Peace, one and all…
For those of you who couldn’t wait for the final chapter of my MA dissertation, here it is!!! Well, assuming that anybody’s interested in it!! Oh well, the Internet’s home to all sorts of junk so it might as well be a home for my junk too!
Enjoy! (Or just plain avoid)!
Chapter Three: The Overthrow of Commodus and Septimius’ Rise to Power
This final chapter focuses upon Septimius’ later senatorial career and his own rise to power in 193CE. In particular, emphasis will be paid to his growing connection with Pertinax and to his direct involvement in the overthrow of Commodus. The focus will then shift to an examination the circumstances of Pertinax’ short reign and his subsequent murder. From here, we will discuss Septimius’ own bid for the throne. As a former associate of Cleander, Septimius seems to have come under suspicion following the prefect’s death. Towards the end of his Sicilian command, Septimius was ordered to
Rome on charges of ‘consulting about the imperial dignity with seers and astrologers’ (HA Sev. 4.3). The vita Severi goes on to say that the newly appointed Guard commanders, Julianus and Regillus acquitted him, crucifying his unfortunate accuser. Septimius was presumably saved by his connections to Pertinax, who may well have been involved in Cleander’s murder. Although some historians have expressed scepticism about this incident, it is highly likely that an ambitious informant would attempt to accuse someone linked to Cleander. Such charges are in any event commonplace; Septimius’ own fascination with astrology was also well known. Pertinax’ influence kept his protégé’s career on track. In mid-190CE Septimius served his previously designated term as suffect consul. Although practice varied, during the second century between six and ten consuls were appointed annually. The two consules ordinarii normally served for the first six months of the year, which meant that the remaining suffects held office for between two and six months. Cleander’s designation of twenty-five consuls meant that Septimius’ term could not have lasted much more than a month. Be that as it may, his consulship was followed by a year without official employment. Such gaps were not by themselves unusual. For many men, the consulship represented the crowning achievement of their career. Moreover, the extraordinarily large number of consuls must have meant that less proconsular posts were available.
The emperor’s growing paranoia meant that public office was becoming an increasingly dangerous honour. Cleander’s death and the events that had caused it seriously disturbed Commodus. Suspecting the aristocracy of complicity in the act, Commodus gave vent to his rage in an orgy of murder. After executing Dionysius, Commodus turned against the nobility. The Historia Augusta records that those killed included two of the previous year’s consuls (189), one from the year before that (188), a further six ex-consuls, a senior proconsul of Asia and a relative of Herodes Atticus, ‘together with their kin’ (HA Comm. 7.5). Elsewhere, the vita Commodi states that the emperor ‘had intended to kill fourteen others also, since the revenues of the Roman Empire were insufficient to meet his expenditures’ (HA Comm. 7.8). Amidst this slaughter, two things become apparent; the plot against Cleander had, or was believed to have, widespread support amongst the aristocracy and that Commodus used the incident to justify another purge of his late father’s surviving amici. Julianus, the new praetorian prefect, was publicly humiliated and then put to death, which suggests that he may have had been involved with the conspiracy. Annia Fundania Faustina, Marcus Aurelius’ cousin, was executed, as was the family of Commodus’ brother-in-law, M. Petronius Sura Mamertinus, along with ‘innumerable others’ (HA Comm. 7.7-8). These others included Julius Alexander from Emesa, who was apparently sentenced to death for his equestrian ability, though he escaped detection for a time before eventually committing suicide. Septimius must have been particularly grateful for a spell of unemployment; it is likely that both Alexander and the Petronii were relatives of his. Given this environment, it is perhaps small wonder that senior senators, such as Claudius Pompeianus and M’. Acilius Glabrio, suddenly became convinced of the virtues of early retirement.
The evidence suggests that this period marked a turning point in Commodus’ reign. The names that he derived from his father were suddenly removed from the coinage. He now returned to the name he had held at birth, L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus. By these actions, the emperor was symbolically revoking his allegiance to his late father’s ideas and ways. This is also demonstrated by his increasing identification with Hercules on the coinage. One coin in particular depicts Commodus dressed as Hercules, with a bow and quiver, along with Hercules’ trademark club and lion-skin, with the legend HERCVLI ROMANO AVG (see Figure . Commodus’ growing patronage of eastern cults, Isis, Serapis and Mithras in particular, probably also sprang from a desire to escape from his father’s memory.
The deaths of so many important officials created a number of vacancies in the imperial bureaucracy. Q. Aemilius Laetus, an equestrian from North Africa, was chosen to replace Julianus as praetorian prefect; little is known of his career prior to this appointment, though it may have included a number of military posts. Eclectus, a previously unknown imperial freedman, replaced Cleander as the emperor’s chamberlain. Marcia, the former mistress of Ummidius Quadratus, became Commodus’ new concubine. Although it seems that Marcia had been Commodus’ mistress for some time, she presumably owed her current prominence to the part she played in exposing Cleander. Laetus, Marcia and Eclectus quickly realised the advantages of mutual co-operation, though it is conceivable that they were connected beforehand.
Be that as it may, a careful examination of the sources demonstrates that the three of them deliberately strengthened their position during the following year. An inscription from Thaenae reveals that Aemilius Pudens, Laetus’ brother, was appointed to a senior post in the imperial bodyguard at around this time, whilst the Historia Augusta states that Laetus successfully defended the future emperor Didius Julianus from an accusation of treachery.
The sources also indicate that the praetorian prefect was using his status to influence the appointment of provincial governors. The vita Severi remarks that during 191CE, Septimius was made governor of Pannonia Superior, ‘on the recommendation of Laetus’ (HA Sev. 4.4-5). It is almost impossible to exaggerate the significance of this posting. Pannonia Superior was the closest armed province to the capital and contained a large garrison of three legions. Septimius was certainly an unusual choice for such an important command. He had not had any significant military experience, apart from a legionary legateship in Syria, whilst his two previous commands had been in unarmed provinces. The reasons behind his appointment become clearer when they are seen in a wider context. It seems that Septimius’ brother Geta was also serving as a governor at this time, in Moesia Inferior. As both men were linked to Pertinax, it is highly likely that Laetus was trying to establish a connection of his own with the powerful urban prefect. In any case, Pertinax’ own influence was then at its height. In early 192CE, Pertinax held his second consulship, with the emperor himself as a colleague. This was a rare honour, Commodus’ colleagues as consul ordinarius were either members of the imperial family, or were otherwise senior aristocrats.
Spurred on by his new favourites, Commodus’ behaviour continued to worsen. His official nomenclature was altered to include such extravagant titles as ‘Herculeus’, ‘Amazonius’ and ‘Exsuperatorius’, the months of the year were named after him and in mid-191CE, Rome itself was renamed ‘Commodiana’. More seriously, Laetus and Eclectus encouraged him to indulge his martial fantasies by taking part in gladiatorial contests and wild animal hunts. They may also have been feeding his suspicions about the nobility. During the summer of 192CE, the emperor angrily threatened a large group of senators.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Commodus’ violence soon led to his own murder. Although the events surrounding his death have been shrouded in lies and half-truths, it is possible to see beyond the propaganda. According to the sources, Commodus had planned a blood bath at Rome for New Year’s Eve 192CE, in which the consuls designate (C. Erucius Clarus Vibianus and Q. Sosius Falco), along with the entire imperial household and their supporters were to be massacred. Once the carnage had ceased, Commodus intended to emerge from the gladiators’ camp on New Year’s Day as sole consul. However, Marcia discovered the plan during the evening of New Year’s Eve and hurriedly informed Laetus and Eclectus. After a brief discussion, the three of them decided to kill the emperor in order to save their own lives, unsuccessfully trying poison before finally having Commodus strangled by a slave.
According to the official account, panic then set in. The three assassins, realising their vulnerability, unanimously decided to offer the vacant throne to Pertinax. Less enthusiastic at first, Pertinax sent a friend to ascertain the truth of the report; his testimony apparently convinced Pertinax that the offer was genuine. He then hurried to the praetorian camp, whereupon a sullen Guard acclaimed him emperor, though only by means of a large donative. According to the sources, at news of Commodus’ death, an angry mob demanded that his body be dragged by a hook and thrown into the Tiber, whilst others tore down his statues. Although the exact sequence of events is not clear, it seems that a large group of people then went to the praetorian camp. A meeting of the senate was then hastily arranged, at which Pertinax’ accession was confirmed.
Although the traditional story may well bear some general resemblance to the actual course of events, several factors demonstrate that Commodus was overthrown by a well-organised conspiracy. Firstly, as was made clear above, Laetus, Eclectus and Marcia had been actively encouraging Commodus’ wild behaviour, on the one hand stirring up the emperor’s paranoia and on the other nurturing senatorial hostility towards him. The frenzied celebrations that greeted the public announcement of his death clearly illustrate this point. The presence of large crowds at the Praetorian camp, urging the soldiers to accept Pertinax, strongly suggests some prior organisation, in which the new emperor himself had a hand.
Secondly, the timing of the murder itself looks decidedly pre-arranged. New Year’s Day was a public holiday at
Rome. According to Herodian, most of the Praetorian Guard were unarmed and off-duty, enjoying themselves amidst the festivities, which meant that they would have been far easier to control. The newly appointed consules ordinarii also entered office on this day; a revolt at this time might well take opponents by surprise. These two factors must have seriously reduced the chances of encountering effectively co-ordinated opposition. Furthermore, the fact that Laetus, as the Guard Prefect, and Pertinax, as praefectus urbi, held command of virtually the entire garrison of Rome between them is also highly suspicious.
As such, January 1st was an excellent time to mount a coup d’etat. It is surely significant therefore, that some of the first coins to be issued in Pertinax’ name depict Janus the Preserver (IANO CONSERVAT), the god of new beginnings (Figure 9). Pertinax’ adoption of this symbol was a powerful statement of judgement on the late emperor; the gods had deserted Commodus, Janus symbolising the conscious break with the past. Pertinax’ subsequent issues heavily reinforce this point. Legends such as PROVIDENTIA DEORUM (‘the providence of the gods’), DIS CVSTODIBVS (‘under the guardianship of the gods’) and LAETITIA TEMPORUM (‘the happiness of the age’) emphasise Commodus’ failure as much as they anticipate Pertinax’ success (Figures 10, 11 & 12). Moreover, New Year’s Day also celebrated the overthrow of the old tyrant Saturn by the new king Jupiter, which would have been an exceptionally relevant symbol at this time.
This suggestion that Pertinax was involved is borne out by further evidence. Herodian states that Pertinax had been friendly with Laetus for some time before the murder. Eclectus in particular seems to have been an avid supporter of his, later dying with him. Septimius, a close supporter of Pertinax, was appointed governor of Pannonia Superior, the closest armed province to Rome, ‘on the recommendation of Laetus’ (HA Sev. 4.4-5). Septimius’ brother Geta, another client of Pertinax, was also given a command on the Danube at this time, in the two legionprovince of Moesia Inferior. Soon after the murder C. Julius Avitus Alexianus, a relative of Septimius’ wife, was given charge of the vital grain supply at
Ostia. L. Fabius Cilo, who seems to have served under Pertinax in Syria and was later one of Septimius’ key supporters, was consul designate in late 192. The Historia Augusta remarks that Cilo buried Commodus’ body ‘at the bidding of Pertinax’ (HA Comm. 20.1). In other words, Cilo was charged with keeping the body of the murdered emperor out of sight. Other significant inconsistencies in the official story emerge. The Historia Augusta states that during the night of New Year’s Eve, his former patron, the senior consular Claudius Pompeianus, met Pertinax. For a number of years before Commodus’ death, a combination of old age, poor health and disfavour had kept Pompeianus on his estates at Tarracina, some sixty miles away. If Commodus was spontaneously murdered during the night, there would have been far too little time for news to reach Tarracina and for Pompeianus to come to Rome by dawn; he must therefore, have been forewarned. Dio supports this, remarking that this meeting was the only occasion on which he actually saw Pompeianus himself. It seems certain therefore, that Pompeianus was openly supporting his former protégé. The sources indicate that Pertinax took great care to publicly honour Pompeianus, placing his old patron next to him on the imperial dais in the senate. Both Dio and Herodian state that Pertinax paid the same respect to M’. Acilius Glabrio, consul for the second time in 186 and a member of the high aristocracy. There is a distinct possibility that Glabrio was connected to the imperial house itself. At any rate, both men were key figures in Pertinax’ attempts to acquire legitimacy and creditability at Rome; it is surely relevant that after Pertinax’ own death, Pompeianus and Glabrio again retired, once more pleading ill health and failing eyesight.
An analysis of the governors of other key provinces shows that others may well have been actively involved in the conspiracy, or else sympathetic to it. From midsummer 192CE, the proconsul of Africa was Cornelius Anullinus. Anullinus, an important senator under Marcus Aurelius, served as governor of Baetica in 171-172, at the time when Septimius was supposed to serve as that province’s quaestor. His lack of office under Commodus demonstrates that he had fallen from grace, a sudden appointment during 192CE is therefore somewhat suspicious. The Egyptian prefect L. Mantennius Sabinus may also have been party to the plot. A papyrus shows him in office in early 193CE, when news of Pertinax’ accession became public; another prefect, Larcius Memor, is attested during late 192CE, which suggests that there was some doubt about Egypt’s loyalty. Clodius Albinus, appointed governor of Britain in 192, may also have been linked to the conspiracy; he had a strong connection to Hadrumetum, which was not far from Laetus’ home city of
Thaenae. If this is correct, it is interesting to note that Albinus’ relative, Asellius Aemilianus, held the proconsulship of
Asia during this crucial period. Although the evidence for other important provinces is much less certain, there is a good possibility that at least some were involved in the conspiracy. Of the governors known to be in office in late 192-early 193CE, a number of them were later key supporters of Septimius.
As has been seen, Pertinax’ faction consisted of some of Rome’s most eminent men. Pertinax himself was a senior figure. He had held a number of important military posts and had governed a string of provinces, including Britain and Africa. He had also served as praefectus urbi and had twice been consul, once as colleague of the emperor. His aristocratic supporters were men of similar standing. M’. Acilius Glabrio (cos. II ord. 186) was one of the few surviving members of the old Republican nobility and had been one of Marcus Aurelius’ chief counsellors. Like Pertinax, Ti. Claudius Pompeianus (cos. II 173) had risen through the ranks of the military during the crises of the late 160s, holding a number of senior commands before eventually becoming Marcus’ son-in-law, through marriage to his daughter Lucilla.
Despite this immense auctoritas, there was still strong opposition. In particular, the Praetorian Guard seems to have felt deeply aggrieved at the circumstances of Pertinax’ accession. By all accounts, Commodus had treated the Guard leniently, giving them frequent donatives and allowing breaches of military discipline to go unpunished. Pertinax by contrast, had a reputation for stinginess and was a strict disciplinarian. Pertinax’ initial speech to the troops, during the early hours of January 1st, seemed to confirm their worst fears. According to Dio, after appealing to them for support and promising them twelve thousand sesterces each, he finished his address with the words ‘There are many distressing circumstances, fellow-soldiers, in the present situation; but the rest with your help shall be set right again’ (Dio 73 (74). 1.3). Dio continues, remarking that ‘On hearing this, they suspected that all the privileges granted them by Commodus in violation of precedent would be abolished, and they were displeased; nevertheless, they remained quiet, concealing their anger’ (Dio 73 (74). 1.3-4).
Opposition to the new regime seems to have mobilised quickly in the senate, gathering around a nucleus of aristocratic families. During Pertinax’ first senatorial meeting as emperor on January 1st, Q. Sosius Falco, the newly-appointed consul ordinarius, attacked him: ‘We may know what sort of an emperor you will be from this, that we see behind you Laetus and Marcia, the instruments of Commodus’ crimes’ (HA Pert. 5.2-3). Although Pertinax’ reply was swift and assured, such public criticism was damaging. The key objection to Pertinax seems to have been his humble background. Herodian states that some members of the aristocracy were ‘dissatisfied with the succession passing from an emperor of the highest nobility to an upstart from a family without status and of humble origin’ (Her. 2.3.1-2). In other words, some clearly felt that they had sufficient auctoritas to rule themselves.
This discontent soon led to a major disturbance. On January 3rd, when the oath of allegiance to Pertinax was being administered, a group of disgruntled soldiers tried to proclaim Triarius Maternus Lascivius (cos. ord. 185 ) emperor instead. Maternus, who was an unwilling participant according to the Historia Augusta, only managed to escape from the guardsmen by removing his clothes and running to Pertinax for protection, before leaving Rome altogether. Although he was not involved in the mutiny, Maternus’ connections with the high aristocracy suggest that there was more to the incident than was at first apparent. He seems to have been the son of A. Junius Rufinus (cos. ord. 153) and thus nephew of M. Junius Rufinus Sabinianus (cos. ord. 155). His brother-in-law was the C. Erucius Clarus (cos. ord. 170). This last piece of information is interesting. Maternus was therefore, the uncle of C. Julius Erucius Clarus, one of the consuls for 193 itself. Given the opposition of Sosius Falco, the other consul ordinarius, to Pertinax, this relationship becomes all the more significant.
Pertinax’ reaction demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. In order to appease the Guard, he confirmed the concessions that Commodus had granted to them, no doubt reiterating his promise of twelve thousand sesterces per man. A sum of four hundred sesterces was also set aside for the common people of Rome. A number of other measures designed to restore the senate’s confidence were also introduced. Treason trials were abolished by means of a public oath, those exiled by Commodus were recalled and the bodies of those who had been killed by him were exhumed and given a proper funeral. More importantly, Pertinax attempted to restore order to senatorial career patterns, which Cleander’s sale of offices had seriously disrupted, by giving precedence to those who had actually served as praetor over those who had merely been adlected. This last measure received a mixed reaction. Those who benefited from it, like Dio, praised it warmly. The Historia Augusta, whose main source here seems to have been Marius Maximus, remarked that it brought Pertinax ‘the bitter enmity of many men’ (HA Pert. 6.11). As another means of restoring stability, Pertinax also kept in office those magistrates appointed under Commodus, though his father-in-law, T. Flavius Sulpcianus, was made city prefect.
However, the major problem facing the new regime was financial. Commodus’ extravagant behaviour and the demands of the Guard had emptied the imperial treasury, whilst the subsequent debasement of the coinage caused serious economic instability. To combat this crisis, Pertinax restored the coinage to its Flavian standard. A series of coins refer to Aequitas (AEQVIT. AVG. TR. P. COS II), the goddess who ensured the fair distribution of available wealth, whilst another, possibly genuine, coin refers to MONETA AVG., the goddess who oversaw smooth running of the mint. In an attempt to revitalise trade and agriculture, newly instituted customs tariffs were repealed, farmers were given tax immunity for ten years and land lying fallow was given over to willing farmers. Moreover, the fortunes amassed by Commodus’ freedmen were confiscated and their luxuries were sold. Furthermore, in a move reminiscent of Marcus Aurelius, imperial property was put up for public auction.
Septimius’ friends and allies probably conveyed news of the discontent at Rome to him. It is possible that Plautianus, Septimius’ kinsman from Lepcis, was appointed praefectus vehiculorum at this time. An intriguing incident, recorded by both Dio and Herodian, should also be assigned to this period. After overseeing his province’s oath of allegiance to the new ruler, Septimius was apparently overcome by sleep, whereupon he had a dream in which Pertinax was thrown from a ‘fine, large horse wearing the imperial trappings’ in the Forum at Rome (Her. 2.9.5). The horse then stooped to lift Septimius onto its back. Eight years later, in 201CE, Septimius erected a bronze statue on this spot, issuing a special coin to commemorate the event (Figure 13). Although this dream was certainly publicised for its propaganda value, it need not be fictitious; the sources repeatedly stress the importance Septimius assigned to visions and omens.
Meanwhile, Pertinax was still finding it difficult to assert his authority. An inspection of the grain warehouses, at nearby Ostia, was disrupted by news from Rome that the Praetorian Guard had mutinied once again. Although the exact course of events is unclear, it appears that the troops wanted to proclaim Sosius Falco, the consul ordinarius, emperor. Learning of their plan, Pertinax hurriedly returned to the capital, whereupon a nervous senate declared Falco a public enemy. Before the verdict had been finalised however, Pertinax intervened on Falco’s behalf, sparing his life and allowing him to retire. The emperor then angrily denounced the greed of both the soldiers and imperial freedmen:
‘You should not be left in ignorance of the fact, Fathers, that although I found on hand only a million sesterces, yet I have distributed as much to the soldiers as did Marcus and Lucius, to whom were left twenty-seven hundred millions. It is these wonderful freedmen who are to blame for the shortage of funds’ (Dio 73 (74). 8.3-4).
This was not true, as Pertinax must have been himself aware. Marcus Aurelius had given the Guard twenty thousand sesterces per man, whilst Pertinax had only promised twelve thousand. Moreover, Pertinax had, as yet, been unable to pay even this much. Dio then continues, ‘the soldiers and the freedmen who were present in the senate in very large numbers became highly indignant and muttered ominously’ (Dio 73 (74). 8.4-5). This anger was no doubt increased by the summary execution of those troops who were involved.
Another serious incident soon followed. A dispute of some kind broke out at the Praetorian camp whilst Pertinax was attending a poetry reading at the Athenaeum. The emperor reacted by sending his father-in-law Flavius Sulpicianus, who was also the praefectus urbi, to listen to the soldiers’ demands and negotiate with them. Sulpicianus was however unable to calm the situation and a large group of some two hundred armed Praetorians marched on the palace. Pertinax responded by speaking to the soldiers personally, reminding of their oath of allegiance and trying to overawe them with the dignity of his office. Dio remarks that the soldiers ‘on seeing him were at first abashed, all save one, and kept their eyes on the ground, and they thrust their swords back into their scabbards’ (Dio 73 (74). 10.1). This one man, called Tausius by the Historia Augusta, ‘hurled his spear at Pertinax’ breast. And he, after a prayer to Jupiter the Avenger, veiled his head with a toga and was stabbed by the rest’ (HA Pert. 11.9-11). Eclectus, Commodus’ former chamberlain, tried in vain to defend him and was also killed.
Although both Dio and the Historia Augusta blame Laetus for Pertinax’ overthrow, this seems unlikely. Firstly, Laetus, who had meticulously organised the earlier overthrow of Commodus, had no contingency plan ready. There were no new candidates waiting in the wings, we may safely discount Falco who was unaware of the plot carried out in his name. Indeed, he virtually disappears from view. Though certainty is impossible, Pertinax’ death seems to have been the result of a spontaneous mutiny, as Birley suggests.
The political faction that had overthrown Commodus collapsed with the death of Pertinax. No doubt realising this, Pertinax’ assassins returned to their barracks and barricaded themselves inside. News of the murder and the Praetorians’ role in it, spread panic throughout the capital. A number of wealthy senators began to leave Rome for their country estates, whilst those of lesser means ran to their homes in fear. Significantly, Claudius Pompeianus and M’. Acilius Glabrio, the chief supporters of the now defunct regime, also retired from the city, once again claiming old age and failing health. The absence of such key figures placed the initiative firmly in the Praetorians’ hands. Without a suitable candidate for emperor, the troops climbed the walls of the fort and announced their intention to auction off the empire to the highest bidder.
This unprecedented event, unanimously condemned by the sources, highlights the crisis of auctoritas at Rome. The paranoia of Commodus’ reign and the swift demise of Pertinax had created a dangerous vacuum in which no one person or group could gather sufficient influence to rule effectively. In the absence of such authority, two rival claimants moved to fill the void. Flavius Sulpicianus, Pertinax’ father-in-law and urban prefect, was still inside the barracks when the troops returned. Seizing the opportunity, Sulpicianus attempted to have himself made emperor, promising the Guard a hefty donative for its support. As a senior ex-consul, and former proconsul of Asia, Sulpicianus was a serious candidate. Although he seems to have gained a measure of initial success, a number of officers argued against accepting him, warning that, as Pertinax’ relative, he would probably want to punish those responsible for the murder.
M. Didius Julianus, a member of the high aristocracy and a senior ex-consul, emerged as a second candidate. According to the sources, which are almost uniformly hostile, Julianus learnt of Pertinax’ death ‘while in a drunken stupor’ (Her. 2.6.6). From here, so the traditional story goes, Julianus realised the size of the opportunity before him and rushed to the barracks; Herodian adds that Julianus’ avaricious wife and daughter goaded him into the act. Such a story is highly improbable and is undoubtedly a result of subsequent events. The Historia Augusta, which seems to have relied on an otherwise unknown source, has a much more favourable account. On hearing news of Pertinax’ death, Julianus went to the senate house, where a meeting had been called. Finding the doors closed, two tribunes of the Guard, Publius Florianus and Vectius Aper met Julianus and persuaded him to press his claim, arguing that he was a more suitable candidate than Sulpicianus. This was not idle flattery. Julianus was a well-connected aristocrat and had strong links to the Antonine imperial house, being raised at the home of Marcus Aurelius’ mother Domitia Lucilla. He had also had an eminent career, culminating in a suffect consulship in 175CE and the proconsulship of Africa in 190CE. Significantly, a number of incidents connect Julianus with other influential figures of the period. In 167-168CE, Julianus had been one of the presiding officials at Septimius’ trial for adultery. During Commodus’ reign, Julianus had twice been suspected of sedition; on the second occasion he was cleared of suspicion through Laetus’ influence. Dio admits that he had successfully prosecuted Julianus on several occasions himself. In the event, Julianus quickly outbid Sulpicianus, winning the auction with an enormous raise of 5,000 sesterces per man.
Although Julianus’ rank and wealth were instrumental in gaining him the throne, the very fact that he had had to buy the loyalty of the troops reveals just how deep the crisis of auctoritas ran. His attempts to play the role of the traditional ‘good’ emperor, by seeking senatorial approval and promising large donatives to the urban populace, were thus doomed to fail. In his first senatorial address, Julianus tried to portray himself as the reluctant ruler chosen by the popular will: ‘…I have not even asked to be attended here by many soldiers, but have come to you alone’ (Dio 73 (74).12.4-5). The presence of large numbers of heavily armed Praetorians was an obvious contradiction. The ordinary people of Rome regarded Julianus as Pertinax’ murderer, in which they were no doubt encouraged by others. Dio remarks that after this meeting, Julianus went to the temple of Janus to sacrifice, at which point a large mob ‘all fell to shouting, as if by pre-concerted arrangement, calling him stealer of the empire and parricide’ (Dio 73 (74). 13.3). During another serious demonstration, a large group occupied the Circus Maximus, lamenting the present situation and calling upon Pescennius Niger, the governor of
Syria, for aid; there were clearly other forces at work.
News of Pertinax’ death on 28th March seems to have quickly reached Septimius in Pannonia, possibly sometime between 1st – 3rd April. Carnuntum, the capital of Pannonia Superior, lay some 683 Roman miles from the capital. A mounted rider travelling sixty miles per day would take eleven and a half days to complete such a journey. Using the imperial post system, which kept fresh riders and horses at various points along the major roads, could significantly reduce this time. It is interesting to note therefore that Septimius’ kinsman, C. Fulvius Plautianus, seems to have been made praefectus vehiculorum (the official in charge of the imperial post) by Pertinax. In any case, it is likely that news of the disturbances at
Rome had already been received and that Septimius was preparing for action. One late source provides some evidence of this. The Epitome de Caesaribus records that Septimius was proclaimed emperor at the city of Savaria, some seventy miles south west of Carnuntum.
The speed of Septimius’ response again suggests some kind of prior organisation. Messages were sent to nearby governors and legionary commanders, informing them of Pertinax’ murder and of his own intention to replace him as emperor. Presumably, it would not have taken long for replies to be received from Septimius’ own legionary legates, as well as from the neighbouring provinces of Pannonia Inferior and Noricum. Although the evidence is a little fragmentary, most of these commanders offered their unconditional support and were later rewarded by Septimius. The oriental T. Flavius Secundus Philippianus, legate of XIV Gemina, became consul in 195-196CE, whilst L. Aurelius Gallus, the Italian legate of I Adiutrix, was made consul ordinarius in 198CE. Interestingly, it seems that the loyalty of the legate of X Gemina was in some way doubtful; no record of this man’s name survives and more importantly, the legion was not given a special ommemorative coin. The governor of Pannonia Inferior, C. Valerius Pudens, must have given his full support; he was made a suffect consul in 195-196CE and later became the proconsul of Africa.
Although it undoubtedly took longer for messages to reach the more distant provinces, the governors of the Danube region all subsequently pledged their allegiance. The identity of the governor of Moesia Superior during 193 is uncertain, although it could possibly have been the shadowy […]n Pompeianus. Septimius’ brother Geta, who was also a former client of Pertinax, was then commanding the two-legionprovince of Moesia Inferior; his support could perhaps be taken for granted. Only one of his legates is known. L. Marius Maximus Perpetuus, from Africa, was then legate of I Italica. His subsequent career, culminating in two consulships, shows clearly that he had supported Septimius. Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus, governor of Dacia, seems to have been part of the original conspiracy to overthrow Commodus. In any case, his appointment to the senior post of Asian proconsul in 200 confirms his support during this critical period. T. Manilius Fuscus, legate of XIII Gemina under Terentianus, was another early supporter, being rewarded for his loyalty with a consulship in 195-196CE. The reaction of the Rhine provinces is a little harder to ascertain. Unfortunately, the governors of both Raetia and Noricum are not known. There is also doubt regarding the identity of the legatus Augusti in Germania Superior; it is possible that it was Q. Memmius Fidus Julius Albius, from Bulla Regia in Africa. Virius Lupus, who is attested as governor of Germania Inferior from 194-197CE, may well have been in post as early as 192CE. He was nevertheless a noted supporter of Septimius and after this command he was sent to govern Britain, possibly until 202CE. The name of one of the legionary legates of Germania Inferior is known. Q. Venidius Rufus Marius Maximus L. Calvinianus, who seems to have been related to Marius Maximus, was in command of I Minerva, based at Bonn, during 193CE; his consulship in 197-198CE proves his allegiance to Septimius. Whilst all of these provinces subsequently declared for Septimius, it is extremely unlikely that news of their support reached him quickly. He was also waiting for news of his sons in Rome. By 9th April, Septimius felt sure enough of his position to publicly declare himself emperor. It was a mere twelve days since Pertinax’ assassination.
In his initial speech to the troops, Septimius justified his revolt by stressing his desire to avenge Pertinax. As a token of this he added Pertinax to his own name, styling himself ‘Imperator Caesar L. Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus’. He also seems to have laid responsibility for the murder at the feet of the Praetorian Guard. By concentrating upon their dereliction of duty, Septimius may well have been trying to raise his troops’ hopes of serving in the capital. In any case, the assembled soldiers were given a donative. The Historia Augusta gives the sum as one thousand sesterces per man.
In order to successfully portray himself as the legitimate candidate Septimius needed to take control of the capital.
Rome was not only the empire’s largest city and seat of lawful authority; it was its symbolic heart. Only the senate, meeting in the time-honoured manner, could legally sanction the rule of a new emperor. The emperor’s tribunician power, which gave him the right to propose and veto legislation, could only be conferred at the capital. There is no doubt that Septimius understood this, carefully avoiding the tribunician title for the present. Moreover, by seizing the capital, Septimius could begin to rebuild the traditional structure of Roman patronage, by offering prestigious positions in government to those noblemen willing to co-operate.
With this aim in mind, once the official proclamation was over Septimius began mobilising his forces for the coming march on
Rome. Military units from the entire northern frontier were ordered to gather in Pannonia. Although he seems to have had the support of the Rhine and Danube armies, a force of some fifteen legions (approximately eighty-one thousand men) and their attendant auxiliary units, a number of other governors had yet to declare their intentions. Chief amongst these was Clodius Albinus, the governor of Britain. During the second century, Britain contained a large garrison of some three legions and a number of auxiliary units. Albinus was a serious potential rival. He came from, or had strong links to Africa, and was a member of a wealthy and well-connected aristocratic family. More significantly, he was related to Asellius Aemilianus, the proconsul of Asia. Not surprisingly therefore, Albinus reputedly had a large and influential following at
Rome. Early reports suggested that Albinus was seriously considering his own bid and had already gaining the support of L. Novius Rufus, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis. Septimius responded to these reports by sending messages of his own to Albinus, offering him the position of Caesar in return for his support. After some negotiation, Albinus accepted, becoming ‘D. Clodius Septimius Albinus Caesar’.
The sources are unanimously sceptical of Septimius’ motives. His offer is not seen as genuine, but as merely an attempt to buy time in which to fight Niger. Septimius is thus cast in the role of deceiver, whilst Albinus is portrayed as a naïve simpleton. This is due in part to the common ancient stereotype of the unfaithful African and in part to the subsequent course of events. Although it is true that, after the war against Niger, Septimius broke with Albinus, appointing his son Caracalla heir, both men were manoeuvring for position from the very beginning. At this early stage, both men had much to gain in such an alliance, as even Herodian makes clear. In his account of Septimius’ letter to Albinus, Herodian states that Septimius needed a ‘man of noble birth, still in the prime of life, when he himself was an old man, racked by gout and with children who were very young’ (Her. 2.15.4). Although we may safely discount his pleas of old age and ill health, Septimius stood very much in need of the sizeable auctoritas a man like Albinus must have possessed. Albinus, for his part, must have been aware of the depth of support for Septimius amongst the Rhine and Danube armies, which outnumbered his own forces significantly. He must also have been aware that Septimius’ sons were still very young. Moreover, he would gain credibility by being publicly associated with Pertinax’ self-styled avenger and the alliance also gave him space in which to build up his own contacts.
With this alliance concluded, serious military operations could begin. In the following weeks, legionary and auxiliary detachments from nearby provinces began to arrive in Pannonia. Food and materiel also began to arrive, whilst further supplies were arranged. It is also likely that advance forces took control of the alpine passes. Amidst these preparations news began to filter through of the demonstrations in Rome in favour of Pescennius Niger, the governor of Syria. To counter this, Marius Maximus, legate of I Italica, was given a special command and sent southwards to seize control of the vital sea crossing at Byzantium.
By late April 193CE, the expeditionary force had been assembled and had begun to march. Septimius himself was in overall command. The mysterious Julius Laetus, who should not be confused with the praetorian prefect, seems to have been given charge of the advance guard; it is possible that he had already left by this point, attempting to seize the alpine passes. One L. Valerius Valerianus, also of uncertain origin that seems to have been commanding a cavalry unit in the region, was given command of the cavalry. M. Rossius Vitulus, who seems to have been from Tergeste (modern
Trieste), was made praepositus annonae, or quartermaster-general. At any rate, according to Herodian, Septimius’ forces arrived in Italy before news of his proclamation had become widely known.
Meanwhile, with news of the events in Pannonia, Julianus was making preparations of his own. Septimius and Niger were proclaimed public enemies and the Praetorians were immediately put to work in fortifying the capital, despite this Dio comments that their efforts were largely useless. An appeal to the provincial legions was made via the coinage. A large series of coins proclaiming the ‘harmony of the soldiers’ (CONCO R D MILIT) were issued in all metals (Figure 14). Other issues, with the legend RECTOR ORBIS (‘ruler of the world’), attempted to emphasise this point, giving Julianus the aura of a legitimate ruler. As a more practical measure, a senatorial delegation was sent to the approaching army. Its members included Vespronius Candidus, a former governor of Dacia, Valerius Catullinus, Septimius’ supposed successor in Pannonia and Aquilius Felix, a man ‘notorious as the assassin of senators’ (HA Did. Jul. 5.7-8), all three were either arrested or joined Septimius.
By the time this commission arrived, Septimius had already taken control of the port city of Ravenna, brushing aside the new praetorian prefect Tullius Crispinus, who had been given command of the city’s marines by Julianus. Panicking, Julianus had Marcia and Laetus put to death as supposed Severan supporters. Turning to religion, he suggested that the priests and Vestal Virgins, at the head of the senate, should be sent to implore Septimius to turn back. Significantly, the augur M. Peducaeus Plautius Quintillus, a son-in-law of Marcus Aurelius and a possible relative of Albinus, vetoed this proposal. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Julianus issued a decree assigning half of the empire to Septimius. Not surprisingly, Septimius rejected this.
Clearly desperate, Julianus tried to appease Septimius by appointing his nominees as prefects of the Guard and by offering to share power with Pertinax’ old patron, Claudius Pompeianus. The coinage also reveals that he added ‘Severus’ to his own name. Finally, Septimius issued a direct command to the Praetorians to arrest Pertinax’ murderers which they obeyed. Julianus was finished. At a hastily convened meeting, the senate recognised Septimius as emperor, giving Pertinax public deification and declaring Julianus a public enemy, with a sentence of death. His last words, as Dio records them, reveal that he had fatally misunderstood the nature of the crisis facing Rome: ‘But what evil have I done? Whom have I killed?’.
Septimius had arrived at Interamna, some fifty miles north of Rome, when news of Julianus’ execution reached him on June 1st 193CE; the entire expeditionary force had taken just thirty days to march nearly 700 Roman miles. The speed with which this feat was accomplished demonstrates Septimius’ acknowledgement of the seriousness of the situation. If his regime was to have any hope of permanency, the damage of the previous thirteen years had to be repaired.
Upon entering the city, Septimius moved decisively to establish his position. The wayward Praetorian Guard were tricked into assembling unarmed outside the city and then dishonourably discharged. As punishment for their disloyalty to Pertinax, they were banished from Rome en masse under threat of death. The removal of the Guard’s disruptive influence gave Septimius the chance to impose order on the capital, allowing a vital breathing space in which the normal pattern of life could resume. Effective security was also ensured by the institution of a new force, of much larger size and filled with loyal Danubian troops.
In spite of Dio’s testament to the contrary, Septimius’ entry into Rome, at the head of a large army, caused widespread fear. Moving swiftly to allay these concerns, Septimius called an official meeting of the senate, before publicly sacrificing at all the major temples. Addressing the senate, Septimius reiterated his statement of proclamation that he had only revolted in order to avenge Pertinax, adding further that he would take Marcus Aurelius as an example and taking an oath not to kill any senator. Although such rhetoric had been tarnished in recent years, Marcus’ memory and the ideal it represented was still widely cherished at Rome. It was no doubt for this reason that soon after his arrival Septimius designated himself and his new Caesar as consuls for the coming year (194CE); it is also more likely that those consuls designate who had not shown themselves disloyal were allowed to serve their terms in office.
Further steps were taken by Septimius to link himself his former patron. Pertinax, who had already been voted divine honours by the senate, was now to be mentioned ‘at the close of all prayers and all oaths’ (Dio 74 (75). 4.1-2). A golden statue of Pertinax was to be carried by an elephant into the Circus Maximus and three gilded thrones were to be paraded through the city’s amphitheatres. An elaborate funeral was arranged, at which a wax effigy of Pertinax was buried as though it was real; at the end of the ceremony, an eagle was released, symbolising his divine transformation. Not wanting anyone to miss the spectacle, Septimius placed the bier on a wooden platform in the Forum; senators and equestrians received their own stands, ‘in a manner befitting their station’ (Dio 74 (75). 4.1-5). The machinery of imperial propaganda also began to move. Writers such as Dio, were commissioned to praise Pertinax in their works and a commemorative coin was also issued. The reverse bore a depiction of the divine eagle (Figure 15). The obverse legend ran DIVVS PERT PIVS PATER (‘our divine and pious father Pertinax’). The senate responded by confirming Septimius’ adoption of Pertinax’ name.
Septimius took a number of other important measures to reinforce his position. The soldiers were given an immediate cash donative, although the actual amount is uncertain. This largesse was presumably paid by means of a special coin issue. A large series of coins, dating to mid-193CE, commemorate those legions initially loyal to Septimius (Figure 16). Further issues of this period recall the ‘faith of the legions’ (FIDEI. LEG T RP COS – Figure 16). Celebratory games were held for the general public, who received a donative of their own, paid for by another commemorative coin (LIBERAL AVG COS – Figure 17).
Septimius could also hope to acquire popular support by concerning himself with the business of government. Care was thus taken to reorganise the city’s grain supply, presumably still controlled from Ostia by Septimius’ Emesene relative, C. Julius Avitus Alexianus. Septimius also heard a number of pressing lawsuits; a rescript dating to June 27th 193CE, deciding a technical point of law, has survived. Septimius’ first appointments as emperor show his concern for security. Veturius Macrinus, a former prefect of Egypt, and Flavius Juvenalis were made join prefects of the Guard. The ephemeral Bassus was appointed praefectus urbi, only to be replaced soon afterwards by C. Domitius Dexter. Dexter was an interesting choice; it is possible that he was Septimius’ commander in Syria for a short time in the 170sCE.
These measures were an important means of restoring calm to the city and thence to the empire at large. Like Pertinax before him, Septimius was careful to court the affection of the senatorial nobility. However, unlike his erstwhile patron, Septimius realised that in order to establish his regime effectively, he had to create a stable political environment; his replacement of the old Italianate Guard allowed him to do this. Furthermore, by holding public games and reorganising the corn supply Septimius could portray himself in the emperor’s traditional role of pater patriae (‘father of the nation’). Through these means Septimius could portray himself as the legitimate emperor.
During the next four years, Septimius’ forces destroyed first Niger and then Albinus. However, that he had been able to do this was based squarely upon his swift action in early 193CE and his careful attempts to play the role of the traditional emperor. Although the chronological narrative employed throughout much of this dissertation has enabled us to see the gradual unfolding of events, it has, to a certain extent, obscured the broader picture. In order to remedy this and to draw together the dissertation’s various threads, in this final section focus will be given to analysing Septimius’ supporters.
In an influential article, Birley argued that a politically active African faction formed the backbone of aristocratic resistance to Commodus. This group, it is argued, was headed by members of the high nobility and was directly responsible for replacing Commodus with Pertinax. Despite this success, the new regime was marred by a conflict between the faction’s principal leaders, Pertinax and Laetus. Thereafter, Laetus either actively conspired against his former ally, or else turned a blind eye to his troops’ opposition. The death of Pertinax split the faction in two, with one group headed by Septimius in Pannonia and the other by Clodius Albinus in Britain. When these two men made common cause to defeat Niger, the African faction was again united. After Niger’s defeat, Septimius turned on Albinus and, in a huge battle at Lyons in 197CE, killed him. The strength of the African faction in the ensuing conflict is demonstrated by Septimius’ subsequent appointment of a special official to administer the confiscated wealth.
In support of this notion, Birley argues that most of the important governors were either from Africa, or were otherwise strongly connected with it. Unfortunately, although this hypothesis is interesting, there are a number of weaknesses in the argument. To start with, although many of his claims for African origin are accurate, many others are at best based upon inconclusive evidence. Albinus himself is perhaps the most significant doubtful case. Although he was strongly connected with Africa, his actual African heritage is far from certain. In a number of other places, Birley relies too heavily upon probabilities. Thus it is suggested that Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus, the governor of Dacia in 193CE, may well originate in Africa because the otherwise rare combination of Q. Aurelii are found eighteen times in Africa. This may well be accurate, but it is dangerous to base his argument on such a slight foundation. Similarly, in his concluding analysis Birley offers some collated figures. Of twelve consular provinces in the Severan period, the names of forty-four governors are known. As Birley’s own figures admit, only five of these men (or 11%) are definitely from Africa, with a further six probable cases and eight possibilities. Although regional variations in nomenclature are a useful source of evidence, they must be used with extreme caution. This approach, which is totally reliant on the vagaries of the extant epigraphic corpus, is methodologically uncertain, to say the least. If this conspiracy were the result of an African faction, then it would be reasonable to expect its figurehead to be from Africa, or else to have a strong link to it. Pertinax however, was an Italian from Alba Pompeia in Liguria. Birley’s attempt to link his father with Africa is thus somewhat implausible. Moreover, as has been seen, the coup’s most senior supporters were men like M’ Acilius Glabrio and Claudius Pompeianus, neither of whom had a connection with Africa. Finally, as this dissertation has tried to stress, provincial origin was not the primary motivating factor in Roman aristocratic politics. Common political goals, or less generously self-interest, provided the key link between the conspirators against Commodus, as well as amongst Septimius’ key supporters. Whilst a shared African background may have been an initial means of recruitment or introduction, had there been no common interest the faction would soon have dissolved. As Barnes points out, ‘the basis of the Severan party ought to be clear. It is opportunism’.
 HA Sev. 4.3-4. HA Comm. 7.4-5 gives the names of the new prefects.
 Platnauer (1918), 47 n.3; cf. Hammond (1940), p.161.
 Syme (1983), pp.80-97.
 Dio 72 (73). 12.4; HA Sev. 4.4.
 Talbert, op. cit., 21.
 Birley (1981)?; Birley Septimius, 78-82.
 Her. 1.13.7-8; Whittaker Revolt, p.354.
 HA Comm. 7.4; Dio 72 (73). 14.1-3; Whittaker Revolt, p.354.
 HA Comm. 7.5-8 records the names of those executed, though some are possibly bogus. They include M. Servilius Silanus (cos. II ord. 188), D. Julius Silanus (cos. 189), Q. Servilius Silanus (cos. 189). The ex-consuls were Allius Fuscus, Caelius Felix, Lucceius Torquatus, Larcius Eurupianus, Verlius Bassianus and Pactumeius Magnus (cos. suff. 183), whilst the Asian proconsul was one Sulpicius Crassus. M. Antonius Antistius Lupus, a relative of Herodes Atticus, was also killed. See Whittaker, ibid; Leunissen Konsuln, 130-131.
 Cf. Dio 72 (73). 16.2-3.
 HA Comm. 11.3-4; Whittaker Revolt, pp.353-354.
 HA Comm. 7.5; Whittaker Revolt, p.355-356; Birley Septimius, 81.
 Dio 72 (73). 14.1-2. HA Comm. 8.3-4 records Alexander’s murder, although with the unlikely story that he was fomenting rebellion.
 Julius Alexander (PIR 2 I 192) seems to have been a relative of Julia Domna. In Chapter one it was argued that the Septimii were probably related to the Petronii Mamertinii. See Chapter One, page 40.
 Dio 73 (74). 3.1-4.
 Birley Septimius, 82.
 BMC IV, pp. clxvi, clxxxi-clxxxii; Dio 72 (73). 15.2-16.1.
 BMC IV p.842, no.714, pl.111.1.
 See HA Comm. 9.4-6.
 AE 1949.38, from Thaenae in Africa Proconsularis, records the career of Aemilius Pudens, Laetus’ brother. Laetus’ career is discussed by PIR 2 A358; Howe, op. cit., no.13; superseded by Jarrett (1972), no.11; Birley Coup, pp.252-253. Dio 72 (73). 19.4.
 Dio 72 (73). 4.6-7.
 AE 1949.38 records that Pudens was serving in comitatu of Commodus. See Birley Coup, pp.252-253. For Laetus’ rescue of Didius Julianus, see HA Did. Jul. 6.2; Leaning (1989), p.554.
 The text erroneously names the province as Germany.
Campbell (1996), pp.839-842; Grant (1974), 292.
 IRT 541; Thomasson LP, col. 138 no.104; cf. Birley Coup, p.263.
 Her. 2.1.10 supports this conclusion.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 132.
 See Leunissen, 129-132.
 Dio 72 (73). 15ff; 18.1; HA Comm. 8.6, which says that Marcia was behind the plan to rename Rome
 Dio 72 (73). 10.2-3; 16.1-3; 18.1. According to Dio 72 (73). 19.3-4, Laetus and Eclectus frequently accompanied the emperor to the games; after each bout Commodus would ‘kiss these companions through his helmet’.
 Dio 72 (73). 22.1-2.
 Dio 72 (73) .22.1-2; Her. 1.16.1-4; HA Comm. 15.2-3. Birley Coup, pp.249-250, offers a critical analysis of all three accounts.
 Dio72 (73). 22.4-6; Her. 1.16.4-17.11; HA Comm. 17.1-2.
 Dio 73 (74). 1.1-2.
 73 (74). 1.3-4; cf. Her. 2.2.9-10.
 Dio 73 (74). 2.1-4; Her. 2.2.4-6; HA Comm. 17.4. The long and stylised account of public anger in HA Comm. 18.1-19.9 is also relevant.
 See Dio 73 (74). 1.1-2.4; Her. 2.1.1-4.3; HA Comm. 20.1-5; HA Pert. 4.5-6.1; Birley Coup, pp.248-249.
 The main events in this version of the story can be found in Dio 73 (74). 1.1-2.4; Her. 2.1.1-4.3; HA Comm. 20.1-5; HA Pert. 4.5-6.1.
 Her. 2.2.3-5; Whittaker Revolt, pp.357-358. Pertinax’ involvement was suspected by a number of ancient writers. See HA Pert. 4.3-4, 5.2-6; Julian Caes. 312C. A number of modern historians have accepted this argument, see Platnauer, op. cit., 55, 58-60; Hammond, op. cit., pp.164-165; Birley Coup, p.250 n.11; Champlin (1979), passim.
 Her. 2.2.9; Birley Coup, p.252.
 Talbert, op. cit., 200-201.
 BMC V, pp. lxi-lxii, 1, no. 2, pl.1.2; cf. Ovid Fasti 1.235ff; Virgil Aeneid 8.321ff.
 For PROVIDENTIA DEORUM, see BMC V, pp.3 & 6-7, nos. 10-13, 28-30 & 32-36, pl. 1.9-12, 2.3, 2.8, 3.1. DIS CVSTODIBVS: p. lxi, 1, no. 1 & 26, pl.1.1 & 2.1. For LAETITIA TEMPORUM, see pp.2, 5-6, nos. 6-9, 27, 31A, pl.1.6-8, 2.2.
 Her. 1.16.1-2.
 Her. 2.1.10.
 Dio 73 (74). 10.1-2.
 Thomasson LP col.138 no.104; Birley Coup, pp.261-263.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 379; Birley Septimius, App. 2 no.45.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 133.
 Dio 73 (74). 3.2-3; Her. 1.8.4; HA Pert. 4.9-10; HA Did. Jul. 8.3.
 73 (74). 3.3.
 73 (74). 3.3; HA Pert. 4.9-10.
 Champlin (1979), p.295, argues that he was a great-nephew of Marcus Aurelius; cf. Birley Septimius, 242 n.1, who doubts this identification.
 Champlin (1979), pp.303-306; Dio 73 (74). 3.3.
 Birley Coup, p.270; Barnes (1967), p.98; cf. Thomasson LP, col. 385 no.114.
 See Chapter Two, pages 57-58.
 Birley Coup, p.270.
 Birley Coup, pp.268-269; Thomasson LP, col. 353 nos. 79 & 80.
 Thomasson LP col.72 no. 32; Birley (1981), ?. For his origins, see Birley Coup, pp.265-266; cf. Barnes (1970), pp.45-50.
 Thomasson LP col.232 no.165
 C. Valerius Pudens: Pannonia Inferior ?192-194, Alfoldy Senat, p.153; Birley Coup, p.274; Thomasson LP col.115 no. 25. Virius Lupus: Germania Inferior ?192/194-197, Alfoldy Senat p.154; Birley Coup, p.276; Thomasson LP col.58 no.92. [Vettule]nus (?) Pompeianus: Moesia Superior ?192-195, Alfoldy Senat, p.153; Birley Coup, p.265; Thomasson LP col. 128 no.49. Q. Aurelius Polus Terentianus: Dacia ?191-194, Alfoldy Senat, p.135; Birley Coup, p. pp.267-268; Thomasson LP col. 155-156 no. 44.
 Champlin, op. cit., pp.291-292.
 Champlin, op. cit., pp.290-291.
 See Chapter Two, page 69.
 Herodian does not mention this incident, though he does remark that the praetorians were ‘expected to be totally against accepting a rule of moderation since they had grown used to a tyrant as their master…’ (Her. 2.2.4-5).
 According to HA Pert. 5.3-4 Pertinax replied: ‘You are young, Consul, and do not know the necessity of obedience. They obeyed Commodus, but against their will, and as soon as they had an opportunity, they showed what had always been their desire’.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 130.
 HA Pert. 6.4-5; Birley Septimius, 90-91; Champlin, op. cit., p.289.
 Champlin, op. cit., pp.297-299.
BMC V, p. lxii.
 HA Pert. 6.6-9; Birley Septimius, 91.
 HA Pert. 6.10-11.
 Dio 73 (74). 12.2; Birley Septimius, 90.
 HA Pert. 12.8; Leunissen Konsuln, 308.
 Birley Septimius, 91.
 For AEQVITAS, see BMC V, p. 3, 8, 10, nos. 14-17, 37, 47a, pls.1.13-15, 2.4. For MONETA, see BMC V, p.5. Her. 2.4.6-7; HA Pert. 7.7.
 Dio 73 (74). 6.2-3; HA Pert. 7.8-9, 8.1.
 Dio 73 (74). 5.4-5.
 Because Septimius later damned Plautianus’ memory, it is extremely difficult to reconstruct his early career. However, he seems to be the man referred to in a fragmentary inscription from Lepcis. IRT 572, dedicated by a Fulvia Nepotilla, seems to record Plautianus as a praefectus vehiculorum. See IRT 572 n.1; Birley Septimius, 93.
 The story itself can be found in Dio 74 (75). 3.3; Her. 2.9.4-6. For the statue, see Benario (1958), p.715. The coin is discussed in BMC V, p.624, no.810a; Hill (1977), p.24, no.810; Hill (1989), 66, pl.115.
 See Dio 72 (73). 23.1-5. A number of other incidents are discussed at the relevant points in this paper. See also Syme (1983), pp.80-97.
 See Dio 73 (74). 8.1-5; HA Pert. 10.1-7. Herodian does not mention this incident. See Champlin, op. cit., pp.300-305; Birley Septimius, 94.
 Dated by HA Pert. 15.6-7, to 28th March 193CE.
 See Dio 73 (74). 9.1-10.3; Her. 2. 5.1-9; HA Pert. 10.8-11.13; Birley Septimius, 95.
 Dio 73 (74). 6.1-3, 8.2; HA Pert. 10.8-9.
 Birley Septimius, 95.
 Her. 2.6.3-4.
 Dio 73 (74). 3.3.
 Dio 73 (74). 11.2-3; Her. 2.6.3-6.
 For his career, see PIR 2 F373; Alfoldy Senat, p.142; Barbieri Albo, no.241; Leunissen Konsuln, 308 & 402.
 Dio 73 (74). 11.2. See Leaning, op. cit., pp.548-552, 556-557.
 Her. 2.6.7.
 HA Did. Jul. 2.4-7. The fact that a L. Publicius Florianus is recorded on an inscription at Auximum, strongly supports the basic veracity of the vita’s account. See CIL 9.5842; Leaning , op. cit., p.557 n.49.
 His career, which included imperial recommendations for both aedile and quaestorial posts, is discussed in PIR 2 D77; Leaning, op. cit., pp.552-555.
 HA Sev. 2.2-3.
 Dio 73.5.1-2; HA Comm. 3.2; 4.1.7-10; HA Did. Jul. 1.9-2.2, 6.2; Leaning, op. cit., p.554.
 Dio 73 (74). 12.2-3.
 Dio 73 (74). 11.5; HA Did. Jul. 3.2; Leaning, op. cit., p.557.
 Given Pertinax’ fascination with Janus, it is interesting that this incident occurred outside his temple.
 Dio 73 (74). 13.5; Her. 2.7.2-4.
 Birley Septimius, 97; Graham, op. cit., p.257
 Page 93.
 Epit. De Caes. 19.2. This may account for Victor De Caes. 19.4; HA Did. Jul. 5.2 and Zonaras 12.7, which all implausibly give ‘Syria’ as the location. See Birley Septimius, 97, 244 n.21
 Flavius Secundus: PIR 2 F362; Alfoldy Senat, p.142; Barbieri Albo, no.241; Birley Coup, p. 275; Leunissen Konsuln, 343. Aurelius Gallus: PIR 2 A1514; Alfoldy Senat, p.135; Barbieri Albo, no. 76; Birley Coup, p.275; Leunissen Konsuln, 335.
 Birley Septimius, 97.
 Alfoldy Senat, p.153; Barbieri Albo, no.514; Birley Coup, p. 275; Thomasson LP col.115 no. 25.
 Alfoldy Senat, p.153; Thomasson LP col. 128 no.49.
 Birley Coup, pp.262-263.
 PIR 2 M308; Alfoldy Senat, pp.146-147; Barbieri Albo, no. 1100; Birley Coup, p.276; Leunissen Konsuln, 336.
 Alfoldy Senat, p.135; Birley Coup, p. pp.267-268; Thomasson LP col. 155-156 no. 44.
 PIR 2 M137; Alfoldy Senat, p.146; Barbieri Albo, no. 347; Leunissen Konsuln, 342.
 Alfoldy Senat, p.147; Birley Coup, p. 274.
 Alfoldy Senat p.154; Birley Coup, p.276; Thomasson LP col.58 no.92.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 336; Alfoldy Senat, p. 153; Barbieri Albo, no. 519.
 Her. 3.2.4.
 Feriale Duranum, col. 2 line 3, quoted in Birley Coup, p.272 n.180. Cf. HA Sev. 5.1-2 erroneously gives the Ides of August as his date of accession.
 Her. 2.10.1; HA Sev. 5.5, 7.9; BMC V, p. lxxix.
 HA Sev. 5.2.
 Campbell (1996), p.839.
 II Augusta, VI Victrix and XX Valeria Victrix. See Grant (1974), 292; Breeze & Dobson (1987), pp.243-258; Todd (1997), 167-170, 173.
 Albinus’ origins are disputed. See Birley Coup, pp.265-266; cf. Barnes (1973), pp.45-59. The wealth and nobility of his family is however, unanimously accepted.
 Dio 74 (75). 6.2.
 Alfoldy Senat, pp.119-120.
 Birley Septimius, 98. Novius Rufus: Birley Coup, p.274-275; Alfoldy Senat, p.148; Barbieri Albo, 392.
 See Dio 73 (74). 15.1-2; Her. 2.15.1-3; HA Sev. 6.9-10. Less credibly, HA Nig. 2.1-2; HA Alb. 1.2, 3.4-5, 10.3.
 BMC V, pp. lxxxii-lxxxiii.
 Moran (1996), p.5.
 Her. 2.7.2-4.
 Dio 73 (74). 15.2; Her.2.14.6-7, 3.2.1; HA Sev. 8.12-13.
 Graham, op. cit., p.257.
 Her. 2.11.8-9. Laetus is a shadowy figure. His earlier career is unknown. See PIR2 I373 & L69; Birley Septimius, 98; Graham, op. cit., p.258.
 AE 1966.495, restored and re-interpreted by Speidel (1985), pp.321-326. See also Graham, ibid.
 Graham, ibid.
 Her. 2.11.3.
 Dio 73 (74). 16.1-2.
 BMC V, p. lxx-lxxiii, p. 11-12 & 15, nos. 1-3, 9, 20-23, pls. 3.5-7, 11 & 4.1.
 BMC V, p. 12, 15-16, nos. 6-8, 19 & 28-31, pls. 3.9-10, & 4.8.
 HA Sev. 5.5; HA Did. Jul. 5.5-8; Leaning, op. cit., pp. 560-561.
 Her. 2.12.1-3; Birley Septimius, 99.
 Dio 73 (74). 16.5; HA Did. Jul. 6.2.
 HA Did. Jul. 6.6; Birley (1993), 182; HA Alb. 10.7.
 Dio 73 (74). 17.2; Her. 2.12.3; HA Sev. 5.7; HA Did. Jul. 6.8-9.
 HA Did. Jul. 7.4-5, 8.1-4.
 BMC V, p.12-17. See especially no. 9, pl. 3.11.
 Dio 73 (74). 17.4-5.
 HA Sev. 6.2. At some point in his career, Fabius Cilo was the curator of Interamna. See PIR 2 F27.
 Dio 74 (75). 1.1-2; Her. 2. 13.1-12; HA Sev. 6.11.
 Dio 74 (75). 2.4-6; Her. 2.14.5; Birley (1969), pp.63-82.
 Dio 74 (75). 1.3-5; cf. Her. 2.14.1; HA Sev. 6.6 & 7.2-4; Tert. Apol. 35.4.
 Her. 2.14.2; Dio 74 (75). 1.3-2.1.
 Dio 74(73). 2.1; Her. 2.14.3; HA Sev. 7.5-6, although, as Dio notes, this oath was later broken. See Birley (1962), pp.197-199.
 Her. 2.14.3; Moran, op. cit, p.6.
 HA Alb. 6.8.
 Dio 74 (75). 4.2.
 Dio 74 (75). 4.1-5.5; HA Sev. 7.7-8.
 See the excessive flattery of Pertinax in Dio 74 (75). 5.6-7; Millar (1966), 1-15.
 BMC V, p.25, nos. 36-37, pls. 6.6-6.7.
 HA Sev. 7.9; BMC V, p. lxxix.
 Her. 2.14.5.
 Interestingly, X Gemina is not recorded. See, BMC V, p. lxxxii-lxxxiii, p. 21-23, nos. 8-25, pls. 5.4-5.19.
 BMC V, p. 20-21, nos. 5-6, pls. 5.1-5.2.
 Her. 2.14.5; Moran, ibid; BMC V, p. 20, nos.1-3, pls. 5.16-5.17.
 HA Sev. 8.5; Moran, ibid; Leunissen Konsuln, 379; Birley Septimius, App. 2 no.45.
 HA Sev. 8.3-4; CJ 3.28.1, quoted in Birley Septimius, 245 n.36.
 Veturius Macrinus: Howe (1966), no.16; Thomasson LP, col. 352 no.72. Flavius Juvenalis: Howe, op. cit., no. 17.
 Leunissen Konsuln, 308.
 See Chapter Two, page 62.
 See Birley Septimius, 108-129; Graham (1973), pp. 255-278; Harrer (1923), pp.155-168.
 See Alfoldy Senat, pp.112-160; also Nicols (1978), passim, especially p.99-115.
 Birley Coup, pp. 247-280; see also Whittaker Revolt, pp.352-353.
 Birley Coup, pp.265-266; cf. Barnes (1970), pp.45-59.
 Birley Coup, p.267, citing the index of CIL 8.
 The provinces are Britain, Pannonia Superior, Germania Inferior and Superior, Moesia Inferior and Superior, Dacia, Syria Coele, Hispania Tarraconensis, Dalmatia and Pontus-Bithynia; Birley Coup, pp.278-279.
 Birley Coup, p. 279.
 Dio 73 (74). 3.1; Her. 2.1.4.
 Birley Coup, pp.271-272.
 Barnes (1967), p.103.