The Severan Emperors and the Demise of the Roman Senate

By 190 AD, the debauched lifetime of emperor Commodus had reached a sinister summit. By no means had the Roman Empire been led by such a disgraceful character. Most likely mad, he recognized himself with the god Hercules and tried to mimic him in each manner conceivable, even within the area. His perspective of suspicion and unhealthy nervousness regarding his private safety had been answerable for assaults towards the aristocracy and senate members. In 192, Commodus was strangled after a failed poisoning try. His demise marked the tip of the Antonine dynasty of Roman emperors. Following two ephemeral reigns, the Severan dynasty of emperors was established, and it will lead the Empire till 235.

Throughout this era, the financial scenario of the Empire was typically good though we witnessed the introduction of latest taxes and the disappearance of necessary exemptions reserved for the aristocracy. The foreign money started to lose its worth and its circulation decreased. The shortage of treasured metals and the decline in commerce had been undoubtedly among the many causes. On the opposite facet of the frontier ( limes), the rising inhabitants of the Germanic tribes, which involved with the Romans had begun to arrange and cool down, created an ever-increasing stress on the Empire’s defence equipment. This everlasting risk of invasion already seen beneath the reigns of emperor Marcus Aurelius and Commodus turned one of many main issues of the Severan emperors. From that time on, this new actuality inevitably affected the historical past of the Empire till its fall within the West two and a half centuries later.

Septimius Severus (193-211)

Following the assassinations of emperor Commodus after which of emperor Pertinax, Didius Julianus was appointed emperor particularly circumstances, the sacred function of emperor being adjudicated by the Pretorian Guard to the best bidder. The Senate, recalcitrant, however confronted with a fait accompli, confirmed him in his new features. Three governors acclaimed as emperors by their very own armies rejected the selection of Didius Julianus. Septimius Severus, who was nearer to Rome than the opposite two contenders, instantly made his method to the capital with a military to face Didius Julianus. As soon as the latter was defeated after which assassinated, a brand new turbulent reign started.


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Mario Bartolini has a grasp’s diploma in political historical past from the Université de Sherbrooke, Canada, and a second grasp’s diploma in conflict research, obtained on the Royal Navy Faculty of Canada. He’s the writer of Roman Emperors: A Information to the Males Who Dominated the Empire 

Prime Picture: Severan Tondo depicting Septimius Severus, Julia Domna, Caracalla, and Geta (along with his face eliminated in damnatio memoriae). Supply: Public area

By: Mario Bartolini

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