Portrait of Septimius Severus

3rd century

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

Museo Arqueológico Nacional

The hair has lots of volume and is arranged in thick, frizzy curls. The curls, with touches of trépan carving, form a contrast between light and shade on his forehead. The large, almond-shaped eyes that look ahead, along with the full beard, trimmed or parted down the middle, give the emperor’s face a strong personality. This type of official portrait was done from the year 199, when Severus, after several years of civil wars, had controlled the whole Empire and annexed Mesopotamia. Septimius Severus governed the Roman Empire from 193 until 211. The Severan dynasty was founded under his mandate, and he markedly heightened the military and despotic nature of imperial power. He had a very difficult temperament, but also brought lots of energy, enthusiasm and talents to the government. His whole life was planned by war and for war. Herodian says that amongst his most striking features were his simple style of dress and his North African accent, which he retained until his death.

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  • Title: Portrait of Septimius Severus
  • Date Created: 3rd century
  • Location: Unknown
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: http://www.man.es/
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Marble
  • Provenance: Unknown
  • Original Tittle: Retrato de Septimio Severo
  • Cultural Context: Roman Empire