Flavius Valerius Severus

"Severus II" redirects here. For the Patriarch of Antioch, see Severus II bar Masqeh.
Severus II

Flavius Valerius Severus
as Caesar (305–306)
55th Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign 1 May 305 – summer 306 (as Caesar in the west under Constantius Chlorus);
summer 306 – March or April 307 (as Augustus in the west, in competition with Constantine, Maxentius, and Maximian)
Predecessor Constantius I
Successor Maxentius, Licinius
Born Illyria
Died 16 September 307
Tres Tabernae
Issue Flavius Severianus
Full name
Flavius Valerius Severus Augustus

Severus II (Latin: Flavius Valerius Severus Augustus;[1] died September 307), was a Western Roman Emperor from 306 to 307. After failing to besiege Rome, he fled to Ravenna. It is thought that he was killed there or executed near Rome.

Officer in the Roman army

Severus was of humble birth, born in Northern Illyria around the middle of the third century AD.[2][3] He rose to become a senior officer in the Roman army,[2] and as an old friend of Galerius, that emperor ordered that Severus be appointed Caesar of the Western Roman Empire, a post that he succeeded to on 1 May 305.[4] He thus served as deputy-emperor to Constantius I (Constantius Chlorus), Augustus of the western half of empire.[2]

Augustus, 306–307

On the death of Constantius I in Britain in the summer of 306, Severus was promoted to Augustus by Galerius, in opposition to the acclamation of Constantine I (Constantius' son) by his own soldiers.[5][6] When Maxentius, the son of the retired emperor Maximian, revolted at Rome, Galerius sent Severus to suppress the rebellion. Severus moved towards Rome from his capital, Mediolanum, at the head of an army previously commanded by Maximian.[2] Fearing the arrival of Severus, Maxentius offered Maximian the co-rule of the empire. Maximian accepted, and when Severus arrived under the walls of Rome and besieged it, his men deserted to Maximian, their old commander. Severus fled to Ravenna, an impregnable position.[2] Maximian offered to spare his life and treat him humanely if he surrendered peaceably, which he did in March or April 307. Despite Maximian's assurance, Severus was nonetheless displayed as a captive and later imprisoned at Tres Tabernae.[2] One belief is that when Galerius himself invaded Italy to suppress Maxentius and Maximian, the former ordered Severus's death, and that he was executed (or forced to commit suicide) on 16 September 307 at Tres Tabernae, near the current Cisterna di Latina.[3] Another belief is that Severus II was killed in Ravenna.[4][7]

Severus was survived by his son Flavius Severianus.


  1. In Classical Latin, Severus' name would be inscribed as FLAVIVS VALERIVS SEVERVS AVGVSTVS.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Michael DiMalo (1998). "Severus II". An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Aurelius Victor, About Caesar" (in Russian). Ancient Rome. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Biography of Emperor Constantine" (in Russian). Ancient Rome. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  5. Barnes, Timothy David (1982). The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine. Harvard University Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN 0-7837-2221-4.
  6. Lactantius. "On the death of the persecutors". p. 5. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  7. Baronio, Annales Ecclesiastici, vol. 1, pp. 769-770
Flavius Valerius Severus
Born: Unknown Died: 16 September 307
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Constantius Chlorus
Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Galerius
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Constantius Chlorus ,
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Maximinus Daia ,
Constantine I
Succeeded by
Diocletian ,
Valerius Romulus

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