Item: i60270 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Severus Alexander - Roman Emperor: 222-235 A.Bronze Sestertius 30mm (17.33 grams) Struck at the mint of Rome 233 A. Certification: NGC Ancients VF 4375823-033 IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG- Laureate, draped bust right.
P M TR P XII COS III P P S C, Sol advancing left, right hand raised, holding whip in left. Sol was the solar deity in Ancient Roman religion. It was long thought that Rome actually had two different, consecutive sun gods.
The first, Sol Indiges, was thought to have been unimportant, disappearing altogether at an early period. Only in the late Roman Empire, scholars argued, did solar cult re-appear with the arrival in Rome of the Syrian Sol Invictus, perhaps under the influence of the Mithraic mysteries.
Recent publications have challenged the notion of two different sun gods in Rome, pointing to the abundant evidence for the continuity of the cult of Sol, and the lack of any clear differentiation - either in name or depiction - between the "early" and "late" Roman sun god. He and his cousin were both grandsons of the influential and powerful Julia Maesa, who had arranged for Elagabalus' acclamation as Emperor by the famed Third Gallic Legion. A rumor of Alexander's death circulated, triggering the assassination of Elagabalus.
Alexander's reign was marked by troubles. In military conflict against the rising Sassanid Empire, there are mixed accounts, though the Sassanid threat was checked. However, when campaigning against Germanic tribes of Germania, Alexander Severus apparently alienated his legions by trying diplomacy and bribery, and they assassinated him. Alexander was born with the name Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus. Alexander's father, Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus was a Syrian Promagistrate.His mother Julia Avita Mamaea was the second daughter of Julia Maesa and Syrian noble Julius Avitus and maternal aunt of Emperor Elagabalus. He had an elder sister called Theoclia and little is known about her. Alexander's maternal great-aunt was empress Julia Domna (also Maesa's younger sister) and his great-uncle in marriage was emperor Lucius Septimius Severus.
Emperors Caracalla and Publius Septimius Geta, were his mother's maternal cousins. In 221, Alexander's grandmother, Maesa, persuaded the emperor to adopt his cousin as successor and make him Caesar and Bassianus changed his name to Alexander.
In the following year, on March 11, Elagabalus was murdered, and Alexander was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorians and accepted by the Senate. When Alexander became emperor, he was young, amiable, well-meaning, and entirely under the dominion of his mother. Julia Mamaea was a woman of many virtues, and she surrounded the young emperor with wise counsellors.
She watched over the development of her son's character and improved the tone of the administration. On the other hand, she was inordinately jealous. She also alienated the army by extreme parsimony, and neither she nor her son were strong enough to impose military discipline.Mutinies became frequent in all parts of the empire; to one of them the life of the jurist and praetorian praefect Ulpian was sacrificed; another compelled the retirement of Cassius Dio from his command. On the whole, however, the reign of Alexander was prosperous until the rise, in the east, of the Sassanids. Of the war that followed there are various accounts. (Mommsen leans to that which is least favourable to the Romans). According to Alexander's own dispatch to the senate, he gained great victories. At all events, though the Sassanids were checked for the time, the conduct of the Roman army showed an extraordinary lack of discipline. The following year he was called to face German invaders in Gaul, who had breached the Rhine frontier in several places, destroying forts and over-running the countryside. Alexander mustered his forces, bringing legions from the eastern provinces, and crossed the Rhine into Germany on a pontoon bridge. Whether this was a wise policy or not, it caused the Roman legionaries to look down on their emperor as one who was prepared to commit unsoldierly conduct. Herodian says "in their opinion Alexander showed no honourable intention to pursue the war and preferred a life of ease, when he should have marched out to punish the Germans for their previous insolence". These circumstances drove the army to look for a new leader. They chose Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus, a Thracian soldier who had worked his way up through the ranks. Following the nomination of Maximinus as emperor, Alexander was slain (on either March 18 or March 19, 235), together with his mother, in a mutiny of the Primigenia Legio XXII.
These assassinations secured the throne for Maximinus. The death of Alexander is considered as the end of the Principate system established by Augustus. Although the Principate continued in theory until the reign of Diocletian, Alexander Severus' death signalled the beginning of the chaotic period known as the Crisis of the Third Century which weakened the empire considerably. Alexander was the last of the Syrian emperors.
Under the influence of his mother, he did much to improve the morals and condition of the people. His advisers were men like the famous jurist Ulpian, the historian Cassius Dio and a select board of sixteen senators; a municipal council of fourteen assisted the urban praefect in administering the affairs of the fourteen districts of Rome. In religious matters Alexander preserved an open mind. It is said that he was desirous of erecting a temple to the founder of Christianity, but was dissuaded by the pagan priests.
Alexander was married three times. His most famous wife was Sallustia Orbiana, Augusta, whom he married in 225. He divorced and exiled her in 227, after her father, Seius Sallustius, was executed for attempting to assassinate the emperor.Another wife was Sulpicia Memmia. Her father was a man of consular rank; her grandfather's name was Catulus.
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