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Headword: *sebh=ros
Adler number: sigma,181
Translated headword: Severus, Septimius Severus
Vetting Status: high
[Severus,] the emperor of the Romans, sent men to besiege Byzantium; for the generals of Niger[1] who had fled were still there. This place was later captured by starvation, and the whole city was razed to the ground; Byzantium lost her theatres and baths, all her ornament and honor, and it was given as a subject village to the Perinthians [2], just as Antioch was given to the Laodiceans.[3]
It was forbidden that the soldiers sleep with women, but Severus permitted this and lavishly presented them with gold rings.
Severus came to Byzantium, but, when he saw the citizens with olive branches praising him and asking for salvation and providing excuses for their conduct, he refrained from slaughter, but he again subjected them to the Perinthians and furnished the colonnades for a theatre and a hunting ground, and he built the hippodrome and decorated it with ships' half-decks and beaks. He bought houses and gardens from some orphaned brothers, and, after cutting through the trees which stood around the hippodrome, he outfitted it as the arrangement looks now -- joining to it a bath in the sanctuary of Zeus which was called Zeuxippus, and he also renovated the so-called Strategium. While Severus first began all these things, yet it was his son Antoninus[4] who brought them to completion.
Severus went to Alexandria and found an inscription on the gate "the city of the lord Niger", but, while he was upset at this, the commons of the Alexandrians met him and cried out "We know we said 'the city of the lord Niger’; this was because you are the lord of Niger." And he accepted their prompt excuse and acquiesced to them.[5]
Greek Original:
*sebh=ros: o(/ti *sebh=ros, o( tw=n *(rwmai/wn basileu/s, e)/pemye tou\s poliorkh/sontas to\ *buza/ntion: h)=san ga\r e)/ti e)kei= oi( strathgoi\ tou= *ni/grou katafugo/ntes: o(/per e(a/lw u(/steron limw=|, pa=sa/ te h( po/lis kateska/fh, kai\ qea/trwn te kai\ loutrw=n panto/s te ko/smou kai\ timh=s a)faireqe\n to\ *buza/ntion, kw/mh douleu/ein *perinqi/ois dw=ron e)do/qh: w(/sper kai\ *)antio/xeia *laodikeu=sin. o(/ti a)pei/rhto stratiw/tais gunaici\ mi/gnusqai. *sebh=ros de\ tou=to e)pe/treye kai\ xrusoi=s daktuli/ois au)tou\s e)filotimh/sato. o(/ti *sebh=ros h(=ken ei)s to\ *buza/ntion. w(s de\ ei)=de tou\s poli/tas meta\ e)laiokla/dwn eu)fhmou=ntas kai\ deome/nous swthri/as kai\ a)pologi/as prosfe/rontas, e)fei/sato me\n tou= foneu/ein, *perinqi/ois de\ kai\ au)=qis u(pe/tace kai\ pare/sxen au)toi=s qea/trou kai\ kunhgi/ou stoa\s kai\ to\ i(ppodro/mion w)|kodo/mhsen, i)kri/ois kai\ e)mbo/lois diakosmh/sas, a)gora/sas oi)kh/mata kai\ kh/pous a)po/ tinwn a)delfw=n o)rfanw=n kai\ ta\ perikei/mena tw=| i(ppodromi/w| diako/yas de/ndrh ei)s to\ nu=n o(rw/menon dieko/smhse sxh=ma, suzeu/cas au)tw=| kai\ loutro\n e)n tw=| i(erw=| tou= *dio/s, o(/per e)kalei=to *zeu/cippon, a)nene/wse de\ kai\ to\ kalou/menon *strath/gion. a)lla\ tou/twn me\n a(pa/ntwn *sebh=ros prokath/rcato: o( de\ tou/tou ui(o\s *)antwni=nos e)telesiou/rghsen. o(/ti *sebh=ros e)lqw\n e)pi\ th\n *)aleca/ndreian eu(=ren e)pigrafh\n e)n th=| po/rth|, tou= kurou= *ni/grou h( po/lis. kai\ a)ganaktou=ntos au)tou= pro\s tou=to, a)ph/nthsen o( tw=n *)alecandre/wn dh=mos, kra/zwn, oi)/damen, ei)rh/kamen tou= kurou= *ni/grou h( po/lis: su\ ga\r ei)= o( ku/rios tou= *ni/grou. kai\ deca/menos to\ e(/toimon th=s a)pologi/as sunexw/rhsen au)toi=s.
For L. Septimius Severus (reigned AD 193-211), first emperor of the Severan line, see Michael Mekler's DIR entry (web address 1) and A.R. Birley in OCD4 s.v. Septimius Severus, Lucius. The present entry draws on sources including Herodian.
[1] C. Pescennius Niger Iustus, briefly (AD 193-4), a rival of Septimius Severus; see further at the end of the entry. (DW: 'generals' is 'soldiers' in ms V, Adler reports.)
[2] For a detailed treatment of the siege see Cassius Dio 74.10-14 and also Herodian 3.1.7; 3.6.9. For a modern study see C. Mango, 'Septime Sévère et Byzance', Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, (2003): 147, pp. 593-608.
[3] cf. pi 1207.
[4] M. Aurelius Antoninus, a.k.a. Caracalla, reigned AD 198-217 (alpha 2762).
[5] The Greek would normally be understood as "the city of the lord Niger", but the citizens suggest that the genitive "Ni/grou" is not in apposition to "kurou="; therefore, the meaning would be "the city of the lord of Niger."
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: architecture; athletics; biography; botany; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; politics; religion; women; zoology
Translated by: Abram Ring on 26 May 2004@12:03:48.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics in headword and elsewhere) on 27 May 2004@04:18:16.
Mehmet Fatih Yavuz (augmented note) on 24 December 2009@05:50:32.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 22 December 2013@09:07:18.
David Whitehead (expanded n.1) on 25 March 2014@10:03:21.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 9 August 2014@10:08:19.
Catharine Roth (expanded note) on 28 November 2014@14:40:02.


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