as Caesar under Elagabalus AD 221 - 222
as Augustus AD 222 - 235 (11 March AD 222 - 19 March 235)
Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander (earlier Gessius Bassianus Alexianus) called Alexander Severus.
Son of Julia Mamaea;
Husband of Orbiana;
Grandson of Julia Maesa;
Hephew of Julia Soaemias;
Cousin of Elagabalus;
Great-nephew of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna.
AD 221 - 222 - Caesar under Elagabalus
AD 222 - 235 - Augustus
Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus, known as Severus Alexander was a cousin of Elagabalus and like him and a priest of the Sun-God in Edessa and related to Julia Domna, Septimius Severus wife. Elagabalus made him Caesar in 221 under the instigation of his grandmother, Julia Maesa, and after the murder of Elagabalus, perhaps because he became too suspicious of Alexander, the latter ascended the throne. Another teen in purple, the real government in the hands of his mother, Julia Mamaea, spelled trouble. The Praetorians became restless and murdered their Prefect, the great lawyer Ulpian, who had been too strict for their taste. Another prominent man, the historian Dio Cassius, had to leave Rome to save himself from similar fate. Mamaea and Maesa strengthened the position of the emperor, and their own, by establishing a senatorial committee to advise the youngster, thus giving a show of deference to the Senate. Distributions of grain to the population were continuously made, and public works proceeded at a good pace while taxes were diminished. The Empire calmed down, but then a new threat arose in the east, the reconsolidated Persian Empire. In 230 Mamaea and Alexander departed to the East to deal with the Persians, who had overrun Mesopotamia and threatened Syria and the rest of Asia. Negotiations for two years failed and in 232 the decision was taken of an all-out effort to contain and roll back the Persian conquests. Three separate Roman armies got involved, with mixed results, but Mesopotamia was taken back and in the autumn of 233 Mamaea and Alexander decided it was safe to go back to Rome, where a grandiose triumph was celebrated. There it became clear that an even greater danger were the advances of the Alamanni on the Rhine frontier, and 234 the emperor and him mother set off for Moguntium. The legions there were strangers to him however, and jealous of the favors he had bestowed upon his eastern soldiers. When March 245 Alexander attempted to buy off the Germans instead of confronting them, the Rhine and Danubian soldiers deserted him and acclaimed a Danubian general, Maximinus, as emperor. As Maximinus turned against the imperial couple, their eastern guards seized them and put them to death at Vicus Britannicus.
Mints: Antioch, Rome.
List all Severus Alexander coins in the Catalog.