Septimius Severus and the Roman Army (Paperback)
The assassination of Emperor Commodus in 192 sparked a civil war. Septimius Severus emerged as the eventual victor and his dynasty (the Severans) ruled until 235. He fought numerous campaigns, against both internal rivals and external enemies, extending the Empire to the east (adding Mesopotamia), the south (in Africa) and the north (beyond Hadrian's Wall). The military aspects of his reign, including his reforms of the army, are the main focus of this new study.
After discussing his early career and governorship of Pannonia, Michael Sage narrates his war with Pescennius Niger, the siege of Byzantium, and the campaign in northern Mesopotamia that added it as a province. The much more difficult campaign against Clodius Albinus in Gaul is also studied in detail, as is that in North Africa. The narrative concludes with an account of the last campaign in Britain and Severus’ death. The final chapters analyse Septimius’ reforms of the army and assess their impact on events of the next seventy years until the accession of Diocletian. His greatest weakness was his love for his family. Like Marcus Aurelius he loved his children too much. They failed to maintain what he had bequeathed them.
“Sage performs a masterful job putting Severus into a broad strategic overview of the times.”The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society
Sage provides a well-written and confident potted biography of Severus, in which he picks his way through the various arguments that are closely tied to the sources and their interpretation of events.Beating Tsundoku
Review by Dr Simon ElliottAncient Warfare, Vol XIV, Issue 3
Overall, Michael Sage's new work on Septimius Severus and the Roman military is highly recommended to fans of the Roman Empire, and of the Roman Military, old and new alike. It is easily accessible and well written, and it features research of the highest quality.
Overall this is a good overview of the life and reign of Septimius Severus, portraying him as a successful ruler during his own lifetime, but one whose legacy may have included over-extending the Empire in the east, exposing his successors to a series of clashes with the Persians, and leaving the Empire to his clearly unsuitable sons.History of War
Read the full review here
I enjoyed this book. I predict that serious military historians and classicists will welcome Septimius Severus and The Roman Army. It will find a place in many academic libraries. But will the general reader enjoy it? Yes, if he or she is an avid student of ancient Rome. It is packed with detail and refers to many original sources, both famous and obscure. It has exemplary Notes, Bibliography and Index.Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)
Read the full review here
This is a good read that carefully brings together the strategic overview into which the author inserts the critical events that conditioned the actions of Severus. Throughout is the necessary connection between Emperor and his Army and the need to keep the army focused through pay and other benefits. The writing style is clear concise and easy to read.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide