Septimus Severus

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Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus (A.D. 145 – A.D. 211), known as Septimus Severus, was a Roman Emperor who ruled from 193 to 211 AD. One of four different men vying for the throne after the assassination of the mad Commodus, Severus won out through military skill, harsh diplomacy, and winning at all costs. He arrived in Rome with an army shortly after the senate had one of his rivals executed. Realizing how fickle the situation could be, he abandoned the praetorian guard and replace it with frontier troops loyal to himself. He then gained the support of one of his rivals Septimus Albinus by proclaiming he would be his successor, and finally went to war with his last rival, Niger Justus. Defeating Niger in three battles at Cyzicus, Nicaea, and Issus, he overtook his adversary and ended his life outside the walls of Antioch. Making sure the empire was loyal to him, he ran into defiance at the city of Byzantium, which he then proceeded to siege and sack. The defiance ceased. Returning to Rome now that his empire was secure, he accused Albinus of treachery and had him executed.

Not wanting anyone to question his power, Severus established what was in effect a military government, ignoring and humiliating the Roman senate. He also renewed persecution of Christians. He died in 211 of natural causes while quelling trouble in Britain and left the Empire to his sons - one of whom immediately murdered the other. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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