Gordian III

Maximinus Thrax and the Year of the Six Emperors. March 19, 325 AD.

  “The Romans could bear his barbarities no longer — the way in which he called up informers and incited accusers, invented false offences, killed innocent men, condemned all whoever came to trial, reduced the richest men to utter poverty and never sought money anywhere save in some other’s ruin, put many generals and many men of consular rank to death for no offence, carried others about in waggons without food and drink, and kept others in confinement, in short neglected nothing which he thought might prove effectual for cruelty — and, unable to suffer these things longer, they rose against him in revolt.” —    Historia Augusta. The emperor at the beginning of the year was Maximinus Thrax, who had ruled since March 20, 235. Later sources claim he was a cruel tyrant...

Elagabalus adopts Alexianus – June 26, 221 AD

Gessius Bassianus Alexianus was born in c.208/9 AD at Phoenicia-Arca Caesarea. He was the son of Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus and Julia Avita Mamaea, making him the cousin of Elagabalus and part of the ruling Severan family. Not much is written about his youth, but it is documented he accompanied his cousin to Rome when Elagabalus was proclaimed emperor in 218.  This characters are in many Roman Coins. While living in Rome under the rule of Elagabalus, Alexianus remained virtually unknown. The citizens of Rome became increasingly intolerant of the bizarre behavior and rituals of Elagabalus over the years, forcing Julia Maesa, grandmother of Elagabalus, to put pressure on the emperor to adopt his cousin and elevate him to the rank of Caesar on June 26, 221. Alexianus was Maesa’s backup p...

Let The Games Begin! – April 21-23, 248 AD

Traditionally, the date of the founding of Rome by Romulus is April 21, 753 BC. Marcus Julius Verus Philippus was the emperor of Rome in 248 AD when the 1000th anniversary arrived and celebrated with three days of festivities from April 21-23. The Greek historian, Gaius Asinius Quadratus, wrote a 15-volume work entitled “Chilieteris” (“Millenium”), chronicling the city from the founding to the reign of Severus Alexander, and intended to follow through to the reign of Philip, but died before it could be completed. The celebration took place throughout the city in the forms of theatrical performances, ludi saeculares, and spectacular games in the Colosseum. Gordian III had collected exotic animals for his anticipated triumphal parade over the Persians, but since he failed to defeat them and ...

Marcus Antonius Gordianus – January 20, 225 AD

Marcus Antonius Gordianus, commonly called Gordian III, was born on January 20, 225 AD to Maecia Faustina (or possibly named Antonia Gordiana) and an unknown Roman senator. Gordian I was his maternal grandfather and Gordian II was his uncle. When elevated to the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 238, he was 13 years old and the youngest legitimate ruler of the entire duration of the empire. You will find more examples of Gordian coins at the end of this post. The year 238 was chaotic, opening with the rebellion in North Africa by some of the nobles, who were being taxed at an extreme rate by the current emperor, Maximinus I Thrax, as the method to pay for the emperor’s long, but successful campaigns. The taxes were supposedly so burdensome, they would have immediately bankrupted some of th...

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