Septimius Severus Origin

Septimius Severus was born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna (in present-day Libya). He was the son of Publius Septimius Geta(Father) and Fulvia Pia(Mother).

Septimius Severus came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank.

Severus had Italic and North African ancestry.

The Roman ancestry came from his mother’s side, while his North African ancestry came from his father’s side.

Due to his family background on his father’s side he is considered the first provincial emperor as he was the first emperor not only born in the provinces but also into a provincial family of non-Italian origin.

Severus’ father, an obscure provincial, held no major political status, but he had two cousins, Publius Septimius Aper and Gaius Septimius Severus, who served as consuls under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138 CE–161 CE).

His mother’s ancestors had moved from Italy to North Africa; they belonged to the gens Fulvia, an Italian patrician family that originated in Tusculum.

Septimius Severus under Marcus Aurelius

Septimius Severus grew up in Leptis Magna in a politically connected wealthy family.

Severus received lessons in oratory: at the age of 17, he gave his first public speech.

Severus sought a public career in Rome in around 162 CE. At that time Marcus Aurelius was roman emperor.

At the recommendation of his relative Gaius Septimius Severus, the emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180) granted him entry into the senatorial ranks.

Septimius Severus under Marcus Aurelius

Within a few years, he was the State Attorney.

However, he omitted the military tribunate from the cursus honorum and had to delay his quaestorship until he had reached the required minimum age of 25.

To make matters worse, the Antonine Plague swept through the capital in 166 CE.

With his career at a halt, Severus decided to temporarily return to Leptis, where the climate was healthier.

The Antonine Plague had thinned the senatorial ranks and, with capable men now in short supply, Severus’ career advanced more steadily than it otherwise might have.

Between 170 and 180 his activities went largely unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession.

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