(M ARCUS A URELIUS S EVERUS A NTONINUS, nicknamed C ARACALLA )
Roman Emperor, son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, b. 188; d. 217. He became joint ruler in 211 with his brother Geta, whom he caused to be murdered in 212, and thereby became sole emperor. He was slain himself in the neighbourhood of Carrhæ in Mesopotamia. In spite of his cruelty, immorality, avarice and treachery Caracalla was a brave soldier and successful administrator and did much to restore the security of the Empire by his campaigns against the Germans and in the Orient. He had little sympathy with Roman ideals or customs and his influence aided considerably in weakening the moral unity of the Empire and destroying the ancient traditions of Rome. The most noteworthy act of his reign was the extension by the Constitutio Antoniana (212) of the rights of Roman citizenship to all the inhabitants of the Empire. It is impossible to estimate what effect this rather doubtful boon had upon the fortunes of Christianity. While the martyrs henceforth could be executed as Romans the right of appeal to Cæsar was abrogated and new and heavy burdens of taxation were imposed. No changes in the laws regarding Christians were introduced by Caracalla and the policy followed in the reign of his father was continued with unabated severity and many were put to death. Rome and the spirit of syncretism fostered by the policy of this Emperor bore fruit in later reigns.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online