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Septimius Severus


© J.-F. Peiré
© J.-F. Peiré
The century of the Antonain dynasty ends in 192 with the assassination of Emperor Commodus.  
After the short reigns of Pertinax and Didius Julianus, Septimius Severus inaugurates a new dynasty.

Originally from Leptis Magna in Roman Africa, he will especially favor this city, considerably urbanizing it and adorning it with fastidious monuments. Septimius Severus the African is described as a small individual with curly hair and a strong Punic accent. He marries for the second time Julia Domna, daughter of the high priest of the god Baal of Emesa in Syria (modern day Homs).
With the empress and her court, the East openly penetrates Rome and profoundly marks the religion, customs, and clothing fashion.
Their two sons, Lucius Septimius Bassianus (nicknamed Caracalla) and Lucius Septimus Geta, destined to reign conjointly, will be separated by jealousy and the death of the latter, assassinated by his own brother.

The portraits of Septimius Severus share characteristics with those from the previous dynasty. He seeks to legitimize himself as well. The large bust with an oak crown is one of the four portraits of this emperor discovered at Chiragan.
Draped with a paludamentum, a large general’s cloak, Septimius wears the oak crown known as the civic crown just like in the portrait of Augustus. With this reference, he positions himself as the new Savior of the State. This quality is confirmed by the four vertical locks of hair that pull away on the forehead. This could be a comparison or homage to the Greco-Egyptian god Serapis, often represented with this hairstyle that symbolizes renewal. The emperor goes to his temple during a voyage in Egypt.

In the same way, circa 200, coins confirm this association between Septimius Severus and the god of the Nile Delta.

Marble bust of Septimius Severus discovered at the site of the Roman villa of Chiragan (Martres-Tolosane, Haute-Garonne).
Circa 200-211.
Inv. Ra 66b.
Lu 783 fois

Tolosa's gold age | Chiragan | Necropolis