The Life and Reign of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus

The Life and Reign of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus

The Life and Reign of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus

The Life and Reign of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus

Excerpt

This book, or the substance of it, was written between the. years 1911 and 1914, and submitted in the summer of the latter as a thesis for the degree of Bachelor of Letters in the University of Oxford. The work of preparation for the press was begun immediately afterwards, but was interrupted by the outbreak of war in August, and thereafter, until quite recently, neither time nor inclination admitted of its prosecution.

The Preface to every book should be in the nature of an apology, for every book throws, as it were, an onus legendi on some one who may consider that he does not get an adequate return for the time and trouble he takes in reading it. My only reasons for publishing at so unseasonable a time are an exhausted patience and the finding of myself at last in a position where time could be made, if not found, for the correction of the proofs. For publishing at all I can only plead that the reign of Septimius is an important, if not a crucial, one in the history of the later Roman Empire, and that so far no account has appeared in English of one whom Bacon, with some show of reason, has called 'the ablest Emperour almost of all the liste'.

The extant monographs on the reign are, as far as I know, only six in number. Of these, three, the work respectively of two German historians, Fuchs and Schulte, and of the well- known French author Duruy (writing in the Revue historique), are of comparatively early date and have received from me no more than a cursory inspection. The three latest books on the subject are those of Höfner, Ceuleneer, and Hassebrank. Höfner's essay, published in 1875, is a painstaking piece of work -- erudite, exhaustive, and, on the whole, sound. It is, however, marred by a want of order that amounts to chaos, and disfigured with foot-notes of such magnitude that one. can scarcely bring oneself to read so much 'excellent matter' nor, on the other hand, afford to neglect it. Ceuleneer's monograph, which appeared some five years later in the Mémoires couronnés . . .

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