Marcia Otacilia Severa
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.
- (German) Marcia Otacilia Severa
- "Otacilia Severa". Antoninianus Presentation. Et Tu Antiquities. 24 February 2010. http://ettuantiquities.com/Philip_1/Otacilia-index.htm.
- Sermarini, Joseph T. (15 February 2006). "Otacilia Severa". NumisWiki, The Collaborative Numismatics Project. Forum Ancient Coins. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/NumisWiki/view.asp?key=Otacilia%20Severa.
- "Otacilia Severa". Forum Ancient Coins. Forum Ancient Coins. http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=718.
- Lendering, Jona (24 April 2007). "Otacilia Severa". Livius.Org. http://www.livius.org/on-oz/otacilia/otacilia.html.
- "Roman Imperial Coinage of Otacilia Severa". Wildwinds. http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/ric/otacilia_severa/t.html.
Royal titles Preceded by
Empress of Rome
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