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Reign of the Northern Dynasty

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Severi was a Phoenician (Punic) dynasty of Roman emperors in 193-235. The North created a military-bureaucratic monarchy that protected the interests of broad circles of slave owners. The policy of the North (with the exception of Alexander Sever) was anti-senatorial in nature.

To the North belonged:

The founder of the Severan dynasty in 193 was the winner of the civil war, a native of Africa, Lucius Septimius Severus. He was a cruel and ambitious man, but at the same time a capable administrator and a talented commander. Septimius Severus relied exclusively on the army for his policy. Soldiers and officers received a number of privileges under him. In particular, their salaries were increased and they were allowed to start legal families. The legionnaire received from the government a food ration and a land plot as a tenant. Thus, professional warriors gradually turned into military settlers. Under Severus, the process of "barbarization" of the Roman army accelerated.

The regime created by the north was a military-bureaucratic monarchy. The Senate lost its importance, many senators were executed and their property confiscated. The emperor's power became absolute. The Emperor communicated his will to his subjects by means of written decrees, the so-called Constitutions. The main governing body was the Princeps Council.

Septimus strengthened his administration with horsemen and provincial elites. At this time, the process of militarization of the administrative apparatus is underway. In general, the number of managers in the North has increased dramatically. He also streamlined the tax system. Evasion of state duties was considered a serious state crime.

Overwhelmed by overwhelming financial pressure, the population sought by hook or crook to obtain tax immunity, through obtaining Roman citizenship, either by serving in the army or entering the civil service. Septimius Severus tried to find the support of the urban plebs, by expanding the policy of "bread and circuses" Severus took care of strengthening the borders of the empire. On his orders, powerful fortified areas were built on the Rhine and Danube.

Emperor Septimius Severus, 3rd century AD

In foreign policy, the main enterprise of the North was the victorious war with Parthia. In 199, Mesopotamia was declared a Roman province. In return, the Romans handed over part of Armenia to the Parthian king. In honor of this victory, a triumphal arch dedicated to Septimius Severus and his sons was erected in the Roman forum in 203. In 208-211, Septimus successfully fought the Caledonian tribes in Britain.

In February 211, at the age of 65, North died in the city of Eborak-modern York. According to legend, before his death, he admonished his sons: "Live together, please your soldiers, you can not pay any attention to the rest." Severus was posthumously deified.

Map of the Empire during the reign of the Severians, early 3rd century AD.

After his death, in 211, his sons Antoninus Caracalla and Geta took power. The stepbrothers hated each other fiercely, and already in 212, Caracalla killed Geta. Then I killed all his supporters. Getting a taste for it, the cruel tyrant ordered the murder of his own wife, cousin and many other rich and noble people. Fiscal difficulties led to the fact that already in 212, an edict was published on behalf of Caracala, which declared all free inhabitants of the empire Roman citizens, but at the same time they became taxpayers. Immediately, the tax burden increased dramatically. Caracalla was hated by the senators and idolized by the legionnaires, for whom he increased their salaries by one and a half times.

In 2015, Caracal staged a bloody massacre of civilians in Alexandria. In 217, at the very beginning of the campaign against the Parthians, Caracallus was killed, on the orders of his prefect Mokrin. A Moor by birth, Mokrin was proclaimed emperor. However, the following year, Mokrin and his son were killed by mutinous legionnaires.

In 218, Caracalla's first cousin Heliogabalus became emperor. A dissolute and narrow-minded youth, not wanting to engage in state affairs, plunged into a pool of pleasure. The Emperor basked in fabulous luxury. He spread rose petals on the floor of the banquet halls, ate the heels of camels. Having acquired universal hatred, Heliogabalus was killed in 222. The body of the unworthy ruler was dragged through the streets of Rome with a hook, dipped in the sewer. Then they were thrown off a bridge into the Tiber.

After his murder, his cousin Alexander Sever. Under his leadership, a constructive dialogue with the Senate was restored. However, the main political force was still the army. As soon as the government cut the cost of maintaining the legions, unrest among the soldiers immediately followed, rarely without violence.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis was looming. The political situation in the east and on the Rhine sharply worsened. The government of Alexander Severus tried to buy the world from the Germans at the price of paying colossal sums of money. This shameful transaction became known to the legionnaires. In March 235, a spontaneous soldier mutiny broke out during which the emperor was killed. The end of the Severan dynasty marked the entry of the Roman Empire into a period of unprecedented social and military-political crisis in the third century.

Related topics

The Roman Empire, The Emperors of Rome, Reign of the Antonine Dynasty, The Crisis of the last Antonines, The crisis of the 3rd century in the Roman Empire