“Be harmonious, enrich the soldiers and ignore all the others”. These, so Cassius Dio tells us, were the last words of emperor Septimius Severus to his sons Antoninus (later to be nicknamed Caracalla) and Geta. In Dio’s eyes, this sort of political testament was telling of Severus’ autocratic style of government, which, according to the historian, prioritized the relationship between the emperor and the army above anything else. Also, it was during the Severan age that emperors started to be addressed as domini (“lords”) and the imperial family as domus divina (“divine house”) in honorary inscriptions. Hence the impression that the reign of Severus marked an autocratic shift in imperial politics, thus prefiguring the absolutism of late-antique rulers. Yet by analyzing coins and inscriptions attesting to his relationship with the cities of the empire, it is possible to note that Severus’ policies were not markedly different from those of his predecessors. Like Vespasian, Trajan and the Antonines, he promoted the diffusion of Roman municipal administration in the provinces, supported the establishment of civic festivals and encouraged rural communities to assemble in civic bodies. All in all, he devoted considerable attention to administrative issues affecting local communities. This well harmonizes with the fact that, before becoming emperor after a bloody civil war, Severus had been a senator whose cursus honorum had focused more on civilian administration rather than military training. If, on the one hand, he cultivated his popularity in the army with a view to strengthen his dynastic projects, on the other he seems to have regarded the dialogue with civilian institutions as an essential part of his duties.
|Titolo:||Septimius Severus and the Cities of the Empire|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.01 Monografia o trattato scientifico|