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Otacilia Severa





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Octacilia (Marcia) Severa, daughter of Severus, Governor of Pannonia, married Philip senior, about A.D. 234, by whom she had Philip the younger, seven years before the elevation of her husband to the Imperial throne.  Of an engaging person, and in private conduct without reproach, she was culpably ambitious, and participated with Philip in the murder of the Third Gordian.  This princess professed Christianity, and is said to have been subjected to ecclesiastical penance by the Bishop of Antioch, Saint Babylas, for her criminal share in the death of the virtuous young emperor.  It was however, by Otacilia's protection that the Christians breathed in peace during the reign of her husband, and by her instruction that her son, a youth of great promise, was brought up in piety and wisdom of their holy faith.  But the death of Philip precipitated this woman into the obscure condition in which she was born, and, sustaining the horror of having her son slain in her arms by the Pretorians, in whose camp they jointly sought a refuge on the approach of Trajan Dacius to Rome, Otacilia passed the remainder of her days in retirement.  The inscriptions on her coins are OTACILIA. SEVERA. AVG., and MARCIA. OTACILIA. SEVERA. AVG.  Some pieces represent her with Philip the father and Philip the younger - and many of her coins retrace the celebrated epocha, and the festal solminities which occupy so large a portion of the types struck in honour of her husband and her son.  On the large brass of this Empress we read

 CONCORDIA AVG. S.C. ; PVDICITIA. AVG. S.C.; and on another SAECVLARES AVG. S.C., with the figure of a hippopotamus. - Pellerin also gives in his Mélange a silver coin of Otacilia, with FECVNDITAS TEMPORVM., and a woman seated on the ground, holding a cornucopiae in her right towards two children.  She is said to have had a daughter as well as a son.  Her gold coins and brass medallions are very rare: silver of the usual size and first and second brass very common.


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