Severus was the name of two Roman emperors.
SEVERUS, Alexander, Roman emperor, born at Arca, in 205; slain in 235 A. D. He was of Syrian parentage, and originally was named Alexius Bassianus, but was adopted by Emperor Heliogabalus, and assumed the name by which he is known in history. His education was received at Rome, where he attained a wide popularity, and at the death of the emperor, in 222, was proclaimed sovereign by the praetorians and his reign was prosperous and peaceable until he declared war against the Persians in 231, the contest checking Persian advance, but not maturing to the material advantage of the Romans. The Germans invaded Gaul in 235, and he personally commanded the Roman army against them, but was slain in a mutiny by his own men.
SEVERUS, Lucius Septimius, Roman emperor, born in the African town of Leptis Magna, April 11, 140; died Feb. 4, 211 A. D. His family was of the equestrian rank and provided well for his early education. He afterward removed to Rome, where he was made praetor in 178. After commanding the army in Gaul, he became governor of Gallia, Pannonia, and other provinces, and in 193 was proclaimed emperor as successor to Pertinax. However, Didius Julianus had been placed on the imperial throne by the praetorians before Severus reached Rome, but he successively defeated him and other rivals, banished the praetorians, and won the support of Albinus, commander of the Roman forces in Britain, by conferring upon him the title of Caesar. Shortly after he made an extended campaign in the East, which was followed by capturing Byzantium after a three years' siege.
Clodius Albinus became ambitious a second time to occupy the throne of Rome and accordingly organized a force of 150,000 men, but was defeated by Severus with great loss at Lyons in 197. The latter soon after returned to Rome, where he distributed much valuable property secured on his extensive campaigns, but subsequently made a second expedition to the East to repel an invasion of the Parthians and suppress insurrections in Seleucia and Babylonia. He crossed into Egypt from Parthia, where he captured Alexandria, and soon after returned to Rome with a large amount of wealth and gold, which he lavished upon his soldiers and subjects. A rebellion in Britain required him to lead an army across the English Channel in 208, and while on the island marched into Caledonia. To provide a defense against the Caledonians, he built a wall from the Solway Firth to the Tyne River. He died at York three years after entering Britain.