Europe 210: Severus’ invasion of Caledonia
By 207 Septimius Severus felt the need to deal with the growing power of the Maeatae and Caledonians in northern Britain and traveled there with his son Caracalla. Marching beyond Hadrian’s Wall, Severus reestablished the Antonine Wall but was unable to pacify the region before his death in early 211. Now more concerned with the succession, Caracalla abandoned his father’s gains and returned to Rome.
203 Roman Numidia▲
Although formally part of Africa Proconsularis—and continuing to remain subordinate to it—Numidia had its own legionary garrison and had been placed under its own imperial legatus since 40 AD. This informal arrangement continued until 203, when Septimius Severus officially made Numidia a separate province from Africa. The new province was also given territory from neighboring Mauretania Caesariensis, extending its power towards the Atlas Mountains.
205–207 Bulla Felix▲
In around 205 the Italian bandit Bulla built up an army of about six hundred men, using it to conduct raids across the country. Continuously evading capture, the charismatic Bulla became a folkloric hero—he would be called Bulla Felix or ‘Lucky Charm’—in contrast to the unpopularity and cruelty of Septimius Severus. After two years at large, Bulla was betrayed to the authorities and condemned to the beasts in the arena; his band dispersed almost immediately.
206?–208 Rise of the Sasanids▲
In 205/6 the minor prince Pabag of the House of Sasan deposed his overlord, the Parthian client king Gochihr, to become ruler of Persis. After Pabag died in c.207, his sons Shapur and Ardashir fought a short civil war, from which Ardashir emerged victorious. Parthia’s inability to exercise its authority over Persis in these struggles only demonstrated how weak the empire had now become.
? ?? 207?–4 Feb 211 Severus’ invasion of Caledonia▲
In 207 the Roman governor of Britain called for urgent support against the northern tribes, leading Septimius Severus and Caracalla to come to his aid by 208. With a combined strength of five legions, the emperors traveled beyond Hadrian’s Wall, defeating the Maeatae and restoring the Antonine Wall. Severus’ campaign against the more elusive Caledonians further north had to be halted when he fell ill in 210; his departure may have encouraged the Maeatae to revolt later that year. Following Severus’ death at Eboracum (York) in early 211, Caracalla ended the invasion and withdrew to Hadrian’s Wall.