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Thanksgiving: A Bribe to Septimius Severus

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On a recently decoded inscription found on a restored stele in Bulgaria, Emperor Septimius Severus thanks the residents for a "donation" of 700,000 denarii. This most probably represents a bribe to regain Septimius's favor after choosing a losing Emperor (Pertinax) in a  struggle to gain control of the empire:

Quote

 The city had supported one of his rivals for the imperial title in 193 AD, the Year of the Five Emperors (when five men claimed the title after the murder of Emperor Commodus in 192 AD – Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus). According to the researchers, there are reasons to believe that the residents of Nicopolis ad Istrum had supported Pertinax.

http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2020/11/12/roman-emperor-lied-thanked-city-for-bribe-reveals-newly-decoded-inscription-from-ancient-nicopolis-ad-istrum-in-bulgaria/

roman-emperor-septimius-severus-caracalla-imperial-letter-bribe-nicopolis-ad-istrum-bulgaria-4.jpg?resize=640%2C850

 

roman-emperor-septimius-severus-caracalla-imperial-letter-bribe-nicopolis-ad-istrum-bulgaria-3-1.jpg?resize=640%2C850

The newly read stone inscription of a letter by Roman Emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla to the residents of the city of Nicopolis ad Istrum in today’s Northern Bulgaria reveals bribery, political corruption and lies in the Roman Empire. 

 

Summary: A city had to hedge its bets during any violent regime change (which would become increasingly common during the third century AD). Choosing the wrong emperor to support, however, could have disastrous results. This Bulgarian city had to quickly make amends for their wrong choice by a generous "donation."

 

guy also known as gaius

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That doesn't sound right. Pertinax was approached by members of the Senate to succeed the assassinated Commodus (He might have known that was going to happen - no-one really knows today) and ruled for a short period before outraged Praetorians cut him down in a heated row. The Praetorians then held an auction for the City of Rome. It was only subsequently, with the accession of Didius Julianus by means of offering a large enough bid, that rivals began to assert themselves in the absence of any clear authorised succession or indeed any sign of sufficient ruling power in Rome given Didius was scorned for buying the empire and couldn't get anyone to do anything.

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44 minutes ago, caldrail said:

That doesn't sound right. Pertinax was approached by members of the Senate to succeed the assassinated Commodus (He might have known that was going to happen - no-one really knows today) and ruled for a short period before outraged Praetorians cut him down in a heated row. The Praetorians then held an auction for the City of Rome. It was only subsequently, with the accession of Didius Julianus by means of offering a large enough bid, that rivals began to assert themselves in the absence of any clear authorised succession or indeed any sign of sufficient ruling power in Rome given Didius was scorned for buying the empire and couldn't get anyone to do anything.

That's a good point.

Septimius Severus's two rivals for the throne were Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger.

After the murder of Pertinax, the regional legions each supported their own candidates for emperor:

Clodius Albinus was proclaimed emperor by the legions of Britain and Hispania. 

Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor by the legions of Syria.

Septimius Severus was proclaimed emperor by the troops of Illyricum and Pannonia, both of which are the closest to Bulgaria.

It is more likely, therefore, this Bulgarian city would have naturally supported Septimius Severus or, at least,  have remained neutral.

Thank you for your comments.

 

 

 

 

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