Severus, Alexander°

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SEVERUS, ALEXANDER ° (Marcus Aurelius Alexander Severus ; 208), Roman emperor 222–35 c.e. Relations between the Severi and the Jews were notably favorable, and in this framework one "Severus, the son of Antoninus" mentioned in talmudic literature has been identified with Alexander Severus (Nid. 45a; Av. Zar. 10a; cf. S. Krauss, je 1, 356). Although this identification is not altogether certain, it has also been suggested that the synagogue in Rome known as the "Synagogue of Severus" (כנשתא דאסוירס; cf. Bereshit Rabbati, ed. Albeck, p. 209; Frey, Corpus, 1 (1936), 501, and p. lxxxi) is named after Alexander Severus. These proposals are supported primarily by the biography of Alexander Severus in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, which states that among those images in the private chapel of Severus was also one of Abraham. Although written in the middle of the fourth century, the general impression in this work of a continuation of good relations between the emperor and the Jews is probably a definite one.


M. Avi-Yonah, Bi-Ymei Roma u-Bizantiyyon (19613), 53; A.F.V. Jardé, Etudes critiques sur la vie et la règne de Sévère Alexandre (1925).

[Isaiah Gafni]