Marcia Otacilia Severa

Otacilia Severa, wife of Philip I the Arab. Lunense marble, 244–249. From the Via dei Fori Imperiali, 1933. (Centrale Montemartini, Rome)

Marcia Otacilia Severa or Otacilia Severa was the Empress of Rome and wife of Emperor Marcus Julius Philippus or Philip the Arab who reigned over the Roman Empire from 244 to 249.

Severa was a member of the ancient gens Otacilia who were people of consular and senatorial rank. Severa’s father was Otacilius Severus or Severianus, who served as Roman Governor of Macedonia and Moesia, while her mother was a member of gens Marcius or was related to the gens. According to sources she had a brother called Severianus, who served as Roman Governor of Lower Moesia between 246–247.

Little is known on her life before marrying Philip. In 234, Severa married Philip who served in the Praetorian Guard under Emperor Alexander Severus. Severa had two children with Philip: a son named Marcus Julius Philippus Severus or Philippus II (born in 238) and – according to numismatic evidence – a daughter called Julia Severa or Severina, who is never mentioned by the ancient Roman sources.

In February 244, Gordian III was killed in Mesopotamia. There is a possibility that Severa was involved in a conspiracy to murder Gordian. Philip became the new emperor who gave his young predecessor a proper funeral and his ashes were returned to Rome for burial.

Philip gave Severa the honorific title of Augusta. Their son was made heir of the purple. Sometimes Severa and Philip are considered as the first Christian imperial couple, because during their reign the persecutions of Christians had ceased and the couple had become tolerant towards the faith of the Christians. Through her intervention, she saved Bishop and Saint Babylas of Antioch from persecution.

In August 249, Philip had died in battle in Verona and Decius became the new emperor. Severa was in Rome that time. When the news of Philip’s death had reached Rome, Severa’s son was murdered by the Praetorian Guard. The child died in her arms. Severa survived her husband and son and lived later in obscurity. The details of her later life are unknown.

See also


Royal titles
Preceded by
Empress of Rome
Succeeded by
Herennia Etruscilla

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  • Marcia Otacilia Severa — Otacilia Severa Emperatriz romana consorte Antoniniano de Otacilia Reinado 244 249 Nombre real Marcia Otacilia Severa …   Wikipedia Español

  • MARCIA Otacilia Severa — Augusti Philippi Severi uxor, celebratur in multis nummis antiquis. Eam Religionis Chriftianae sacris imbutam fuisse, plerique autumant, quô factum, ut Philippum quoque, uxoris graiiâ, aequiorem piis, palam Christianum fuisse, Eusebius aliique… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Marcia Otacilia Severa — Antoninian der Otacilia Denarius der Otacilia …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • OTACILIA Severa — representatur in nummo veter. in foederis Laodicen sium cum Mpheissi initi monumentum cuso, in cuius altera parte, Iuppiter et Diana, binis cervis comitata, expressi sunt. Item in nummo, foederis Hierapolitanorum et Smyrnaeorum memoriam servante …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Otacilia Severa — Antoninian der Otacilia Denarius der Otacilia Marcia Otacilia Severa war die Frau des römischen Kaisers …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Severa — steht für Julia Aquilia Severa (220/221), römische Kaiserwitwe Marcia Otacilia Severa (249), römische Kaiserwitwe Ulpia Severina (270), Ehefrau des römischen Kaisers Aurelian Maria Severa (1820 1846), portugiesische Fado Sängerin die Papageienart …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Otacilia — Antoninian der Otacilia Denarius der Otacilia Marcia Otacilia Severa war die Frau des römischen Kaisers …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Otacilia (gens) — The gens Otacilia, originally Octacilia, was a plebeian family at Rome. The gens first rose to prominence during the First Punic War, but afterwards lapsed into obscurity. The first of the family to obtain the consulship was Manius Otacilius… …   Wikipedia

  • Philip the Arab — 33rd Emperor of the Roman Empire Reign 244–249 …   Wikipedia

  • Filipo el Árabe — Para otros personajes con el mismo nombre, véase Filipo. Filipo el Árabe Emperador del Imperio romano Re …   Wikipedia Español

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