Publius Septimius Geta (father of Septimius Severus)

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Publius Septimius Geta (fl. 2nd century, c. 110 – 171)[1] was the father of the emperor Lucius Septimius Severus, father-in-law of the Roman empress Julia Domna and the paternal grandfather of Roman emperors Caracalla and Geta. Besides mentions in the Historia Augusta, Geta is known from several inscriptions, two of which were found in Leptis Magna, Africa (East of Tripoli in modern Libya).[2]

Early life[edit]

Geta perhaps was of Libyco-Berber origin.[3] His family were local, wealthy and distinguished in Leptis Magna. His father, Lucius Septimius Severus (c. 70 – aft. 110) was sufes and prefectus when Lepcis was made a colonia and its inhabitants were granted citizenship under Trajan; Lucius was the first duumvir of the new colonia (IRT 412). He is likely the wealthy equestrian that is highly commemorated by the Flavian dynasty poet Statius (Silvae 4.5, 4.praef.). Geta's paternal grandparents were Marcus Septimius Aper (born c. 35), and Octavia.[4] Geta also had a sister named Septimia Polla, who apparently never married; Geta honored her memory with a silver statue.[5]

While Geta seems to have held no political offices, either local or imperial, other members of his family were distinguished. He had two cousins, who served as Consuls under Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius: Gaius Septimius Severus, suffect consul in 160; and Publius Septimius Aper, suffect consul in July 153.[6] Another relative of his was Lucius Septimius Severus Aper, ordinary consul in 207.[5]


Geta died after his son Septimius had achieved the rank of quaestor, and was about to set off for Baetica to serve as proconsul, i.e. in 171. Septimius was forced to return to Africa to settle his father's affairs.[7]


He married Fulvia Pia (c. 125 – bef. 198), a woman of Roman descent belonging to the gens Fulvia, an Italian patrician family that originated in Tusculum,[8] daughter of Fulvius Pius, born c. 100, and wife Plautia Octavilla, born c. 110, and aunt of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus.[citation needed] Her paternal grandfather was Fulvius Pius, born c. 100, son of Fulvius Pius, born c. 70, grandson of Fulvius, born c. 40, great-grandson of Fulvius, born c. 10, and great-great-grandson of Marcus Fulvius Saturnius (c. 20 BC – aft. 25), a Nobleman in Leptis Magna. Her paternal grandmother was Plautia Octavilla, born c. 110, daughter of Lucius Plautius Octavianus (c. 90 – aft. 150), a Nobleman in Leptis Magna c. 150, and wife Aquilia Blaesilla, born c. 190, in turn daughter of Gaius Aquilius Postumus, born c. 55, and wife Hateria, born c. 70.

Geta and Pia had three children, a son Lucius Septimius Severus, another son a younger Publius Septimius Geta and a daughter Septimia Octavilla.


  1. ^ Platnauer, Maurice, The life and reign of the emperor Lucius Septimius Severus
  2. ^ Historia Augusta, "Severus", 1.2; 2.3. A.R. Birley, Septimius Severus: The African Emperor, revised edition (New Haven: Yale University, 1988), pp. 215, 218
  3. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus, p. 220
  4. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus, pp. 218f
  5. ^ a b Birley, Septimius Severus, p. 214
  6. ^ Birley, Septimius Severus, pp. 214, 219
  7. ^ Historia Augusta, 2.3; translated in Anthony Birley, Lives of the Later Caesars (Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1976), pp. 202f
  8. ^ Adam, Alexander, Classical biography,Google eBook, p.182: FULVIUS, the name of a "gens" which originally came from Tusculum (Cic. Planc. 8)

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