rating: +227+x

Item #: SCP-1732

Object Class: Neutralized (Safe)

Special Containment Procedures: As SCP-1732's death pre-dates the establishment of the Foundation by more than one thousand years, direct containment of SCP-1732 is not necessary at this time. Current Foundation priorities regarding SCP-1732 are focused on information management and on archaeological excavation, study, and preservation of SCP-1732's remains and artifacts related to SCP-1732.

All primary historical documents and secondhand histories describing the reign of SCP-1732 are to be suppressed, and replaced when possible with edited versions describing SCP-1732 as a non-anomalous human being. Artifacts bearing the likeness of SCP-1732 are to be described as portraying non-anomalous animals. The Foundation is to liaise with any institutions conducting archaeological excavation of Roman sites contemporaneous to SCP-1732 and are to monitor their findings for any indication of documents, artifacts, or artwork relevant to SCP-1732.

The remains of SCP-1732 are to be stored in a climate-controlled facility at Reliquary 68 upon their removal from the entombment site. Following a full physical examination and DNA analysis, a genetic study of SCP-1732's species is to be conducted to determine whether SCP-1732 has any living descendants, and if so whether any anomalous traits exhibited by SCP-1732 are present within the population.

Description: SCP-1732 was a male African lion (Panthera leo leo), born in approximately 188 CE, which from 193 CE until its death in 211 CE was recognized as emperor of the Roman Empire under the name Septimius Severus Eusebes Pertinax Augustus (often abbreviated as "Septimius Severus"). The identity of SCP-1732 as Septimius Severus is attested to in several primary documents and histories written during and shortly after its reign, a brief autobiography attested to have been dictated by SCP-1732 itself, and representations on coinage and in civic artworks found throughout Roman territory.

SCP-1732 was sapient and was able to read and speak fluent Latin with an accent described as typical of persons originating in the Roman Empire's provinces in central northern Africa. Historical accounts indicate that SCP-1732 was acquired by the Roman emperor Commodus shortly after its birth as tribute and that, having discovered its anomalous properties, ordered it to be given a full education and declared it commander of the Empire's military forces in the Balkans. Following the assassination of Commodus in 191 CE and the subsequent assassinations of several successors, SCP-1732 is reported to have consolidated its authority among the military and declared itself emperor in 193 CE following a brief civil war.

SCP-1732's reign was marked by a series of military campaigns to consolidate Imperial authority in the Roman Empire's provinces, increased persecution of Christians, and a brief revival of interest in the cult of the Egyptian goddess Bastet. SCP-1732 is documented as having faced stiff opposition from the Roman nobility during its reign due to its species, and from Roman Christians who identified it as an eschatological figure. SCP-1732 died in 211 CE after being poisoned by a political rival during a campaign in Scotland, and was succeeded by its adopted heir Caracalla.

Suppression of historical information regarding SCP-1732's species and origins began in the mid-3rd century under the reign of the emperor Maximinus Thrax, who is reputed in contemporary accounts to have faced threats to his regime from sapient lions descended from SCP-1732, culminating in a series of hunts beginning under Phillip the Arab and ending under Valerian which all but eradicated native populations of lions throughout Roman territory. After the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Rome in 324 CE, further suppression and destruction of historical monuments to SCP-1732 was organized by the early Catholic Church, which destroyed most remaining copies of historical records directly referring to SCP-1732 as a lion. The Foundation assumed information management of SCP-1732 when the Vatican Holy Office for Secrets and Prophecies (Secretorum Camerus Prophetias) merged with the Foundation in 1964.

SCP-1732's remains were recovered in 2011 from a previously undiscovered tomb located adjacent to the tombs of several contemporaneous Roman emperors beneath the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. Following its death, SCP-1732 had been embalmed in a manner similar to classical Egyptian mummification; however, use of inferior techniques has resulted in severe tissue degradation and has left little original tissue for examination or analysis. Full genetic examination of SCP-1732 is pending acquisition of a suitably intact DNA sample from remaining bone marrow.

Addendum: The following excerpts regarding SCP-1732 are derived from Caesares, an early 3rd century history of the emperors of Rome by an unknown author. All known extant copies are currently in Foundation custody.

…It came to pass, in the eighth year of his reign, that Marcus Aurelius Commodus did pay a call unto the consul of Africa, seeking tribute by which to conduct the Gallic wars. Gaius Vettius Sabinianus provided him with 6,000 denari and with spices and perfumes, with jewels, ivory, and with live animals, of note a lion cub taken from the southern reaches of the Principate. Commodus was most enamored with the beast's ability to parrot the speech of its keepers, and in a fit of pique proclaimed he would make of it a finer student of rhetoric than the consul himself; whereafter he named it Lucius Septimius Severus, in mocking reference to an Equestrian of the consul's court, and proclaimed it a Senator, to the consternation of…

…By the time that Publius Helvius Pertinax was murdered in the Year of the Five Emperors, Septimius Leo (as his officers were fond of calling him) had become an accomplished orator and general in Pannonia. When word reached Carnantum of the treason perpetrated by the Praetorians who had murdered Pertinax and sold his throne to Marcus Didius Severus Julianus, the soldiers proclaimed Septimius Leo to be their emperor. Allying himself with his fellow African, Decimus Clodius Septimius Albinus, Septimius Leo marched to Rome…

…In the fourth year of his reign, Septimius Leo met with a man named Victor, leader of the Christians of Rome. Victor had proclaimed Septimius Leo to be an unholy beast whose earthly reign was a sign that the end of the world, and the coming of the god of the Christians, was soon at hand. Having refused to repent of their heresy and treason, Septimius Leo ordered the Christians executed by hanging from a wooden cross (as was their wont); for Victor himself, however, Septimius Leo reserved a more ignomious death, challenging him to single combat before the masses at the Flavian Ampitheatre, where he rent the bishop limb from limb…

…Having grown disappointed with his adopted heir Marcus Aurelius Severus Antoninus, Septimius Leo declared his desire to find a queen befitting his stature. Having found no suitable lions in Rome, the emperor ordered a hundred and one fertile lionesses captured and brought to Rome from Africa. He found none suitable to be his wife, but how many he laid with before they were returned across the sea can only be guessed at, for it is said that a great many fell pregnant…

…By the seventeenth year of his reign, many questioned whether Septimius Leo had lost faith in the gods; rumors spread that he neglected to sacrifice to Jupiter or to Mars, and bequeathed his affections only to the cat god of the Egyptians; it was said even in some circles that he intended to replace the worship of our ancient gods entirely with that of Bastet…

It was during the campaign in Britannia that Septimius Leo fell ill while drinking wine and preparing his plans for war against the Picts. Caracalla claimed that his brother Publius Septimius Geta was responsible and ordered his death; but Geta's supporters claimed the priests of Jupiter had arranged his poisoning, and others still claimed that a spurned lover had sought his revenge against the emperor…

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