Macrinus

The Battle of Antioch. June 8, 218.

By the early third century, the balance of power had shifted from the Senate to the army, and the position of the Senate was considerably weakened. The emperor of Rome was appointed by the support of the military, while the Senate existed solely to officiate state affairs without any real authority. Both Macrinus and later Elagabalus secured the support of the military while generally disregarding the opinion of the Senate. Macrinus was in dire circumstances after Elagabalus’ rebellion and had no other choice but to turn to the Senate for assistance. While in Antioch, Macrinus made one final attempt at securing support, this time from Rome. A combination of distrust from the Senate, insufficient funds, and Elagabalus’ impending approach, however, forced Macrinus to face Elagaba...

Elagabalus – May 16, 218 AD

Upon the assassination of Caracalla in April 217, the Praetorian Prefect, Marcus Opellius Macrinus became the next Roman emperor. To help protect himself and his family, Macrinus exiled the remaining members of the Severan dynasty to their estate in Syria, except Julia Domna, who was forced to stay in Rome, where she starved herself to death. When they arrived in Emesa, Julia Maesa, the grandmother, began plotting with Gannys, the tutor of her eldest grandson, Sextus Varius Avitus Bassianus, to overthrow Macrinus and his son Marcus Opellius Diadumenianus. Bassianus was born the son of Sextus Varius Marcellus and Julia Soaemias Bassiana in c.203. As part of the plot with Maesa, Soaemias claimed Bassianus was actually the illegitimate son of her cousin, former emperor Caracalla. Being the el...

Family Ties – June 8, 218 AD

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was born c.165 AD in Mauretania-Caesarea to parents in the Roman equestrian class. His education allowed him to eventually join the senatorial class. He was a respected lawyer and enjoyed becoming an important bureaucrat under Septimius Severus. Under Caracalla, he was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Caracalla clearly trusted Macrinus to a great extent, but began to make changes when it was rumored a prophesy told that Macrinus would depose the emperor and take the position for himself. Caracalla reassigned some of the staff of Macrinus, but must not have been aware of the full prophecy, since Macrinus still held his position. In 217, Caracalla, Macrinus and the Praetorian Guard were in the eastern provinces, preparing to campaign against the Parthians. ...

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