The Celtic Literature Collective

The Life of Severus Alexander

LX. He ruled for thirteen years and nine days, and he lived for twenty-nine years, three months, and seven days. He did everything in accordance with his mother's advice, and she was killed with him.

The omens portending his death were as follows: When he was praying for a blessing for his birthday the victim escaped, all covered with blood, and, as he was standing in the crowd dressed in the clothes of a civilian, it stained the white robe which he wore. In the Palace, in a certain city from which he was setting out to the war, an ancient laurel-tree of huge size suddenly fell at full length. Also three fig-trees, which bear the kind of figs known as Alexandrian, fell suddenly before his tent-door, for they were close to the Emperor's quarters. Furthermore, as he went to war a Druid prophetess cried out in the Gallic tongue, "Go, but do not hope for victory, and put no trust in your soldiers." And when he mounted a tribunal in order to make a speech and say something of good omen, he began in this wise: "On the murder of the Emperor Elagabalus." But it was regarded as a portent that when about to go to war he began an address to the troops with words of ill-omen. Lampridius, Aelius. The Life of Severus Alexander. Translated by David Magie, Ph. D., for the Loeb Classical Library (1924).

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