronto

recommends a young man who is said to $e 0among the devotees of our $amilia' 1Ad Am! 1!1;!22! &lthough $amilia can mean 0household', Champlin argues that :ronto is here referring to an actual $lood relationship19;! +f this connection is accurate, it shows a clear lin, to the powerful senator . 7etronius .amertinus 1cos! 1);2 191! Cf particular interest, however, is the

nomenclature of this man's son, .! 7etronius Sura Septimianus, which seems to recall a marriage lin, with an otherwise unattested Septimia 192! :urther corro$orative evidence can $e found in SeptimiusU appointment of :ronto's two grandsons, .! &ufidius :ronto and C! &ufidius Jictorinus, to ordinary consulships193! "hat they served in consecutive years 1199 and 2;; respectively2 seems particularly suggestive of a family connection 19(! +t is possi$le, therefore, that the 0ANo :rontMoNni', recorded as the city's first senator under "ra<an, is also distantly related19)! "urning $riefly to the less prominent mem$ers of the gens Septimia, we can see further lin,s with 6epcis and &frica in general! "hus 7accia .arciana, Septimius' first wife, was a mem$er of one of 6epcis' leading families195! "he Historia Augusta states that Septimius had two daughters $y this marriage, who were married to 7ro$us and &etius in 193 19*! "his is highly

Cf! Ad Am. 1!12!1 where :ronto, writing to his son-in-law, refers to 0familiam nostram' 10our family'2 Champlin 1194;2, 1;, 1() n!32! See also %irley Coup, p!259 191 7+R 2 724*! 192 Champlin, op! cit!, 9-1;3 7+R 2 7312 and stemma3 %irley Coup, p!2593 %irley Septimius, 2*f!, &pp! 2 nos! )*, )4, )93 Syme 1194;a2, pp!1293-1294! 193 Champlin, op! cit!, 24! :or &ufidius :ronto see 7+R 2 &134)3 &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %ar$ieri Albo, no!59! :or &ufidius Jictorinus, see 7+R 2 &139(3 &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %ar$ieri Albo, no!*2! 19( &lfoldy Senat, p!1)4! 19) IR( 52(3 Reynolds 119))2, p!129! 195 7accia's names suggest that various ancestors of hers were given citi@enship during the proconsulships of .arcius %area and 7accius &fricanus! She is a rather mysterious figure, dying pro$a$ly in 14)! &lthough HA Sev.3!1-2 remar,s that Septimius 0made no mention of her in the history of his life as a private man', several statues were set up $y him in her honour, IR( (1;-(1116epcis23 CI" 4!19(9( 1Cirta2! %irley Septimius, *), &pp!2 no!)5! 19* HA Sev. 4!1-3!


unli,ely! "here is no record, in any other source, of the e#istence of these young women, which seems strange, given their li,ely status! :ulvia 7ia, the emperor's mother, is only attested in two e#tant inscriptions, $oth set up $y Septimius himself194! /er family, the 2ulvii "epcitani, were originally +talian immigrants and are first attested at 6epcis under &ugustus199! &s epigraphic evidence reveals, the family soon married into the local elite, most nota$ly with the native 'lautii 1from whom sprang C! :ulvius 7lautianus, Septimius' close friend and praetorian prefect2 2;;! &lthough not a$solutely certain, it is li,ely that the emperor's $rother, also a 7! Septimius -eta, was his father's eldest son! 8ot only did he inherit his father's full name, he also seems to have $egun his career $efore his $rother's2;1! Cf the remaining Septimii, 6! Septimius &per 1cos! ord! in 2;*2 was particularly connected with $usiness, it seems to $e his name stamped upon olive oil amphorae found at Rome2;2! +t seems pro$a$le however, that this man's name was actually C! Septimius Severus &per! &n as yet unpu$lished military diploma calls the consul ordinarius for 2;* $y this name2;3! +f accurate, this would ma,e him a son or grandson of C! Septimius Severus 1cos! 15;2! +t seems particularly appropriate to end our discussion with 6! Septimius &per for a num$er of reasons! :irstly, his apparent involvement with 6epcis' lucrative olive oil trade reminds us the

194 199

HA Sev 1!23 IR( (1)-(15! IR(32; L 3243 %irley Septimius, 22;! See page 2(! 2;; "hompson 11959$2, p!2(5, suggests that the 'lautii were enfranchised at the $ehest of "i! 7lautius Silvanus &elianus, son of 6! &elius 6amia 1proconsul under "i$erius2! &fter 7lautianus' 17+R 2 : ))(2 fall from grace and e#ecution in 2;), he suffered damnatio memoriae and all pu$lic record of him was destroyed! /is children, 7u$lia :ulvia 7lautilla 17+R 2 : )5(2 and C! :ulvius 7lautius /ortensianus 17+R 2 : )))2 were $oth e#iled and later put to death $y Caracalla! %irley Septimius, &pp! 2, nos! 29, 32, 33! Cther 2ulvii include the emperor's maternal grandfather, :ulvius 7ius 1HA Sev.1!22, :ulvius 7ius, cos! ord! in 234 17+R 2 : ))3, %ar$ieri Albo, no!1;)(2 and one C! :ulvius 7ius 1A* 193;!5*2! 2;1 "he father's praenomen was commonly reserved for the eldest son! Salway 1199(2, p!12)3 %irley Septimius, &pp! 2, no! 213 cf! IR(, p!193 %arnes, op! cit!, p!91, p!1;*! -eta's career pro$a$ly $egan in 152, it ended with a second consulship in 2;3! See IR( )(1! See Chapter "wo, page )2! 2;2 .attingly (ripoli., 1)3-1)), "a$le *!1! 2;3 ' Michigan )(*( uoted in %irley Septimius, 2*(!


city's e#pansion was $ased s uarely upon its mercantile strength! &s we have seen, it was the city's rich trading networ,s that $rought it to international prominence, and hence eventually into the or$it of Rome! Secondly, 6ucius' family, the gens Septimia, stood at the forefront of the city's drive for social mo$ility during the late first and second centuries! &s was argued a$ove, they represent the most successful of many such native families at 6epcis, and indeed throughout &frica as a whole! "he emperor's family were most pro$a$ly enfranchised during the :lavian period, whilst his grandfather was the city's first duumvir and his two second cousins were the first 6epcitanes to reach the consulship! &s such, we can see that the emperor's roots lay firmly at 6epcis, although his connections spread far $eyond the city of his $irth! +n Chapter "wo, we shall $uild further upon the conclusions reached in this chapter $y focusing on Septimius' career as an aspiring senator!


Chapter (5o! Septimius and the Cursus Honorum!

Chapter "wo aims to e#tend the discussion $y loo,ing at Septimius' relationships with the wider Roman no$ility! :ocus will therefore $e given to his progress through the senatorial career structure! +n particular, careful attention will $e paid to the future emperor's patron-client networ,s, and what part, if any, &frica played in their formation and further development! +n order to place the de$ate within its proper conte#tual framewor,, it will $e necessary to e#amine the principal features of Romano-&frican society! :rom here, the focus will shift to an in-depth loo, at Septimius' senatorial career, from its $eginnings in the 15;s to the fall of Cleander in 19;! +t is important to $ear in mind at this point that this present wor, does not aim to $e a $iographical account3 any such study has $een rendered largely superfluous $y %irley's generally well-researched effort! +n spite of this, detailed reference to relevant events has occasionally $een deemed appropriate! +t is hoped that $y this method the reader can come to a fuller understanding of Septimius' true place within the wider Roman world! &s is evident at 6epcis, the cities of 8orth &frica were deeply affected $y Roman cultural power! "his can $e seen in a num$er of ways! &rchaeological studies have amply demonstrated the adoption of classical architectural fashions completely transformed the physical appearance of the region's ur$an centres2;(! +n addition the epigraphic record reveals that, $y the mid-second century at the latest, 7unic had $een all $ut replaced $y 6atin in pu$lic conte#ts 2;)! &frican enthusiasm for 6atin e#tended

"he ur$an archaeology of 8orth &frica has $een the su$<ect of intensive study! :or an introduction, with references to further reading, see "ibya, *-1;3 .acOendric, 1194;2, passim3 .attingly L /itchner 1199)2, pp!15)213! 2;) See Chapter Cne, pages 24-29!


$eyond the purely functional! & large num$er of inscriptions honour the students of 6atin literature as 0amator studiorum' 10lover of learning'2 and 0doctissimus et facundissimus' 10most learned and elo uent22;5! &lso ,nowledge of -ree, was considered to $e the height of

sophistication! &puleius compliments his audience $y implying that they could understand -ree, and he later insults his opponent $y pointing to his ignorance of $oth -ree, and 6atin 2;*! +n this climate, it is perhaps not surprising that amateur poets were a$undant! Septimius' own grandfather wrote poetry2;4! Champlin cites some three hundred 0metrical efforts' in the region's epigraphic corpus2;9! Cther e#amples could also $e added! "wo long he#ameter-style poems have $een discovered on two inscriptions from %u 8<em dating to the third century21;! +t was not long $efore &frica produced its own home grown intelligentsia! %y the mid-second century, Carthage had $ecome the intellectual capital of &frica, eventually ran,ing second in the >estern Empire $ehind Rome itself211! +n spite of this, the capital remained the true focus for educated &fricans! 9uring the first century, &nnaeus Cornutus, 6ucan and 7ersius' teacher and Se#tius Sulla, an associate of 7lutarch, were active at Rome 212! %y the mid-second century, the &fricans Cornelius :ronto and "uticius 7roculus were the 6atin tutors of the young Caesar .arcus &urelius213! -iven the prestige of rhetoric, it is small wonder that many aspiring &fricans found a fruitful outlet for their talents as <urymen and lawyers in Rome's $urgeoning legal system! "he satirist Duvenal confirms this= 0+f you really suppose your tongue can earn you a wor,a$le living, you'd
2;5 2;*

I"Alg.1!333 I"A$.32)3 CI" 4!2(593 A* 19)*, p!)5! Apol. (!13 423 94!4! 2;4 Statius Silvae (!)!)5-5;! See &ppendi# Cne! 2;9 Champlin 1194;2, 1(4 n!45! 21; &dams 119992, pp! 1;9-13(! 211 Champlin, op! cit!, 143 /arrison 12;;;2, 5-*! 212 Champlin, op! cit!, 14 L 1(9 n!493 Dones 119*12, 5;! 213 HA Marc. 2!3-)3 Champlin, op! cit!, 1(9 n!9;!


$etter emigrate to -aul or &frica Q lawyers are flourishing there' 1Satires *!1(5-1(42! &s was made clear in Chapter Cne, Septimius' own grandfather spent many years at Rome 0in the strident courts' 1Statius Silvae (!)!(92! &t a$out the same time, the famous $iographer

Suetonius, who may well come from /ippo Regius, was also ma,ing a name for himself at the $ar21(! /is erudition $rought him into contact with the Hounger 7liny, whose patronage launched Suetonius on a noteworthy e uestrian career, culminating in three successive posts in the imperial $ureaucracy21)! .! Cornelius :ronto, the cele$rated 6atin orator and tutor of .arcus &urelius, is another contemporary e#ample! %orn at Cirta, pro$a$ly during the last years of the first century CE, :ronto seems to have migrated to Rome during his adolescence 215! &fter completing his studies at the capital, much li,e Septimius himself as will $ecome clear, :ronto held a vigintiviral post in the imperial $ureaucracy, $efore eventually esta$lishing himself as the leading orator and advocate of his time21*! :ronto's rhetorical s,ill led to him $ecoming the tutor of the young Caesar, .arcus &urelius! :ortunately, many of :ronto's letters are still e#tant! :ronto's world revolved around the law courts and literary salons of Rome and his friends and associates are all mem$ers of the Roman senatorial elite 214! /is attitude towards &frica is curiously am$iguous! :ronto maintains close and friendly relations with his native Cirta! /e is especially concerned to promote the interests of his home city and to enhance the careers of young Cirtans 219! 9espite this, his connections with the rest of provincial &frica are so few as to $e almost non-e#istent3


Suetonius' origins are disputed! &n inscription from /ippo Regius, which proudly records his career, has $een thought to indicate an &frican origin! See >allace-/adrill 119432, 3-(, ) n!43 cf! Syme 119)42, *4;f3 119412, 133*13393 Darrett Album, no!1)*! 21) >allace-/adrill, op! cit!, 3*-(1! 215 Champlin, op! cit!, ), 2; L &pp! %! 21* Champlin, op! cit!, 2;-21! 214 Champlin, op! cit!, 2;-29! 219 Ad Am. 1!3!1ff3 Champlin, op! cit!, 1)-15!


there are few non-Cirtan &fricans referred to in his surviving correspondence 22;! .oreover, his references to &frica, though few are revealing! +n one letter he deprecatingly calls himself 0a 6i$yan of the 6i$yan nomads' 1.! Caes 1!1;!)2, in another he prays to his ancestral god Dupiter &mmon221! Elsewhere, he defensively compares himself to &nacharsis, the learned Scythian, $elieving his own $ac,ground was similarly wild, despite his erudition222! "he e#tant wor,s of &puleius, from .adauros in 8umidia, allow us further insight into the culture of second century &frica223! & $rief e#amination reveals the developing pattern of upward mo$ility in &frica! 6i,e :ronto, &puleius was $orn into a wealthy provincial family, pro$a$ly during the 12;sCE, leaving in the late 13;sCE to pursue his studies at Carthage, Rome and unusually, &thens22(! Su$se uently, he made a successful career as a pu$lic spea,er, $eing granted a statue at Carthage and serving as &frica's priest of the imperial cult 22)! &lthough &puleius was not ,nown to have $een a lawyer, his wor,s $etray a clear understanding of Roman law3 one of his earliest pu$lished wor,s, the Apologia, is a stylised account of his defence against a charge of sorcery225! /is attitude towards his home province is, li,e :ronto, am$iguous! +n pleading his case $efore the proconsul, he irrita$ly refers to himself as 0part8umidian and part--aetulian' 1&pol! 2(!22! Replying to attac,s on his o$scure $ac,ground, he, li,e :ronto, cites &nacharsis= 0>ise &nacharsis was $orn among the idiot Scythians, the shrewd &thenians produced the $loc,-head .eletides' 1&pol! 2(!52!

22; 221

Cnly two names are ,nown, Dulius Sene# and Dulius & uilinus, see Champlin, op! cit!, 1(4 n!*(! &er. Imp. 2!1!53 Champlin, op! cit!, 4! 222 :ronto *p. &ar. 4!1! 223 :or a summary of &puleius' $irth, career and surviving wor,s, see /arrison, op! cit!, 1-34, 51-52! 22( /arrison, op! cit!, 1, 5! 22) /arrison, op! cit!, 4! 225 /arrison, op! cit!, 5-4, 4;-41 n!1;9!


9espite the defensiveness evident in the writings of $oth :ronto and &puleius, &fricans were clearly proud of their achievements! 7! 7ostumus Romulus records his entry to the senate with o$vious pleasure3 he was the 0first of the "hu$ursicitani to $e awarded the latus clavus'22*! "his was the conte#t $ehind Statius' strenuous defence of Septimius' grandfather= 08either your speech nor your dress is 7unic, yours is no stranger's mind= +talian, you are, +talianT' 1Statius Silvae (!)!()-(52! &lthough it is virtually certain that Septimius was $orn on 11 th &pril 1(), little else is ,nown of his early years224! 8evertheless, it is possi$le to e#pand upon the meagre information found scattered throughout the sources! +t is thus more than li,ely that Septimius spent his formative years in the care of tutors! -iven the deep cultural and political allegiance of his family and home-city to Rome this is perhaps to $e e#pected! +f his education followed the traditional Roman curriculum, then $etween the ages of seven and twelve Septimius would have attended the classes of the magister ludi229! /ere he would have learned $asic reading, writing and arithmetic, alongside the memorisation of short moral ma#ims23;! Cn completing these

elementary studies, children generally progressed to a more intensive study of grammar, under the direction of the grammaticus231! &lthough 9io has raised some dou$t a$out the e#tent of Septimius' education, he must have studied grammar at least 232! +ndeed, as the grandson of an +talianophile poet, Septimius' schooling was li,ely to have $een fairly e#tensive! "hus it seems pro$a$le that he proceeded to the ne#t stage in Roman education! "he talented, or more usually the wealthy, could then attach themselves to an individual rhetor! :rom the ages of fifteen to
22* 224

A* 19;5!5 1"hu$uriscum 8umidarum2! See also I"S 1;;1! See page 1, note 1! 229 .uir 119952, pp!);9-)1;3 .arrou 119)52, 25)! 23; .arrou, op! cit!, 259-2*1! 231 .arrou, op! cit!, 2*(-243! 232 9io *5 1**2! 15!1-2!


eighteen such pupils were given in-depth instruction in pu$lic oratory, usually $y means of an e#haustive study of literary e)empla233! +n Septimius' case, the Historia Augusta states that he gave an inaugural pu$lic address at 6epcis during his eighteenth year, most pro$a$ly in the newly refur$ished "heatre 23(! "his coming-ofage lecture, delivered in front of an audience of the city's deeply status-conscious no$ility, was presuma$ly intended to mar, the end of Septimius' preliminary studies! Correct 6atin grammar and pronunciation would therefore have $een essential! +t is worth noting the care with which &puleius, ma,ing a speech in near$y Cea, ta,es to compliment his own audience3 they are flatteringly assumed to ,now -ree,, understand philosophy and to have had more than a passing ac uaintance with magical lore23)! &ccording to the Historia Augusta, the young Septimius left for Rome shortly after this ceremony, in order to pursue his studies, arriving in the capital sometime during 153-15( 235! &cademic and literary pursuits were then at the height of their prestige! Sophists gained massive popularity in the city through their ver$al and linguistic s,ills, whilst philosophers of almost every persuasion continued to $eat a path to Rome! "he emperor himself, .arcus &urelius, followed the stoic school and was also the author of the Meditations, a deeply personal reflection on the nature of duty! /is former tutors, though old, were still immensely popular! "he &thenian /erodes &tticus was still giving lectures on -ree, sophistry, whilst his 6atin counterpart, :ronto, had $ecome one of the period's most learned men!

233 23(

.arrou, op! cit!, 243-291! HA Sev. 1!)3 "ibya, 9)-95! 23) Apol. (3 423 94!4! 235 HA Sev. 1!)! +f Septimius was $orn in 1()CE, his eighteenth year would fall in 153 to 15(3 cf! %irley Septimius, (;, who puts this in the previous year, i!e! 152-153CE!


&rriving in the capital, Septimius must have $een struc, $y the prestige and authority of such men! +ndeed, as we saw in the previous chapter, it is possi$le that he may have $een a distant relative of :ronto's! "he nomenclature of .! 7etronius Sura Septimianus, a son of the orator's powerful ,insman 1cos! 1);2, seems to recall a marriage lin, with the Septimii23*! +t is also worth $earing in mind that .! &ufidius :ronto and C! &ufidius Jictorinus, :ronto's two grandsons, later served under Septimius as ordinary consuls234! "hat they served in consecutive years 1199 and 2;; respectively2 is particularly suggestive of a family connection of some sort239! +n any case, given Septimius' energetic and am$itious nature, it is li,ely that he set a$out his studies with vigour! &lthough not stated une uivocally, it is virtually certain that he studied law! /onore descri$es Septimius' reign as emperor as a ,ey period in the development of Roman law and as a 0golden age for lawyers' in particular 2(;! &s such, a num$er of ancient and modern historians have argued that as a young man Septimius held the <unior post of treasury advocate 1advocatus $iscus2, although this is almost certainly wrong! 7rior to $ecoming emperor,

Septimius was twice called upon to defend himself in open court! &s a young man he was charged with adultery, $ut, in the words of the Historia Augusta, he 0pleaded his own case and was ac uitted $y the proconsul Dulianus' 1HA Sev. 2!22! +n later life, during the chaotic last years of Commodus, Septimius was charged with consulting astrologers! /e was again ac uitted, and his accuser was apparently crucified! &lthough, as we shall see, this second trial and ac uittal were politically motivated, a thorough ,nowledge of law would have $een vital2(1!

"he relationship $etween :ronto and .! 7etronius .amertinus is shown in Ad Am. 1!1;!2! %irley Coup, p!259, followed $y Champlin, op! cit!, 9-1;, argues that Septimianus' nomenclature suggests a marriage lin, $etween his father and an otherwise un,nown Septimia! See 7+R 2 724* 1.! 7etronius .amertinus, cos! 1);23 7+R 2 7312 1Septimianus, cos! ord! 19;23 7+R 2 7311 1.! 7etronius .amertinus, cos! ord! 14223 %irley Septimius, 2*f, &pp! 2 no! )*, )4, )9! 234 Champlin, op! cit!, 24! :or &ufidius :ronto see 7+R 2 &134)3 &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %ar$ieri Albo, no!59! :or &ufidius Jictorinus, see 7+R 2 &139(3 &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %ar$ieri Albo, no!*2! 239 &lfoldy Senat, p!1)4! 2(; /onore 119522, p!153! 2(1 HA Sev. (!3-(!


>e can also gauge the e#tent of Septimius' legal training $y other means! +n 1**, .arcus &urelius appointed Septimius praetor! 9uring the principate, praetors were primarily responsi$le for presiding over the courts at Rome! .arcus, who is said to have $een scrupulous in the administration of <ustice, dramatically increased the num$er of days in which the courts could hear cases2(2! &s such, it is e#tremely unli,ely that he would have employed someone in such an important capacity who was not familiar with Roman law! "his is given still greater emphasis $y Septimius' su$se uent posting to /ispania "arraconensis as legatus iuridicus! "he role of the legatus iuridicus was to assist the provincial governor in all legal matters! &s such, Septimius would have needed $oth e#perience and understanding of the practical application of the law 2(3! Septimius must therefore have studied law to uite an advanced degree, possi$ly wor,ing as an advocate, pleading cases in the courts, li,e his grandfather $efore him! &lthough it remains somewhat unli,ely, it is not impossi$le that he was a pupil of the noted <urist K! Cervidius Scaevola, along with his later colleague 7apinian, as stated $y the Historia Augusta2((! &lmost immediately after his arrival in Rome, Septimius' am$ition was rewarded when the emperor granted his petition to wear the latus clavus 1or $road stripe2! "his grant was an important first step in esta$lishing Septimius' fledgling career $ecause it opened up the promise of a place in the senate! &s such, it is of particular relevance to our own study $ecause it allows us an insight into the operation of patronage! "he Historia Augusta remar,s that Septimius was awarded the $road stripe through the efforts of his consular relative, C! Septimius Severus 2()! "here was nothing unusual in this! &s a close relative and an e#-consul, C! Septimius Severus would have $een e#pected to use his influence to promote his young ,insman's career! +ndeed,
2(2 2(3

HA Marc. 12!3-(, cf! 2(!23 "al$ert 1194(2, 14)ff3 %irley 119932, 133ff, 1*9ff3 %irley Septimius, )(-))! HA Sev 3!(! See %arnes 1195*2, pp!93-9(3 %irley Septimius, ))! 2(( HA Cara. 4!3! 2() HA Sev! 1!)!


the only remar,a$le thing a$out this entire incident is <ust how ordinary it is! "here is no mention of &frica or of any &frican faction at all! +t is also highly li,ely that Caius' influence secured Septimius a post in the vigintivirate! :rom its inception in the early Repu$lic, this 0$oard of twenty' 1originally a $oard of twenty-si#2 had $een used to groom young no$lemen for the rigours of a senatorial career $y providing them with <unior posts in the $ureaucracy! Isually held at a$out the age of twenty, vigintiviral posts covered four distinct areas of responsi$ility! "he three most eminent young men would serve as officials in the mint at Rome 1tresviri monetales2! &nother ten 1usually those with consular fathers2 served in the courts 1the decemviri stlitibus iudicandis2! "hose from less prestigious $ac,grounds were usually given posts among either the -uattoviri viarum curandarum 1who helped oversee the up,eep of the +talian road networ,2 or the tresviri capitals 1who seem to have had a policing function22(5! &lthough unattested in Septimius' case, $y his time the tenure of one of these posts had $ecome an essential prere uisite for entry to the senate2(*! +ndeed, his $rother -eta served as a decemvir stlitibus iudicandis2(4! +t is virtually certain, therefore, that he held one of these posts, most pro$a$ly sometime $etween 15( and 155CE2(9! "he ne#t step for many young no$lemen would have $een a commission as a <unior officer 1military tri$une2 in one of the legions! &lthough a late source avers that Septimius served in this capacity, the Historia Augusta has him 0omitting the office of tri$une of the soldiers' 1/& Sev! 2!322);! >hilst this was unusual, it was $y no means unheard of! "hose from either
2(5 2(*

"al$ert, op! cit!, 13! 9io )(!25!)3 %irley 119412, (ff3 "al$ert, op! cit!, 1(! 2(4 IR( )(1! 2(9 %y this rec,oning, he would have $een a$out twenty when he served in the vigintivirate! See %irley Septimius, (;! 2); Eutr! Brev. 4!12!2! :or further discussion, see %arnes 2amily, p!913 %irley Septimius, 39! 7latnauer 119142, (; and /ammond 119(;2, p!1)(, avoid the uestion for lac, of evidence!


patrician or old senatorial families were not so concerned with it, whilst for those from less august $ac,grounds the military tri$unate was not an essential prere uisite for entry into the senate2)1! .oreover, during the 15;s Rome fought a num$er of serious wars on its eastern and northern frontiers! "his may well also have had an impact on the recruitment of young officers3 whilst there may have $een more vacancies than usual, given the occurrence of casualties, it is li,ely that those tri$unes with demonstra$le military talent would have $een retained for longer periods2)2! +nterestingly enough, Septimius' $rother -eta held a tri$unate with the legio II Augusta in %ritain2)3! +t is also distinctly possi$le that during this time -eta made the

ac uaintance of the future emperor 7! /elvius 7ertina#! & num$er of inscriptions attest the presence of detachments from ++ &ugusta at Cor$ridge on "yne, whilst during the 15;s, 7ertina# held two military posts in %ritain2)(! "he first was as an e uestrian tri$une of legio &I &ictri), $ased at Hor,, though a num$er of inscriptions show that ve#illations from J+ Jictri# were active on /adrian's >all2))! "he second, and more significant, seems to have $een the command of coh. I (ungrorum, most pro$a$ly $ased at /ousesteads2)5! "wo late sources state that Septimius served as an advocate for the imperial treasury 1an advocatus $iscus2, however this is e#tremely unli,ely2)*! %oth references are pro$lematic! +n its life of -eta, the Historia Augusta remar,s that Septimius named his second son &ntoninus $ecause the emperor &ntoninus 7ius had made him an advocate 2)4! :irstly, as there is no

2)1 2)2

"al$ert, i$id! "he usual length of service in this post seems to have $een a$out one year! "al$ert, i$id3 %irley Septimius, 393 %irley 119932, &pp! 3! 2)3 IR( )(1! 2)( RIB 112*3 11353 11))-11)4! 2)) RIB 112;3 11223 112)3 113;-11323 113*3 11)9-11533 11*)3 119; all show troops from J+ Jictri# at Cor$ridge on "yne! 2)5 A* 1953!)2! :or commentary, see Ool$e 119522, pp!(;*-(2;3 %irley Septimius, 234, n!)! 2)* Jictor De Caes. 2;!3;3 HA #eta 2!(! 2)4 HA #eta 2!(!


mention of this in the epigraphic and numismatic record, this is highly suspicious 2)9! Secondly, as Septimius can only have $een fifteen years of age when 7ius died in 151, he would have $een far too young for such a position 25;! +n his Breviarium, Eutropius ma,es a similar remar,! /owever, he is far too vague with details to $e given much credence on this occasion251! %y 155, at the very latest, Septimius' employment as a vigintivir had come to an end! +n the same year, the emperor 6ucius Jerus returned to Rome after a spectacular victory in the east over 7arthia252! "he am$itious twenty-year-old, who had already ac uired something of a

reputation as a ra,e and whose sights must have $een set firmly upon attaining the uaestorship at twenty-four, may even have witnessed Jerus' triumphant entry into the city 253! Infortunately, the victorious soldiers $rought $ac, a deadly plague with them, which spread uic,ly throughout the capital25(! Septimius, who may first have retired to his family estates near Jeii, seems to have returned to &frica at this point, where he continued his wild $ehaviour! "he ever-

interesting vita Severi remar,s enigmatically that Septimius was charged with adultery, whereupon he 0Apleaded his own case and was ac uitted $y the proconsul Dulianus, the man who was his immediate predecessor in the proconsulship, his colleague in the consulship, and li,ewise his predecessor on the throne' 1/& Sev! 2!2-32! "he proconsul of &frica during 15*154 was none other than Salvius Dulianus, the famous <urist! 9idius Dulianus, Septimius'

predecessor as emperor, was in all pro$a$ility present at the trial, as his relative's legate 25)!
2)9 25;

Syme 119*1c2, 41-42! +f Septimius was $orn in 1() he would have $een fifteen when 7ius died on the seventh of .arch 151! See .agie 1195;2, 1293 %irley 119932, 113, 115, 12;! :or Septimius' date of $irth see page 1, note 1! 251 %ird 119932, vii-lvii3 %arnes, op! cit!, p!933 Dones 119*32, 1;1;! 252 %irley, op! cit!, 1()-1(5! 253 HA Sev. 2!1-2 remar,s that Septimius' youth was 0filled with follies and not free from crime'! "he minimum age for a -uaestor was set at 3; during the late repu$lic! &ugustus lowered this, first to 2) and then to 2(, on the principle that one's 2)th year $egan after the end of the 2(th $irthday 1Dig. );!(!42! &ugustus also gave Cne year's remission for each child! %irley 119412, 123 "al$ert, op! cit!, 14! 25( %irley, op! cit!, 1(9ff! 25) "homasson 2A, 74)


"hus, although the Historia Augusta has erred in its identification, it has recorded a significant point3 Septimius and 9idius Dulianus ,new each other prior to 193 255! +t also seems that, during this time, the emperor 6ucius Jerus died from a stro,e, whilst preparing for a ma<or offensive against the hostile tri$es of the north25*! +n any case, Septimius was $ac, in Rome in time to stand for the uaestorial elections for 1*; 254! Evidently, the ac uittal had not adversely affected his career prospects! +t is highly li,ely that his two consular relatives were active $ehind the scenes on his $ehalf! +n any case, in late 159 Septimius was duly elected uaestor! >ith this he officially entered the Roman senate, which at that time had a mem$ership of a$out si# hundred 259! /e could therefore spea, and vote at senatorial meetings, though as a new senator his more senior colleagues too, precedence 2*;! 9uring the principate, twenty uaestors were elected annually! "wo would $e seconded to the emperor himself as -uaestores Caesaris, two would serve in the imperial treasury as -uaestores urbani, four would assist the consuls and the rest were either $ased in +taly or were attached to the staff of provincial governors as financial assistants 2*1! &lthough very little is ,nown of Septimius' year as uaestor, it seems li,ely, given his am$ition, that he applied himself to his duties with enthusiasm! "he Historia Augusta states that he 0$ecame uaestor and performed his duties with diligence' 1/& Sev! 2!32! +nterestingly, 9io states that at this time Septimius' am$itions were encouraged $y a prophetic dream, in which he saw himself 0suc,led $y a shewolf <ust as Romulus had $een' 19io *( 1*)2! 3!12!


"he author of the HA seems to have $een particularly confused $y the %ulianii! :or a useful corrective, see %arnes 119*;2, pp!()-)1! 25* HA &erus 9!113 %irley Septimius, (*-(4! 254 %oth 7latnauer 1op! cit!, (;2 and /ammond 1op! cit!, p!1)(2 place the uaestorship in 1*1-1*2! "his argument fails to ta,e Ilpian's statement, regarding the legal definition of a year, into account 1see note 2; a$ove2! 259 "al$ert, op! cit!, 29-3; 2*; "al$ert, op! cit!, 15-1* 2*1 "al$ert, op! cit!, 1*


& military crisis the following year gave Septimius a further opportunity to prove himself! +n 1*;, a punitive e#pedition was launched against the .arcomanni, Kuadi and Costo$oci, in retaliation for their attac,s on the northern frontier! 9irected from Carnuntum $y the emperor .arcus &urelius himself, Roman troops crossed the 9anu$e in an attempt to dislodge these dangerous tri$es from their strongholds in %ohemia, .oravia and Romania! +n the early spring, however, imperial forces met with a num$er of grave reverses, which left serious gaps in the 9anu$e defences! Sweeping down from the north, the .arcomanni and Kuadi drove across the Carnic &lps and laid siege to & uileia in northern +taly, $efore destroying near$y Cpitergium! "he Costo$oci, meanwhile, surged across the .oesian $order and swept through into -reece, sac,ing the Shrine of the .ysteries at Eleusis 2*2! Roman losses were heavy! Cne author puts the num$er of dead at almost twenty thousand, whilst the governor of 9acia, Claudius :ronto, was ,illed 0Afighting for the repu$lic to the last'2*3! "he emperor responded to the emergency $y advancing the careers of men with military talent! Claudius 7ompeianus, the son of an e uestrian from &ntioch, had proven himself in a num$er of important posts, including the command of 7annonia +nferior in 15*2*(! /is loyal service was rewarded $y a marriage lin, to the imperial family itself! & few months after the death of 6ucius Jerus, and $efore the end of the official period of mourning, 7ompeianus $ecame .arcus' sonin-law $y marrying Jerus' widow 6ucilla! %oth 6ucilla and her mother, the empress :austina, were opposed to the marriage3 7ompeianus' $ac,ground was relatively hum$le and he was considera$ly older than his new wife2*)!
2*2 2*3

&mm! .arc! 29!5!13 %irley 119932, 1)9-143, &pp! 3! 6ucian Ale) (4! :or Claudius :ronto see 7+R 2 C4*(! 2*( 7+R 2 C9*3 2*) 7ompeianus was pro$a$ly in his fifties at the time! 6ucilla was in her twenties! See 9io *2 1*32! (!)= HA Marc. 2;!5-*3 HA &erus 9!113 HA Cara. 3!43 Her. 1!4!33 %irley 119932, 151!


7ompeianus also $ecame the emperor's chief military adviser, with special responsi$ility for driving the invaders out of +taly2*5! 7ompeianus' choice of lieutenant was also particularly noteworthy! 7! /elvius 7ertina#, dismissed from the post of procurator in 9acia two years previously through the 0machinations of certain persons', was restored to favour and given command of an au#iliary cohort 1/& 7ert! 2!(2! +t is also possi$le that 7! Septimius -eta, Septimius' elder $rother, served as curator at the port of &ncona in northern +taly at a$out this time2**! +f this is the case, it is a distinct possi$ility that 7ertina# was $ehind the appointment! .eanwhile, Jehilius -ratus Dulianus was sent to destroy the Cosot$oci in -reece and Jalerius .a#imianus was sent along the 9anu$e with a special force of marines, in order to re-open the shattered supply lines to the north2*4! "he appointment of uaestors for 1*1 was also affected $y the military emergency! 9ue to the difficulties caused $y the hostilities, there seems to have $een a shortage of candidates! "o com$at this shortfall, some of the previous year's uaestors had their commissions e#tended for a second term! Septimius was thus made pro uaestor for the province of %aetica in southern Spain2*9! +nterestingly enough, it seems that the governor of %aetica in 1*1-1*2 was one 7! Cornelius &nullinus, who was to $ecome one of Septimius' ,ey supporters in 19324;! -iven that the governor had some influence over the appointment of su$ordinate officials, it is possi$le that &nullinus selected Septimius personally241!

2*5 2**

%irley, op! cit!, 154! IR( )(1! 2*4 %irley, op! cit!, 15)! 2*9 HA Sev. 3!(! %irley 119412, 242 n!1, discusses these dou$le- uaestorships! See also %irley Septimius, );3 %arnes, op! cit!, p!92 n!(3! 24; See 7+R 2 C13223 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(;, for a summary of his career! 241 %irley Septimius, (93 &lfoldy Senat, p!12(!


+n any case, in early 1*1, shortly $efore he was due to leave Rome, news reached Septimius of his father's death at 6epcis, whereupon he was given permission to return home and settle his father's estate242! >hilst he was at 6epcis, however, .oorish tri$es from .auretania invaded southern Spain243! +n order to cope with the invasion, %aetica, which had no legionary garrison of its own, was placed under direct imperial control! "egio &II #emina was sent from its $ase at 6eon in northern Spain, under C! &ufidius Jictorinus, and a special e#peditionary force, made up of troops who had fought successfully against the Costo$oci in -reece, was despatched under the procurator Jehilius -ratus Dulianus24(! .eanwhile Septimius received orders transferring him to the island province of Sardinia, which had $een specially assigned to the senate's control during the crisis24)! >hilst this was pro$a$ly done at the instigation of the imperial government, it is li,ely that Septimius' consular relatives had a hand in the matter! "he posting to Sardinia was over $y late 1*2, whereupon Septimius returned to the capital! +n the following year 11*3-1*(2 his relative, C! Septimius Severus 1cos! 15;2, was made proconsul of &frica245! 9uring the second century the proconsul's administrative staff included two legates, Caius, not unnaturally, gave one of these posts to Septimius 24*! &s we saw a$ove, the

enhancement of familial prestige in this manner was not unusual! Septimius' duties would have included deputising for the governor, as well as a <udge in local assi@es244! Cfficial ceremonies were also an important aspect of provincial government! "hus an inscription records Caius and


HA Sev! 2!3-(! 8ews must have arrived very early in 1*1, as officials had to $e in their respective provinces $y 13th &pril= 9io 15;!1*!32! 243 9ated to 1*1 $y &lfPldy 1194)2, p!1;1! 24( %irley 119932, 154 n!2;3 &lfoldy 119592 34ff3 7flaum C' no!14;! 24) HA Sev.2!)-5! 7unic culture remained strong in second century Sardinia! See Jan 9ommelen 119942, pp!2)-(43 &stin 119)92, pp!1);-1)3! 245 Caius' proconsulship can $e dated, fairly accurately, to 1*3-1*(CE! See "homasson 2A, 7493 "', col! 343, no! 1;2! 24* HA Sev. 2!)-5! 244 %irley Septimius, )1!


Septimius dedicating a triumphal arch at 6epcis, whilst another from 8umidia shows Caius as the patron of "hu$uriscu 8umidarum249! "wo intriguing incidents recorded $y the Historia Augusta should $e assigned to this period! :irstly, whilst on official $usiness at 6epcis, Septimius was met and em$raced $y an old ac uaintance! Reacting $adly to his friend's manhandling, Septimius instructed his lictors to give the man a $eating, declaring through his heralds that henceforth common citi@ens should not em$race an imperial legate without due cause29;! Secondly, Septimius consulted an astrologer 1mathematicus2, 0in a certain city of &frica' 1/& Sev! 2!*-42! Ipon casting Septimius' chart, the astrologer is said to have as,ed him to produce his real $irth date and not 0that of another man' 1/& Sev! 2!42! &fter Septimius swore that he had told the truth, the astrologer is alleged to have accurately prophesied his later career! %oth incidents provide us with valua$le insights into Septimius' character3 he had a ,een sense of his own importance, was clearly am$itious and was prepared to wor, hard to achieve his aims! Septimius' energy was rewarded at the end of the following year 11*(CE2 when he was made a ple$eian tri$une 0$y order of the Emperor .arcus' 1/& Sev! 3!12! &lthough the office of tri$une carried little real authority during the principate, along with the aedileship, it remained an important step in the careers of those from less prestigious $ac,grounds291! "he tri$une still held his power of veto, though little used, and could still, at times, initiate senatorial de$ate! 9espite this, the tri$une's duties remained largely ceremonial 292! 8evertheless, an imperial

recommendation was a prestigious honour! &lthough it did not guarantee promotion to high

249 29;

9i Jita-Evrard 119532, 349ff3 "homasson 2A, 7493 "hu$uriscu inscription= I" Alg. 1!1243! HA Sev! 2!5! 291 Senators of patrician ran, could not hold the office of ple$eian tri$une! See "al$ert, op! cit!, 14-19! 292 "al$ert, op! cit!, 14)ff, 23)!


office, it was usually a good indicator of future success! +t also meant that the candidatus Caesaris did not have to stand for election 293! Such commendations could $e granted in a num$er of ways= through the emperor's personal whim, through an official report or through the action of an influential patron! +n Septimius' case, it was pro$a$ly due to a com$ination of his relative Caius' standing and his report to the emperor of his progress! "he Historia Augusta remar,s that Septimius performed his duties with 0great strictness and energy' 1/& Sev! 3!12, which an active relative would not fail to $ring to the emperor's attention! Septimius' time as tri$une, from 9ecem$er 1*( to 9ecem$er 1*), was a particularly sensitive period in Roman politics29(! &midst rumours of .arcus &urelius' death, &vidius Cassius, the governor of Syria, re$elled against the government and declared himself emperor, with the support of most of the east! &lthough .arcus had always $een frail, it seems that he had $een particularly ill at the time! "he literary sources name the empress :austina as the principal instigator of the revolt29)! "hough we may fairly ignore their accusations of adultery, it is possi$le, as %irley has plausi$ly suggested, that the entire affair sprang from :austina's and 6ucilla's attempt to safeguard their own position should .arcus die, $y destroying the influence of 7ompeianus295! +n any case, the revolt was soon uashed! & staff officer murdered Cassius and the situation gradually returned to normal! .eanwhile, Septimius may well have $een called upon to use his tri$unician power to help maintain calm in the capital! "his was also an important year for Septimius personally! &ccording to the Historia Augusta, during 1*) Septimius, then in his thirtieth year, married a woman from 6epcis 29*! &lthough little
293 29(

"ri$unes served from each 9ecem$er for a period of one year, see "al$ert, op! cit!, 1(, 14, )(, 3(2! %irley Septimius, )2-)33 cf! %arnes, op! cit!, p!92! 29) 9io *1 1*22! 1*!13 HA Marc. 2(!)3 HA Avid. Cass. passim3 %irley 119932, 14(-149! 295 %irley, op! cit!, 14)! 29* HA Sev. 3!2!


is ,nown a$out his new $ride, it is clear from her nomenclature 17accia .arciana2 that she came from a wealthy family, whose ancestors seem to have received Roman citi@enship during the mid first century294! .oreover, it is clear that, despite their elevated status, the Septimii were still ma,ing marriage alliances with nota$le 6epcitane families! "here is also some evidence that the Septimii were cementing their relationships with the wider no$ility $y other means! Septimius' elder $rother was appointed to the command of the "egio I Italica, stationed in .oesia +nferior, possi$ly during the governorship of 7ertina#299! &lthough the evidence is somewhat con<ectural, if accurate, it demonstrates a growing lin, $etween Septimius' family and 7ertina#, whose own patron was the eminent soldier Claudius 7ompeianus3;;! +n other words, if correct, we are seeing the emergence of an important political faction! 9espite his hard wor,, Septimius remained 0one of the ordinary crowd of competitors' 1/& Sev! 3!3-(2 and did not receive an imperial recommendation for the praetorship of 1**, though he was successfully elected3;1! &lthough he must have $een disappointed, his failure to o$tain the emperor's favour did not mean that he had fallen from grace! 9uring the principate, imperial commendations for the praetorship were usually reserved for the patrician no$ility, or for those who had earned the ruler's patronage in some other way 3;2! "hus during his own reign,


/er full name is given in I"S ((;! /er names suggest that her ancestors were enfranchised under K! .arcius %area Soranus 1proconsul of &frica (1-(3CE2 and C! 7accius &fricanus 1proconsul in *2CE2! See %irley 119442, p!43 "homasson "', col! 3*) no!29, col! 3**-3*4 no! );! 299 &lthough there are few firm dates in -eta's earlier career, if, as %irley argues, he was $orn c!1(3CE then it is uite conceiva$le that he held the command of I Italica during the first -erman-Sarmatian war! 7ertina# was governor of 6ower .oesia c!1*)! Cn -eta see %irley Coup, p!2533 %ar$ieri Albo no! (593 cf! &lfoldy Senat, p!1)1, who dates the command to 14)! Cn the date of 7ertina#' .oseian command see 9a$rowa 119942, 119-12;3 %irley 119412, 1(2-1(53 Ool$e 119522, pp!(;*-(2;! 3;; IR( )(1! 3;1 :rom the :lavian period onwards, eighteen praetors were appointed annually! "he ma<ority o f these magistrates would serve at Rome in the courts, as well as having the responsi$ility of paying for pu$lic games from their own resources, though two served in the imperial treasury 1praetores aerarii2! HA Sev. 3!3-( states that Septimius was elected praetor in his thirty-second year, i!e! from &pril 1*5 to &pril 1**! &s praetors seem to have entered office on 1st Danuary, Septimius must therefore have held office during 1**CE! "al$ert, op! cit!, 14-2;, 2;(-2;*! 3;2 .agie 1195;2, 3*5 n!1!


Septimius himself seems to have used this honour sparingly, reserving it solely for mem$ers of the high aristocracy and his own close supporters3;3! &s praetor, Septimius would primarily have $een responsi$le for presiding over the courts at Rome, though he would have had other duties! -iven his legal training, this would no dou$t have appealed to Septimius! +n any case, he is li,ely to have $een ,ept very $usy! "he sources indicate that .arcus &urelius dramatically increased the num$er of days during which the courts could hear cases3;(! +t would also have $een his first taste of imperium! "owards the end of 1**, in circumstances that are far from clear, Septimius was sent on a special assignment! /e was ordered to /ispania "arraconensis, as an e#traordinary <udicial legate of the governor 1legatus iuridicus2 and given responsi$ility for the north west region of &sturia and Callaecia3;)! +n other words, Septimius was to $e the governor's supreme legal e#pert! "his o$viously re uired a high degree of legal e#pertise, in $oth theoretical and applied law and was a promising $oost to Septimius' career! :rom the few other references to the post, it appears that the term of office did not usually e#ceed three years 3;5! &s such, Septimius was una$le to organise pu$lic games at Rome in person! +nstead, as the Historia Augusta records, he gave them in absentia3;*! %y early 14;, at the very latest, Septimius was $ac, in Rome! &s an e#-praetor, with some significant legal e#perience $ehind him, Septimius' employment prospects had improved dramatically! /e could now serve in a num$er of official capacities, as the governor of one of

3;3 3;(

&lfoldy Senat, &pp! J! HA Marc. 12!3-(, cf! 2(!23 "al$ert, op! cit!, 14)ff! 3;) HA Sev! 3!(3 %irley Septimius, ))! 3;5 %arnes, op! cit!, pp!93-9(3 %irley Septimius, ))! 3;* HA Sev. 3!)-5!


the less important provinces, or as a legionary commander 3;4! +n the event, he was given the command of "egio I& Scythica in Syria3;9! "his was Septimius' first military post and it is surely significant that the then governor was none other than 7! /elvius 7ertina# 31;! +f the suggestion that -eta had served under 7ertina# in .oesia is accurate, as tentatively advanced a$ove, then it is eminently possi$le that this rising star of the &ntonine military had a direct hand in the appointment! +t is pro$a$le that Septimius first made the ac uaintance of his future wife Dulia 9omna during this time! +t is also possi$le that he served alongside 6! :a$ius Cilo, who commanded the "egio 6&I 2lavia 2irma during the early 14;s and was later to $e a close associate of Septimius311! Cn the 1*th .arch 14; the emperor .arcus &urelius died at %ononia in 7annonia +nferior 312! /is son Commodus, who had already $een co-emperor for four years, $ecame the new sole ruler! 9espite the foresight with which the succession had $een arranged, the Roman esta$lishment soon found that life was going to $e very different under the new imperator! Commodus, li,e Caligula and 8ero $efore him, was a flam$oyant young man, $eing only eighteen at the time of his accession! Secondly, li,e his erstwhile predecessors, Commodus felt stifled $y his father's immense auctoritas! emperor's character= 0A he was not naturally wic,ed, $ut, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived! /is great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the
3;4 3;9

9io, in his introduction to the reign, accurately descri$es the new

"al$ert, op! cit!, 19, 1(5-1(*! "he .SS of HA Sev. 3!* give Massiliam 1modern .arseille2 as the I& Scythica's location! "his plain error has attracted a num$er of different corrections! %irley's emendation to Marsyas, a small tri$utary of the Euphrates near Samosata and Geugma, seems the most plausi$le= 19*;, pp!*2-*3! 31; 7+R 2 /*33 9a$rowa, i$id! 311 %irley Septimius, 59-*2! :or the history of Dulia's family, see Sullivan 119**2, pp! 194-219! :or Cilo see 7+R 2 :2*3 &lfoldy Senat, &pp! ++, pp!1(1-1(2! 312 9io *1 1*22! 33!(-3(3 %irley 119932, 21;!


$etter life and then was led on into lustful and cruel ha$its, which soon $ecame second nature' 19io *2 1*32! 1!1-22! &lthough much of 9io's account is undou$tedly hostile, Commodus emerges from the sources as a tense, unhappy individual, ill at ease with himself and uncomforta$le with the weight of the e#pectations that were placed upon him313! "his made him easy prey to am$itious sycophants! 9uring the course of his twelve-year reign a succession of favourites fought for control over him! "he first of these creatures was one Saoterus, from 8icomedia in %ithynia 31(! &ccording to one source, he was the emperor's lover31)! >hatever the truth of this claim, Saoterus certainly had more influence with Commodus than his late father's advisors felt was appropriate! "he

discontent caused $y such $ehaviour, and the disruption it caused to the esta$lished career patterns of the no$ility, led to two ma<or conspiracies in 142, a mere two years after .arcus' death! "he first plot involved senior mem$ers of the imperial family, the most nota$le of whom was Commodus' sister 6ucilla! &ccording to /erodian, 6ucilla was driven to conspire against her $rother $y the titles and honours he $estowed on his wife Crispina 315! +n con<unction with her two apparent lovers, Immidius Kuadratus and Claudius 7ompeianus Kuintianus and the -uard prefect "arrutienus 7aternus, she is said to have planned to murder Commodus at the theatre 31*! Kuadratus was the adopted son of .arcus &urelius' nephew, whilst Kuintianus was the nephew of 6ucilla's hus$and, Claudius 7ompeianus314! +n the event, however, the melodramatic

7ompeianus failed in his attempt! Dust $efore sta$$ing Commodus, he is said to have paused
313 31(

Cf! HA Comm. 3!9! 9io *2 1*32! 12!1-2! 31) HA Comm. 3!5-*! 315 /er! 1!4!3-5! 31* 7aternus= /owe 119552, no!1! 314 Kuadratus 17+R 2 K22 was the natural son of Cn! Claudius Severus 1cos! ++ ord! 1*32 and the adopted son of .! Immidius Kuadratus 1cos! ord! 15*2! See Syme 119542, p!549-59;! :or Kuintianus see 7+R 2 C9*) and %irley Septimius, 5;-51!


momentarily and declaimed= 0SeeT "his is what the senate has sent you' 19io *2 1*32! (!(2 319! "his gave the imperial $odyguard time to overpower him! "he two senators were $oth summarily e#ecuted whilst 6ucilla was e#iled to Capri, to $e ,illed the following year! /er estranged hus$and, who the sources claim was uninvolved, was allowed to retire to his estates32;! "wo of the emperor's other favourites, Cleander and 7aternus, used the ensuing chaos to have Saoterus murdered321! Soon afterwards, however, 7aternus $ecame

implicated in a second conspiracy and was summarily e#ecuted! Cn this occasion, those ,illed or e#iled included two consuls, two e#-consuls, the imperial secretary 1or ab epistulis2 and the daughter of .arcus &urelius' cousin, amongst others322! "he entire affair seems to have affected Commodus deeply323! :rom this point onwards, though he might ma,e use of the senate, he seems to have lost his faith in it entirely! /owever, the emperor's growing paranoia merely served to intensify his isolation from the no$ility, which increased his vulnera$ility to, and reliance on am$itious favourites! &s >hitta,er remar,s, it was the 0persistent overthrow of one after another of the amici which in the end left Commodus at the mercy of a 7erennis or a Cleander and deprived him of the power to rule'32(! &s such, Commodus increasingly relied upon whim and rumour in weeding out supposed opponents32)! "hus during 143 the two e#-consuls, Se#! Kuintilius Jalerius .a#imus and his
319 32;

HA Comm. (!3 gives almost e#actly the same wording! /er! 1!4!5 refers to a 0speech'! /er! 1!4!(! 321 HA Comm. (!)3 cf! 9io who credits Cleander with responsi$ility, *2 1*32! 12!1-2! 322 9io *3!)!1-23 HA Comm. 3!23 (!1!*-1;3 HA Did. %ul. 1!9-2!2! "he consuls were Salvius Dulianus, son of the famous <urist, and 7aternus himself! Jelius Rufus and Egnatius Capito 17+R 2 E1*2 were the two e#-consuls! Jitrasia :austina, daughter of &nnia :unfania :austina, .arcus' cousin, and the ab epistulis Jitruvius Secundus were also e#ecuted! "he former consuls &emilius Duncus 17+R 2 &3)22 and &tilius Severus 17+R 2 &13;92 were e#iled! 9idius Dulianus 17+R 2 9**2, the later emperor and relative of the e#ecuted consul Salvius Dulianus, also seems to have $een e#iled at this time! See 9io *3 1*(2! 11!23 6eaning 119492, p!))(! 323 /er! 1!4!*-4! 32( >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)5! 32) 9io *2 1*32!*!33 /er! 1!4!23 HA Comm. 4!2-(!


$rother Se#! Kuintilius Condianus, were put to death $y the emperor, $ecause their prestigious civilian and military reputation aroused his suspicion 325! .a#imus' son, Kuintilius Condianus, who was in Syria at the time, was also included in the death sentence! /e refused to go uietly, however, and was pursued throughout the province! 9io remar,s that Condianus' ultimate fate was un,nown, although 0a great num$er of heads purporting to $e his were $rought to Rome' 19io *2 1*32! 5!(-)2! %oth 7ertina# and Septimius, as the provincial governor and legate of "egio I& Scythica respectively, must have ta,en part in this grisly manhunt32*! Syria seems to have figured in a num$er of disconcerting reports at a$out this time! &part from the hunt for Condianus, two of the senators e#iled in 142 were natives of /ierapolis and "ripolis, whilst five years previously Syria had $een involved in the revolt of &vidius Cassius 324! Similarly, suspicions seem to have $een raised a$out the loyalty of the Syrian governor and one of his legates! "hus Commodus, at the instigation of "igidius 7erennis, his new favourite and 7aternus' replacement as praetorian prefect, seems to have recalled 7ertina# to Rome 329! "he Historia Augusta records that, upon his arrival in Rome, he 0received orders from 7erennis to retire to his father's farm in 6iguria' 1 HA 'ert! 3!2-32! >hilst it is possi$le that this was an isolated incident, given 7ertina#' close relationship with Claudius 7ompeianus, it is li,ely to have $een connected in some way with the fall of 6ucilla the year $efore! Septimius seems to have $een dismissed from office himself shortly afterwards! "he vita Severi ma,es the cryptic remar, that after this post Septimius 0proceeded to &thens Q partly in order to continue his studies and perform sacred rites, and partly on account of the pu$lic $uildings and ancient monuments there' 1HA Sev. 3!*-42! "his, $y itself, suggests that Septimius was either an
325 32*

9io *2 1*32!)!3-(3 *1 1*22!33!1! See 7+R 2 K2* and 7+R 2 K21 for the $rothers' respective careers! See 9io *2 1*32!)!3-5!)3 HA Comm. (!9-1;! Cf! %irley Septimius, 51-52! 324 "he e#ecuted senators were Jelius Rufus and &emilius Duncus respectively, see %irley Septimius, )5, 5;! 329 7erennis= /owe, op! cit!, no!2!


actual client of 7ertina#, or was otherwise $elieved to have $een his close associate! +nterestingly enough, 7ertina#' successor in Syria was one 9omitius 9e#ter! 9e#ter was one of Septimius' chief supporters in 193! /e held the ,ey post of prae$ectus urbi during the campaign against 8iger and was rewarded for his loyal service in 195, when he was made consul ordinarius33;! +t is eminently possi$le, therefore, that the two men met at this time! Septimius may even have acted temporarily as the governor $efore 9e#ter's arrival331! +n &thens, Septimius would have found much to distract him from the disappointing lull in his career! &lthough the days of its glory had long since passed, second century &thens was still an inspiring and captivating place! "he city's intellectual heritage had preserved and developed its reputation! Si#ty years previously, /adrian's fascination with &thens had $reathed new life into the city3 old customs were revived, local administration was restructured and endowments were made to the gymnasiarch332! "hese $enefactions were further e#panded under /adrian's "hus $y the time of

successors to include su$sidised chairs of philosophy and rhetoric!

Septimius' enforced retirement, &thens had $ecome the intellectual capital of the empire, challenging even &le#andria333! Septimius may well have attended the lectures of such leading thin,ers as &pollonius33(! +t is also possi$le that he first made the ac uaintance of &elius &ntipater, pupil of /erodes &tticus, at this time, and he may even have $een initiated into the Eleusinian .ysteries33)! &lthough Septimius was pro$a$ly a ,een student, his two-year a$sence

33; 331

7+R 2 91((3 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(13 %ar$ieri, Albo, no!2;33 9a$rowa, op! cit!, 122! %irley Septimius, 54, *3! 332 /adrian seems to have revived the practice of sending sacred em$assies to 9elos! /e also seems to have reorganised the council of the Areopagus! "he endowments are attested $y 9io 59 1*;2!15!1-2! See -eagan 119*92, pp!349-3993 /urwit 119992, 2*(-2*)! 333 -eagan, op! cit!, pp!(;2-(;)3 /urwit, op! cit!, 25( L 2**! 33( 'hilos. &S 2!5;1 records that &pollonius conducted a successful em$assy for the city, pro$a$ly in 195-19*! >right 119542, 2))3 %irley Septimius, *(! 33) 'hilos. &S 2!5;*3 %irley Septimius, *3! :or a discussion of emperors and the mysteries, see .illar 119922, ((9();!


from the political centre must have grated on him! Circumstances at Rome, however, were $eginning to move in his favour! 9uring Septimius' so<ourn at &thens, Commodus had continued to pursue his gladiatorial career, leaving the affairs of state in 7erennis' am$itious hands! 7erennis, who was not content to remain a mere servant, set a$out isolating Commodus from the senate! "hus men li,e 7ertina#, close associates of .arcus &urelius, were gradually driven from the political limelight! 6esser opponents were put to death 335! Oey mem$ers of the senatorial no$ility $egan to fight $ac,! &n alliance with Commodus' powerful cham$erlain, Cleander, was formed and a num$er of attempts were made to discredit the praetorian prefect! +n 14(, a small war $ro,e out in 9acia! &lthough the fighting was fierce, the situation seems to have $een uic,ly $rought under control! +nterestingly, 9io states that Septimius' future rivals, 7escennius 8iger and Clodius &l$inus, $oth fought with distinction in this conflict 33*! Controversially, 7erennis' sons were given a command along the 9anu$e towards the end of the campaign! & rumour uic,ly $egan to circulate, presuma$ly spread $y 7erennis' enemies at court, that he was trying to claim the credit for himself334! 7erennis also made enemies amongst the %ritish legions! 9uring the early years of Commodus' reign, Caledonian tri$es, from what is now southern Scotland, $reached the Roman defences and 0cut down a general together with his troops' 19io *2 1*32! 4!22 339! +n response, Commodus sent the well-,nown disciplinarian Ilpius .arcellus to restore order! &lthough he was successful in
335 33*

HA Comm! )!*-4! 9io *2 1*32! 4!1! 334 HA Comm. 5!13 /er! 1!9!1! /erodian states that 7erennis' sons were given command of the +llyrian army! +t seems, however, that he was in fact referring to 7annonia! See >hitta,er 119592, )2 n!1! 339 "he e#act date is disputed! &ccording to :rere 1194*2, 1(*, the invasion too, place in 141! %irley 119412, 135, dates the attac, to 142-143!


repelling the invaders, his strict manner uic,ly caused severe unrest amongst his soldiers 3(;! "he legionaries reacted $y attempting to proclaim 7riscus, one of their legates, emperor! 7riscus wisely refused3(1! 7erennis, no dou$t sensing an orchestrated plot, dismissed the province's legionary legates and replaced them with e uestrian officials3(2! &lthough the su$se uent course of events is far from clear, 7erennis seems to have $een removed soon afterwards! Several incidents, casting dou$t on 7erennis' loyalty, are recorded $y the sources! 9io states that 1,);; %ritish troops deli$erately came to Rome to inform the emperor of 7erennis' treachery! /e adds that Commodus himself met these men <ust outside the capital and, upon hearing their story, had 7erennis summarily e#ecuted3(3! +t is, however, possi$le that these troops had $een specially assigned to -aul! 9eserters and $andits had increasingly trou$led the -allic countryside since the northern wars of .arcus &urelius! /erodian, $y contrast, writes that a much smaller deputation, this time from the 9anu$e legions, caused 7erennis' fall! "his group carried with them coins $earing 7erennis' own portrait, instead of the emperor's! &fter hearing their testimony, Commodus immediately had 7erennis and his sons ,illed3((! >ith the removal of 7erennis, Cleander $ecame the real power $ehind the throne! +n order to repay his de$ts to his supporters amongst the no$ility, Cleander recalled those who had $een disgraced $y 7erennis to active duty! "hus in 14) 7ertina# was restored to favour and given the crucial tas, of re-esta$lishing order in re$ellious %ritain 3()! Septimius, as a client of 7ertina#,

&lthough generally favoura$le, 9io remar,s that, as a soldier, .arcellus was 0haughty and arrogant' 1*2 1*32! 4!2-32! &s a result of this campaign Commodus too, the title 0%ritannicus'! 3(1 *2 1*32! 9!2a! 3(2 HA Comm. 5!2! 3(3 9io *2 1*32!9!2-(! 3(( /er! 1!9!*-1;! 3() :rere, op! cit!, 1);3 %irley, op! cit!, 1(2-1(5!


was also reinstated and later in the same year, was given his first provincial governorship in -aul3(5! -allia 6ugdunensis was the largest and most important of Rome's -allic provinces! +ts capital, modern day 6yon, lay at the centre of an e#tensive road networ,, connecting -aul with +taly, Spain and the northern frontiers, and was argua$ly one of the most important trading centres in the entire western empire3(*! +t was also the site of an imperial mint 3(4! &s such, a five hundred strong guard unit 1vigiles2 was stationed at the city, under the command of a prefect! Septimius' first provincial command was, therefore, of some significance! +t seems certain that Cleander was $ehind the appointment, putting his supporters and those of his allies into ,ey posts3(9! Septimius, li,e his associate 7ertina#, would have $een a client of such powerful figures as Claudius 7ompeianus and 6ollianus &vitus! +ndeed, as emperor, Septimius made relatives of $oth men consulares ordinarii3);. +n any case, Septimius was now clearly lin,ed, through 7ertina#, to Cleander! Septimius' time in -aul was significant in a num$er of other ways! :irstly, there is a distinct possi$ility that Septimius was involved in military action against a growing $andit menace in the region! /erodian records the destruction caused $y one .aternus, a deserter, who terrorised southern -ermany and -aul in 145 $efore $eing apprehended and e#ecuted 3)1! Secondly,

Septimius' lin,s with the wider aristocracy seem to have $roadened! +n particular, at this time he seems to have first made the ac uaintance of a num$er of ,ey figures! &ccording to the Historia


HA Sev. 3!4-9! %arnes, op! cit!, p!933 %irley Septimius, *(-*53 cf! 7latnauer, op! cit!, ((3 /ammond, op! cit!, p!15;! 3(* Oing 1199;2, )), 11)-1193 9rin,water 119432, 19*3 9rin,water 119*)2, pp!133-1(;! 3(4 Oing, op! cit!, 112! 3(9 HA Comm. 5!1;-11 states that Cleander 0loaded with honours men who were recalled from e#ile'! 3); 7ompeianus' son, "i! Claudius &urelius 7ompeianus 17+R 2 C9*12, was cos. II ord. in 2;9! 6! /edius Rufus 6ollianus &vitus 17+R 2 /(12 and /edius 6ollianus "erentianus -entianus 17+R 2 /3*2, $oth relatives of &vitus, also held this post, in 2;9 and 211 respectively! See &lfoldy Senat, &pp! +J, p!1)9! 3)1 /er! 1!1;!1-*! "his is presuma$ly the bellum desertorum referred to in HA Comm.15!2!


Augusta, 7escennius 8iger, Septimius' later rival for the throne, was sent to -aul in order to round up these deserters, and $ecause of his apparent hard wor, and energy was 0on very friendly terms with Severus' 1HA Nig. 3!3-)2! &lthough we must $e e#tremely cautious with such a notorious source, it is at least feasi$le that 8iger did serve in -aul during this time and that they $oth did meet! +t is also a possi$ility that Clodius &l$inus, another later rival of Septimius, was active in the region at this time 3)2! +nterestingly enough, 6! :a$ius Cilo, who may well have served with Septimius under 7ertina# in Syria, was the proconsul of neigh$ouring 8ar$onensis during 14)3)3! Septimius' personal life also underwent some ma<or changes! &t around the time of his arrival in -aul his wife 7accia died! &ccording to the sources, he seems to have lost no time in arranging a second marriage3)(! /is choice of $ride demonstrates a growing am$ition! /is new wife was Dulia 9omna, the daughter of the wealthy and influential high priest of Syrian Emesa! +n all pro$a$ility, they had already met whilst he was the legate of "egio I& Scythica! "he vita Severi remar,s that Septimius sought this marriage $ecause he had discovered that her horoscope showed that she would marry a ,ing3))! 9io adds a further intriguing tale= 0>hen he was a$out to marry Dulia, :austina, the wife of .arcus, prepared their nuptial cham$er in the temple of Jenus near the palace' 19io *( 1*)2! 3!1-22! "hese stories undou$tedly circulated after Septimius had $ecome emperor and adopted himself into the &ntonine house! :urthermore they are interesting in that they reveal the am$ition of $oth $ride and groom! +n any case, Dulia was soon pregnant


HA Alb. 5!3 1cf! )!)2 relates that &l$inus was given a command in -aul, along the Rhine! +t is possi$le that an inscription from Cologne refers to this command! &lfoldy 119542, 2*, restores the name as /D. Clo1dio /Albin1o3 cf! %irley 119412, 1(4! 3)3 Cilo's governorship of 8ar$onensis is attested in a num$er of inscriptions, see CI" 5!1(;4 1S I"S11(123 5!1(;9 1S I"S 11(223 A* 1925!*9! :or his career, see 7+R 2 :2*3 &lfoldy Senat, &pp!++, pp!1(1-1(23 %ar$ieri Albo, no!213, %arnes 1195*2, pp!1;1-1;2! 3)( HA Sev. 3!9! 3)) HA Sev. 3!9!


and on &pril (th the following year 11442 she gave $irth to their first child, who they named %assianus 1although he is $etter ,nown $y his later nic,name of Caracalla23)5! %y the summer of 144CE, Septimius had returned to Rome from -allia 6ugdunensis 3)*! /e arrived in the capital to an uncertain future! 9uring his a$sence, opposition to Cleander had increased sharply! "he Historia Augusta records that Commodus' $rother-in-law, 6! &ntistius %urrus 1cos! 1412, was $usily 0denouncing and reporting all that was $eing done' $y the am$itious cham$erlain 1/& Comm! 5!11-122! Cleander's reaction was swift and sharp!

7ertina#, who owed his restoration to Cleander, wrote to the emperor e#posing a conspiracy against him, in which he specifically accused %urrus, in con<unction with C! &rrius &ntoninus 1cos! suff! 1*;2, of 0aspiring to the throne' 1/& 7ert! 3!*-42! %oth men came from &frica, from "hugga and "i$ilis respectively, and were closely connected with the imperial house 3)4! %urrus was summarily e#ecuted, along with many of his supporters 3)9! +n particular, Cleander was a$le to strengthen his own position $y having the -uard prefect &ttilius &e$utianus ,illed and filling the vacant post himself35;! &ntoninus seems to have $een murdered somewhat later in the year351! +t is also significant that Commodus' wife Crispina was suddenly e#iled at this time, as is the fact that her family, one of whom had $een consul in 14*, disappear from the consular $asti until 21*CE, under Caracalla352!

3)5 3)*

7latnauer, op! cit!, );ff3 %arnes, op! cit!, p!93 n! (43 %irley Septimius, **-*4, &pp! 2 no! 14! "al$ert, op! cit!, (9*-(94, argues that proconsuls $egan and ended their terms of office during mid-summer! 3)4 %urrus 1cos! 1412 was married to Commodus' sister, Ji$ia &urelia Sa$ina 1see 7+R 2 &*)*2! &ntoninus 1cos! c!1*;2 was an e#perienced legal e#pert and was related to $oth Cornelius :ronto and C! &ufidius Jictorinus 1see 7+R 2 &1;442! /is $rother was the influential general K! &ntistius &dventus! 3)9 HA Comm! 5!11-12! 35; &e$utianus= /owe, op! cit!, no!*! A* 1951!24; refers to Cleander as a cubiculo 1cham$erlain2 and a pugione 1praetorian prefect, or literally 0the %earer of the 9agger'2! See /owe, op! cit!, no!4! 351 HA Comm. *!1 states that whilst proconsul of &sia, &ntoninus had condemned Cleander's ally &ttalus to death! 352 >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)33 6eunissen 4onsuln, 131!


"he e#ecutions of %urrus and &ntoninus caused widespread discontent! "here was pu$lic dis uiet at Rome itself353! /erodian comments that the ur$an populace 0organised themselves in theatres and shouted insults at him MCleanderN all together' 1/er! 1!12!)2 35(! +n &frica, where $oth men must have had e#tensive estates, there were out$rea,s of serious rioting! 7ertina#, who had $y now ac uired a reputation for severity, was sent to &frica to restore order, no dou$t at Cleander's insistence35)! &lthough 7ertina# was a$le to re-esta$lish peaceful conditions in

&frica, and Cleander was a$le to do so at Rome, a far more organised and serious conspiracy $egan to form amongst the old advisers of .arcus &urelius! &midst this growing tension, it is li,ely that Septimius spent the rest of 144CE in the general vicinity of Rome, possi$ly at his estate near Jeii! Septimius' ne#t opportunity for advancement would come in the following spring, when provincial commands were allocated 355! -iven 7ertina#' patronage, Septimius could reasona$ly e#pect a fairly senior command in one of the more important provinces! +n the event, in early 149CE he was appointed proconsul of Sicily 35*! &t around the same time, Dulia gave $irth to a second son at Rome, named -eta after his greatgrandfather and uncle354! %y midsummer 149CE at the latest, Septimius had arrived in Sicily 359! &lthough not a senior or military province, Sicily was still an important command! &longside &frica and Egypt, the island was a ma<or e#porter of grain to the capital! &s such, Septimius' main duties would have $een $ureaucratic, ma,ing sure that the grain ships left har$our on time, as well as overseeing the
353 35(

+mplied $y /er! 1!12!(3 9io *3 1*(2! 13!33 HA Comm! *!2-3! >hitta,er Revolt, p!3);! 35) HA 'ert. (!1-23 >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)2! 355 "al$ert, op! cit!, 2;*-2;4! 35* HA Sev.3!33 "homasson "', col!3 no!22! 354 HA Sev. (!2-33 %irley Septimius, &pp! 2 no!22! 359 "al$ert, op! cit!, (94!


administration of <ustice! +t is li,ely that he performed his duties diligently, at some point during his command his was designated to serve as suffect consul for 19;CE 3*;! +t is interesting to note that Septimius' immediate predecessor in Sicily was his own $rother -eta 3*1! &lthough

theoretically it was not impossi$le for $rothers to succeed one another in the same post, it was not a common occurrence $y any means! +ndeed, its very rarity re uires further scrutiny! & closer e#amination strongly suggests that these appointments were part of a wider plan! :irstly, /erodian states that Cleander was trying to increase his popularity $y purchasing all of the availa$le corn and then distri$uting it during the ensuing shortage 3*2! Secondly, Cleander's associates are found governing the ma<or grain-producing provinces! 9uring 144-149CE

7ertina# was in command in &frica, whilst -eta was governing Sicily! Septimius held Sicily the year after 1149-19;CE23*3! "here is some controversy surrounding identity of the prefect of Egypt at this time! &ccording to one source, Cleander recalled .! &urelius 7apirius 9ionysius, who had only recently $een appointed, to his previous post of prae$ectus annonae at Rome3*(! 7apyri dated to 149-19;CE show that one "ineius 9emetrius was governing Egypt3 it is more than li,ely that he was 9ionysius' replacement3*)! & disgruntled 9ionysius returned to Rome to find that Commodus, at Cleander's instigation, had made 7ertina# the ur$an prefect3*5! "he ur$an prefecture was an important and influential post! "he prefect presided over his own court, which had <urisdiction within the hundredth milestone

3*; 3*1

9io *2 1*32! 12!(3 HA Sev. (!(! "homasson "', col! 3 no!213 %ar$ieri Albo, no!(59 3*2 /er! 1!12!3-(! 3*3 "homasson "', col! 34( no! 1;* 3*( "he Suda, uoted in >hitta,er Revolt, p!3))! >hitta,er dates the recall to 19;CE, i$id! 3*) See "homasson "' col! 3)3 no!** 3*5 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3;*-3;43 9a$rowa 119942, 12;3 also see %irley 119412, 1(2-1(5


of Rome! .ore importantly, he commanded the ur$an cohorts, the only armed force, apart from the 7raetorian -uard and the imperial horse guard, to $e $ased in the capital itself3**! Soon after his arrival in Rome, 9ionysius $egan to ta,e action against Cleander! &lthough the su$se uent course of events is far from clear, the recent manipulation of the grain supply was causing a serious famine! 9io states that 9ionysius deli$erately made the situation worse, presuma$ly $y delaying the distri$ution of corn, so that 0Cleander, whose thefts would seem chiefly responsi$leAmight incur the hatred of the Romans and so $e destroyed $y them' 19io *2 1*32! 13!1-32! %y the $eginning of 19;CE, the situation had $ecome critical3 the sources spea, of an out$rea, of plague at a$out this time, though they differ on the e#act order of events 3*4! 9iscontent grew ever more serious as pu$lic awareness of the famine's causes spread! /erodian remar,s that organised groups $egan to pu$licly insult and denounce Cleander3*9! Events seem to have finally reached a clima# during the ludi Ceriales, on &pril 19th! "his festival honoured Ceres, the goddess of corn, pro$a$ly originally in the hope that her favour would protect the grain ships that usually arrived at a$out this time 34;! Cn this occasion, the festivities included horse races! /owever, $efore the start of the seventh race, a group of children ran out into the Circus and interrupted the proceedings! 9io remar,s that the children, who were led 0$y a tall maiden of grim aspect', 0shouted in concert many $itter words, which the people too, up' 19io *2 1*32! 13!3-(2! "hese protests uic,ly stirred up the people, who 0set up a shout demanding Cleander's $lood' 1/er! 1!12!)2! Rather than dispersing, the increasingly riotous crowd set off to find the emperor, who seems to have $een staying at 6aurentum <ust

3** 3*4

Cadou# 119952, p!1239! 9io *2 1*32! 1(!(3 cf! /er! 1!12!2-3! 3*9 /er! 1!12!)! 34; %irley Septimius, 4;!


outside the city, 0invo,ing many $lessings upon him and many curses upon Cleander' 19io *2 1*32! 13!(2341! 6earning of the demonstration, Cleander ordered the 7raetorians and imperial horse guards to intercept the march, which they did with star, efficiency, 0charging and cutting down anyone they came across' 1/er! 1!12!52! "his panic,ed the already e#cited crowd, who fled $ac, to the city342! Inder normal circumstances, such firmness would presuma$ly have ended the affair! /owever, $oth 9io and /erodian state that the demonstration regained its momentum when other soldiers came to their aid, prompting some to attac, the -uard with roof tiles and stones 343! "he identity of these soldiers is important! &s Cleander, the imperial cham$erlain and praetorian prefect, commanded $oth the -uard and the imperial cavalry these troops must have $een the ur$an cohorts, whose commander was 7ertina#, the prae$ectus urbi! +t was the responsi$ility of the ur$an cohorts to police the games, which meant that they were already on hand when the distur$ance occurred34(! 7ertina# had therefore, either ordered or allowed the soldiers under his command to assist the people! +n other words, he was either involved in the conspiracy

$eforehand or else had let it run its course without interference! 8ews of the distur$ance eventually reached Commodus, though not from a source friendly to Cleander! "here is some disagreement regarding the identity of this person! 9io avers that it was .arcia, Commodus' new concu$ine, whilst /erodian contends that it was :adilla, the emperor's older sister34)! &lthough, as >hitta,er rightly points out, this is largely unimportant, it is possi$le to resolve the dispute $y arguing that $oth women were present, and therefore
341 342

/er! 1!12!2! /er! 1!12!4! 343 9io *2 1*32! 13!)3 /er! 1!12!4-9! 34( >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)1! 34) 9io *2 1*32! 13!)-53 /er! 1!13!1!


involved themselves345! &t any rate, the praetorian prefect was $lamed for inciting the incident and denounced $y the court as a re$el and a traitor, whereupon the emperor, fearing for his own safety, summoned Cleander and had him e#ecuted! /is $ody was then handed over to the mo$, who 0dragged it away and a$used it and carried his head all a$out the city on a pole' 19io *2 1*32! 13!5234*! Cleander's sons, along with many of his close associates, suffered a similar fate344! &lthough only 9ionysius is e#plicitly credited with Cleander's overthrow $y the sources, a closer e#amination clearly demonstrates that he could not have acted alone! "he organisation needed to successfully e#ecute the plot would have re uired more than one person! &lso, the timing of the incident, at a festival in honour of the corn goddess, would have had a particularly stri,ing effect! +t is also important to note the decisive presence of such ,ey figures as 7ertina#, whose ur$an cohorts actually fought the 7raetorian -uard, and :adilla and .arcia, whose revelations to Commodus were ultimately responsi$le for Cleander's death! &lthough Septimius was supported $y and promoted through the agency of a num$er of Roman&fricans, it is an oversimplification to see this as evidence of an 0&frican faction'! &s this chapter has demonstrated, it is a mista,e to rely heavily upon common origin as a primary factor in Septimius' relationships with the wider elite! +n the earlier part of Septimius' career his ,ey supporters were mem$ers of his own family, in particular his consular relative C! Septimius Severus! .em$ers of the wider &frican no$ility are conspicuous $y their a$sence! 6ater on, it was his family's connections with the wider no$ility that provided Septimius with the necessary patronage! "he Septimii were uic,ly su$sumed within the patronage of such rising figures as 7ertina#, and through him the high aristocracy! +n our third, and final, chapter we will further
345 34*

>hitta,er Revolt, p!3)2 n!22! cf! /er! 1!13!)3 HA Comm. 4!2-3! 344 9io *2 1*32! 13!53 /er! 1!13!)-5!


e#amine these relationship networ,s at wor, within Septimius' later career, especially during his own $id for power!


Chapter (hree!
(he verthro5 o$ Commodus and Septimius+ Rise to 'o5er
"his final chapter focuses upon Septimius' later senatorial career and his own rise to power in 193CE! +n particular, emphasis will $e paid to his growing connection with 7ertina# and to his direct involvement in the overthrow of Commodus! "he emphasis will then shift to an :rom here, we will discuss

e#amination of 7ertina#' short reign and su$se uent murder! Septimius' own $id for the throne!

&s a former associate of Cleander, Septimius seems to have come under suspicion following the prefect's death! "owards the end of his Sicilian command, Septimius was ordered to Rome on charges of 0consulting a$out the imperial dignity with seers and astrologers' 1/& Sev! (!32! "he vita Severi goes on to say that the newly appointed -uard commanders, Dulianus and Regillus ac uitted him, crucifying his unfortunate accuser349! Septimius was presuma$ly saved $y his connections to 7ertina#, who may well have $een involved in Cleander's murder! &lthough some historians have e#pressed scepticism a$out this incident, it is highly li,ely that an am$itious informant would attempt to accuse someone lin,ed to Cleander39;! Such charges are in any event commonplace3 Septimius' own fascination with astrology was also well ,nown391! 7ertina#' influence ,ept his prot?g?'s career on trac,! +n mid-19;CE Septimius served his previously designated term as suffect consul392! &lthough practice varied, during the second century $etween si# and ten consuls were appointed annually! "he two consules ordinarii
349 39;

HA Sev. (!3-(! HA Comm. *!(-) gives the names of the new prefects! 7latnauer 119142, (* n!33 cf! /ammond 119(;2, p!151! 391 Syme 119432, pp!4;-9*! 392 9io *2 1*32! 12!(3 HA Sev. (!(!


normally served for the first si# months of the year, which meant that the remaining suffects held office for $etween two and si# months393! Cleander's designation of twenty-five consuls meant that Septimius' term could not have lasted much more than a month! %e that as it may, his consulship was followed $y a year without official employment! Such gaps were not $y

themselves unusual! :or many men, the consulship represented the crowning achievement of their career! .oreover, the e#traordinarily large num$er of consuls must have meant that less proconsular posts were availa$le39(! "he emperor's growing paranoia meant that pu$lic office was $ecoming an increasingly dangerous honour! Cleander's death and the events that had caused it seriously distur$ed Commodus! Suspecting the aristocracy of complicity in the act, Commodus gave vent to his rage in an orgy of murder 39)! &fter e#ecuting 9ionysius, Commodus turned against the

no$ility395! "he Historia Augusta records that those ,illed included two of the previous year's consuls 11492, one from the year $efore that 11442, a further si# e#-consuls, a senior proconsul of &sia and a relative of /erodes &tticus, 0together with their ,in' 1/& Comm! *!)2 39*! Elsewhere, the vita Commodi states that the emperor 0had intended to ,ill fourteen others also, since the revenues of the Roman Empire were insufficient to meet his e#penditures' 1/& Comm! *!42394! &midst this slaughter, two things $ecome apparent3 the plot against Cleander had, or was $elieved to have, widespread support amongst the aristocracy and that Commodus used the
393 39(

"al$ert, op! cit!, 21! %irley 119412B3 %irley Septimius, *4-42! 39) /er! 1!13!*-43 >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)(! 395 HA Comm. *!(3 9io *2 1*32! 1(!1-33 >hitta,er Revolt, p!3)(! 39* HA Comm. *!)-4 records the names of those e#ecuted, though some are possi$ly $ogus! "hey include .! Servilius Silanus 1cos! ++ ord! 1442, 9! Dulius Silanus 1cos! 1492, K! Servilius Silanus 1cos! 1492! "he e#-consuls were &llius :uscus, Caelius :eli#, 6ucceius "or uatus, 6arcius Eurupianus, Jerlius %assianus and 7actumeius .agnus 1cos! suff! 1432, whilst the &sian proconsul was one Sulpicius Crassus! .! &ntonius &ntistius 6upus, a relative of /erodes &tticus, was also ,illed! See >hitta,er, i$id3 6eunissen 4onsuln, 13;-131! 394 Cf! 9io *2 1*32! 15!2-3!


incident to <ustify another purge of his late father's surviving amici! Dulianus, the new praetorian prefect, was pu$licly humiliated and then put to death, which suggests that he may have had $een involved with the conspiracy399! &nnia :undania :austina, .arcus &urelius' cousin, was

e#ecuted, as was the family of Commodus' $rother-in-law, .! 7etronius Sura .amertinus, along with 0innumera$le others' 1/& Comm! *!*-42(;;! "hese others included Dulius &le#ander from Emesa, who was apparently sentenced to death for his e uestrian a$ility, though he escaped detection for a time $efore eventually committing suicide(;1! Septimius must have $een

particularly grateful for a spell of unemployment3 it is li,ely that $oth &le#ander and the 'etronii were relatives of his(;2! -iven this environment, it is perhaps small wonder that senior senators, such as Claudius 7ompeianus and .'! &cilius -la$rio, suddenly $ecame convinced of the virtues of early retirement(;3!

:igure 4= Commodus as /ercules 1BMC +J p!4(2, no!*1(, pl!111!12!

399 (;;

HA Comm. 11!3-(3 >hitta,er Revolt, pp!3)3-3)(! HA Comm. *!)3 >hitta,er Revolt, p!3))-3)53 %irley Septimius, 41! (;1 9io *2 1*32! 1(!1-2! HA Comm. 4!3-( records &le#ander's murder, although with the unli,ely story that he was fomenting re$ellion! (;2 Dulius &le#ander 17+R 2 + 1922 seems to have $een a relative of Dulia 9omna! +n Chapter one it was argued that the Septimii were pro$a$ly related to the 'etronii Mamertinii! See Chapter Cne, page (;! (;3 9io *3 1*(2! 3!1-(!


"he evidence suggests that this period mar,ed a turning point in Commodus' reign (;(! "he names that he derived from his father were suddenly removed from the coinage! /e now returned to the name he had held at $irth, 6! &elius &urelius Commodus! %y these actions, the emperor was sym$olically revo,ing his allegiance to his late father's ideas and ways! "his is also demonstrated $y his increasing identification with /ercules on the coinage (;)! Cne coin in particular depicts Commodus dressed as /ercules, with a $ow and uiver, along with /ercules' trademar, clu$ and lion-s,in, with the legend /ERCJ6+ RC.&8C &J- 1see :igure 42 (;5! Commodus' growing patronage of eastern cults, +sis, Serapis and .ithras in particular, pro$a$ly also sprang from a desire to escape from his father's memory(;*! "he deaths of so many important officials created a num$er of vacancies in the imperial $ureaucracy! K! &emilius 6aetus, an e uestrian from 8orth &frica, was chosen to replace Dulianus as praetorian prefect3 little is ,nown of his career prior to this appointment, though it may have included a num$er of military posts(;4! Eclectus, a previously un,nown imperial freedman, replaced Cleander as the emperor's cham$erlain (;9! .arcia, the former mistress of Immidius Kuadratus, $ecame Commodus' new concu$ine! &lthough it seems that .arcia had $een Commodus' mistress for some time, she presuma$ly owed her current prominence to the part she played in e#posing Cleander (1;! 6aetus, .arcia and Eclectus uic,ly realised the

advantages of mutual co-operation, though it is conceiva$le that they were connected $eforehand!
(;( (;)

%irley Septimius, 42! BMC +J, pp! cl#vi, cl###i-cl###ii3 9io *2 1*32! 1)!2-15!1! (;5 BMC +J p!4(2, no!*1(, pl!111!1! (;* See HA Comm. 9!(-5! (;4 A* 19(9!34, from "haenae in &frica 7roconsularis, records the career of &emilius 7udens, 6aetus' $rother! 6aetus' career is discussed $y 7+R 2 &3)43 /owe, op! cit!, no!133 superseded $y Darrett 119*22, no!113 %irley Coup, pp!2)2-2)3! (;9 9io *2 1*32! 19!(! (1; 9io *2 1*32! (!5-*!


%e that as it may, a careful e#amination of the sources demonstrates that the three of them deli$erately strengthened their position during the following year! &n inscription from "haenae reveals that &emilius 7udens, 6aetus' $rother, was appointed to a senior post in the imperial $odyguard at around this time, whilst the Historia Augusta states that 6aetus successfully defended the future emperor 9idius Dulianus from an accusation of treachery(11! "he sources also indicate that the praetorian prefect was using his status to influence the appointment of provincial governors! "he vita Severi remar,s that during 191CE, Septimius was made governor of 7annonia Superior, 0on the recommendation of 6aetus' 1/& Sev! (!(-)2 (12! +t is almost impossi$le to e#aggerate the significance of this posting! 7annonia Superior was the closest armed province to the capital and contained a large garrison of three legions (13! Septimius was certainly an unusual choice for such an important command! /e had not had any significant military e#perience, apart from a legionary legateship in Syria, whilst his two previous commands had $een in unarmed provinces! "he reasons $ehind his appointment

$ecome clearer when they are seen in a wider conte#t! +t seems that Septimius' $rother -eta was also serving as a governor at this time, in .oesia +nferior (1(! &s $oth men were lin,ed to 7ertina#, it is highly li,ely that 6aetus was trying to esta$lish a connection of his own with the powerful ur$an prefect(1)! +n any case, 7ertina#' own influence was then at its height! +n early 192CE, 7ertina# held his second consulship, with the emperor himself as a colleague (15! "his


A* 19(9!34 records that 7udens was serving in comitatu of Commodus! See %irley Coup, pp!2)2-2)3! :or 6aetus' rescue of 9idius Dulianus, see HA Did. %ul. 5!23 6eaning 119492, p!))(! (12 "he te#t erroneously names the province as -ermany! (13 Camp$ell 119952, pp!439-4(23 -rant 119*(2, 292! (1( IR( )(13 "homasson "', col! 134 no!1;(3 cf! %irley Coup, p!253! (1) /er! 2!1!1; supports this conclusion! (15 6eunissen 4onsuln, 132!


was a rare honour, Commodus' colleagues as consul ordinarius were either mem$ers of the imperial family, or were otherwise senior aristocrats(1*! Spurred on $y his new favourites, Commodus' $ehaviour continued to worsen! /is official nomenclature was altered to include such e#travagant titles as 0/erculeus', 0&ma@onius' and 0E#superatorius', the months of the year were named after him and in mid-191CE, Rome itself was renamed 0Commodiana'(14! .ore seriously, 6aetus and Eclectus encouraged him to indulge his martial fantasies $y ta,ing part in gladiatorial contests and wild animal hunts (19! "hey may also have $een feeding his suspicions a$out the no$ility! 9uring the summer of 192CE, the emperor angrily threatened a large group of senators(2;! Insurprisingly perhaps, Commodus' violence soon led to his own murder! &lthough the events surrounding his death have $een shrouded in lies and half-truths, it is possi$le to see $eyond the propaganda! &ccording to the sources, Commodus had planned a $lood $ath at Rome for 8ew Hear's Eve 192CE, in which the consuls designate 1C! Erucius Clarus Ji$ianus and K! Sosius :alco2, along with the entire imperial household and their supporters were to $e massacred! Cnce the carnage had ceased, Commodus intended to emerge from the gladiators' camp on 8ew Hear's 9ay as sole consul(21! /owever, .arcia discovered the plan during the evening of 8ew Hear's Eve and hurriedly informed 6aetus and Eclectus! &fter a $rief discussion, the three of them decided to ,ill the emperor in order to save their own lives, unsuccessfully trying poison $efore finally having Commodus strangled $y a slave(22!
(1* (14

See 6eunissen, 129-132! 9io *2 1*32! 1)ff3 14!13 HA Comm. 4!5, which says that .arcia was $ehind the plan to rename Rome (19 9io *2 1*32! 1;!2-33 15!1-33 14!1! &ccording to 9io *2 1*32! 19!3-(, 6aetus and Eclectus fre uently accompanied the emperor to the games3 after each $out Commodus would 0,iss these companions through his helmet'! (2; 9io *2 1*32! 22!1-2! (21 9io *2 1*32 !22!1-23 /er! 1!15!1-(3 HA Comm. 1)!2-3! %irley Coup, pp!2(9-2);, offers a critical analysis of all three accounts! (22 9io*2 1*32! 22!(-53 /er! 1!15!(-1*!113 HA Comm. 1*!1-2!


&ccording to the official account, panic then set in!

"he three assassins, realising their

vulnera$ility, unanimously decided to offer the vacant throne to 7ertina# (23! 6ess enthusiastic at first, 7ertina# sent a friend to ascertain the truth of the report3 his testimony apparently convinced 7ertina# that the offer was genuine! /e then hurried to the praetorian camp, whereupon a sullen -uard acclaimed him emperor, though only $y means of a large donative (2(! &ccording to the sources, at news of Commodus' death, an angry mo$ demanded that his $ody $e dragged $y a hoo, and thrown into the "i$er, whilst others tore down his statues (2)! &lthough the e#act se uence of events is not clear, it seems that a large group of people then went to the praetorian camp(25! & meeting of the senate was then hastily arranged, at which 7ertina#' accession was confirmed(2*! &lthough the traditional story may well $ear some general resem$lance to the actual course of events, several factors demonstrate that Commodus was overthrown $y a well-organised conspiracy! :irstly, as was made clear a$ove, 6aetus, Eclectus and .arcia had $een actively encouraging Commodus' wild $ehaviour, on the one hand stirring up the emperor's paranoia and on the other nurturing senatorial hostility towards him! "he fren@ied cele$rations that greeted the pu$lic announcement of his death clearly illustrate this point! "he presence of large crowds at the 7raetorian camp, urging the soldiers to accept 7ertina#, strongly suggests some prior organisation, in which the new emperor himself had a hand(24!
(23 (2(

9io *3 1*(2! 1!1-2! *3 1*(2! 1!3-(3 cf! /er! 2!2!9-1;! (2) 9io *3 1*(2! 2!1-(3 /er! 2!2!(-53 HA Comm! 1*!(! "he long and stylised account of pu$lic anger in HA Comm. 14!1-19!9 is also relevant! (25 See 9io *3 1*(2! 1!1-2!(3 /er! 2!1!1-(!33 HA Comm. 2;!1-)3 HA 'ert. (!)-5!13 %irley Coup, pp!2(4-2(9! (2* "he main events in this version of the story can $e found in 9io *3 1*(2! 1!1-2!(3 /er! 2!1!1-(!33 HA Comm. 2;!1)3 HA 'ert. (!)-5!1! (24 /er! 2!2!3-)3 >hitta,er Revolt, pp!3)*-3)4! 7ertina#' involvement was suspected $y a num$er of ancient writers! See HA 'ert. (!3-(, )!2-53 Dulian Caes. 312C! & num$er of modern historians have accepted this argument, see 7latnauer, op! cit!, )), )4-5;3 /ammond, op! cit!, pp!15(-15)3 %irley Coup, p!2); n!113 Champlin 119*92, passim!


Secondly, the timing of the murder itself loo,s decidedly pre-arranged! 8ew Hear's 9ay was a pu$lic holiday at Rome! &ccording to /erodian, most of the 7raetorian -uard were unarmed and off-duty, en<oying themselves amidst the festivities, which meant that they would have $een far easier to control(29! "he newly appointed consules ordinarii also entered office on this day, a revolt at this time might well ta,e opponents $y surprise (3;! "hese two factors must have seriously reduced the chances of encountering effectively co-ordinated opposition! :urthermore, the fact that 6aetus, as the -uard 7refect, and 7ertina#, as prae$ectus urbi, held command of virtually the entire garrison of Rome $etween them is also highly suspicious!

:igure 9= Danus the 7reserver= BMC J, pp! 1, no! 2, pl!1!2

&s such, Danuary 1st was an e#cellent time to mount a coup d+etat! +t is surely significant therefore, that some of the first coins to $e issued in 7ertina#' name depict Danus the 7reserver 1+&8C CC8SERJ&"2, the god of new $eginnings 1:igure 92(31! 7ertina#' adoption of this sym$ol was a powerful statement of <udgement on the late emperor3 the gods had deserted Commodus, Danus sym$olising the conscious $rea, with the past! 7ertina#' su$se uent issues heavily reinforce this point! 6egends such as 7RCJ+9E8"+& 9ECRI. 10the providence of the gods'2, 9+S CJS"C9+%JS 10under the guardianship of the gods'2 and 6&E"+"+& "E.7CRI. 10the happiness of the age'2 emphasise Commodus' failure as much as they
(29 (3;

/er! 2!2!93 %irley Coup, p!2)2! "al$ert, op! cit!, 2;;-2;1! (31 BMC J, pp! l#i-l#ii, 1, no! 2, pl!1!23 cf! Cvid 2asti 1!23)ff3 Jirgil Aeneid 4!321ff!


anticipate 7ertina#' success 1:igures 1;, 11 L 122(32! .oreover, 8ew Hear's 9ay also cele$rated the overthrow of the old tyrant Saturn $y the new ,ing Dupiter, which would have $een an e#ceptionally relevant sym$ol at this time(33!

:igure 1;= 9is Custodi$us= BMC J p! 1, no! 25, pl! 2!1!

"his suggestion that 7ertina# was involved is $orne out $y further evidence! /erodian states that 7ertina# had $een friendly with 6aetus for some time $efore the murder (3(! Eclectus in particular seems to have $een an avid supporter of his, later dying with him (3)! Septimius, a close supporter of 7ertina#, was appointed governor of 7annonia Superior, the closest armed province to Rome, 0on the recommendation of 6aetus' 1/& Sev! (!(-)2! Septimius' $rother -eta, another client of 7ertina#, was also given a command on the 9anu$e at this time, in the two legion province of .oesia +nferior(35! Soon after the murder C! Dulius &vitus &le#ianus, a relative of Septimius' wife, was given charge of the vital grain supply at Cstia (3*! 6! :a$ius Cilo, who seems to have


:or 7RCJ+9E8"+& 9ECRI., see BMC J, pp!3 L 5-*, nos! 1;-13, 24-3; L 32-35, pl! 1!9-12, 2!3, 2!4, 3!1! 9+S CJS"C9+%JS= p! l#i, 1, no! 1 L 25, pl!1!1 L 2!1! :or 6&E"+"+& "E.7CRI., see pp!2, )-5, nos! 5-9, 2*, 31&, pl!1!5-4, 2!2! (33 /er! 1!15!1-2! (3( /er! 2!1!1;! (3) 9io *3 1*(2! 1;!1-2! (35 "homasson "' col!134 no!1;(3 %irley Coup, pp!251-253! (3* 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3*93 %irley Septimius, &pp! 2 no!()!


served under 7ertina# in Syria and was later one of Septimius' ,ey supporters, was consul designate in late 192(34! "he Historia Augusta remar,s that Cilo $uried Commodus' $ody 0at the $idding of 7ertina#' 1/& Comm! 2;!12! +n other words, Cilo was charged with ,eeping the $ody of the murdered emperor out of sight!

:igure 11= 7rovidentia 9eorum= BMC J, p! 3, no! 1;, pl! 1!9!

Cther significant inconsistencies in the official story emerge! "he Historia Augusta states that during the night of 8ew Hear's Eve, his former patron, the senior consular Claudius 7ompeianus, met 7ertina#! :or a num$er of years $efore Commodus' death, a com$ination of old age, poor health and disfavour had ,ept 7ompeianus on his estates at "arracina, some si#ty miles away(39! +f Commodus was spontaneously murdered during the night, there would have $een far too little time for news to reach "arracina and for 7ompeianus to come to Rome $y dawn3 he must therefore, have $een forewarned! 9io supports this, remar,ing that this meeting was the only occasion on which he actually saw 7ompeianus himself ((;! +t seems certain

therefore, that 7ompeianus was openly supporting his former prot?g?! "he sources indicate that 7ertina# too, great care to pu$licly honour 7ompeianus, placing his old patron ne#t to him on the imperial dais in the senate((1! %oth 9io and /erodian state that 7ertina# paid the same
(34 (39

6eunissen 4onsuln, 133! 9io *3 1*(2! 3!2-33 /er! 1!4!(3 HA 'ert. (!9-1;3 HA Did. %ul. 4!3! ((; *3 1*(2! 3!3! ((1 *3 1*(2! 3!33 HA 'ert. (!9-1;!


respect to .'! &cilius -la$rio, consul for the second time in 145 and a mem$er of the high aristocracy! "here is a distinct possi$ility that -la$rio was connected to the imperial house itself((2! &t any rate, $oth men were ,ey figures in 7ertina#' attempts to ac uire legitimacy and credita$ility at Rome3 it is surely relevant that after 7ertina#' own death, 7ompeianus and -la$rio again retired, once more pleading ill health and failing eyesight((3!

:igure 12= 6aetitia "emporum= BMC J p!2, no! 5, pl!1!5!

&n analysis of the governors of other ,ey provinces shows that others may well have $een actively involved in the conspiracy, or else sympathetic to it! :rom midsummer 192CE, the proconsul of &frica was Cornelius &nullinus(((! &nullinus, an important senator under .arcus &urelius, served as governor of %aetica in 1*1-1*2, at the time when Septimius was supposed to serve as that province's -uaestor(()! /is lac, of office under Commodus demonstrates that he had fallen from grace, a sudden appointment during 192CE is therefore somewhat suspicious ((5! "he Egyptian prefect 6! .antennius Sa$inus may also have $een party to the plot! & papyrus shows him in office in early 193CE, when news of 7ertina#' accession $ecame pu$lic3 another prefect, 6arcius .emor, is attested during late 192CE, which suggests that there was some dou$t a$out Egypt's loyalty((*! Clodius &l$inus, appointed governor of %ritain in 192, may also have

Champlin 119*92, p!29), argues that he was a great-nephew of .arcus &urelius3 cf! %irley Septimius, 2(2 n!1, who dou$ts this identification! ((3 Champlin 119*92, pp!3;3-3;53 9io *3 1*(2! 3!3! ((( %irley Coup, p!2*;3 %arnes 1195*2, p!943 cf! "homasson "', col! 34) no!11(! (() See Chapter "wo, pages )*-)4! ((5 %irley Coup, p!2*;! ((* %irley Coup, pp!254-2593 "homasson "', col! 3)3 nos! *9 L 4;!


$een lin,ed to the conspiracy3 he had a strong connection to /adrumetum, which was not far from 6aetus' home city of "haenae((4! +f this is correct, it is interesting to note that &l$inus' relative, &sellius &emilianus, held the proconsulship of &sia during this crucial period ((9! &lthough the evidence for other important provinces is much less certain, there is a good possi$ility that at least some were involved in the conspiracy! Cf the governors ,nown to $e in office in late 192-early 193CE, a num$er of them were later ,ey supporters of Septimius();! &s has $een seen, 7ertina#' faction consisted of some of Rome's most eminent men! 7ertina# himself was a senior figure! /e had held a num$er of important military posts and had governed a string of provinces, including %ritain and &frica! /e had also served as prae$ectus urbi and had twice $een consul, once as colleague of the emperor! /is aristocratic supporters were men of similar standing! .'! &cilius -la$rio 1cos! ++ ord! 1452 was one of the few surviving mem$ers of the old Repu$lican no$ility and had $een one of .arcus &urelius' chief counsellors ()1! 6i,e 7ertina#, "i! Claudius 7ompeianus 1cos! ++ 1*32 had risen through the ran,s of the military during the crises of the late 15;s, holding a num$er of senior commands $efore eventually $ecoming .arcus' son-in-law, through marriage to his daughter 6ucilla()2! 9espite this immense auctoritas, there was still strong opposition! +n particular, the 7raetorian -uard seems to have felt deeply aggrieved at the circumstances of 7ertina#' accession! %y all accounts, Commodus had treated the -uard leniently, giving them fre uent donatives and

"homasson "' col!*2 no! 323 %irley 119412, ?! :or his origins, see %irley Coup, pp!25)-2553 cf! %arnes 119*;2, pp!()-);! ((9 "homasson "' col!232 no!15) (); C! Jalerius 7udens= 7annonia +nferior B192-19(, &lfoldy Senat, p!1)33 %irley Coup, p!2*(3 "homasson "' col!11) no! 2)! Jirius 6upus= -ermania +nferior B192R19(-19*, &lfoldy Senat p!1)(3 %irley Coup, p!2*53 "homasson "' col!)4 no!92! MJettuleNnus 1B2 7ompeianus= .oesia Superior B192-19), &lfoldy Senat, p!1)33 %irley Coup, p!25)3 "homasson "' col! 124 no!(9! K! &urelius 7olus "erentianus= 9acia B191-19(, &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %irley Coup, p! pp!25*-2543 "homasson "' col! 1))-1)5 no! ((! ()1 Champlin, op! cit!, pp!291-292! ()2 Champlin, op! cit!, pp!29;-291!


allowing $reaches of military discipline to go unpunished! 7ertina# $y contrast, had a reputation for stinginess and was a strict disciplinarian ()3! 7ertina#' initial speech to the troops, during the early hours of Danuary 1st, seemed to confirm their worst fears! &ccording to 9io, after appealing to them for support and promising them twelve thousand sesterces each, he finished his address with the words 0"here are many distressing circumstances, fellow-soldiers, in the present situation3 $ut the rest with your help shall $e set right again' 19io *3 1*(2! 1!32! 9io continues, remar,ing that 0Cn hearing this, they suspected that all the privileges granted them $y Commodus in violation of precedent would $e a$olished, and they were displeased3 nevertheless, they remained uiet, concealing their anger' 19io *3 1*(2! 1!3-(2()(! Cpposition to the new regime seems to have mo$ilised uic,ly in the senate, gathering around a nucleus of aristocratic families! 9uring 7ertina#' first senatorial meeting as emperor on Danuary 1st, K! Sosius :alco, the newly-appointed consul ordinarius, attac,ed him= 0>e may ,now what sort of an emperor you will $e from this, that we see $ehind you 6aetus and .arcia, the instruments of Commodus' crimes' 1/& 7ert! )!2-32! &lthough 7ertina#' reply was swift and assured, such pu$lic criticism was damaging())! "he ,ey o$<ection to 7ertina# seems to have $een his hum$le $ac,ground! /erodian states that some mem$ers of the aristocracy were 0dissatisfied with the succession passing from an emperor of the highest no$ility to an upstart from a family without status and of hum$le origin' 1/er! 2!3!1-22! +n other words, some clearly felt that they had sufficient auctoritas to rule themselves!

()3 ()(

See Chapter "wo, page 59! /erodian does not mention this incident, though he does remar, that the praetorians were 0e#pected to $e totally against accepting a rule of moderation since they had grown used to a tyrant as their masterA' 1/er! 2!2!(-)2! ()) &ccording to HA 'ert. )!3-( 7ertina# replied= 0Hou are young, Consul, and do not ,now the necessity of o$edience! "hey o$eyed Commodus, $ut against their will, and as soon as they had an opportunity, they showed what had always $een their desire'!


"his discontent soon led to a ma<or distur$ance! Cn Danuary 3 rd, when the oath of allegiance to 7ertina# was $eing administered, a group of disgruntled soldiers tried to proclaim "riarius .aternus 6ascivius 1cos! ord! 14) 2 emperor instead ()5! .aternus, who was an unwilling

participant according to the Historia Augusta, only managed to escape from the guardsmen $y removing his clothes and running to 7ertina# for protection, $efore leaving Rome altogether ()*! &lthough he was not involved in the mutiny, .aternus' connections with the high aristocracy suggest that there was more to the incident than was at first apparent! /e seems to have $een the son of &! Dunius Rufinus 1cos! ord! 1)32 and thus nephew of .! Dunius Rufinus Sa$inianus 1cos! ord! 1))2! /is $rother-in-law was the C! Erucius Clarus 1cos! ord! 1*;2! "his last piece of information is interesting! .aternus was therefore, the uncle of C! Dulius Erucius Clarus, one of the consuls for 193 itself()4! -iven the opposition of Sosius :alco, the other consul ordinarius, to 7ertina#, this relationship $ecomes all the more significant! 7ertina#' reaction demonstrates the seriousness of the situation! +n order to appease the -uard, he confirmed the concessions that Commodus had granted to them, no dou$t reiterating his promise of twelve thousand sesterces per man! & sum of four hundred sesterces was also set aside for the common people of Rome ()9! & num$er of other measures designed to restore the senate's confidence were also introduced! "reason trials were a$olished $y means of a pu$lic oath, those e#iled $y Commodus were recalled and the $odies of those who had $een ,illed $y him were e#humed and given a proper funeral (5;! .ore importantly, 7ertina# attempted to restore order to senatorial career patterns, which Cleander's sale of offices had seriously disrupted, $y giving precedence to those who had actually served as praetor over those who had
()5 ()*

6eunissen 4onsuln, 13;! HA 'ert. 5!(-)3 %irley Septimius, 9;-913 Champlin, op! cit!, p!249! ()4 Champlin, op! cit!, pp!29*-299! ()9 BMC J, p! l#ii! (5; HA 'ert. 5!5-93 %irley Septimius, 91!


merely $een adlected(51! "his last measure received a mi#ed reaction! "hose who $enefited from it, li,e 9io, praised it warmly! "he Historia Augusta, whose main source here seems to have $een .arius .a#imus, remar,ed that it $rought 7ertina# 0the $itter enmity of many men' 1/& 7ert! 5!112(52! &s another means of restoring sta$ility, 7ertina# also ,ept in office those

magistrates appointed under Commodus, though his father-in-law, "! :lavius Sulpcianus, was made city prefect(53! /owever, the ma<or pro$lem facing the new regime was financial! Commodus' e#travagant $ehaviour and the demands of the -uard had emptied the imperial treasury, whilst the su$se uent de$asement of the coinage caused serious economic insta$ility! "o com$at this crisis, 7ertina# restored the coinage to its :lavian standard (5(! & series of coins refer to &e uitas 1&EKJ+"! &J-! "R! 7! CCS ++2, the goddess who ensured the fair distri$ution of availa$le wealth, whilst another, possi$ly genuine, coin refers to .C8E"& &J-!, the goddess who oversaw smooth running of the mint (5)! +n an attempt to revitalise trade and agriculture, newly instituted customs tariffs were repealed, farmers were given ta# immunity for ten years and land lying fallow was given over to willing farmers (55! .oreover, the fortunes amassed $y

Commodus' freedmen were confiscated and their lu#uries were sold (5*! :urthermore, in a move reminiscent of .arcus &urelius, imperial property was put up for pu$lic auction(54! Septimius' friends and allies pro$a$ly conveyed news of the discontent at Rome to him! +t is possi$le that 7lautianus, Septimius' ,insman from 6epcis, was appointed prae$ectus
(51 (52

HA 'ert! 5!1;-11! 9io *3 1*(2! 12!23 %irley Septimius, 9;! (53 HA 'ert. 12!43 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3;4! (5( %irley Septimius, 91! (5) :or &EKJ+"&S, see BMC J, p! 3, 4, 1;, nos! 1(-1*, 3*, (*a, pls!1!13-1), 2!(! :or .C8E"&, see BMC J, p!)! (55 /er! 2!(!5-*3 HA 'ert. *!*! (5* 9io *3 1*(2! 5!2-33 HA 'ert. *!4-9, 4!1! (54 9io *3 1*(2! )!(-)!


vehiculorum at this time(59! &n intriguing incident, recorded $y $oth 9io and /erodian, should also $e assigned to this period! &fter overseeing his province's oath of allegiance to the new ruler, Septimius was apparently overcome $y sleep, whereupon he had a dream in which 7ertina# was thrown from a 0fine, large horse wearing the imperial trappings' in the :orum at Rome 1/er! 2!9!)2! "he horse then stooped to lift Septimius onto its $ac,! Eight years later, in 2;1CE, Septimius erected a $ron@e statue on this spot, issuing a special coin to commemorate the event 1:igure 132(*;! &lthough this dream was certainly pu$licised for its propaganda value, it need not $e fictitious3 the sources repeatedly stress the importance Septimius assigned to visions and omens(*1!

:igure 13= E uestrian Statue of Septimius= /ill 119492, 55, pl!11)

.eanwhile, 7ertina# was still finding it difficult to assert his authority! &n inspection of the grain warehouses, at near$y Cstia, was disrupted $y news from Rome that the 7raetorian -uard had mutinied once again! &lthough the e#act course of events is unclear, it appears that the troops wanted to proclaim Sosius :alco, the consul ordinarius, emperor! 6earning of their plan, 7ertina# hurriedly returned to the capital, whereupon a nervous senate declared :alco a pu$lic enemy! %efore the verdict had $een finalised however, 7ertina# intervened on :alco's $ehalf,

%ecause Septimius later damned 7lautianus' memory, it is e#tremely difficult to reconstruct his early career! /owever, he seems to $e the man referred to in a fragmentary inscription from 6epcis! IR( )*2, dedicated $y a :ulvia 8epotilla, seems to record 7lautianus as a prae$ectus vehiculorum! See IR( )*2 n!13 %irley Septimius, 93! (*; "he story itself can $e found in 9io *( 1*)2! 3!33 /er! 2!9!(-5! :or the statue, see %enario 119)42, p!*1)! "he coin is discussed in BMC J, p!52(, no!41;a3 /ill 119**2, p!2(, no!41;3 /ill 119492, 55, pl!11)! (*1 See 9io *2 1*32! 23!1-)! & num$er of other incidents are discussed at the relevant points in this paper! See also Syme 119432, pp!4;-9*!


sparing his life and allowing him to retire! "he emperor then angrily denounced the greed of $oth the soldiers and imperial freedmen= 0Hou should not $e left in ignorance of the fact, :athers, that although + found on hand only a million sesterces, yet + have distri$uted as much to the soldiers as did .arcus and 6ucius, to whom were left twenty-seven hundred millions! +t is these wonderful freedmen who are to $lame for the shortage of funds' 19io *3 1*(2! 4!3-(2! "his was not true, as 7ertina# must have $een himself aware! .arcus &urelius had given the -uard twenty thousand sesterces per man, whilst 7ertina# had only promised twelve thousand! .oreover, 7ertina# had, as yet, $een una$le to pay even this much! 9io then continues, 0the soldiers and the freedmen who were present in the senate in very large num$ers $ecame highly indignant and muttered ominously' 19io *3 1*(2! 4!(-)2! "his anger was no dou$t increased $y the summary e#ecution of those troops who were involved(*2! &nother serious incident soon followed(*3! & dispute of some ,ind $ro,e out at the 7raetorian camp whilst 7ertina# was attending a poetry reading at the &thenaeum! "he emperor reacted $y sending his father-in-law :lavius Sulpicianus, who was also the prae$ectus urbi, to listen to the soldiers' demands and negotiate with them! Sulpicianus was however una$le to calm the

situation and a large group of some two hundred armed 7raetorians marched on the palace! 7ertina# responded $y spea,ing to the soldiers personally, reminding of their oath of allegiance and trying to overawe them with the dignity of his office! 9io remar,s that the soldiers 0on seeing him were at first a$ashed, all save one, and ,ept their eyes on the ground, and they thrust their swords $ac, into their sca$$ards' 19io *3 1*(2! 1;!12! "his one man, called "ausius $y the Historia Augusta, 0hurled his spear at 7ertina#' $reast! &nd he, after a prayer to Dupiter the


See 9io *3 1*(2! 4!1-)3 HA 'ert. 1;!1-*! /erodian does not mention this incident! See Champlin, op! cit!, pp!3;;-3;)3 %irley Septimius, 9(! (*3 9ated $y HA 'ert. 1)!5-*, to 24th .arch 193CE!


&venger, veiled his head with a toga and was sta$$ed $y the rest' 1/& 7ert! 11!9-112! Eclectus, Commodus' former cham$erlain, tried in vain to defend him and was also ,illed(*(! &lthough $oth 9io and the Historia Augusta $lame 6aetus for 7ertina#' overthrow, this seems unli,ely(*)! :irstly, 6aetus, who had meticulously organised the earlier overthrow of Commodus, had no contingency plan ready! "here were no new candidates waiting in the wings, we may safely discount :alco who was unaware of the plot carried out in his name! +ndeed, he virtually disappears from view! "hough certainty is impossi$le, 7ertina#' death seems to have $een the result of a spontaneous mutiny, as %irley suggests(*5! "he political faction that had overthrown Commodus collapsed with the death of 7ertina#! 8o dou$t realising this, 7ertina#' assassins returned to their $arrac,s and $arricaded themselves inside! 8ews of the murder and the 7raetorians' role in it spread panic throughout the capital! & num$er of wealthy senators $egan to leave Rome for their country estates, whilst those of lesser means ran to their homes in fear(**! Significantly, Claudius 7ompeianus and .'! &cilius -la$rio, the chief supporters of the now defunct regime, also retired from the city, once again claiming old age and failing health(*4! "he a$sence of such ,ey figures placed the initiative firmly in the 7raetorians' hands! >ithout a suita$le candidate for emperor, the troops clim$ed the walls of the fort and announced their intention to auction off the empire to the highest $idder! "his unprecedented event, unanimously condemned $y the sources, highlights the crisis of auctoritas at Rome(*9! "he paranoia of Commodus' reign and the swift demise of 7ertina# had
(*( (*)

See 9io *3 1*(2! 9!1-1;!33 /er! 2! )!1-93 HA 'ert. 1;!4-11!133 %irley Septimius, 9)! 9io *3 1*(2! 5!1-3, 4!23 HA 'ert! 1;!4-9! (*5 %irley Septimius, 9)! (** /er! 2!5!3-(! (*4 9io *3 1*(2! 3!3! (*9 9io *3 1*(2! 11!2-33 /er! 2!5!3-5!


created a dangerous vacuum in which no one person or group could gather sufficient influence to rule effectively! +n the a$sence of such authority, two rival claimants moved to fill the void! :lavius Sulpicianus, 7ertina#' father-in-law and ur$an prefect, was still inside the $arrac,s when the troops returned! Sei@ing the opportunity, Sulpicianus attempted to have himself made

emperor, promising the -uard a hefty donative for its support! &s a senior e#-consul, and former proconsul of &sia, Sulpicianus was a serious candidate (4;! &lthough he seems to have gained a measure of initial success, a num$er of officers argued against accepting him, warning that, as 7ertina#' relative, he would pro$a$ly want to punish those responsi$le for the murder! .! 9idius Dulianus, a mem$er of the high aristocracy and a senior e#-consul, emerged as a second candidate! &ccording to the sources, which are almost uniformly hostile, Dulianus learnt of 7ertina#' death 0while in a drun,en stupor' 1/er! 2!5!52 (41! :rom here, so the traditional story goes, Dulianus realised the si@e of the opportunity $efore him and rushed to the $arrac,s3 /erodian adds that Dulianus' avaricious wife and daughter goaded him into the act(42! Such a story is highly impro$a$le and is undou$tedly a result of su$se uent events! "he Historia Augusta, which seems to have relied on an otherwise un,nown source, has a much more favoura$le account! Cn hearing news of 7ertina#' death, Dulianus went to the senate house, where a meeting had $een called! :inding the doors closed, two tri$unes of the -uard, 7u$lius :lorianus and Jectius &per met Dulianus and persuaded him to press his claim, arguing that he was a more suita$le candidate than Sulpicianus (43! "his was not idle flattery! Dulianus was a well-connected aristocrat and had strong lin,s to the &ntonine imperial house, $eing raised at the home of .arcus &urelius' mother 9omitia 6ucilla!
(4; (41

/e had also had an eminent career,

:or his career, see 7+R 2 :3*33 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(23 %ar$ieri Albo, no!2(13 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3;4 L (;2! 9io *3 1*(2! 11!2! See 6eaning, op! cit!, pp!)(4-))2, ))5-))*! (42 /er! 2!5!*! (43 HA Did. %ul. 2!(-*! "he fact that a 6! 7u$licius :lorianus is recorded on an inscription at &u#imum, strongly supports the $asic veracity of the vita's account! See CI" 9!)4(23 6eaning , op! cit!, p!))* n!(9!


culminating in a suffect consulship in 1*)CE and the proconsulship of &frica in 19;CE (4(! Significantly, a num$er of incidents connect Dulianus with other influential figures of the period! +n 15*-154CE, Dulianus had $een one of the presiding officials at Septimius' trial for adultery (4)! 9uring Commodus' reign, Dulianus had twice $een suspected of sedition3 on the second occasion he was cleared of suspicion through 6aetus' influence (45! 9io admits that he had successfully prosecuted Dulianus on several occasions himself(4*! +n the event, Dulianus uic,ly out$id

Sulpicianus, winning the auction with an enormous raise of ),;;; sesterces per man(44! &lthough Dulianus' ran, and wealth were instrumental in gaining him the throne, the very fact that he had had to $uy the loyalty of the troops reveals <ust how deep the crisis of auctoritas ran! /is attempts to play the role of the traditional 0good' emperor, $y see,ing senatorial approval and promising large donatives to the ur$an populace, were thus doomed to fail! +n his first senatorial address, Dulianus tried to portray himself as the reluctant ruler chosen $y the popular will= 0A+ have not even as,ed to $e attended here $y many soldiers, $ut have come to you alone' 19io *3 1*(2!12!(-)2! "he presence of large num$ers of heavily armed 7raetorians was an o$vious contradiction! "he ordinary people of Rome regarded Dulianus as 7ertina#' murderer, in which they were no dou$t encouraged $y others! 9io remar,s that after this meeting, Dulianus went to the temple of Danus to sacrifice, at which point a large mo$ 0all fell to shouting, as if $y pre-concerted arrangement, calling him stealer of the empire and parricide' 19io *3 1*(2! 13!32(49! 9uring another serious demonstration, a large group occupied the Circus .a#imus, lamenting


/is career, which included imperial recommendations for $oth aedile and uaestorial posts, is discussed in 7+R 2 9**3 6eaning, op! cit!, pp!))2-)))! (4) HA Sev. 2!2-3! (45 9io *3!)!1-23 HA Comm. 3!23 (!1!*-1;3 HA Did. %ul. 1!9-2!2, 5!23 6eaning, op! cit!, p!))(! (4* 9io *3 1*(2! 12!2-3! (44 9io *3 1*(2! 11!)3 HA Did. %ul. 3!23 6eaning, op! cit!, p!))*! (49 -iven 7ertina#' fascination with Danus, it is interesting that this incident occurred outside his temple!


the present situation and calling upon 7escennius 8iger, the governor of Syria, for aid3 there were clearly other forces at wor,(9;! 8ews of 7ertina#' death on 24th .arch seems to have uic,ly reached Septimius in 7annonia, possi$ly sometime $etween 1st Q 3rd &pril(91! Carnuntum, the capital of 7annonia Superior, lay some 543 Roman miles from the capital! & mounted rider travelling si#ty miles per day would ta,e eleven and a half days to complete such a <ourney! Ising the imperial post system, which ,ept fresh riders and horses at various points along the ma<or roads, could significantly reduce this time! +t is interesting to note therefore that Septimius' ,insman, C! :ulvius 7lautianus, seems to have $een made prae$ectus vehiculorum 1the official in charge of the imperial post2 $y 7ertina#(92! +n any case, it is li,ely that news of the distur$ances at Rome had already $een received and that Septimius was preparing for action! Cne late source provides some evidence of this! "he *pitome de Caesaribus records that Septimius was proclaimed emperor at the city of Savaria, some seventy miles south west of Carnuntum(93! "he speed of Septimius' response again suggests some ,ind of prior organisation! .essages were sent to near$y governors and legionary commanders, informing them of 7ertina#' murder and of his own intention to replace him as emperor! 7resuma$ly, it would not have ta,en long for replies to $e received from Septimius' own legionary legates, as well as from the neigh$ouring provinces of 7annonia +nferior and 8oricum! &lthough the evidence is a little fragmentary, most of these commanders offered their unconditional support and were later rewarded $y Septimius! "he oriental "! :lavius Secundus 7hilippianus, legate of 6I& #emina,
(9; (91

9io *3 1*(2! 13!)3 /er! 2!*!2-(! %irley Septimius, 9*3 -raham, op! cit!, p!2)* (92 7age 93! (93 *pit. De Caes. 19!2! "his may account for Jictor De Caes! 19!(3 HA Did. %ul. )!2 and Gonaras 12!*, which all implausi$ly give 0Syria' as the location! See %irley Septimius, 9*, 2(( n!21


$ecame consul in 19)-195CE, whilst 6! &urelius -allus, the +talian legate of I Adiutri), was made consul ordinarius in 194CE(9(! +nterestingly, it seems that the loyalty of the legate of 6 #emina was in some way dou$tful3 no record of this man's name survives and more importantly, the legion was not given a special commemorative coin (9)! "he governor of 7annonia +nferior, C! Jalerius 7udens, must have given his full support3 he was made a suffect consul in 19)195CE and later $ecame the proconsul of &frica(95! &lthough it undou$tedly too, longer for messages to reach the more distant provinces, the governors of the 9anu$e region all su$se uently pledged their allegiance! "he identity of the governor of .oesia Superior during 193 is uncertain, although it could possi$ly have $een the shadowy MANn 7ompeianus(9*! Septimius' $rother -eta, who was also a former client of

7ertina#, was then commanding the two-legion province of .oesia +nferior3 his support could perhaps $e ta,en for granted(94! Cnly one of his legates is ,nown! 6! .arius .a#imus

7erpetuus, from &frica, was then legate of I Italica! /is su$se uent career, culminating in two consulships, shows clearly that he had supported Septimius (99! K! &urelius 7olus "erentianus, governor of 9acia, seems to have $een part of the original conspiracy to overthrow Commodus! +n any case, his appointment to the senior post of &sian proconsul in 2;; confirms his support during this critical period);;! "! .anilius :uscus, legate of 6III #emina under "erentianus, was another early supporter, $eing rewarded for his loyalty with a consulship in 19)-195CE);1!


:lavius Secundus= 7+R 2 :3523 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(23 %ar$ieri Albo, no!2(13 %irley Coup, p! 2*)3 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3(3! &urelius -allus= 7+R 2 &1)1(3 &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %ar$ieri Albo, no! *53 %irley Coup, p!2*)3 6eunissen 4onsuln, 33)! (9) %irley Septimius, 9*! (95 &lfoldy Senat, p!1)33 %ar$ieri Albo, no!)1(3 %irley Coup, p! 2*)3 "homasson "' col!11) no! 2)! (9* &lfoldy Senat, p!1)33 "homasson "' col! 124 no!(9! (94 %irley Coup, pp!252-253! (99 7+R 2 .3;43 &lfoldy Senat, pp!1(5-1(*3 %ar$ieri Albo, no! 11;;3 %irley Coup, p!2*53 6eunissen 4onsuln, 335! );; &lfoldy Senat, p!13)3 %irley Coup, p! pp!25*-2543 "homasson "' col! 1))-1)5 no! ((! );1 7+R 2 .13*3 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(53 %ar$ieri Albo, no! 3(*3 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3(2!


"he reaction of the Rhine provinces is a little harder to ascertain! Infortunately, the governors of $oth Raetia and 8oricum are not ,nown! "here is also dou$t regarding the identity of the legatus Augusti in -ermania Superior3 it is possi$le that it was K! .emmius :idus Dulius &l$ius, from %ulla Regia in &frica);2! Jirius 6upus, who is attested as governor of -ermania +nferior from 19(-19*CE, may well have $een in post as early as 192CE! /e was nevertheless a noted supporter of Septimius and after this command he was sent to govern %ritain, possi$ly until 2;2CE);3! "he name of one of the legionary legates of -ermania +nferior is ,nown! K! Jenidius Rufus .arius .a#imus 6! Calvinianus, who seems to have $een related to .arius .a#imus, was in command of I Minerva, $ased at %onn, during 193CE3 his consulship in 19*-194CE proves his allegiance to Septimius);(! >hilst all of these provinces su$se uently declared for Septimius, it is e#tremely unli,ely that news of their support reached him uic,ly! /e was also waiting for news of his sons in Rome );)! %y 9th &pril, Septimius felt sure enough of his position to pu$licly declare himself emperor! +t was a mere twelve days since 7ertina#' assassination);5! +n his initial speech to the troops, Septimius <ustified his revolt $y stressing his desire to avenge 7ertina#! &s a to,en of this he added 7ertina# to his own name, styling himself 0+mperator Caesar 6! Septimius Severus 7ertina# &ugustus');*! /e also seems to have laid responsi$ility for the murder at the feet of the 7raetorian -uard! %y concentrating upon their dereliction of duty, Septimius may well have $een trying to raise his troops' hopes of serving in the capital! +n any

);2 );3

&lfoldy Senat, p!1(*3 %irley Coup, p! 2*(! &lfoldy Senat p!1)(3 %irley Coup, p!2*53 "homasson "' col!)4 no!92! );( 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3353 &lfoldy Senat, p! 1)33 %ar$ieri Albo, no! )19! );) /er! 3!2!(! );5 2eriale Duranum, col! 2 line 3, uoted in %irley Coup, p!2*2 n!14;! Cf! HA Sev. )!1-2 erroneously gives the +des of &ugust as his date of accession! );* /er! 2!1;!13 HA Sev. )!), *!93 BMC J, p! l##i#!


case, the assem$led soldiers were given a donative! "he Historia Augusta gives the sum as one thousand sesterces per man);4! +n order to successfully portray himself as the legitimate candidate Septimius needed to ta,e control of the capital! Rome was not only the empire's largest city and seat of lawful authority3 it was its sym$olic heart! Cnly the senate, meeting in the time-honoured manner, could legally sanction the rule of a new emperor! "he emperor's tri$unician power, which gave him the right to propose and veto legislation, could only $e conferred at the capital! "here is no dou$t that Septimius understood this, carefully avoiding the tri$unician title for the present! .oreover, $y sei@ing the capital, Septimius could $egin to re$uild the traditional structure of Roman patronage, $y offering prestigious positions in government to those no$lemen willing to cooperate! >ith this aim in mind, once the official proclamation was over Septimius $egan mo$ilising his forces for the coming march on Rome! .ilitary units from the entire northern frontier were ordered to gather in 7annonia! &lthough he seems to have had the support of the Rhine and 9anu$e armies, a force of some fifteen legions 1appro#imately eighty-one thousand men2 and their attendant au#iliary units, a num$er of other governors had yet to declare their intentions );9! Chief amongst these was Clodius &l$inus, the governor of %ritain! 9uring the second century, %ritain contained a large garrison of some three legions and a num$er of au#iliary units )1;! &l$inus was a serious potential rival! /e came from, or had strong lin,s to &frica, and was a mem$er of a wealthy and well-connected aristocratic family)11! .ore significantly, he was
);4 );9

HA Sev. )!2! Camp$ell 119952, p!439! )1; II Augusta, &I &ictri) and 66 &aleria &ictri)! See -rant 119*(2, 2923 %ree@e L 9o$son 1194*2, pp!2(3-2)43 "odd 1199*2, 15*-1*;, 1*3! )11 &l$inus' origins are disputed! See %irley Coup, pp!25)-2553 cf! %arnes 119*32, pp!()-)9! "he wealth and no$ility of his family is however, unanimously accepted!


related to &sellius &emilianus, the proconsul of &sia)12! 8ot surprisingly therefore, &l$inus reputedly had a large and influential following at Rome )13! Early reports suggested that &l$inus was seriously considering his own $id and had already gaining the support of 6! 8ovius Rufus, the governor of /ispania "arraconensis)1(! Septimius responded to these reports $y sending messages of his own to &l$inus, offering him the position of Caesar in return for his support )1)! &fter some negotiation, &l$inus accepted, $ecoming 09! Clodius Septimius &l$inus Caesar')15! "he sources are unanimously sceptical of Septimius' motives! /is offer is not seen as genuine, $ut as merely an attempt to $uy time in which to fight 8iger! Septimius is thus cast in the role of deceiver, whilst &l$inus is portrayed as a naEve simpleton! "his is due in part to the common ancient stereotype of the unfaithful &frican and in part to the su$se uent course of events! &lthough it is true that, after the war against 8iger, Septimius $ro,e with &l$inus, appointing his son Caracalla heir, $oth men were manoeuvring for position from the very $eginning! &t this early stage, $oth men had much to gain in such an alliance, as even /erodian ma,es clear! +n his account of Septimius' letter to &l$inus, /erodian states that Septimius needed a 0man of no$le $irth, still in the prime of life, when he himself was an old man, rac,ed $y gout and with children who were very young' 1/er! 2!1)!(2! &lthough we may safely discount his pleas of old age and ill health, Septimius stood very much in need of the si@ea$le auctoritas a man li,e &l$inus must have possessed! &l$inus, for his part, must have $een aware of the depth of support for Septimius amongst the Rhine and 9anu$e armies, which outnum$ered his own forces significantly! /e must also have $een aware that Septimius' sons were still very young!

)12 )13

9io *( 1*)2! 5!2! &lfoldy Senat, pp!119-12;! )1( %irley Septimius, 94! 8ovius Rufus= %irley Coup, p!2*(-2*)3 &lfoldy Senat, p!1(43 %ar$ieri Albo, 392! )1) See 9io *3 1*(2! 1)!1-23 /er! 2!1)!1-33 HA Sev. 5!9-1;! 6ess credi$ly, HA Nig. 2!1-23 HA Alb. 1!2, 3!(-), 1;!3! )15 BMC J, pp! l###ii-l###iii!


.oreover, he would gain credi$ility $y $eing pu$licly associated with 7ertina#' self-styled avenger and the alliance also gave him space in which to $uild up his own contacts)1*! >ith this alliance concluded, serious military operations could $egin! +n the following wee,s, legionary and au#iliary detachments from near$y provinces $egan to arrive in 7annonia! :ood and materiel also $egan to arrive, whilst further supplies were arranged! +t is also li,ely that advance forces too, control of the alpine passes! &midst these preparations news $egan to filter through of the demonstrations in Rome in favour of 7escennius 8iger, the governor of Syria )14! "o counter this, .arius .a#imus, legate of I Italica, was given a special command and sent southwards to sei@e control of the vital sea crossing at %y@antium)19! %y late &pril 193CE, the e#peditionary force had $een assem$led and had $egun to march )2;! Septimius himself was in overall command! "he mysterious Dulius 6aetus, who should not $e confused with the praetorian prefect, seems to have $een given charge of the advance guard3 it is possi$le that he had already left $y this point, attempting to sei@e the alpine passes )21! Cne 6! Jalerius Jalerianus, also of uncertain origin that seems to have $een commanding a cavalry unit in the region, was given command of the cavalry)22! .! Rossius Jitulus, who seems to have $een from "ergeste 1modern "rieste2, was made praepositus annonae, or uartermaster-

general)23! &t any rate, according to /erodian, Septimius' forces arrived in +taly $efore news of his proclamation had $ecome widely ,nown)2(!


.oran 119952, p!)! /er! 2!*!2-(! )19 9io *3 1*(2! 1)!23 /er!2!1(!5-*, 3!2!13 HA Sev. 4!12-13! )2; -raham, op! cit!, p!2)*! )21 /er! 2!11!4-9! 6aetus is a shadowy figure! /is earlier career is un,nown! See 7+R2 +3*3 L 6593 %irley Septimius, 943 -raham, op! cit!, p!2)4! )22 A* 1955!(9), restored and re-interpreted $y Speidel 1194)2, pp!321-325! See also -raham, i$id! )23 -raham, i$id! )2( /er! 2!11!3!


:igure 1(= Concord .ilitum= BMC J, p! 11, no! 1, pls! 3!)!

.eanwhile, with news of the events in 7annonia, Dulianus was ma,ing preparations of his own! Septimius and 8iger were proclaimed pu$lic enemies and the 7raetorians were immediately put to wor, in fortifying the capital, despite this 9io comments that their efforts were largely useless)2)! &n appeal to the provincial legions was made via the coinage! & large series of coins proclaiming the 0harmony of the soldiers' 1CC8CC R 9 .+6+"2 were issued in all metals 1:igure 1(2)25! Cther issues, with the legend REC"CR CR%+S 10ruler of the world'2, attempted to emphasise this point, giving Dulianus the aura of a legitimate ruler)2*! &s a more practical measure, a senatorial delegation was sent to the approaching army! +ts mem$ers included

Jespronius Candidus, a former governor of 9acia, Jalerius Catullinus, Septimius' supposed successor in 7annonia and & uilius :eli#, a man 0notorious as the assassin of senators' 1/& 9id! Dul! )!*-42, all three were either arrested or <oined Septimius)24! %y the time this commission arrived, Septimius had already ta,en control of the port city of Ravenna, $rushing aside the new praetorian prefect "ullius Crispinus, who had $een given command of the city's marines $y Dulianus)29! 7anic,ing, Dulianus had .arcia and 6aetus put to

)2) )25

9io *3 1*(2! 15!1-2! BMC J, p! l##-l##iii, p! 11-12 L 1), nos! 1-3, 9, 2;-23, pls! 3!)-*, 11 L (!1! )2* BMC J, p! 12, 1)-15, nos! 5-4, 19 L 24-31, pls! 3!9-1;, L (!4! )24 HA Sev. )!)3 HA Did. %ul! )!)-43 6eaning, op! cit!, pp! )5;-)51! )29 /er! 2!12!1-33 %irley Septimius, 99!


death as supposed Severan supporters)3;! "urning to religion, he suggested that the priests and Jestal Jirgins, at the head of the senate, should $e sent to implore Septimius to turn $ac,! Significantly, the augur .! 7educaeus 7lautius Kuintillus, a son-in-law of .arcus &urelius and a possi$le relative of &l$inus, vetoed this proposal)31! Realising the seriousness of the situation, Dulianus issued a decree assigning half of the empire to Septimius )32! 8ot surprisingly, Septimius re<ected the offer! Clearly desperate, Dulianus tried to appease Septimius $y appointing his nominees as prefects of the -uard and $y offering to share power with 7ertina#' old patron, Claudius 7ompeianus )33! "he coinage also reveals that he added 0Severus' to his own name )3(! :inally, Septimius issued a direct command to the 7raetorians to arrest 7ertina#' murderers which they o$eyed! Dulianus was finished! &t a hastily convened meeting, the senate recognised Septimius as emperor, giving 7ertina# pu$lic deification and declaring Dulianus a pu$lic enemy, with a sentence of death! /is last words, as 9io records them, reveal that he had fatally misunderstood the nature of the crisis facing Rome= 0%ut what evil have + doneB >hom have + ,illedB')3)! Septimius had arrived at +nteramna, some fifty miles north of Rome, when news of Dulianus' e#ecution reached him on Dune 1st 193CE3 the entire e#peditionary force had ta,en <ust thirty days to march nearly *;; Roman miles )35! "he speed with which this feat was accomplished demonstrates Septimius' ac,nowledgement of the seriousness of the situation! +f his regime was to have any hope of permanency, the damage of the previous thirteen years had to $e repaired!
)3; )31

9io *3 1*(2! 15!)3 HA Did. %ul. 5!2! HA Did. %ul. 5!53 %irley 119932, 1423 HA Alb. 1;!*! )32 9io *3 1*(2! 1*!23 /er! 2!12!33 HA Sev. )!*3 HA Did. %ul. 5!4-9! )33 HA Did. %ul! *!(-), 4!1-(! )3( BMC J, p!12-1*! See especially no! 9, pl! 3!11! )3) 9io *3 1*(2! 1*!(-)! )35 HA Sev. 5!2! &t some point in his career, :a$ius Cilo was the curator of +nteramna! See 7+R 2 :2*!


Ipon entering the city, Septimius moved decisively to esta$lish his position! "he wayward 7raetorian -uard were tric,ed into assem$ling unarmed outside the city and then dishonoura$ly discharged! &s punishment for their disloyalty to 7ertina#, they were $anished from Rome en masse under threat of death)3*! "he removal of the -uard's disruptive influence gave Septimius the chance to impose order on the capital, allowing a vital $reathing space in which the normal pattern of life could resume! Effective security was also ensured $y the institution of a new force, of much larger si@e and filled with loyal 9anu$ian troops)34! +n spite of 9io's testament to the contrary, Septimius' entry into Rome, at the head of a large army, caused widespread fear)39! .oving swiftly to allay these concerns, Septimius called an official meeting of the senate, $efore pu$licly sacrificing at all the ma<or temples )(;! &ddressing the senate, Septimius reiterated his statement of proclamation that he had only revolted in order to avenge 7ertina#, adding further that he would ta,e .arcus &urelius as an e#ample and ta,ing an oath not to ,ill any senator)(1! &lthough such rhetoric had $een tarnished in recent years, .arcus' memory and the ideal it represented was still widely cherished at Rome )(2! +t was no dou$t for this reason that soon after his arrival Septimius designated himself and his new Caesar as consuls for the coming year 119(CE23 it is also more li,ely that those consuls designate who had not shown themselves disloyal were allowed to serve their terms in office)(3!

)3* )34

9io *( 1*)2! 1!1-23 /er! 2! 13!1-123 HA Sev. 5!11! 9io *( 1*)2! 2!(-53 /er! 2!1(!)3 %irley 119592, pp!53-42! )39 9io *( 1*)2! 1!3-)3 cf! /er! 2!1(!13 HA Sev. 5!5 L *!2-(3 "ert! Apol. 3)!(! )(; /er! 2!1(!23 9io *( 1*)2! 1!3-2!1! )(1 9io *(1*32! 2!13 /er! 2!1(!33 HA Sev. *!)-5, although, as 9io notes, this oath was later $ro,en! See %irley 119522, pp!19*-199! )(2 /er! 2!1(!33 .oran, op! cit, p!5! )(3 HA Alb. 5!4!


:igure 1)= 9ivus 7ius 7ater= BMC J, p!2), no! 35, pl! 5!5!

:urther steps were ta,en $y Septimius to lin, himself his former patron! 7ertina#, who had already $een voted divine honours $y the senate, was now to $e mentioned 0at the close of all prayers and all oaths' 19io *( 1*)2! (!1-22! & golden statue of 7ertina# was to $e carried $y an elephant into the Circus .a#imus and three gilded thrones were to $e paraded through the city's amphitheatres)((! &n ela$orate funeral was arranged, at which a wa# effigy of 7ertina# was $uried as though it was real3 at the end of the ceremony, an eagle was released, sym$olising his divine transformation)()! 8ot wanting anyone to miss the spectacle, Septimius placed the $ier on a wooden platform in the :orum3 senators and e uestrians received their own stands, 0in a manner $efitting their station' 19io *( 1*)2! (!1-)2! "he machinery of imperial propaganda also $egan to move! >riters such as 9io, were commissioned to praise 7ertina# in their wor,s and a commemorative coin was also issued)(5! "he reverse $ore a depiction of the divine eagle 1:igure 1)2! "he o$verse legend ran 9+JJS 7ER" 7+JS 7&"ER 10our divine and pious father

7ertina#'2)(*! "he senate responded $y confirming Septimius' adoption of 7ertina#' name)(4!

)(( )()

9io *( 1*)2! (!2! 9io *( 1*)2! (!1-)!)3 HA Sev. *!*-4! )(5 See the e#cessive flattery of 7ertina# in 9io *( 1*)2! )!5-*3 .illar 119552, 1-1)! )(* BMC J, p!2), nos! 35-3*, pls! 5!5-5!*! )(4 HA Sev. *!93 BMC J, p! l##i#!


:igure 15= Septimius' Special 6egionary coin issue= BMC J, p! 21-23, nos! 4-2), pls! )!(-)!19

Septimius too, a num$er of other important measures to reinforce his position! "he soldiers were given an immediate cash donative, although the actual amount is uncertain )(9! "his largesse was presuma$ly paid $y means of a special coin issue! & large series of coins, dating to mid193CE, commemorate those legions initially loyal to Septimius 1:igure 152 ));! :urther issues of this period recall the 0faith of the legions' 1:+9E+! 6E- " R7 CCS Q :igure 152 ))1! Cele$ratory games were held for the general pu$lic, who received a donative of their own, paid for $y another commemorative coin 16+%ER&6 &J- CCS Q :igure 1*2))2!
)(9 ));

/er! 2!1(!)! +nterestingly, 6 #emina is not recorded! See, BMC J, p! l###ii-l###iii, p! 21-23, nos! 4-2), pls! )!(-)!19! ))1 BMC J, p! 2;-21, nos! )-5, pls! )!1-)!2! ))2 /er! 2!1(!)3 .oran, i$id3 BMC J, p! 2;, nos!1-3, pls! )!15-)!1*!


:igure 1*= 6i$eralitas &ug!= BMC J, p! 2;, no!1, pl! )!15!

Septimius could also hope to ac uire popular support $y concerning himself with the $usiness of government! Care was thus ta,en to reorganise the city's grain supply, presuma$ly still

controlled from Cstia $y Septimius' Emesene relative, C! Dulius &vitus &le#ianus ))3! Septimius also heard a num$er of pressing lawsuits3 a rescript dating to Dune 2* th 193CE, deciding a technical point of law, has survived))(! Septimius' first appointments as emperor show his concern for security! Jeturius .acrinus, a former prefect of Egypt, and :lavius Duvenalis were made <oin prefects of the -uard)))! "he ephemeral %assus was appointed prae$ectus urbi, only to $e replaced soon afterwards $y C! 9omitius 9e#ter ))5! 9e#ter was an interesting choice3 it is possi$le that he was Septimius' commander in Syria for a short time in the 1*;sCE))*! "hese measures were an important means of restoring calm to the city and thence to the empire at large! 6i,e 7ertina# $efore him, Septimius was careful to court the affection of the senatorial no$ility! /owever, unli,e his erstwhile patron, Septimius realised that in order to esta$lish his regime effectively, he had to create a sta$le political environment3 his replacement of the old +talianate -uard allowed him to do this! :urthermore, $y holding pu$lic games and reorganising
))3 ))(

HA Sev! 4!)3 .oran, i$id3 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3*93 %irley Septimius, &pp! 2 no!()! HA Sev. 4!3-(3 C% 3!24!1, uoted in %irley Septimius, 2() n!35! ))) Jeturius .acrinus= /owe 119552, no!153 "homasson "', col! 3)2 no!*2! :lavius Duvenalis= /owe, op! cit!, no! 1*! ))5 6eunissen 4onsuln, 3;4! ))* See Chapter "wo, page 52!


the corn supply Septimius could portray himself in the emperor's traditional role of pater patriae 10father of the nation'2! "hrough these means Septimius could portray himself as the legitimate emperor! 9uring the ne#t four years, Septimius' forces destroyed first 8iger and then &l$inus ))4! /owever, that he had $een a$le to do this was $ased s uarely upon his swift action in early 193CE and his careful attempts to play the role of the traditional emperor! &lthough the chronological narrative employed throughout much of this dissertation has ena$led us to see the gradual unfolding of events, it has, to a certain e#tent, o$scured the $roader picture! +n order to remedy this and to draw together the dissertation's various threads, in this final section focus will $e given to analysing Septimius' supporters))9! +n an influential article, %irley argued that a politically active &frican faction formed the $ac,$one of aristocratic resistance to Commodus! "his group, it is argued, was headed $y mem$ers of the high no$ility and was directly responsi$le for replacing Commodus with 7ertina#! 9espite this success, the new regime was marred $y a conflict $etween the faction's principal leaders, 7ertina# and 6aetus! "hereafter, 6aetus either actively conspired against his former ally, or else turned a $lind eye to his troops' opposition! "he death of 7ertina# split the faction in two, with one group headed $y Septimius in 7annonia and the other $y Clodius &l$inus in %ritain! >hen these two men made common cause to defeat 8iger, the &frican faction was again united! &fter 8iger's defeat, Septimius turned on &l$inus and, in a huge $attle at 6yons in 19*CE, ,illed him! "he strength of the &frican faction in the ensuing conflict is

))4 ))9

See %irley Septimius, 1;4-1293 -raham 119*32, pp! 2))-2*43 /arrer 119232, pp!1))-154! See &lfoldy Senat, pp!112-15;3 also 8icols 119*42, passim, especially p!99-11)!


demonstrated $y Septimius' su$se uent appointment of a special official to administer the confiscated wealth789! +n support of this notion, %irley argues that most of the important governors were either from &frica, or were otherwise strongly connected with it! Infortunately, although this hypothesis is interesting, the argument has a num$er of critical wea,nesses! "o start with, although many of his claims for &frican origin are accurate, many others are at $est $ased upon inconclusive evidence! &l$inus himself is perhaps the most significant dou$tful case! &lthough he was strongly connected with &frica, his actual &frican heritage is far from certain78:! +n a num$er of other places, %irley relies too heavily upon pro$a$ilities! "hus it is suggested that K! &urelius 7olus "erentianus, the governor of 9acia in 193CE, may well originate in &frica $ecause the otherwise rare com$ination of K! &urelii are found eighteen times in &frica 78;! "his may well $e accurate, $ut it is dangerous to $ase his argument on such a slight foundation! Similarly, in his concluding analysis %irley offers some collated figures! Cf twelve consular provinces in the Severan period, the names of forty-four governors are ,nown 78<! &s %irley's own figures admit, only five of these men 1or 11V2 are definitely from &frica, with a further si# pro$a$le cases and eight possi$ilities78=! &lthough regional variations in nomenclature are a useful source of

evidence, they must $e used with e#treme caution! "his approach, which is totally reliant on the vagaries of the e#tant epigraphic corpus, is methodologically uncertain, to say the least! +f this conspiracy were the result of an &frican faction, then it would $e reasona$le to e#pect its figurehead to $e from &frica, or else to have a strong lin, to it! 7ertina# however, was an +talian
)5; )51

%irley Coup, pp! 2(*-24;3 see also >hitta,er Revolt, pp!3)2-3)3! %irley Coup, pp!25)-2553 cf! %arnes 119*;2, pp!()-)9! )52 %irley Coup, p!25*, citing the inde# of CI" 4! )53 "he provinces are %ritain, 7annonia Superior, -ermania +nferior and Superior, .oesia +nferior and Superior, 9acia, Syria Coele, /ispania "arraconensis, 9almatia and 7ontus-%ithynia3 %irley Coup, pp!2*4-2*9! )5( %irley Coup, p! 2*9!


from &l$a 7ompeia in 6iguria 787!

%irley's attempt to lin, his father with &frica is thus

somewhat implausi$le788! .oreover, as has $een seen, the coup's most senior supporters were men li,e .' &cilius -la$rio and Claudius 7ompeianus, neither of whom had a connection with &frica! :inally, as this dissertation has tried to stress, provincial origin was not the primary motivating factor in Roman aristocratic politics! Common political goals, or less generously self-interest, provided the ,ey lin, $etween the conspirators against Commodus, as well as amongst Septimius' ,ey supporters! >hilst a shared &frican $ac,ground may have $een an initial means of recruitment or introduction, had there $een no common interest the faction would soon have dissolved! &s %arnes points out, 0the $asis of the Severan party ought to $e clear! +t is opportunism'78>!

)5) )55

9io *3 1*(2! 3!13 /er! 2!1!(! %irley Coup, pp!2*1-2*2! )5* %arnes 1195*2, p!1;3!


9uring the mid-eighteenth century, the famous historian Edward -i$$on wrote a scathing attac, on the character of Septimius! +n his, History o$ the Decline and 2all o$ the Roman *mpire , -i$$on denounced Septimius as $oth devious and violent)54! +n his final analysis, he candidly remar,ed that Septimius was the, 0principal author of the decline of the Roman Empire' )59! .iller, writing some two centuries later, e#presses a stri,ingly similar conviction3 Septimius, who was possessed of a 0realism unem$arrassed $y historical sympathies or scruples', was in actual fact not a Roman at all $ut a 08ew /anni$al on the throne of the Caesars')*;! &lthough Septimius' ruthlessness and violence are not at issue, this dissertation has attempted to demonstrate that he was an altogether more comple# figure than is generally imagined, as $oth -i$$on and .iller grudgingly admit)*1! +ndeed, it is precisely this mi#ture of cruelty and generosity, of single-minded am$ition and concern for <ustice that has made him one of the most intriguing characters of anti uity! "he ancients themselves were aware of this parado#3 he 0should never have $een $orn at all or never should have died' 1/& Sev. 14!*-42! "his present wor, has avoided a discussion of Septimius' reign as emperor! Several factors influenced this decision! "o start with, the Severan period has attracted the attention of an increasing num$er of historians in recent years! 9uring the last fifty years, important advances have $een made in a wide range of relevant fields! "he literary sources for the Severan era have $een e#haustively e#amined3 the wor,s of 9io, /erodian and the peculiar, yet fascinating
)54 )59

-i$$on 1>onersley ed! 199(2, 1);, 1(;! -i$$on 1>omersley ed! 199(2, 1(4! )*; .iller 119392, 25! )*1 -i$$on, op! cit!, 1(4-1);3 .iller, op! cit!, 2(!


Historia Augusta have $een studied in great detail)*2! &rchaeology has also contri$uted a great deal to the understanding of the ancient world! +n particular, recent research has $rought the cultural diversity of Septimius' native "ripolitania to light)*3! 6inguists have also made

significant contri$utions, especially with regards to the interaction of 6atin and 7unic in 6epcis)*(! Cthers have attempted to assess the influence of &frica and individual &fricans upon second century Rome)*)! .oreover, a num$er of eminent scholars have discussed various aspects of Septimius' reign itself at some length)*5! "his means that any new treatment re uires the a$sorption of a now e#tensive secondary literature! +t would also $e $eyond the scope of this paper to tac,le a discussion of this si@e! +n any case, it was felt that the ground had to $e prepared $efore any such attempt was made! +n other words, it was first necessary to locate Septimius within his proper conte#t! 9uring the initial research, it $ecame clear that although many important advances have $een made, Septimius' place within the ancient world was still somewhat misunderstood! "his

misunderstanding has caused scholars to either over-emphasise Septimius' &frican-ness, to the point where he $ecomes an unrecognisa$le stranger to classical civilisation, or to ignore it completely! :ew studies seem prepared, as yet, to accept that Septimius was $oth &frican and Roman! "his dissertation has attempted to e#amine this duality and to show that he was an integral mem$er of the Roman imperial aristocracy during the second century CE!

:or 9io, see .illar 119552! :or /erodian, see >hitta,er 119592! :or the Historia Augusta, see initially Syme 119*1$2, pp!3;-)33 Syme 1194;2, passim! )*3 .attingly L /itchner 1199)2, pp! 15)-213 give an overview of recent archaeological research in 8orth &frica! See also .attingly 1199)23 S<PstrPm 1199323 "ibya, passim! )*( See Dongeling 1199(23 &dams 1199(2, pp!4*-1123 &dams 119992, pp!1;9-13(! )*) See Champlin 1194;23 /arrison 12;;;23 Darrett 119532, pp!2;9-2253 Darrett 119*22, pp!1(5-2323 Carandini 119432, pp!1()-1523 8oy 12;;;23 Ricci 1199(2, pp!149-2;*! )*5 %irley Septimius remains the fundamental starting point! See &lfPldy Senat, pp!112-15;3 .oran 119952, 6eaning 119492, pp!)(4-)5)3 &lston 1199(2, pp!113-1233 %ahardal 119492, pp!)55-)4;3 %arnes 1195*2, pp!4*-1;*3 %arnes 119*;2, pp!()-)93 %irley 119592, pp!53-423 -raham 119*32, pp! 2))-2*43 Ru$in 119*5R19**2, pp!1)3-1*3!


"his present study has tried to assess this fundamental aspect $y two distinct means! "he first chapter set out to e#amine the lin, $etween Septimius' family and the city of his $irth, 6epcis .agna! &s such, 6epcis' political and social history, particularly its connections with the growing power of Rome, was discussed! +t $ecame clear that the cardinal factor in the city's success was its s,ilful use of availa$le resources! "he emporium's economic strength ena$led it to adapt uic,ly to the changes $rought a$out $y the reforms of &ugustus3 wealthy 6epcitanes were thus e#cellently placed to ta,e advantage of the new opportunities! &s leading mem$ers of the native aristocracy, the Septimii stood at the forefront of 6epcis' drive for social recognition, ac uiring Roman citi@enship and e uestrian status at some point during the mid-first century CE! "he future emperor's grandfather there$y gained access to the circles of the Roman elite, a $rea,through that his younger relatives capitalised upon fully! "he second and third chapters sought to discuss Septimius' place within the Roman world $y e#amining his developing senatorial career! Chapter two aimed to widen the discussion $y loo,ing at the main features of Romano-&frican society! :rom this discussion, the e#tent to which &frican culture mirrored that of Rome $ecame clear! "he provincial no$ility swiftly and enthusiastically adopted imperial culture and its trappings! "hroughout virtually the entire

region, local worthies competed with each other to prove their refinement3 6atin poetry, much of it $ad, flourished, as did classically inspired architecture! +n particular, the deep regard for education was also noted, which led many &fricans into a legal career! &s also $ecame clear, there was some degree of am$iguity towards &frica! "he writings of :ronto in particular reveal his deep affection for his native Cirta! 9espite this, his connections with &frica as a whole are


virtually non-e#istent, with few references to non-Cirtan &fricans in his surviving correspondence! Septimius' own career, the main su$<ect of chapter two, reveals similar processes at wor,! "he first thing to note is that his career pattern is fundamentally typical! +n the earlier part of Septimius' career his ,ey supporters were mem$ers of his own family, in particular his consular relative C! Septimius Severus! .em$ers of the wider &frican no$ility are conspicuous $y their a$sence! 6ater on, it was his family's connections with the wider no$ility that provided "hus although Septimius was supported $y and

Septimius with the necessary patronage!

promoted through the agency of a num$er of Roman-&fricans, it is an oversimplification to see this as evidence of an 0&frican faction'! +n other words, it is a mista,e to suggest that &frica was the primary factor in Septimius' developing relationships with the Roman elite! &s we have seen, Septimius was lin,ed to 7! /elvius 7ertina#, the future emperor, from a very early stage of his career! +t is also li,ely that Septimius' $rother -eta was also an early prot?g? of 7ertina#! +n any case, $oth men were lin,ed to 7ertina# and through him to such senior men as "i! Claudius 7ompeianus, .arcus &urelius' chief military adviser! Septimius' connection to the &ntonine no$ility is significant! +t reveals that, li,e other Roman-&fricans, Septimius was an am$itious man, eager to ma,e a name for himself! +t also reveals his deeply conservative outloo,! 6i,e other mem$ers of the &frica's provincial elite, Septimius had a deep respect for the &ntonine imperial family, .arcus &urelius in particular! &lthough his self-adoption into the &ntonine house was undou$tedly a shrewd political move, there were also other motives at wor,! "he Historia Augusta records Septimius' pleasure in leaving two &ntonines to rule after him)**!


HA #eta 3!1!


Chapter three continued our e#amination of Septimius' career, focusing on the vital years from 19;CE! Septimius was seen to have $een an integral mem$er of the conspiracy which overthrew Commodus on 8ew Hear's Eve 192CE! &lthough Commodus' death definitely sprang from an organised conspiracy, chapter three set out to discuss the nature of this faction! +n contrast to %irley, it was seen that the ,ey factor uniting the conspirators was opposition to Commodus, whether from altruistic or more selfish motives! +n other words, common interest was the deciding factor! &s %arnes points out, 0the $asis of the Severan party ought to $e clear! +t is opportunism')*4! "hus although many of the coup's mem$ers were undou$tedly &fricans, many of them were not! .oreover, if this were the action of an &frican party, then it would $e reasona$le to e#pect its figurehead to $e from &frica, or else to have a strong lin, to it! &s we have seen, 7ertina# was an +talian)*9! :urthermore, as the most senior supporters of 7ertina# were men li,e .' &cilius -la$rio and Claudius 7ompeianus, it is surely more reasona$le to argue that Commodus' death represents the final triumph of .arcus &urelius' advisers! Septimius, in his own $id for the throne, utilised the support offered $y a num$er of different groups! Septimius' most important supporters were thus either those men, li,e 6! :a$ius Cilo and C! 9omitius 9e#ter, with whom he seems to have had some prior connection, or were those men placed into command of the northern armies $y 7ertina# and 6aetus! "hus, in &pril 193CE Septimius uic,ly and definitively assumed leadership of 7ertina#' former faction! &s this dissertation has tried to stress, provincial origin was not the primary motivating factor in Roman aristocratic politics! Common political goals, or less generously self-interest, provided the ,ey lin, $etween the conspirators against Commodus, as well as amongst Septimius' ,ey supporters! >hilst a shared &frican $ac,ground may have $een an initial means of recruitment
)*4 )*9

%arnes 1195*2, p!1;3! 9io *3 1*(2! 3!13 /er! 2!1!(!


or introduction, had there $een no common interest the faction would soon have dissolved! &s this present wor, has repeatedly attempted to stress, Septimius was a complicated individual, with comple# aspirations and allegiances! /is 6epcitane homeland was clearly important to him, as his complete remodeling of the city in the early third century demonstrates! /aving said this, he was also fundamentally Roman in outloo,, ,een to follow the traditional senatorial career structure! :urthermore it is highly evident that he had a great awareness of the e#act value his <oint &frican and Roman heritage!


Appendi) ne! Statius and the gens Septimia.

+n the fifth poem of his fourth $oo, of Silvae, the Roman court poet Statius refers to a young e uestrian from 6epcis called Septimius Severus! &s was argued in Chapter Cne, this Septimius is almost certainly to $e identified with the emperor's grandfather, 6ucius Septimius Severus, whose career is ,nown from two inscriptions found at 6epcis! &s $oth the poem and the inscriptions are of vital significance to the discussion, it seems appropriate to set out the relevant te#ts $elow in full! Silvae %oo, four preface= 0"hen follows an Cde to Septimius Severus, who is, as you ,now, one of the most distinguished young men of e uestrian ran,, and not only a school companion of yours, $ut, even apart from that claim on me, one of my closest friends' Silvae (!)= 16atin te#t2 7arvi $eatus ruris honori$us, Kua prisca "eucros &l$a colit lares, :ortem at ue faundum Severum 8on soliti$us fidi$us saluto! +am tru# ad &rctos 7arrhasias hiems Concessit altis or$uta soli$us, +am 7ontus ac tellus renident +n Gephyros & uilone fracto! 8unc cuncta veris frondi$us annuis Crinitur ar$os, nunc volucrum novi Kuestus une#pertum ue Carmen, Kuod tacita statuere $ruma! 8os parca tellus pervigil et focus Culmen ue multo lumine sordidum Solantur e#emptus ue testa Kua modo fer$uerat 6yaeus! 8on mille $alant lanigeri greges, 8ec vacca dulci mugit adultero, Ini ue si uando canenti .utus ager domino reclamat! 16ine )2

16ine 1;2

16ine 1)2

16ine 2;2


Sed terra primis post partiam mihi 9ilecta curis3 hic mea carmina Regina $ellorum virago Caesareo peramavit auro, Cum tu sodalis dulce periculum Conisus omni pectore tolleres, It Castor ad cunctos treme$at %e$ryciae strepitus harenae! "ene in remotis Syrti$us avia 6eptis creavitB +am feret +ndicas .esses odoratis ue rara Cinnama praeripiet Sa$aesis! Kuis non in omni vertice Romuli Reptasse dulcem Septimium putetB Kuis fonte +uturnae relictis I$eri$us neget esse pastumB 8ec mira virtus= protinus &usonum 7ortus vadosae nescius &fricae +ntras adoptatus ue "uscis -urgiti$us puer innatasti! /inc parvus inter pginora curiae Contentus artae luminae purpurae Crescis, sed immensos la$ores +ndole patricia secutus! 8on sermo 7oenus, non ha$itus ti$i, E#terna non mens= +talus, +talus! Sunt Ir$e Romanis ue turmis, Kui 6i$yam deceant alumni! Est et frementi vo# hilaris foro, Jenale sed non elo uium ti$i3 Ensis ue vagina uiescit, Stringere ni iu$eant amici! Sed rura cordi saepius et uies, 8unc in paternis sedi$us et solo Jeiente, nunc frondosa supra /ernica, nunc Curi$us vetustis! 16ine ()2 16ine 2)2

16ine 3;2

16ine 3)2

16ine (;2

16ine );2

16ine ))2


/ic plura pones voci$us et modis 7assu solutes, sed memor interim 8ostri verecundo latentem %ar$iton ingemina su$ antro!

16ine 5;2


English translation 1$y .o@ley, 19512= 0/appy amid the glories of my small estate, where ancient &l$a dwells in her "ro<an home, + salute in unwonted strains the $rave and elo uent Severus! &t last harsh winter has fled to the 7arrhasian 8orth, o'erwhelmed $y lofty suns3 at last the cold winds are softened into mild @ephyrs, and sea and land are smiling! 8ow every tree puts forth her yearly tresses of spring leaves, now are heard the $irds' new plainings and the unpractised songs which they planned in the silent winter! &s for me, my thrifty domain and ever-wa,eful hearth and rooftree $lac,ened $y many a fire console me, and the wine that + ta,e from the <ar where lately it fermented! /ere no thousand woolly sheep utter $leatings, no cow lows to its sweet lover3 and only to their master's voice, as he sings, whene'er he sings, do the mute fields re-echo! %ut this land, after my native country, holds first place in my love= here the maiden ueen of $attles favoured my songs with Caesar's golden crown, when you, striving with all your might, succoured your friend in his <oyous ha@ard, even as Castor trem$led at all the noise of the %e$rycian arena! 9id 6eptis that loses itself in the distant Syrtes $eget youB Soon shall she $ear +ndian harvests, and despoil the perfumed Sa$aeans of their rare cinnamon! >ho would not thin, that my sweet Septimius had crawled an infant on all the hills of RomeB >ho would not say that he had drun,, his weaning done, of Duturna's fountainB 8or is your prowess to $e wondered at= straightway, still ignorant of &frica and its shallows, you entered the havens of &usonia, and sailed, an adopted child, on "uscan waters! "hen, still a lad, you grew to manhood among the sons of the Senate, content with the glory of the narrow purple, $ut with patrician soul see,ing unmeasured la$ours! 8either your speech nor your dress is 7unic, yours is no stranger's mind3 +talian, you are, +talianT Het in our city and among the ,nights of Rome are men who might well $e fostersons of 6i$ya! 7leasing too is your voice in the strident courts, $ut your elo uence is never venal3 your sword sleeps in its sca$$ard, save when your friends $id you draw it! %ut oftener do you en<oy the uiet country, now in your father's home on Jeientine soil, now on the leafy heights of /ernica, now in ancient Cures! /ere will you plan more themes in the words and measures that move unfettered, $ut remem$ering me at times stri,e anew the lyre that lies hid in some shy grotto'!


IR( (12= :ound at 6epcis, in the :orum Jetus, $etween the "emple of Rome and &ugustus and the "emple of 6i$er 7ater! 9ated $etween 1;th 9ecem$er 2;1 and 9th 9ecem$er 2;2! +mp1eratoris2 Caes1aris2 61uci2 Septimi Se veri 7ii 7ertinacis &ug1usti2 &ra$ici &dia$enici 7arthici ma#1imi2 t1ri$unicia2 p1otestate2 F imp1eratoris2 F+ co1n2s1ulis2 +++ p1atris2 p1atriae2 proc1n2s1ulis2 avo d1omini2 n1ostri2 61ucio2 Septimio Severo sufeti praef1ecto2 pu$l1ice2 creato cum primum ci vitas Romana adacta est du1u2muir1o2 fl1amini2 p1er2p1etuo2 in decuriis et inter selctos Romae iudicauit 6epc1+2t1ani2 pu$l1ice2 IR( (13= :ound in an upper tier of the "heatre at 6epcis! 9ated $etween 1; th 9ecem$er 2;2 and 9th 9ecem$er 2;3! +mp1eratoris2 Caes1aris2 61uci2 Septimi Severi 7ii 7ertin1acis2 &ug1usti2 &ra$ic1+2 &dia$1enici2 7arth1ici2 ma#1imi2 tri$1unicia2 potes1tate2 F+ imp1eratoris2 F++ co1n2s1ulis2 +++ proco1n2s1ulis2 61ucio2 Septimio Severo flam1ini2 perpe1tuo2 avo Curiae duae "raiana 9acica e# voto statuerunt


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Salway, %! 1199(2, 0>hat's in a 8ameB & Survey of Roman Cnomastic 7ractice from c!*;;%C to &9*;;', %RS 4(, pp!12(-1()! Scheidel, >! 119992, 0Emperors, &ristocrats, and the -rim Reaper= "owards a 9emographic 7rofile of the Roman Elite', Classical ,uarterly (9 no!1, pp!2))-241! Shaw, %!9! 1199)a2, 0"he Indecemprimi in Roman &frica' in Museum A$ricum 2 119*32, repr! in Shaw, %!9!, 1199), ed!2, RulersE Nomads and Christians in Roman North A$rica, /ampshire= Jariorum, &shgate 7u$lishing, 7t! ++, pp!3-1;! Shaw, %!9! 1199)$2, 0"he :ormation of &frica 7roconsularis', in Hermes 1;) 119**2, repr! in Shaw, %!9! 1199), ed!2, RulersE Nomads and Christians in Roman North A$rica, /ampshire= Jariorum, &shgate 7u$lishing, 7t! J, pp!359-34;! Shaw, %!9! 1199)c2, 0:ear and 6oathing= "he 8omad .enace and Roman &frica', in >ells, C!.! 1ed!, 19422, Roman A$ricaH"+ A$ri-ue romaine, Revue de l+3niversite d+ tta5a )2, repr! +n Shaw, %!9! 1ed!2, RulersE Nomads and Christians in Roman North A$rica, /ampshire= Jariorum, &shgate 7u$lishing, 7t! J++, pp!2)-(5! Sherwin->hite, &!8! 119392, (he Roman Citi.enship, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress! Sherwin->hite, &!8! 119*32, 0"he "a$ula %anasa and the Constitutio &ntoniniana', %RS 53, pp!45-94! S<PstrPm, +! 119932, (ripolitania in (ransition! "ate Roman to *arly Islamic Settlement, &ve$ury= >orld-wide &rchaeology! Smith, R!E! 119*22, 0"he &rmy Reforms of Septimius Severus', Historia 21, pp!(41-);;! Speidel, .!7! 1194)2, 0Jalerius Jalerianus in Charge of Septimius Severus' .esopotamian Campaign', Classical 'hilology 4;, pp!321-325! Stout, S!E! 119112, (he #overnors o$ Moesia, 7rinceton= 7rinceton I7! Sullivan, R!9! 119**2, 0"he 9ynasty of Emesa', ANRC 2!4, pp!194-219! Syme, R! 119)42, (acitus, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress! Syme, R! 119542, 0"he Immidii', Historia 1*, pp!*2-1;), repr! in Syme, R! 119*9, ed! %adian, E!2, Roman 'apers II, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!5)9-593! Syme, R! 119*1a2, 0"he %ogus 8ames', in Syme R 1ed!2, *mperors and Biography, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!1-15! Syme, R! 119*1$2, 0+gnotus, the -ood %iographer', in Syme R 1ed!2, *mperors and Biography, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!3;-)3!


Syme, R! 119*1c2, 0"he 8omen &ntoninorum', in Syme, R! 1ed!2, *mperors and Biography, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!*4-44! Syme, R! 119*1d2, 0"he Careers of .a#imus and 9io', in Syme, R 1ed!2, *mperors and Biography, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!13)-1()! Syme, R! 1194;a2, 0-uard 7refects of "ra<an and /adrian', %RS *;, pp!5(-4;, repr! in Syme, R! 1194(, ed! %irley, &!R!2, Roman 'apers III, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!12*513;2! Syme, R! 1194;$2, 0&n Eccentric 7atrician', Chiron 1;, pp!(2*-((4, repr! in Syme, R! 1ed! %irley, &!R!2, Roman 'apers III, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!1315-1335! Syme, R! 119412, 0"he "ravels of Suetonius "ran uillus', Hermes 1;9, pp!1;)-11*, repr! in Syme, R! 1ed! %irley, &!R!2, Roman 'apers III, C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!133*-13(9! Syme, R! 119432, 0&strology in the /istoria &ugusta', in Syme, R! 1ed!2, Historia Augusta 'apers, 119432 C#ford= Clarendon 7ress, pp!4;-9*! "al$ert, R!D!&! 1194(2, (he Senate o$ Imperial Rome, 7rinceton= 7rinceton I7! "homasson, %!E! 1194(2, "aterculi 'raesidium, -othen$urg= -othen$urg I7! "homasson, %!E! 119952, 2asti A$ricani, Stoc,holm= Svens,a +nstitutet i Rom! "hompson, 6!&! 11959a2, 0Settler and 8ative in the Ir$an Centres of Roman &frica' in "hompson, 6!&! L :erguson, D! 1eds!2, A$rica in Classical Anti-uity, +$adan= +$adan I7, pp!132-141! "hompson, 6!&! 11959$2, 0Roman and 8ative in the "ripolitanian Cities in the Early Empire', in -adallah, :! 1ed!, 19592, "ibya In History, %eyruth= Iniversity of 6i$ya 7ress, pp! 23)-2(9! "odd, .! 1199*, 2nd Edition2, Roman Britain, 6ondon= :ontana 7ress! "urton, -! 119*(2, (he Syrian 'rincesses, 6ondon= Cassell L Co! 6td! Jan 9ommelen, 7! 119942, 07unic 7ersistence! Colonialism and Cultural +dentities in Roman Sardinia', in 6aurence, R! L %erry, D! 1eds!2, Cultural Identities in the Roman *mpire, 6ondon= Routledge, pp!2)-(4! >allace-/adrill, &! 119432, Suetonius. (he Scholar and his Caesars, 6ondon= 9uc,worth! >ard-7er,ins, D!%! 119(42,0Severan &rt and &rchitecture at 6epcis .agna', %RS 34, pp!)9-4;!


>ard-7er,ins, D!%! 11993, ed! Oenric,, 7!2, (he Severan Buildings o$ "epcis Magna, 6ondon= Society for 6i$yan Studies .onograph no!2! >hitta,er, C!R! 119*42, 06and and 6a$our in 8orth &frica', 4lio 5;!1, pp!331-352! >hitta,er, C!R! 119432, 0"rade and :rontiers of the Roman Empire', in -arnsey, 7! L >hitta,er, C!R! 1eds!2, (rade and 2amine in Classical Anti-uity, Cam$ridge= Cam$ridge 7hilological Society, pp!11;-12*! >hitta,er, C!R! 1195(2, 0"he Revolt of 7apirius 9ionysius &!9! 19;', Historia 13, pp!3(4-359! >ilson, &! 1199*2 0& Review of .attingly's "ripolitania', "ibyan Studies 24, pp!*1-*3! >ilson, &!8! 119992, 0Commerce and +ndustry in Roman Sa$ratha', "ibyan Studies 3;, pp!29-)2! >ilson, R!D!&! et al 119952, 0&frica, Roman' in /orn$lower, S! L Spawforth, &! 1eds!, 3rd Edition2, (he )$ord Classical Dictionary, 6ondon= C#ford I7, pp!3(-3)! Gan,er, 7! 119942, 'ompeii! 'ublic and 'rivate "i$e, 6ondon= /arvard I7!