Europe 202: Severus’ African War
After his victory over Parthia (198), Septimius Severus set about improving the fortifications of the empire’s desert frontiers, most notably in North Africa, which was having troubles with desert raiders. In 202 Severus led a campaign against the Garamantes, advancing deep into the Sahara to capture their capital Garama.
198 Severan Mesopotamia▲
With his victory against Parthia, Septimius Severus annexed territory in the upper Tigris and Euphrates to the Roman Empire. Part of this was reorganized into a new province of Mesopotamia, with its capital at Nisibis. Although Severus’ Mesopotamia was far smaller than Trajan’s attempt in 116–17, its strategic location posed a considerable threat to Ctesiphon, the capital of Parthia (and later, Sasanian Persia).
? ?? 198–26 Dec 211 Co-principates of Caracalla and Geta▲
In 198 Septimius Severus appointed his 10-year-old son Antoninus—known as “Caracalla” after the hooded tunic he wore—as co-emperor. Intending for both his sons to rule together, Severus also made Caracalla’s one-year-younger brother Geta co-emperor in 209. The two brothers did not get on and, when Severus died in February 211, Caracalla soon outmaneuvered his mother Julia Domna’s desperate attempts at mediation and had Geta assassinated.
198–202 Limes Numidiae▲
In 197 Roman emperor Septimius Severus appointed Quintus Anicius Faustus as imperial governor in Numidia. Between 198 and 202 Faustus dramatically expanded Roman fortification in North Africa, building three great fortified lines to surround the Ouled Naïl mountains and reach the very edge of the Sahara desert. The network presumably defended against nomadic raids, remaining in operation until the late 230s.
? Mar 200–22 Jan 205 Conspiracy of Plautianus▲
Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, praetorian prefect under Septimius Severus from 197–205, managed to amass vast wealth and prestige during Severus’ campaigns. Suspected of instigating the murder of his fellow praetorian prefect, Aemilius Saturninus, in early 200, Plautianus successfully married his daughter to Severus’ son and co-emperor Caracalla in 202. Exploiting his position to eliminate his opponents at court, Plautianus was nonetheless loathed by Caracalla and his mother Julia Domna, who eventually succeeded in having him executed in January 205.
200? Kingdom of Carmania▲
Sometime around 200 AD—possibly as a side-effect of Septimius Severus’ invasion—the Parthian Empire acknowledged the growing independence of Carmania, a remote south-eastern province, by recognizing it as a client state. The move was a symptom of the increasing weakness of Parthia’s hold over its own empire.
202–203 Severus’ Garamantian Campaign▲
In late 202, while touring his homeland of Africa Proconsularis, Septimius Severus led an expedition against the Garamantes, who had harassing the province’s frontiers, including Severus’ home town of Leptis Magna. The Romans captured the Garamantian capital Garama (Germa), pacifying the desert kingdom. After this Severus had a series of forts constructed along the southern frontier at the desert oases of Cydamus (Ghadames), Garbia, and Golaia (Bu Ngem).