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African by birth, Clodius Albinus had a distinguished military career and was made governor of Britain. After the praetorian prefect "sold" the imperial throne to Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Syria; Septimius Severus by the troops in Illyricum and Pannonia; and Albinus by the armies in Britain and Gaul. In the civil war that followed, Albinus allied with Septimius Severus, who had captured Rome. Albinus added "Septimius" to his name and accepted the title of Caesar. Albinus remained the effective ruler of much of the west, with three British legions and one Spanish. After the death of Niger in 194, Severus resolved to make himself the absolute master of the Empire. After he narrowly escaped assassination by Severus' messenger, Albinus proclaimed himself emperor and crossed into Gaul, bringing a large part of the British garrison with him. He defeated Severus' legate Virius Lupus and made Lugdunum his headquarters. He was, however, unable to win the allegiance of the Rhine legions. On 19 February 197, Albinus met Severus' army at the Battle of Lugdunum. After a hard-fought battle, with 150,000 troops on each side, Albinus was defeated and killed himself, or was captured and executed. Severus had his naked body laid out on the ground and, in an act of humiliation, rode his horse over it. Albinus' headless body was thrown into the Rhône, together with the corpses of his murdered family. Severus sent his head to Rome as a warning to his supporters. The town of Lugdunum was plundered, and the adherents of Albinus were cruelly persecuted.