Rock bottom. Rome at its lowest.
The high bidder – Didius Julianus. Allegedly promising 25,000 sestertii per guard, enough to buy the throne. The guards march him into the senate where he was hailed Emperor.
However, the people of Rome had enough and sent word to the frontier generals asking for help to free Rome from this tyranny.
Three generals answered – Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus, and Septimus Severus.
Severus was closer to Rome and had 16 legions loyal to him, while Niger was in Syria and Albinus in Britain. Severus was hailed Emperor by his troops in April 193 AD.
Severus marched on Rome quickly, Julianus in a panic with only the Praetorian Guards to protect him.
Severus offered an amnesty to the guard – give up those involved in Pertinax’s murder and be spared.
By June, Julianus was captured and executed. Money can’t buy everything…
Severus still had to deal with Niger and Albinus, who are also claiming the throne. Smartly, he makes peace with Albinus by granting him the rank of Caesar.
With his West secured, he can now focus on Niger in the East. Both sides move toward each other in a decisive battle at Cilicia in the Spring of 194 AD. 20,000 soldiers in Niger’s army are killed and he flees to Antioch.
But Niger is captured and executed.
Next – the double cross…