Northern Africa 202: Severus’ African War

Political map of Northern Africa on 19 Dec 202 (Rome and Northern Africa: Severus’ African War), showing the following events: Severus’ Italian campaign; Second Battle of Issus; Limes Numidiae; Severus’ Garamantian Campaign.

Having established himself as emperor, 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 and bringing Roman power in Northern Africa to its zenith.

Main Events

? May–9 Jun 193 Severus’ Italian campaign

In May 193 Septimius Severus invaded Italy, capturing Ravenna and its fleet without difficulty. Didius Julianus attempted to train the Praetorian Guard in field battles, but they proved unable to stop Severus’ legions and the Senate proclaimed Severus emperor. On 1 June Julianus was assassinated; eight days later Severus formally entered wikipedia

31 Mar 194 Second Battle of Issus

Following defeat at the hands of Septimius Severus in Thrace and Bithynia in the winter of 193–4, Pescennius Niger withdrew across Anatolia towards Antioch. Niger took his stand at the narrow “Cilician Gates” between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean (near Alexander the Great’s victory at Issus), but was defeated in a major battle at the end of March, losing 20,000 men. His cause now hopeless, Niger attempted to flee to Parthia, only to be overtaken and decapitated on the outskirts of Antioch in late wikipedia

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 wikipedia

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).in wikipedia