Commodus and the Severi

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


The wisdom with which the emperors from Nerva to Antoninus had ordered the succession was partly due to the accident that none of them had sons to survive them. But no such play of chance intervened to insure M. Aurelius against a wrong choice. Though several of his sons died prematurely, a youth (nearly eighteen years old) named L. Aurelius Commodus remained to uphold the claims of heredity, and with the same excess of family loyalty as had previously prompted him to take L. Verus into partnership, the last of the ‘good emperors’ accepted the risk of transmitting his power to an untried man. In promoting Commodus over the heads of several competent generals and ministers M. Aurelius no doubt speculated on his son’s willingness to retain these right-hand men in his service.1


Eastern Province Criminal Jurisdiction Late Manchu Dynasty Roman Emperor Imperial Finance 
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Notes and References

  1. 7.
    On the Severi see Herodian, ii-vi; Dio Cassius, lxviii-lxxx; Historia Augusta, relevant Lives. On Septimius Severus see M. Platnauer, The Life and Reign of the Emperor L. Septimius Severus (1918);Google Scholar
  2. A. Birley, Septimius Severus (1971).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. A useful and detailed bibliography of modern work published on the years A.D. 193–284 during the period 1939 to 1959 is provided by G. Walser and T. Pekary, Die Krise der römischen Reiches (1962).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 8.
    On the eastern campaigns of Septimius and Caracalla see N. C. Debevoise, Political History of Parthia (1938), 256 ff.Google Scholar
  5. and D. Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor (1950), 1540 ff., 1553 ff.Google Scholar
  6. On the Severan frontier see D. Oates, Studies in the Ancient History of Northern Iraq (1968), 73 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    On the Limes Tripolitania see R. G. Goodchild and J. B. Ward-Perkins, JRS 1949, 81 ff., 1950, 30 ff.Google Scholar
  8. Cf. B. H. Warmington, The North African Provinces (1954), ch. iii.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    See L. L. Howe, The Praetorian Prefect from Com-modus to Diocletian (1942);Google Scholar
  10. G. Vitucci, Ricerche sulla Praefectura Urbis in eta imperiale (1956).Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    On the honestiores/humiliores see P. Garnsey, Social Status and Legal Privilege in the Roman Empire (1970), chs 9–12.Google Scholar
  12. 26.
    On the Sassanid dynasty see A. Christensen, L’Iran sous les Sassanides2 (1944);Google Scholar
  13. R. Ghirshman, Iran, Parthians and Sassanians (1962).Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    See in general M. Hammond, The Antonine Monarchy (1959).Google Scholar
  15. 36.
    See J. M. C. Toynbee, The Art of the Romans (1965) in general (pp. 73 ff. for the arch at Lepcis).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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