Pertinax was a Roman military leader and Roman Emperor for the first three months of 193. He succeeded Commodus to become the first emperor during the tumultuous Year of the Five Emperors. Born the son of a freed slave, Pertinax became an officer in the army, he fought in the Roman–Parthian War of 161–166, where his success led him to be promoted to higher-ranking positions in both the military and political spheres, leading to him achieving the rank of provincial governor and urban prefect. He was a member of the Roman Senate, serving at the same time as the historian Cassius Dio. Following the death of Commodus, Pertinax was acclaimed emperor, he attempted to institute several reform measures, although the short length of his time as emperor prevented the success of those attempts. One of those reforms, the restoration of discipline among the Praetorian Guards, led to conflict that culminated in Pertinax's assassination by the Guard on 28 March 193. After his death, the Praetorians auctioned off the imperial title, won by the wealthy senator Didius Julianus, whose reign would end on 1 June 193.
Pertinax would be deified by the successor of Septimius Severus. His historical reputation has been a positive one, in line with the assessment of Dio, his career before becoming emperor is documented in the Historia Augusta and confirmed in many places by existing inscriptions. He was born in Alba Pompeia in the son of freedman Helvius Successus. Pertinax through the help of patronage was commissioned an officer in a cohort. In the Parthian war that followed, he was able to distinguish himself, which resulted in a string of promotions, after postings in Britain and along the Danube, he served as a procurator in Dacia, he suffered a setback as a victim of court intrigues during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, but shortly afterwards he was recalled to assist Claudius Pompeianus in the Marcomannic Wars. In 175, he received the honor of a suffect consulship and until 185, Pertinax was governor of the provinces of Upper and Lower Moesia, Dacia and governor of Britain. During the 180s, Pertinax took a pivotal role in the Roman Senate until the praetorian prefect Sextus Tigidius Perennis forced him out of public life.
He was recalled after three years to Britain. He tried to quell the unruly soldiers there but one legion attacked his bodyguard, leaving Pertinax for dead; when he was forced to resign in 187, the reason given was that the legions had grown hostile to him because of his harsh rule. He served as proconsul of Africa from 188–189, followed this term of service with the urban prefecture of Rome, a second consulship as ordinarius with the emperor Commodus as his colleague; when Commodus' behaviour became erratic throughout the early 190s, a conspiracy led to his assassination on 31 December 192. The plot was carried out by the Praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, Commodus' mistress Marcia, his chamberlain Eclectus. After the murder had been carried out, serving as urban prefect at this time, was hurried to the Praetorian Camp and proclaimed emperor the following morning, his short reign was an uneasy one. He attempted to emulate the restrained practices of Marcus Aurelius, made an effort to reform the alimenta but he faced antagonism from many quarters.
Ancient writers detail how the Praetorian Guard expected a generous donativum on his ascension, when they were disappointed, agitated until he produced the money, selling off Commodus' property, including the concubines and youths Commodus kept for his sexual pleasures. He reformed the Roman currency increasing the silver purity of the denarius from 74% to 87% – the actual silver weight increasing from 2.22 grams to 2.75 grams. Pertinax attempted to impose stricter military discipline upon the pampered Praetorians. In early March he narrowly averted one conspiracy by a group to replace him with the consul Quintus Sosius Falco while he was in Ostia inspecting the arrangements for grain shipments; the plot was betrayed. On 28 March 193, Pertinax was at his palace when, according to the Historia Augusta, a contingent of some three hundred soldiers of the Praetorian Guard rushed the gates. Ancient sources suggest. Neither the guards on duty nor the palace officials chose to resist them. Pertinax sent Laetus to meet them, but he chose to side with the insurgents instead and deserted the emperor.
Although advised to flee, he attempted to reason with them, was successful before being struck down by one of the soldiers. Pertinax must have been aware of the danger he faced by assuming the purple, for he refused to use imperial titles for either his wife or son, thus protecting them from the aftermath of his own assassination. A brief civil war over the succession followed Pertinax's death, won in the same year by Septimius Severus. After his entry to Rome, Septimius recognized Pertinax as a legitimate emperor, executed the soldiers who killed him, not only pressured the Senate to deify him and provide him a state funeral, but adopted his cognomen of Pertinax as part of his name. For some time, he held games on the anniversary of his birthday. Pertinax's historical reputation is a positive one, beginning with the assessment of Cassius Dio, a historian and senator, a colleague of Pertinax. Dio refers to him as "an excellent and upright man" who displayed "not only humaneness and integrity in the imperial admini
Elagabalus known as Heliogabalus, was Roman emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan dynasty, he was Syrian, the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. In his early youth he served the god Elagabalus as a priest in Emesa, the hometown of his mother's family; as a private citizen, he was named Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus. Upon becoming emperor he took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, he was called Elagabalus only after his death. In 217, the emperor Caracalla was assassinated and replaced by his Praetorian prefect, Marcus Opellius Macrinus. Caracalla's maternal aunt, Julia Maesa instigated a revolt among the Third Legion to have her eldest grandson, declared emperor in his place. Macrinus was defeated on 8 June 218 at the Battle of Antioch. Elagabalus 14 years old, became emperor, initiating a reign remembered for sex scandals and religious controversy. Historians suggest Elagabalus showed a disregard for Roman religious traditions and sexual taboos, he replaced the traditional head of the Roman pantheon, with the deity Elagabalus, of whom he had been high priest.
He forced leading members of Rome's government to participate in religious rites celebrating this deity, over which he presided. Elagabalus was "married" as many as five times, lavishing favours on male courtiers popularly thought to have been his lovers, was reported to have prostituted himself in the imperial palace, his behavior estranged the Praetorian Guard, the Senate, the common people alike. Amidst growing opposition, just 18 years old, was assassinated and replaced by his cousin Severus Alexander on 11 March 222, who ruled for 13 years before his own assassination, which marked the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century; the assassination plot against Elagabalus was devised by his grandmother, Julia Maesa, carried out by disaffected members of the Praetorian Guard. Elagabalus developed a reputation among his contemporaries for extreme eccentricity and zealotry; this tradition has persisted, with writers of the early modern age he suffers one of the worst reputations among Roman emperors.
Edward Gibbon, for example, wrote that Elagabalus "abandoned himself to the grossest pleasures and ungoverned fury". According to Barthold Georg Niebuhr, "The name Elagabalus is branded in history above all others" because of his "unspeakably disgusting life". Elagabalus was born around the year 204 to Julia Soaemias Bassiana, his father was a member of the Equites class, but was elevated to the rank of senator. His grandmother, Julia Maesa, was the widow of the consul Julius Avitus, the sister of Julia Domna, the sister-in-law of the emperor Septimius Severus, he had at least one sibling: an unnamed elder brother. His mother, Julia Soaemias, was a cousin of the emperor Caracalla, his other relatives included his aunt Julia Avita Mamaea and uncle Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus and among their children, their son Severus Alexander. Elagabalus's family held hereditary rights to the priesthood of the sun god Elagabal, of whom Elagabalus was the high priest at Emesa in Roman Syria; the deity Elagabalus was venerated at Emesa.
This form of the god's name is a Latinized version of the Syrian Ilāh hag-Gabal, which derives from Ilāh and gabal, resulting in "the God of the Mountain," the Emesene manifestation of the deity. The cult of the deity spread to other parts of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century; the god was imported and assimilated with the Roman sun god known as Sol Indiges in republican times and as Sol Invictus during the second and third centuries CE. In Greek the sun god is Helios, hence "Heliogabalus", a hybrid conjunction of "Helios" and "Elagabalus"; when the Emperor Macrinus came to power, he suppressed the threat against his reign from the family of his assassinated predecessor, Caracalla, by exiling them—Julia Maesa, her two daughters, her eldest grandson Elagabalus—to their estate at Emesa in Syria. Upon arrival in Syria, Maesa began a plot with her advisor and Elagabalus' tutor, Gannys, to overthrow Macrinus and elevate the fourteen-year-old Elagabalus to the imperial throne, his mother publicly declared that he was the illegitimate son of Caracalla, therefore deserving the loyalty of Roman soldiers and senators who had sworn allegiance to Caracalla.
After Julia Maesa displayed her wealth to the Third Legion at Raphana they swore allegiance to Elagabalus. At sunrise on 16 May 218, Publius Valerius Comazon, commander of the legion, declared. To strengthen his legitimacy Elagabalus assumed Caracalla's names, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. In response Macrinus dispatched his Praetorian prefect Ulpius Julianus to the region with a contingent of troops he considered strong enough to crush the rebellion. However, this force soon joined the faction of Elagabalus when, during the battle, they turned on their own commanders; the officers were killed and Julianus' head was sent back to the emperor. Macrinus now sent letters to the Senate denouncing Elagabalus as the False Antoninus and claiming he was insane. Both consuls and other high-ranking members of Rome's leadership condemned Elagabalus, the Senate subsequently declared war on both Elagabalus and Julia Maesa. Macrinus and his son, weakened by the desertion of the Second Legion due to bribes and promises circulated by Julia Maesa, were defeated on 8 June 218 at the Battle of Antioch by troops commanded by Gannys.
Macrinus fled to Italy, disguised as a courier, b
Tiberius was Roman emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD, succeeding the first emperor, Augustus. Born to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla in a Claudian family, he was given the personal name Tiberius Claudius Nero, his mother divorced Nero and married Octavian—later to ascend to Emperor as Augustus—who became his stepfather. Tiberius would marry Augustus' daughter, Julia the Elder, later be adopted by Augustus. Through the adoption, he became a Julian, assuming the name Tiberius Julius Caesar; the emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the following thirty years. His relationship to the other emperors of this dynasty was as follows: Tiberius was the stepson of Augustus, grand-uncle of Caligula, paternal uncle of Claudius, great-grand uncle of Nero, his 22-and-a-half-year reign would be the longest after Augustus's until Antoninus Pius, who surpassed his reign by a few months. Tiberius was one of the greatest Roman generals. So, he came to be remembered as a dark and sombre ruler who never desired to be emperor.
After the death of his son Drusus Julius Caesar in 23 AD, Tiberius became more reclusive and aloof. In 26 AD he removed himself from Rome and left administration in the hands of his unscrupulous Praetorian prefects Lucius Aelius Sejanus and Quintus Naevius Sutorius Macro; when Tiberius died, he was succeeded by Caligula. Tiberius was born in Rome on 16 November 42 BC to Tiberius Claudius Livia. In 39 BC his mother divorced his biological father and remarried Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus shortly thereafter, while still pregnant with Tiberius Nero's son. In 38 BC his brother, Nero Claudius Drusus, was born. Little is recorded of Tiberius' early life. In 32 BC Tiberius, at the age of nine, delivered the eulogy for his biological father at the rostra. In 29 BC, he rode in the triumphal chariot along with his adoptive father Octavian in celebration of the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. In 23 BC Emperor Augustus became gravely ill and his possible death threatened to plunge the Roman world into chaos again.
Historians agree that it is during this time that the question of Augustus' heir became most acute, while Augustus had seemed to indicate that Agrippa and Marcellus would carry on his position in the event of his death, the ambiguity of succession became Augustus' chief problem. In response, a series of potential heirs seem to have been selected, among them Tiberius and his brother Drusus. In 24 BC, at the age of seventeen, Tiberius entered politics under Augustus' direction, receiving the position of quaestor, was granted the right to stand for election as praetor and consul five years in advance of the age required by law. Similar provisions were made for Drusus. Shortly thereafter Tiberius began appearing in court as an advocate, it is here that his interest in Greek rhetoric began. In 20 BC, Tiberius was sent East under Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa; the Parthian Empire had captured the standards of the legions under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Decidius Saxa, Mark Antony. After a year of negotiation, Tiberius led a sizable force into Armenia with the goal of establishing it as a Roman client state and ending the threat it posed on the Roman-Parthian border.
Augustus was able to reach a compromise whereby the standards were returned, Armenia remained a neutral territory between the two powers. Tiberius married Vipsania Agrippina, the daughter of Augustus’s close friend and greatest general, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, he was appointed to the position of praetor, was sent with his legions to assist his brother Drusus in campaigns in the west. While Drusus focused his forces in Gallia Narbonensis and along the German frontier, Tiberius combated the tribes in the Alps and within Transalpine Gaul, conquering Raetia. In 15 BC he discovered the sources of the Danube, soon afterwards the bend of the middle course. Returning to Rome in 13 BC, Tiberius was appointed as consul, around this same time his son, Drusus Julius Caesar, was born. Agrippa's death in 12 BC elevated Drusus with respect to the succession. At Augustus’ request in 11 BC, Tiberius divorced Vipsania and married Julia the Elder, Augustus' daughter and Agrippa's widow. Tiberius was reluctant to do this, as Julia had made advances to him when she was married and Tiberius was married.
His new marriage with Julia turned sour. Tiberius once ran into Vipsania again, proceeded to follow her home crying and begging forgiveness. Tiberius continued to be elevated by Augustus, after Agrippa's death and his brother Drusus' death in 9 BC, seemed the clear candidate for succession; as such, in 12 BC he received military commissions in Germania. In 6 BC, Tiberius launched a pincer movement against the Marcomanni. Setting out northwest from Carnuntum on the Danube with four legions, Tiberius passed through Quadi territory in order to invade Marcomanni territory from the east. Meanwhile, general Gaius Sentius Saturninus would depart east from Moguntiacum on the Rhine with two or three legions, pass through newly annexed Hermundur
Manuel II Palaiologos
Manuel II Palaiologos or Palaeologus was Byzantine Emperor from 1391 to 1425. Shortly before his death he was tonsured a monk and received the name Matthew, his wife Helena Dragaš saw to it that their sons, John VIII Palaiologos and Constantine XI Palaiologos, become emperors. Manuel is commemorated on July 21. Manuel II Palaiologos was the second son of Emperor John V Palaiologos and his wife Helena Kantakouzene. Granted the title of despotēs by his father, the future Manuel II traveled west to seek support for the Byzantine Empire in 1365 and in 1370, serving as governor in Thessalonica from 1369; the failed attempt at usurpation by his older brother Andronikos IV Palaiologos in 1373 led to Manuel's being proclaimed heir and co-emperor of his father. In 1376–1379 and again in 1390 they were supplanted by Andronikos IV and his son John VII, but Manuel defeated his nephew with help from the Republic of Venice in 1390. Although John V had been restored, Manuel was forced to go as an honorary hostage to the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I at Prousa.
During his stay, Manuel was forced to participate in the Ottoman campaign that reduced Philadelpheia, the last Byzantine enclave in Anatolia. Hearing of his father's death in February 1391, Manuel II Palaiologos fled the Ottoman court and secured the capital against any potential claim by his nephew John VII. Although relations with John VII improved, Sultan Bayezid I besieged Constantinople from 1394 to 1402. After some five years of siege, Manuel II entrusted the city to his nephew and embarked on a long trip abroad to seek assistance against the Ottoman Empire from the courts of western Europe, including those of Henry IV of England, Charles VI of France, Sigismund the Holy Roman Emperor, Queen Margaret I of Denmark and king Martin of Aragon. In 1399, the French King Charles VI sent Marshal Jean Le Maingre with six ships carrying 1,200 men from Aigues-Mortes to Constantinople. Meanwhile, an anti-Ottoman crusade led by the Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg failed at the Battle of Nicopolis on 25 September 1396, but the Ottomans were themselves crushingly defeated by Timur at the Battle of Ankara in 1402.
Manuel II had sent 10 ships to help in the Crusade of Nicopolis. As the sons of Bayezid I struggled with each other over the succession in the Ottoman Interregnum, John VII was able to secure the return of the European coast of the Sea of Marmara and of Thessalonica to the Byzantine Empire in the Treaty of Gallipoli; when Manuel II returned home in 1403, his nephew duly surrendered control of Constantinople and received as a reward the governorship of newly recovered Thessalonica. The treaty regained from the Ottomans Nesebar and the Marmara coast from Scutari to Nicomedia. On 25 July 1414, with a fleet consisting of four galleys and two other vessels carrying contingents of infantry and cavalry, departed Constantinople for Thessalonica; the purpose of this force soon became clear when he made an unannounced stop at Thasos, a unimportant island, under threat from a son of the lord of Lesbos, Francesco Gattilusio. It took Manuel three months to reassert imperial authority on the island. Only did he continue on to Thessalonica, where he was warmly met by his son Andronicus, who governed the city.
In the spring of 1415, he and his soldiers left for the Peloponnese, arriving at the little port of Kenchreai on Good Friday, 29 March. Manuel II Palaiologos used his time there to bolster the defences of the Despotate of Morea, where the Byzantine Empire was expanding at the expense of the remnants of the Latin Empire. Here Manuel supervised the building of the Hexamilion across the Isthmus of Corinth, intended to defend the Peloponnese from the Ottomans. Manuel II stood on friendly terms with the victor in the Ottoman civil war, Mehmed I, but his attempts to meddle in the next contested succession led to a new assault on Constantinople by Murad II in 1422. During the last years of his life, Manuel II relinquished most official duties to his son and heir John VIII Palaiologos, went back to Europe searching for assistance against the Ottomans, this time to the King Sigismund of Hungary, staying for two months in his court of Buda. Sigismund never rejected the possibility of fighting against the Ottoman Empire.
However, with the Hussite wars in Bohemia, it was impossible to count on the Czech or German armies, the Hungarian ones were needed to protect the Kingdom and control the religious conflicts. Unhappily Manuel returned home with empty hands from the Hungarian Kingdom, in 1424 he and his son were forced to sign an unfavourable peace treaty with the Ottoman Turks, whereby the Byzantine Empire had to pay tribute to the sultan. Manuel II died on 21 July 1425. Manuel II was the author of numerous works of varied character, including letters, poems, a Saint's Life, treatises on theology and rhetoric, an epitaph for his brother Theodore I Palaiologos and a mirror of prince for his son and heir Ioannes; this mirror of prince has special value, because it is the last sample of this literary genre bequeathed to us by Byzantines. By his wife Helena Dragas, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragas, Manuel II Palaiologos had several children, including: A daughter. Mentioned as the eldest daughter b
Decius known as Trajan Decius, was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. A distinguished politician during the reign of Philippus Arabus, Decius was proclaimed emperor by his troops after putting down a rebellion in Moesia. In 249, he defeated and killed Philip near Verona and was recognized as emperor by the Senate afterwards. During his reign, he attempted to strengthen the Roman state and its religion, leading to the Decian persecution, where a number of prominent Christians were put to death. In the last year of his reign, Decius co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus, until they were both killed by the Goths in the Battle of Abritus. Decius, born at Budalia, near Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior, was one of the first among a long succession of future Roman Emperors to originate from the Danube provinces simply called Illyricum. Unlike some of his immediate imperial predecessors such as Philip the Arab or Maximinus who did not have extensive administrative experience before assuming the throne, Decius was a distinguished senator who had served as suffect consul in 232, had been governor of Moesia and Germania Inferior soon afterwards, served as governor of Hispania Tarraconensis between 235–238, was urban prefect of Rome during the early reign of Emperor Philip the Arab.
Around 245, Philip entrusted Decius with an important command on the Danube. By the end of 248 or 249, Decius was sent to quell the revolt of Pacatianus and his troops in Moesia and Pannonia. After the collapse of the revolt, Decius let. Philip advanced against him and was killed at Verona, Italy, in September 249; the Senate recognized Decius as Emperor, giving him the attribute Traianus in reference to the emperor Trajan. According to the Byzantine historian Zosimus, Decius was clothed in purple and forced to undertake the government, despite his reluctance and unwillingness. Decius' political program was focused on the restoration of the strength of the State, both militarily opposing the external threats, restoring the public piety with a program of renovation of the State religion. Either as a concession to the Senate, or with the idea of improving public morality, Decius endeavoured to revive the separate office and authority of the censor; the choice was left to the Senate. But Valerian, well aware of the dangers and difficulties attached to the office at such a time, declined the responsibility.
The invasion of the Goths and Decius' death put an end to the abortive attempt. During his reign, he proceeded with several building projects in Rome, "including the Thermae Decianae or Baths of Decius on the Aventine", completed in 252 and survived through to the 16th century. In January 250, Decius is said to have issued one of the most remarkable Roman imperial edicts. From the numerous surviving texts from Egypt, recording the act of sacrifice, it appears that the edict itself was clear: All the inhabitants of the empire were required to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community'for the safety of the empire' by a certain day; when they sacrificed they would obtain a certificate recording the fact that they had complied with the order. That is, the certificate would testify the sacrificant's loyalty to the ancestral gods and to the consumption of sacrificial food and drink as well as the names of the officials who were overseeing the sacrifice. According to D. S. Potter, Decius did not try to impose the superiority of the Roman pantheon over any other gods.
It is probable that the edict was an attempt to legitimize his position and to respond to a general unease provoked by the passing of the Roman millennium. While Decius himself may have intended the edict as a way to reaffirm his conservative vision of the Pax Romana and to reassure Rome's citizens that the empire was still secure, it sparked a "terrible crisis of authority as various Christian bishops and their flocks reacted to it in different ways." Measures were first taken demanding that the bishops and officers of the church make a sacrifice for the Emperor. The sacrifice was "on behalf of" the Emperor, not to the Emperor, since a living Emperor was not considered divine. Certificates were issued to those who satisfied the commissioners during the persecution of Christians under Decius. Forty-six such certificates have been published, all dating from four of them from Oxyrhynchus. Anyone, including Christian followers, who refused to offer a sacrifice for the Emperor and the Empire's well-being by a specified date risked torture and execution.
A number of prominent Christians did, in fact, refuse to make a sacrifice and were killed in the process, including Pope Fabian himself in 250, "anti-Christian feeling led to killings at Carthage and Alexandria." In reality, towards the end of the second year of Decius' reign, "the ferocity of the persecution had eased off, the earlier tradition of tolerance had begun to reassert itself." The Christian church, despite no indication in the surviving texts that the edict targeted any specific group, never forgot the reign of Decius whom they labelled as that "fierce tyrant". At this time, there was a second outbreak of the Antonine Plague, which at its h
Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis, was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of barbarian invasions and migrations into Roman territory. The crisis began with the assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander by his own troops in 235; this initiated a 50-year period during which there were at least 26 claimants to the title of emperor prominent Roman army generals, who assumed imperial power over all or part of the Empire. The same number of men became accepted by the Roman Senate as emperor during this period and so became legitimate emperors. By 268, the empire had split into three competing states: the Gallic Empire, including the Roman provinces of Gaul and Hispania. Aurelian reunited the empire; the crisis resulted in such profound changes in the empire's institutions, economic life and religion, that it is seen by most historians as defining the transition between the historical periods of classical antiquity and late antiquity.
After the Roman Empire had been stabilised once again after the turmoil of the Year of the Five Emperors in the reign of Septimius Severus, the Severan dynasty lost more and more control. Septimius Severus raised the pay of legionaries, gave substantial donativum to the troops; the large and ongoing increase in military expenditure caused problems for all of his successors. His son Caracalla raised the annual pay and lavished many benefits on the army, in accordance with the advice of his father to keep their loyalty, considered dividing the Empire into eastern and western sectors with his brother Geta to reduce the conflict in their co-rule; the situation of the Roman Empire became dire in 235. Many Roman legions had been defeated during a previous campaign against Germanic peoples raiding across the borders, while the emperor Severus Alexander had been focused on the dangers from the Sassanid Empire. Leading his troops the emperor resorted to diplomacy and accepting tribute to pacify the Germanic chieftains rather than military conquest.
According to Herodian this cost Severus Alexander the respect of his troops, who may have felt that more severe punishment was required for the tribes that had intruded on Rome's territory. The troops assassinated Severus Alexander and proclaimed the new emperor to be Maximinus Thrax, commander of one of the legions present. Maximinus was the first of the barracks emperors – rulers who were elevated by the troops without having any political experience, a supporting faction, distinguished ancestors, or a legitimate claim to the imperial throne; as their rule rested on military might and generalship, they operated as warlords reliant on the army to maintain power. Maximinus continued the campaigns in Germania but struggled to exert his authority over the whole empire; the Senate was displeased at having to accept a peasant as Emperor. This precipitated the chaotic Year of the Six Emperors during which all of the original claimants were killed: in 238 a revolt broke out in Africa led by Gordian I and Gordian II, soon supported by the Roman Senate, but this was defeated with Gordian II killed and Gordian I committing suicide.
The Senate, fearing Imperial wrath, raised two of their own as co-Emperors and Balbinus with Gordian I's grandson Gordian III as Caesar. Maximinus marched on Rome but was assassinated by his Legio II Parthica, subsequently Pupienus and Balbinus were murdered by the Praetorian Guard. In the following years, numerous generals of the Roman army fought each other for control of the empire and neglected their duties of defending it from invasion. There were frequent raids across the Rhine and Danube frontier by foreign tribes, including the Carpians, Goths and Alamanni, attacks from Sassanids in the east. Climate changes and a sea level rise disrupted the agriculture of what is now the Low Countries, forcing tribes residing in the region to migrate into Roman lands. Further disruption arose in 251; this plague caused large-scale death weakening the empire. The situation was worsened in 260. Throughout the period, numerous usurpers claimed the imperial throne. In the absence of a strong central authority, the empire broke into three competing states.
The Roman provinces of Gaul and Hispania broke off to form the Gallic Empire in 260. The eastern provinces of Syria and Aegyptus became independent as the Palmyrene Empire in 267; the remaining provinces, centred on Italy, stayed under a single ruler but now faced threats on every side. An invasion of Macedonia and Greece by Goths, displaced from their lands on the Black Sea, was defeated by emperor Claudius II Gothicus at the Battle of Naissus in 268 or 269. Historians see this victory as the turning point of the crisis. In its aftermath, a series of tough, energetic barracks emperors were able to reassert central authority. Further victories by Claudius Gothicus drove back the Alamanni and recovered
Septimius Severus known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa; as a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the Roman generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia; that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul. After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris.
He enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Mauretania against the Garamantes, he proclaimed as Augusti his elder son Caracalla in 198 and his younger son Geta in 209. In 208 he travelled to Britain, reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia, but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill of an infectious disease, in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum, was succeeded by his sons, thus founding the Severan dynasty, it was the last dynasty of the Roman Empire before the Crisis of the Third Century. Born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna as the son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia, Septimius Severus came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank, he had Italian Roman ancestry on his mother's side and descended from Punic – and also Libyan – forebears on his father's side. 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 r.
138–161. His mother's ancestors had moved from Italy to North Africa. Septimius Severus had two siblings: Publius Septimius Geta. Severus's maternal cousin was consul Gaius Fulvius Plautianus. Septimius Severus grew up in Leptis Magna, he spoke the local Punic language fluently, but he was educated in Latin and Greek, which he spoke with a slight accent. Little else is known of the young Severus' education but, according to Cassius Dio, the boy had been eager for more education than he had got. Severus received lessons in oratory: at age 17 he gave his first public speech. Around 162 Septimius Severus sought a public career in Rome. At the recommendation of his relative Gaius Septimius Severus, Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted him entry into the senatorial ranks. Membership in the senatorial order was a prerequisite to attain positions within the cursus honorum and to gain entry into the Roman Senate, it appears that Severus' career during the 160s met with some difficulties. It is that he served as a vigintivir in Rome, overseeing road maintenance in or near the city, he may have appeared in court as an advocate.
At the time of Marcus Aurelius 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. With his career at a halt, Severus decided to temporarily return to Leptis, where the climate was healthier. According to the Historia Augusta, a unreliable source, he was prosecuted for adultery during this time but the case was dismissed. At the end of 169 Severus journeyed back to Rome. On 5 December, he took office and was enrolled in the Roman Senate. Between 170 and 180 his activities went unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession; the Antonine Plague had thinned the senatorial ranks and, with capable men now in short supply, Severus' career advanced more than it otherwise might have. The sudden death of his father necessitated another return to Leptis Magna to settle family affairs.
Before he was able to leave Africa, Mauri tribesmen invaded southern Spain. Control of the province was handed over to the Emperor, while the Senate gained temporary control of Sardinia as compensation. Thus, Septimius Severus spent the remainder of his second term as quaestor on the island of Sardinia. In 173 Severus' kinsman Gaius Septimius Severus was appointed proconsul of the Province of Africa; the elder Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore, a senior military appointment. Following the end of this term, Septimius Severus returned to Rome, taking up office as tribune of the plebs, a senior legislative position, with the distinction of being the candidatus of the emperor. About 175, Septimius Severus, in his early thirties at the time, contracted his first marriage, to Paccia Marciana, a woman from Leptis Magna, he met her during his tenure as legate under his uncle. Marciana's name suggests Punic or Libyan origin, but nothing else is