Sevērus, Lucius Septimius in Harpers Dictionary

A Roman emperor (A.D. 193-211), who was born 146, near Leptis in Africa. After holding various important military commands under M. Aurelius and Commodus, he was at length appointed commander-in-chief of the army in Pannonia and Illyria. By this army he was proclaimed emperor after the death of Pertinax (A.D. 193). He forthwith marched upon Rome, where Iulianus had been made emperor by the Praetorian troops. Iulianus was put to death upon his arrival before the city. (See Iulianus.) Severus then turned his arms against Pescennius Niger, who had been saluted emperor by the Eastern legions. The struggle was brought to a close by a decisive battle near Issus, in which Niger was defeated by Severus, and, having been shortly afterwards taken prisoner, was put to death by order of the latter (194 A.D.). Severus then laid siege to Byzantium, which refused to submit to him even after the death of Niger, and which was not taken till 196. The city was treated with great severity by Severus. Its walls were levelled with the earth, its soldiers and magistrates put to death, and the town itself, deprived of all its political privileges, made over to the Perinthians. During the continuance of this siege, Severus had crossed the Euphrates (195 A.D.) and subdued the Mesopotamian Arabians. He returned to Italy in 196, and in the same year proceeded to Gaul to oppose Albinus, who had been proclaimed emperor by the troops in that country. Albinus was defeated and slain in a terrible battle fought near Lyons on the 19th of February, 197. Severus returned to Rome in the same year; but after remaining a short time in the capital, he set out for the East in order to repel the invasion of the Parthians, who were ravaging Mesopotamia. He crossed the Euphrates early in 198, and commenced a series of operations which were attended with brilliant results. Seleucia and Babylon were evacuated by the enemy, and Ctesiphon was taken and plundered after a short siege. After spending three years in the East, and visiting Arabia, Palestine, and Egypt, Severus returned to Rome in 202. For the next seven years he remained tranquilly at Rome, but in 208 he went to Britain with his sons Caracalla and Geta. Here he carried on war against the Caledonians, and erected the celebrated wall, which bore his name, from the Solway to the mouth of the Tyne. After remaining two years in Britain, he died at Eboracum (York) on the 4th of February, 211, in the sixty-fifth year of his age and the eighteenth of his reign. His life is written by Spartianus. See Duruy, Septime - Sévère (Paris, 1878); and Hassebrank, Kaiser Septimius Severus, 2 pts. (1890-91).