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This 19th century bust represents the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (reign, 193–211 CE). His family was from North Africa (modern day Libya), and his marriage to a member of the Syrian elite, Julia Domna, demonstrates how expansive the Roman Empire was in the 3rd c. CE. Following the "Year of the Five Emperors," Septimius Severus took control with the Roman military on his side. He was an unwavering emperor who sought to expand the empire through ruthless campaigns. In modern day Scotland, one of these campaigns bordered on genocide. Septimius Severus was popular with the people, who had feared the corruption rampant throughout his predecessor (Commodus)'s reign. Septimius Severus relied heavily on the advice of his wife Julia Domna, who while harsh herself, was known to be an intelligent and politically skilled force. Stylistically this bust is similar to the one depicting Marcus Aurelius in this series: their pupils are incised and gaze upwards and careful detail is given to their head and facial hair. Sculptors may have referenced a number of different original late 2nd-early 3rd century CE portraits in Rome when creating these two busts.

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