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Search results - "Marcianus"
Marcianus_AE-9_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_axis-6h_9mm_0,91g-s.jpg
170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #186 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #1
avers:- D N MARCIANVS P F AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. (M3/D3)
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above. Monogram type-2.
exe: -/-//CON, diameter: 9 mm, weight: 0,91 g, axis: 6h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC X 545, p-282,
Q-001
quadrans
Marcianus_AE-4_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-type-2_S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_h_mm_g-s.jpg
170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #272 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #2
avers:- D N MARCIANVS P F AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. (M3/D3)
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above. Monogram type-2.
exe: -/-//CON, diameter: mm, weight: g, axis:h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC X 545, p-282.
Q-002
quadrans
Marcianus_AE-9_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-type-2_S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_axis-0h_10mm_0,88g-s.jpg
170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #3215 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), Constantinople, RIC X 545, -/-//CON, AE-4, Monogram type-2, #3
avers:- D N MARCIANVS P F AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. (M3/D3)
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above. Monogram type-2.
exe: -/-//CON, diameter: 10 mm, weight: 0,88 g, axis: 0h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC-X-545, p-282.
Q-001
1 commentsquadrans
GallienusAntVirtus.jpg
1cy Gallienus17 views253-268

Bronze antoninianus

Radiate, draped bust, right, GALLINVS AVG
Mars standing left, holding globe in right hand and spear in left hand, P in right field, VIRTVS AVG

RIC 317

Gallienus oversaw a period of disintegration of the empire and lost control over the East, Gaul, Spain, and Britain.

Zosimus observed: [When Valerian left for the East] As the Germans were the most troublesome enemies, and harrassed the Gauls in the vicinity of the Rhine, Gallienus marched against them in person, leaving his officers to repel with the forces under their command any others that should enter Italy, Illyricum, and Greece. With these designs, he possessed himself of and defended the passages of the Rhine, at one time preventing their crossing, and at another engaging them as soon as they had crossed it. But having only a small force to resist an immense number, he was at a loss how to act, and thought to secure himself by a league with one of the German princes. He thus not only prevented the other Barbarians from so frequently passing the Rhine, but obstructed the access of auxiliaries.

Eutropius recorded: Gallienus, who was made emperor when quite a young man, exercised his power at first happily, afterwards fairly, and at last mischievously. In his youth he performed many gallant acts in Gaul and Illyricum, killing Ingenuus, who had assumed the purple, at Mursa, and Regalianus. He was then for a long time quiet and gentle; afterwards, abandoning himself to all manner of licentiousness, he relaxed the reins of government with disgraceful inactivity and carelesness. The Alemanni, having laid waste Gaul, penetrated into Italy. Dacia, which had been added to the empire beyond the Danube, was lost. Greece, Macedonia, Pontus, Asia, were devastated by the Goths. Pannonia was depopulated by the Sarmatians and Quadi. The Germans made their way as far as Spain, and took the noble city of Tarraco. The Parthians, after taking possession of Mesopotamia, began to bring Syria under their power.

Zosimus resumes: Gallienus in the mean time still continued beyond the Alps, intent on the German war, while the Senate, seeing Rome in such imminent danger, armed all the soldiers that were in the city, and the strongest of the common people, and formed an army, which exceeded the Barbarians in number. This so alarmed the Barbarians, that they left Rome, but ravaged all the rest of Italy. At this period, when Illyricum groaned under the oppression of the Barbarians, and the whole Roman empire was in such a helpless state as to be on the very verge of ruin, a plague happened to break out in several of the towns, more dreadful than any that had preceded it. The miseries inflicted on them by the Barbarians were thus alleviated, even the sick esteeming themselves fortunate. The cities that had been taken by the Scythians were thus deserted.

Gallienus, being disturbed by these occurrences, was returning to Rome to relieve Italy from the war which the Scythians were thus carrying on. It was at this time, that Cecrops, a Moor, Aureolus and Antoninus, with many others, conspired against him, of whom the greater part were punished and submitted. Aureolus alone retained his animosity against the emperor.

The Scythians, who had dreadfully afflicted the whole of Greece, had now taken Athens, when Gallienus advanced against those who were already in possession of Thrace, and ordered Odonathus of Palmyra, a person whose ancestors had always been highly respected by the emperors, to assist the eastern nations which were then in a very distressed condition. . . .

While affairs were thus situated in the east, intelligence was brought to Gallienus, who was then occupied in the Scythian war, that Aurelianus, or Aureolus, who was commander of the cavalry posted in the neighbourhood of Milan to watch the motions of Posthumus, had formed some new design, and was ambitious to be emperor. Being alarmed at this he went immediately to Italy, leaving the command against the Scythians with Marcianus, a person of great experience in military affairs. . . . Gallienus, in his journey towards Italy, had a plot formed against him by Heraclianus, prefect of the court, who communicated his design to Claudius, in whom the chief management of affairs was vested. The design was to murder Gallienus. Having found a man very ready for such an undertaking, who commanded a troop of Dalmatians, he entrusted the action to him. To effect it, the party stood by Gallienus at supper and informed him that some of the spies had brought intelligence, that Aureolus and his army were close at hand. By this they considerably alarmed him. Calling immediately for his horse and arms, he mounted, ordering his men to follow him in their armour, and rode away without any attendance. Thus the captain finding him alone killed him.
Blindado
coin235.JPG
205a. Julia Mamaea37 viewsJulia Avita Mamaea (180235) was the daughter of Julia Maesa, a powerful Roman woman of Syrian origin, and Julius Avitus. She was a niece of emperor Septimius Severus and sister of Julia Soaemias Bassiana.

She was married to Gessius Marcianus had a son, later emperor Alexander Severus. Unlike her sister, Julia Mamaea was reported to be a virtuous woman, never involved in scandals. As a member of the Imperial Roman family, she watched closely the death of her cousin Caracalla and the ascent to power of her nephew Heliogabalus, the oldest grandson of Julia Maesa and her choice to the throne. But eventually Heliogabalus and his mother Julia Soaemias proved incompetent rulers and favour fell on Alexander, Julia's son. He became emperor in 222, following Heliogabalus's murder by the Praetorian Guard. Julia and her mother became regents in the name of Alexander, then 14 years old. Upon adulthood, Alexander confirmed his esteem for his mother and named her consors imperii (imperial consort). It was in this condition that she accompanied her son in his campaigns: a custom started with Julia Domna (Septimius Severus's wife). Thus she travelled to the East, for the campaign against the Parthian empire, and to the Germania provinces. Julia Mamaea was with Alexander in Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), capital of Germania Superior, when he was assassinated by his troops. She suffered the same fate.

Julia Mamaea Denarius. IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed & draped bust right / VESTA, Vesta standing half-left, holding palladium & scepter. RSC 81.
ecoli
Marcian_monogram_BCC_LR55.jpg
BCC LR5513 viewsLate Roman
Marcian 450-457 CE
Obv:D N MARCIANVS P F AVG
Pearl diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
Rev:Monogram of Marcianus (type 1a)
within wreath terminating in large jewel.
Mintmark off flan, Cyzicus?
10.5mm 0.88gm. Axis:150
Possible reference: RIC X, 561 (R)
v-drome
Marcianus_AE-9_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_6h_9mm_0,91ga-s.jpg
Constantinople, RIC X 545, 170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, Monogram, 61 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, RIC X 545, Constantinople, Monogram,
avers:- DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above.
exe: CON, diameter: 9 mm, weight: 0,91 g, axis: 6h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC-X-545,
Q-001
quadrans
Marcianus_AE-9_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-type-2_S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_h_mm_g-s.jpg
Constantinople, RIC X 545, 170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, Monogram, type:2,63 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, RIC X 545, Constantinople, Monogram, type:2, #2
avers:- DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above, monogram type:2,
exe: -/-//CON, diameter: mm, weight: g, axis:h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC-X-545,
Q-002
quadrans
Marcianus_AE-9_DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG_Monogram-type-2_S-below-Cross-above_CON_RIC-X-545_450-457-AD_Q-001_0h_10mm_0,88ga-s.jpg
Constantinople, RIC X 545, 170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, Monogram, type:2,62 views170 Marcianus ( 450-457 A.D.), AE-4, Nummus, RIC X 545, Constantinople, Monogram, type:2,
avers:- DN-MARCIANVS-P-F-AVG, Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
revers:- Monogram of Marcian within wreath, S below, cross above, monogram type:2,
exe: CON, diameter: 10 mm, weight: 0,88 g, axis: 0h,
mint: Constantinople, date: 450-457 A.D., ref: RIC-X-545,
Q-001
quadrans
commodus_trophaion_hadr_Varb(E)_3300.JPG
Hadrianopolis Commodus T. Suellius Marcianus 38 viewsAV K Λ ∙ AVP ∙ | KOMOΔOC
Bare head draped and cuirassed youthful bust

HΓ ∙ COY [MARKIANOY | AΔPIA]NOΠ
Nike on standing on right facing left crowning tropaion

Varbanov (E) II 3300 (depicted, ignore description); Jurukova V68 R108- unrecorded die pairing).
Petrus Elmsley
comm_hadriano_aech___hyg.JPG
Hadrianopolis Commodus T. Suellius Marcianus Hygeiea and Asklepios29 viewsCommodus AE 25

Governor T. Suellius Marcianus (first governor during his reign ante 184 AD)

AV K Λ ∙ AVP ∙ | KOMOΔOC
Bare head draped and cuirassed youthful bust

HΓ ∙ COY MARKIANOY | AΔPIANOΠO
Ex: ΛEITΩN

Hygeiea and Asklepios

Cf.BMC Thrace p.117 #8; Jurukova 113 for rx type(depicted plate xi); Varbanov (E) II -; SNG Cop

crusty patina
rennrad12020
marciano.jpg
Marcianus (450-457)16 viewsnummus, scarce
Nikomedia
antvwala
marciano_2~0.jpg
Marcianus (450-457)15 viewsNikomediaantvwala
Marcianus_(450-457)_AE4.png
Marcianus (450-457) AE412 viewsObv.: DN MARCIANVS PF AVG (Draped and cuirassed bust of emperor, wearing labarum) Rev.: Monogram in wreath, cross above Field: S Diameter: 10 mm Weight: 0,79 g RIC 545

Marcian presided the historically important Council of Chalcedon, where Nestorius was permanently condemned and Constantinople's second place in the church hierarchy was reaffirmed.
Nick.vdw
Marcien 2.jpg
Marcianus - AE4 from Constantinople37 viewsD.N. MARCIANVS P.F. AVG.
Monogram of Marcianus in wreath with cross, exergue : CON (Constantinople)

Sear 4237
1 commentsGinolerhino
Marcien 1.jpg
Marcianus - AE4 from Nicomedia (?)23 viewsD.N. MARCIANV[S P.F. AVG.]
Monogram of Marcianus in wreath with cross, exergue : N[IC] ?

Sear 4328 ?
Ginolerhino
Marci.jpg
Marcianus_Nummus10 viewsNummus, 450-457, Constantinopel, RIC 546 (s)Numis-Student
Marcian_Monogram_CON.JPG
Struck A.D.450 - 457. MARCIAN. AE4 of Constantinopolis6 viewsObverse: D N MARCIANVS P F AVG. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Marcian facing right.
Reverse: No legend. Monogram of Marcianus surrounded by laurel-wreath, cross above; in exergue, CON.
RIC X : 545
*Alex
20111224_Flavius_Marcianus_Augustus_Column_Fatih_Istanbul_Turkey.jpg
Turkey, Istanbul - the Column of Marcian38 viewsThe column of emperor Marcian, Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey.

The Column of Marcian was dedicated to Marcian, built by the praefectus urbi Tatianus, sometime between 450 and 452. It still stands in modern Istanbul, though the statue of Marcian which originally topped it has been lost. Marcian also had a statue in the Forum of Arcadius, which contained the statues of several of Arcadius' successors.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20111224_Flavius_Marcianus_Augustus_Column_Fatih_Istanbul_Turkey.jpg
Joe Sermarini
JuliaMamaeaRIC343.jpg
[1008a] Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.54 viewsSeverus Alexander for Julia Mamaea. 222-235 AD. AR Denarius, RIC 343; Cohen 35; BMC 43. 2.68 gm, 19mm; VF, Rome mint, 222. Obverse: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG; Draped bust to right; Reverse: IVNO CONSERVATRIX; Juno standing to left, holding patera and sceptre, at her feet a peacock. Toned. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Severan Julias (A.D. 193-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Julia Mamaea
The younger daughter of Maesa, Mamaea had a happier, more successful, and lengthier life as imperial mother than her sister Soaemias. She married Gessius Marcianus, and in 208 bore him a son, Bassianus, later known as Alexander Severus. She was with her mother and sister in the East in 218 AD when her nephew, Elagabalus, was raised to the purple. Alexander was made Caesar in early 222 and soon thereafter became emperor, following the murder of his cousin and aunt. He was fourteen years old and much subject to the control of his grandmother and mother, who effectively governed the empire. After Maesa's death, Mamaea remained the dominant figure until her death.

She had seen to it that Alexander received a good education and, once emperor, chose a council of sixteen senators. Her imperial title was Iulia Augusta, mater Augusti nostri et castrorum et senatus et patriae, recalling the titulature of Julia Domna. Her position in the government was confirmed by the title consors imperii. She was charged with avaritia, but otherwise led a life free from scandal. She was recognized as religiosissima, having had conversation with Origen while in the East. She had accompanied Alexander thither on campaign against the Persians in 230/31. In 235, she was with him in Germany, at Mainz, when they were assassinated by the troops, with Maximinus Thrax chosen as successor. She suffered damnatio memoriae.


Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors;http://www.roman-emperors.org/sevjulia.htm. Used by permission.

Julia Mamaea was the highly intelligent and capable mother of Severus Alexander. After the death of her mother Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea was the power behind the throne and largely responsible for the impressive recovery of the Roman state that took place during her son's rule. Though popular with the population of the empire, the military was deeply offended at being controlled by a woman. In 235 A.D., Julia Mamaea and Severus Alexander were both murdered by mutinous soldiers led by the thug Maximinus I (Joseph Sermarini).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
SeverusAlexanderRIC70RSC325s.jpg
[1009a] Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.83 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 70, RSC 325, S -, EF, Rome mint, 2.803g, 20.7mm, 0o, 227 A.D.; Obverse: IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; Reverse: P M TR P VI COS II P P, Emperor standing left, sacrificing from patera in right over a tripod, scroll in left; cameo-like obverse with toned portrait and legend and bright fields, slightly frosty surfaces, details of head on reverse figure unstruck, slightly irregular flan. Ex FORVM.

In this year Ardashir invaded Parthia and established the Sassanid Dynasty, which claimed direct descent from Xerxes and Darius. The Eastern power grew stronger and the threat to the Romans immense.

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after the murder of his cousin, Elagabalus. His reign was marked by great economic prosperity, and he enjoyed great success against the barbarian tribes. His mother Julia Mamaea was the real power in the empire, controlling her son's policies and even his personal life with great authority. Severus had an oratory where he prayed under the edict, written on the wall, "Do not unto others what you would not have done to yourself" and the images of various prophets including Mithras, Zoroaster, Abraham and Jesus. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother (Joseph Sermarini).

De Imeratoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"But as Alexander was a modest and dutiful youth, of only seventeen years of age, the reins of government were in the hands of two women, of his mother Mamaea, and of Maesa, his grandmother. After the death of the latter, who survived but a short time the elevation of Alexander, Mamaea remained the sole regent of her son and of the empire." (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 6: Modern Library Edition, p. 130)

"As the imperial system developed, it disclosed its various arcana one by one. How much does the personality of the ruler matter? Less and less, it should seem. Be he boy, buffoon, or philosopher, his conduct may not have much effect on the administration. Habit and routine took over, with groups and grades of bureaucrats at hand to fill the posts." (Syme, Emperors and Biography, 146)

The passages quoted above emphasize two important aspects of the principate of Severus Alexander (or Alexander Severus), his youth and the influence of women during his reign. The significance of the latter invites brief discourse about the four women known as the "Severan Julias," whose origin was Syria. Julia Domna became the second wife of Septimius Severus and bore him two sons, the later emperors Caracalla and Geta. Her role in the administration of her husband was significant, which her expansive titulature, "mother of the camp and the senate and the country," reflected. Her sister, Julia Maesa, had two daughters, each of whom produced a son who was to become emperor. Julia Soaemias was the mother of Elagabalus, and shared his fate when he was assassinated. Julia Mamaea bore Alexander, who succeeded his cousin; he was very young and hence much under the control of grandmother and mother. For the first time in its imperial history, the empire of Rome was de facto, though not de iure, governed by women.

The literary sources, while numerous, are limited in value. Chief among them, at least in scope, is the biography in the Historia Augusta, much the longest of all the lives in this peculiar collection. Though purporting to be the work of six authors in the early fourth century, it is now generally considered to have been produced by one author writing in the last years of this century. Spacious in its treatment of the emperor and extremely favorable to him on the whole, it has little historical merit, seeming rather an extended work of fiction. It must be used with the utmost caution.

Herodian, whose history covered the period 180-238, was a contemporary of Severus Alexander, and his coverage of the latter's reign is extensive. Another contemporary, Dio Cassius, who was consul in 229 and whose judgments would have been most valuable, is unfortunately useless here, since his history survives only in abbreviated form and covers barely a page of printed text for the whole reign (Book 80). Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, the Epitome de Caesaribus, and other Latin sources are extremely brief, informing us of only the occasional anecdote. Christian writers make minimal contribution; legal texts offer much instruction, particularly those dealing with or stemming from Ulpian; coins, inscriptions, papyri, and archaeology help fill the gaps left by the literary sources.

Early Life and Education
The future emperor was born in Arca Caesarea in Phoenicia on October 1, 208 although some sources put the date three years earlier (as Gibbon assumed, see above), the son of Gessius Marcianus, whose career advanced in the equestrian cursus, and of Julia Mamaea, niece of the then empress, Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. He was raised quietly and well educated, at the instance of his mother. He came into the public eye only in 218, when, after Macrinus' murder of Caracalla and accession to the purple, he and his mother were declared hostes publici. In June of that year, Elagabalus defeated Macrinus and succeeded him as emperor. Alexander and Mamaea were soon rehabilitated. As his cousin's activities, religious, political, and personal, became increasingly unacceptable, Alexander was drawn ever more into public life. In mid 221, he assumed the toga virilis, was adopted by Elagabalus as a colleague, was granted the name Alexander, and elevated to the rank of Caesar. There had been talk that he was the illegitimate child of Caracalla, which won him support among the army, and this was confirmed, at least for public consumption, by his filiation in the official titulature back to Septimius. He was now styled Imp. Caes. M. Aurelii Antonini Pii Felicis Aug. fil., divi Antonini Magni Pii nepos, divi Severi pronepos M. Aurelius Alexander, nobilissimus Caesar imperi et sacerdotis, princeps iuventutis. The connection with Septimius Severus was crucial, since he was the only one of these predecessors who had been deified. Alexander was about 12 years old. Less than a year later, on March 13, 222, with the murder of Elagabalus, Alexander was hailed as emperor by the army. He considered this date as his dies imperii. He became thereby the youngest emperor in Rome's history. He was immediately thereafter given the titles of Augustus, pater patriae, and pontifex maximus.

His Principate; Grandmother, Mother, Ulpian
Having had no experience in government, the young emperor was largely dependent upon the two senior women in his life to guide his actions. His grandmother, Julia Maesa, may well have died as early as 223, so that his mother, Julia Mamaea, played the major role in the empire's administration from early on until the end. The only other figures who could rival her were the two Praetorian Prefects, both eminent jurists, Ulpian and Paulus, who are well-known to us because of the numerous citations of their legal views and administrative decisions preserved in the Corpus Iuris Civilis. Both were members of Alexander's consilium. Alexander attempted to restore some of the senate's prestige and functions, but with little success. He was even unable to protect Ulpian against the anger of the praetorians, who then murdered the jurist in 223.

Had his principate been peaceful, he might have developed into a significant emperor, certainly in comparison with his immediate predecessors. He was married once, in 225 to Sallustia Orbiana, who received the official titulature Sallustia Barbia Orbiana Augusta, but she was banished to Libya two years later. Her father, L. Seius Sallustius, was perhaps raised to the rank of Caesar by Alexander and was put to death in 227 on a charge of attempted murder of the emperor. The only other recorded uprising against Alexander is that of Taurinus, who was hailed as Augustus but drowned himself in the Euphrates.

According to the HA life, Alexander was a "good" person, and his mother certainly attempted to guide him well, but much of the last decade of his reign was preoccupied with serious military threats against the empire's prestige, nay existence. In those dangerous circumstances, his abilities, which had not earlier been honed, proved inadequate.

Domestic Policy
Perhaps the greatest service which Alexander furnished Rome, certainly at the beginning of his reign, was the return to a sense of sanity and tradition after the madness and fanaticism of Elagabalus. He is said to have honored and worshipped a variety of individuals, including Christ. His amiability assisted his relationship with the senate, which gained in honor under him without any real increase in its power. Besides jurists in high office, literary figures were also so distinguished; Marius Maximus, the biographer, and Dio Cassius, the historian, gained second consulships, the former in 223, the latter in 229.

The emperor's building program made its mark upon the face of Rome. The last of the eleven great aqueducts, the aqua Alexandrina, was put into service in 226; he also rebuilt the thermae Neronianae in the Campus Martius in the following year and gave them his own name. Of the other constructions, perhaps the most intriguing are the Diaetae Mammaeae, apartments which he built for his mother on the Palatine.

The Persian and German Wars
The first great external challenge appeared in the east, where the Parthian dynasty, which had ruled the Iranian plateau and other large areas for centuries, and who for long had been one of Rome's great rivals, was overthrown by the Persian family of the Sassanids by 227. They aspired to restore their domain to include all the Asian lands which had been ruled in the glory days of the Persian Empire. Since this included Asia Minor as well as all other eastern provinces, the stage was set for continuing clashes with Rome.

These began late in the decade, with significant success early on for the Sassanids. But Rome gradually developed a defense against these incursions, and ultimately the emperor, with his mother and staff, went to the east in 231. There actual military command rested in the hands of his generals, but his presence gave additional weight to the empire's policy. Persia's early successes soon faded as Rome's armies brought their power and experience to bear. The result was an acceptance of the status quo rather than a settlement between the parties. This occurred in 233 and Alexander returned to Rome. His presence in the west was required by a German threat, particularly along the Rhine, where the tribes took advantage of the withdrawal of Roman troops for the eastern war.

In 234, Alexander and Julia Mammaea moved to Moguntiacum (Mainz), the capital of Upper Germany. The military situation had improved with the return of troops from the east, and an ambitious offensive campaign was planned, for which a bridge was built across the Rhine. But Alexander preferred to negotiate for peace by buying off the enemy. This policy outraged the soldiers, who mutinied in mid March 235 and killed the emperor and his mother. He had reached the age of 26 years and had been emperor for almost precisely half his life. He was deified by the senate and received other posthumous honors. With the accession of Maximinus Thrax, the Severan dynasty came to an end.

Death and Evaluation
Tacitus' famous dictum about Galba, that he was properly considered capax imperii, capable of being emperor, until he showed, when emperor, that he was not, could never have been applied to Severus Alexander. A child when chance brought him to the principate, with only two recommendations, that he was different from Elagabalus and that he was part of the Severan family, he proved to be inadequate for the challenges of the time. Military experience was the prime attribute of an emperor now, which Alexander did not have, and that lack ultimately cost him his life. Guided by his mother and employing the services of distinguished men, he returned dignity to the imperial household and to the state. He did the best he could, but that best was not good enough in the early decades of the third century A.D., with the great threats from east and north challenging Rome's primacy and, indeed, existence.

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario. Published on De Imeratoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/alexsev.htm . Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
SevAl.jpg
[1009b] Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.110 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 19, S -, aF, Rome, 2.806g, 20.0mm, 0o, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P II COS P P, Jupiter standing left cloak over arms, holding long scepter and thunderbolt. Nice portrait. Ex FORVM.

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after the murder of his cousin, Elagabalus. His reign was marked by great economic prosperity, and he enjoyed great success against the barbarian tribes. His mother Julia Mamaea was the real power in the empire, controlling her son's policies and even his personal life with great authority. Severus had an oratory where he prayed under the edict, written on the wall, "Do not unto others what you would not have done to yourself" and the images of various prophets including Mithras, Zoroaster, Abraham and Jesus. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother (Joseph Sermarini).


De Imeratoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"But as Alexander was a modest and dutiful youth, of only seventeen years of age, the reins of government were in the hands of two women, of his mother Mamaea, and of Maesa, his grandmother. After the death of the latter, who survived but a short time the elevation of Alexander, Mamaea remained the sole regent of her son and of the empire." (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 6: Modern Library Edition, p. 130)

"As the imperial system developed, it disclosed its various arcana one by one. How much does the personality of the ruler matter? Less and less, it should seem. Be he boy, buffoon, or philosopher, his conduct may not have much effect on the administration. Habit and routine took over, with groups and grades of bureaucrats at hand to fill the posts." (Syme, Emperors and Biography, 146)

The passages quoted above emphasize two important aspects of the principate of Severus Alexander (or Alexander Severus), his youth and the influence of women during his reign. The significance of the latter invites brief discourse about the four women known as the "Severan Julias," whose origin was Syria. Julia Domna became the second wife of Septimius Severus and bore him two sons, the later emperors Caracalla and Geta. Her role in the administration of her husband was significant, which her expansive titulature, "mother of the camp and the senate and the country," reflected. Her sister, Julia Maesa, had two daughters, each of whom produced a son who was to become emperor. Julia Soaemias was the mother of Elagabalus, and shared his fate when he was assassinated. Julia Mamaea bore Alexander, who succeeded his cousin; he was very young and hence much under the control of grandmother and mother. For the first time in its imperial history, the empire of Rome was de facto, though not de iure, governed by women.

The literary sources, while numerous, are limited in value. Chief among them, at least in scope, is the biography in the Historia Augusta, much the longest of all the lives in this peculiar collection. Though purporting to be the work of six authors in the early fourth century, it is now generally considered to have been produced by one author writing in the last years of this century. Spacious in its treatment of the emperor and extremely favorable to him on the whole, it has little historical merit, seeming rather an extended work of fiction. It must be used with the utmost caution.

Herodian, whose history covered the period 180-238, was a contemporary of Severus Alexander, and his coverage of the latter's reign is extensive. Another contemporary, Dio Cassius, who was consul in 229 and whose judgments would have been most valuable, is unfortunately useless here, since his history survives only in abbreviated form and covers barely a page of printed text for the whole reign (Book 80). Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, the Epitome de Caesaribus, and other Latin sources are extremely brief, informing us of only the occasional anecdote. Christian writers make minimal contribution; legal texts offer much instruction, particularly those dealing with or stemming from Ulpian; coins, inscriptions, papyri, and archaeology help fill the gaps left by the literary sources.

Early Life and Education
The future emperor was born in Arca Caesarea in Phoenicia on October 1, 208 although some sources put the date three years earlier (as Gibbon assumed, see above), the son of Gessius Marcianus, whose career advanced in the equestrian cursus, and of Julia Mamaea, niece of the then empress, Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. He was raised quietly and well educated, at the instance of his mother. He came into the public eye only in 218, when, after Macrinus' murder of Caracalla and accession to the purple, he and his mother were declared hostes publici. In June of that year, Elagabalus defeated Macrinus and succeeded him as emperor. Alexander and Mamaea were soon rehabilitated. As his cousin's activities, religious, political, and personal, became increasingly unacceptable, Alexander was drawn ever more into public life. In mid 221, he assumed the toga virilis, was adopted by Elagabalus as a colleague, was granted the name Alexander, and elevated to the rank of Caesar. There had been talk that he was the illegitimate child of Caracalla, which won him support among the army, and this was confirmed, at least for public consumption, by his filiation in the official titulature back to Septimius. He was now styled Imp. Caes. M. Aurelii Antonini Pii Felicis Aug. fil., divi Antonini Magni Pii nepos, divi Severi pronepos M. Aurelius Alexander, nobilissimus Caesar imperi et sacerdotis, princeps iuventutis. The connection with Septimius Severus was crucial, since he was the only one of these predecessors who had been deified. Alexander was about 12 years old. Less than a year later, on March 13, 222, with the murder of Elagabalus, Alexander was hailed as emperor by the army. He considered this date as his dies imperii. He became thereby the youngest emperor in Rome's history. He was immediately thereafter given the titles of Augustus, pater patriae, and pontifex maximus.

His Principate; Grandmother, Mother, Ulpian
Having had no experience in government, the young emperor was largely dependent upon the two senior women in his life to guide his actions. His grandmother, Julia Maesa, may well have died as early as 223, so that his mother, Julia Mamaea, played the major role in the empire's administration from early on until the end. The only other figures who could rival her were the two Praetorian Prefects, both eminent jurists, Ulpian and Paulus, who are well-known to us because of the numerous citations of their legal views and administrative decisions preserved in the Corpus Iuris Civilis. Both were members of Alexander's consilium. Alexander attempted to restore some of the senate's prestige and functions, but with little success. He was even unable to protect Ulpian against the anger of the praetorians, who then murdered the jurist in 223.

Had his principate been peaceful, he might have developed into a significant emperor, certainly in comparison with his immediate predecessors. He was married once, in 225 to Sallustia Orbiana, who received the official titulature Sallustia Barbia Orbiana Augusta, but she was banished to Libya two years later. Her father, L. Seius Sallustius, was perhaps raised to the rank of Caesar by Alexander and was put to death in 227 on a charge of attempted murder of the emperor. The only other recorded uprising against Alexander is that of Taurinus, who was hailed as Augustus but drowned himself in the Euphrates.

According to the HA life, Alexander was a "good" person, and his mother certainly attempted to guide him well, but much of the last decade of his reign was preoccupied with serious military threats against the empire's prestige, nay existence. In those dangerous circumstances, his abilities, which had not earlier been honed, proved inadequate.

Domestic Policy
Perhaps the greatest service which Alexander furnished Rome, certainly at the beginning of his reign, was the return to a sense of sanity and tradition after the madness and fanaticism of Elagabalus. He is said to have honored and worshipped a variety of individuals, including Christ. His amiability assisted his relationship with the senate, which gained in honor under him without any real increase in its power. Besides jurists in high office, literary figures were also so distinguished; Marius Maximus, the biographer, and Dio Cassius, the historian, gained second consulships, the former in 223, the latter in 229.

The emperor's building program made its mark upon the face of Rome. The last of the eleven great aqueducts, the aqua Alexandrina, was put into service in 226; he also rebuilt the thermae Neronianae in the Campus Martius in the following year and gave them his own name. Of the other constructions, perhaps the most intriguing are the Diaetae Mammaeae, apartments which he built for his mother on the Palatine.

The Persian and German Wars
The first great external challenge appeared in the east, where the Parthian dynasty, which had ruled the Iranian plateau and other large areas for centuries, and who for long had been one of Rome's great rivals, was overthrown by the Persian family of the Sassanids by 227. They aspired to restore their domain to include all the Asian lands which had been ruled in the glory days of the Persian Empire. Since this included Asia Minor as well as all other eastern provinces, the stage was set for continuing clashes with Rome.

These began late in the decade, with significant success early on for the Sassanids. But Rome gradually developed a defense against these incursions, and ultimately the emperor, with his mother and staff, went to the east in 231. There actual military command rested in the hands of his generals, but his presence gave additional weight to the empire's policy. Persia's early successes soon faded as Rome's armies brought their power and experience to bear. The result was an acceptance of the status quo rather than a settlement between the parties. This occurred in 233 and Alexander returned to Rome. His presence in the west was required by a German threat, particularly along the Rhine, where the tribes took advantage of the withdrawal of Roman troops for the eastern war.

In 234, Alexander and Julia Mammaea moved to Moguntiacum (Mainz), the capital of Upper Germany. The military situation had improved with the return of troops from the east, and an ambitious offensive campaign was planned, for which a bridge was built across the Rhine. But Alexander preferred to negotiate for peace by buying off the enemy. This policy outraged the soldiers, who mutinied in mid March 235 and killed the emperor and his mother. He had reached the age of 26 years and had been emperor for almost precisely half his life. He was deified by the senate and received other posthumous honors. With the accession of Maximinus Thrax, the Severan dynasty came to an end.

Death and Evaluation
Tacitus' famous dictum about Galba, that he was properly considered capax imperii, capable of being emperor, until he showed, when emperor, that he was not, could never have been applied to Severus Alexander. A child when chance brought him to the principate, with only two recommendations, that he was different from Elagabalus and that he was part of the Severan family, he proved to be inadequate for the challenges of the time. Military experience was the prime attribute of an emperor now, which Alexander did not have, and that lack ultimately cost him his life. Guided by his mother and employing the services of distinguished men, he returned dignity to the imperial household and to the state. He did the best he could, but that best was not good enough in the early decades of the third century A.D., with the great threats from east and north challenging Rome's primacy and, indeed, existence.

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario. Published on De Imeratoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/alexsev.htm . Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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