Lepcis Magna: Inscriptions

Ancient Ancestors of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus

Lepcis Magna: was a Phoenician colony, later part of the Carthaginian Empire, the kingdom of Massinissa, and the Roman empire. Its most famous son was the emperor Septimius Severus (193-211).


Anno (1)

Only known as father of Gaius from IRT 338.

Gaius (2)

According to IRT 338, this man was the son of Anno and built a portico on the Old Forum in 53/54, which he also paved "in the name of his grandson Gaius Phelyssam". This grandson was the son of Anno Macer, who was the son of Gaius. We find in the scriptures that a lot of Israelites lived in this region and was under Roman occupation. Gaius is a common named used in this time and many Israelites sought Roman citizenship   

Anno Macer (3)

Also mentioned in IRT 338: the son of Gaius and father of Gaius Phelyssam. He adopted a man named Ba'alyaton Commodus, who was responsible for the pavement and colonnade.

Gaius Phelyssam (6)

Mentioned in IRT 338 as the grandson in whose honor Gaius sponsored the paving of the Old Forum and the building of the colonnade. It may be deduced that Gaius Phelyssam had not yet come of age in 53/54, because the responsibility was handed over to his adopted brother, Ba'alyaton Commodus. He appears to have been the father of Septimius Macer.

Ba'alyaton Commodus (4)

Mentioned in IRT 338 as adopted son of Anno Macer, responsible for the building of the colonnade and pavement that Gaius sponsored in honor of Gaius Phelyssam.

Septimius Macer (23)

Mentioned in the Historia AugustaSeverus1.2, where he is called the emperor's "father's father". This can not be correct, because we know from IRT 412 that the grandfather of the emperor was Lucius Septimius Severus. The name Macer connects him to Anno Macer and suggests that he was connected to the above-mentioned people; if this is correct, Gaius Phelyssam named his son after his father, a common practice in the ancient world. The name Septimius must have been that of the man who offered Roman citizenship to the family, probably the Septimius Flaccus mentioned by Ptolemy of Alexandria (more...). Whatever his exact connection to the people mentioned above, he is certainly the father of Lucius Septimius Severus and Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper.

Lucius Septimius Severus (26)

Son of Septimius Macer, brother of Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper. He was brought to Italy as a child, and was a friend of the poet Statius, who mentions him twice in the fourth book of his Silvae ( and 4.5), which can be dated to 95. Lucius Septimius Severus owned land near Veii, was a member of the equestrian order, and returned to Lepcis Magna, perhaps after the death of the emperor Domitian in 96. According to IRT 412, Lucius Septimius Severus was suffete, prefect, and one of the two first duovirs of the city, when it was made a colonia during the reign of Trajan (before 110). If we date him between 80 and 140, we can not be far off the mark. He had a daughter named Septimia Polla and a son named Publius Septimius Geta.

Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper (16)

Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper was a brother of Lucius Septimius Severus. He is known only from IRT 316, a dedication for the health of the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) and his children. Aper's sons were Publius Septimius Aper and Gaius Septimius Severus, who were both Roman consuls during the reign of Antoninius Pius.

Publius Septimius Aper (15)

The son of Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper, and the first known consul from Lepcis Magna, in 153. As the consulship could not be reached before one had reached the age of 32 years, this man was born in c.120 or earlier. Gaius Septimius Severus was his brother.

Gaius Septimius Severus (25)

This son of Gaius Claudius Septimius Aper and brother of Publius Septimius Aper is best known from the inscription (AE 1967, 536) on the Arch of Marcus Aurelius, erected in 174. It proves that he was proconsul of Africa in that year. Other inscriptions (ILAlg 1.1283 and AE 1971, 534) offer further details: he was the son of a Gaius, and had been commander of the Sixteenth legion Flavia Firmaa, governor of Lycia-Pamphylia, consul in 160, and governor of Germania Inferior. He is probably the "kinsman Septimius Severus, who sought and secured from Marcus Aurelius the senatorial rank" for the future emperor (Historia Augusta, Severus1.5).


Septimia Polla (10)

Septimia Polla is known from the inscription known as IRT 607, the pedestal of a statue erected by her brother, Publius Septimius Geta.

Publius Septimius Geta (20)

This man was the son of the Lucius Septimius Severus who briefly lived in Italy and became one of Lepcis' two first duovirs, and was the father of the Lucius Septimius Severus who became emperor. According to the Historia Augusta (Severus1.1), he was married to Fulvia Pia, and died when his famous son became quaestor in Baetica (in 171). The Lepcitanians erected an honorific inscription to him (IRT 414), which mentions no magistracies. He had three children, Publius Septimius Geta, Lucius Septimius Severus (the emperor), and Septimia Octavilla, who was sent away from the imperial court (Historia Augusta, Severus15.7).

Fulvia Pia (28)

A member of the Lepcitanian Fulvii, an influential family, married to Publius Septimius Geta. She is mentioned in the Historia Augusta (Severus1.2) and on IRT 415. Somehow, she was related to Gaius Fulvius Plautinianus, the praetorian prefect of Septimius Severus. She gave birth to at least three children, Publius Septimius Geta, Lucius Septimius Severus, and Septimia Octavilla.

Publius Septimius Geta (21)

Son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia, brother of the emperor, mentioned several times in the Historia Augusta, and known from IRT 541, which was erected before 203 because his second consulship is not mentioned. It records his entire career: Xvir stlitibus iudicandis, tribune in the Second legion Augustaquaestor for the province Crete and Cyrenaicaaedile of Ceres, curator of the public finances of Ancona, praetor hastarius, tutelarius, commander of the First legion Italica, governor of Sicily, governor of Lusitania, consul, governor of Moesia Inferior, governor of the Dacian provinces.

Damnatio ad bestias

Damnatio ad bestias (Latin for "damnation to beasts") was a form of Roman capital punishment in which the condemned person was killed by wild animals. This form of execution, which first came to ancient Rome around the 2nd century BC, was part of the wider class of blood sports called Bestiarii. The act of damnatio ad bestias was considered entertainment for the people of Rome. Killing by wild animals, such as lions, formed part of the inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre in 80 AD. Between the 1st to 3rd centuries AD, this penalty was mainly applied to the worst criminals, slaves, and early ChristiansOne of the most Famous places for this to take place other than Roman was Lepcis Magna.

​False Idols showing that Israel was among pagan worshipers 

The Amphitheater of Lepcis Magna was entirely excavated in a natural depression, or a former quarry, in the rocky terrace to the southeast of the city, close to the sea. Behind it, closer to the sea, is the Circus, which is about a century younger. About 16,000 people could be accommodated in the stands. It was about a kilometer from the city. 

A couple of things stands out that was found in the ruins 0ne was a false deity that we found spoken of in the book of Acts. It is likely that there was some sort of (wooden) portico surrounding the amphitheater. An access to the southeast, once lead to a sanctuary, dedicated to the goddess Artemis (or Diana), as she was venerated in Ephesus.

This is the cult statue, made during the reign of Hadrian and excavated in 1912, and today in the National Archaeological Museum in Tripoli. The cult of this "great mother goddess", who is also mentioned in the Bible (Acts 19), was extremely popular in the ancient Mediterranean world, and it comes as no surprise to find a sanctuary in a great cosmopolitan city like Lepcis. 

Lucius Septimius BIO

Lucius Septimius Severus

Lucius Septimius Severus: emperor of the Roman world (193-211).

Septimius Severus



Septimius Severus


  • 11 April 145: Lucius Septimius Severus 

  • 9 April 193: Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pertinax Augustus 

  • 4 February 211: natural death

Successor of: PertinaxDidius Julianus


Early career

Main deeds

  • 193 Murder of PertinaxDidius JulianusPescennius NigerClodius Albinus, and Septimius Severus proclaimed emperor; Severus marches on Rome; recognized by the Senate; marches to the east

  • 194 Consul II (with Clodius Albinus II); siege of Byzantium; recognized in Egypt; defeats Niger near IssusBaalbek raised to the rank of colonia; claims to have been adopted by Marcus Aurelius

  • 195 Sack of Byzantium; First war against the Parthian empire; accepts the titles Arabicus, Adiabenicus, and Pius; war declared upon Clodius Albinus

  • 196 Caracalla made caesar; Severus returns to Rome

  • 197 Clodius Albinus defeated; beginning of Second Parthian War

  • 198 Parthian victory; accepts the title Parthicus

  • 199 Stay in Syria and Egypt

  • 200 Stay in Rome

  • 201 Preparation of visit to Africa; founding of Gholaia

  • 202 Consul III (with Caracalla); decennalia in Rome; Caracalla marries Plautilla; moves to Africa

  • 203 Campaign against the Garamantes; visit to Lepcis; dedication of the Arch of Septimius Severus; Byzantium refounded

  • 204 Ludi Saeculares

  • 205 Caracalla consul II (with Geta); fall of Plautian, the praetorian prefect

  • 206 War against the bandits of Bulla Felix

  • 208 Caracalla consul III (with Geta II); Leaves for Britain

  • 210 Accepts the title Britannicus

  • 211 Death in York


Julia Domna, Septimius Severus, Geta (erased), and Caracalla

New legions: I ParthicaII ParthicaIII Parthica

Buildings (Rome)

Arch of Septimius SeverusArch of the Bankers, Baths of Severus, Septizodium

Buildings (outside Rome)

  • Byzantium, Mese, Sea Walls, Hippodrome

  • Lepcis Magna, many buildings, like the Arch of Severus, the New Forum, the Basilica, the Temple of the Septimians, and the Port

Contemporary events

  • 197 Tertullian publishes his Apologeticum

  • 203 Martyrdom of Perpetua

Succeeded by: CaracallaGeta



" No battles and no victories can be compared to those of Severus, and no army to the size of his army; there are no comparable uprisings among nations, or total number of campaigns, or length and speed of marches."

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