The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history; when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title used was imperator a military honorific. Early Emperors used the title princeps. Emperors amassed republican titles, notably princeps senatus and pontifex maximus; the legitimacy of an emperor's rule depended on his control of the army and recognition by the Senate. The first emperors reigned alone; the Romans considered the office of emperor to be distinct from that of a king. The first emperor, resolutely refused recognition as a monarch. Although Augustus could claim that his power was authentically republican, his successor, could not convincingly make the same claim. Nonetheless, for the first three hundred years of Roman emperors, from Augustus until Diocletian, efforts were made to portray the emperors as leaders of a republic.
From Diocletian, whose tetrarchic reforms divided the position into one emperor in the West and one in the East, until the end of the Empire, emperors ruled in an monarchic style and did not preserve the nominal principle of a republic, but the contrast with "kings" was maintained: although the imperial succession was hereditary, it was only hereditary if there was a suitable candidate acceptable to the army and the bureaucracy, so the principle of automatic inheritance was not adopted. Elements of the republican institutional framework were preserved after the end of the Western Empire; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century after multiple invasions of imperial territory by Germanic barbarian tribes. Romulus Augustulus is considered to be the last emperor of the West after his forced abdication in 476, although Julius Nepos maintained a claim recognized by the Eastern Empire to the title until his death in 480. Following Nepos' death, the Eastern Emperor Zeno abolished the division of the position and proclaimed himself as the sole Emperor of a reunited Roman Empire.
The Eastern imperial lineage continued to rule from Constantinople. Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Roman emperor in Constantinople, dying in the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453; the "Byzantine" emperors from Heraclius in 629 and onwards adopted the title of basileus, which had meant king in Greek but became a title reserved for the Roman emperor and the ruler of the Sasanian Empire. Other kings were referred to as rēgas. In addition to their pontifical office, some emperors were given divine status after death. With the eventual hegemony of Christianity, the emperor came to be seen as God's chosen ruler, as well as a special protector and leader of the Christian Church on Earth, although in practice an emperor's authority on Church matters was subject to challenge. Due to the cultural rupture of the Turkish conquest, most western historians treat Constantine XI as the last meaningful claimant to the title Roman Emperor. From 1453, one of the titles used by the Ottoman Sultans was "Caesar of Rome", part of their titles until the Ottoman Empire ended in 1922.
A Byzantine group of claimant Roman emperors existed in the Empire of Trebizond until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1461, though they had used a modified title since 1282. Eastern emperors in Constantinople had been recognized and accepted as Roman emperors both in the East, which they ruled, by the Papacy and Germanic kingdoms of the West until the deposition of Constantine VI and accession of Irene of Athens as Empress regnant in 797. Objecting to a woman ruling the Roman Empire in her own right and issues with the eastern clergy, the Papacy would create a rival lineage of Roman emperors in western Europe, the Holy Roman Emperors, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire for most of the period between 800 and 1806; these Emperors were never recognized as Roman emperors by the court in Constantinople. Modern historians conventionally regard Augustus as the first Emperor whereas Julius Caesar is considered the last dictator of the Roman Republic, a view having its origins in the Roman writers Plutarch and Cassius Dio.
However, the majority of Roman writers, including Josephus, Pliny the Younger and Appian, as well as most of the ordinary people of the Empire, thought of Julius Caesar as the first Emperor. At the end of the Roman Republic no new, no single, title indicated the individual who held supreme power. Insofar as emperor could be seen as the English translation of imperator Julius Caesar had been an emperor, like several Roman generals before him. Instead, by the end of the civil wars in which Julius Caesar had led his armies, it became clear that there was no consensus to return to the old-style monarchy, but that the period when several officials, bestowed with equal power by the senate, would fight one another had come to an end. Julius Caesar, Augustus after him, accumulated offices and titles of the highest importance in the Republic, making the power attached to those offices permanent, preventing anyone with similar aspirations from accumulating or maintaining power for themselves. However, Julius Caesar, unlike those after
Julia Avita Mamaea
Julia Avita Mamaea was a Syrian noble woman and a Roman regent of the Severan dynasty. She was the mother of Roman Emperor Alexander Severus and served as regent of Rome during his minority, de facto during his reign. Julia Avita Mamaea was the second daughter of Julia Maesa, a powerful Roman woman of Syrian origin, Syrian noble Gaius Julius Avitus Alexianus, she was a niece of empress Julia Domna, emperor Lucius Septimius Severus, sister of Julia Soaemias Bassiana. She was raised in Emesa. Julia's first husband was a former consul. Julia married as her second husband Syrian Promagistrate Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus. Julia bore two children during her marriage to Marcianus, a daughter Theoclia and a son, Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus Alexianus emperor Alexander Severus, she may have had an elder son called Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus. Unlike her sister, Julia was described as virtuous and never involved in scandals. Julia was attentive to the education of her son, whom she prepared adequately for becoming emperor of Rome.
Alexander followed what she told him to do. As a member of the Imperial Roman family, she watched the death of her cousin Caracalla and the ascent to power of her nephew Elagabalus, the oldest grandson of Julia Maesa and her choice to the throne. Elagabalus and his mother Julia Soaemias proved incompetent rulers and favor fell on Alexander, Julia's son, he became emperor following Elagabalus' murder by the Praetorian Guard. Julia and her mother became regents in the name of Alexander 14 years old, he never managed to escape her maternal domination, but at first Julia ruled effectively. She reversed all Elagabalus' scandalous policies, chose 16 distinguished senators as advisers and relied on the famous Lawyer Ulpian, from Syria. Ulpian was made head of the Praetorian Guard. However, he was unable to control the Praetorians and was murdered by them in 228. Upon adulthood, Alexander named her consors imperii, it was in this condition that she accompanied her son in his campaigns: a custom started with Julia Domna.
Meanwhile, Julia had become madly jealous of her son's wife, Barbia Orbiana, whom Alexander married in 225, whose father had been made Caesar or co-ruler. Julia had her father executed. Julia called on Origen, the Alexandrian Christian leader, to provide her with instruction in Christian doctrine. After an inconclusive expedition to repel a Persian invasion in 232, mother and son were sent north to deal with a German attack. Alexander so alienated the Rhine legions by his lack of military prowess and his inflexibility towards pay that the troops proclaimed Maximinus Thrax as emperor in 235. Troops sent to kill. Mother and son were butchered together. Women in Ancient Rome Severan dynasty family tree Julia Mamaea's article at livius.org
Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
Antoninus Pius known as Antoninus, was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. He was one of the Five Good Emperors in the Nerva -- the Aurelii. Born into a senatorial family, Antoninus held various offices during the reign of emperor Hadrian, acquiring favor which saw him adopted as Hadrian's son and successor shortly before Hadrian's death, he acquired the name Pius after his accession to the throne, either because he compelled the Senate to deify his adoptive father Hadrian, or because he had saved senators sentenced to death by Hadrian in his years. His reign is notable for the peaceful state of the Empire, with no major revolts or military incursions during this time, for his governing without leaving Italy. A successful military campaign in southern Scotland early in his reign resulted in the construction of the Antonine Wall. Antoninus was an effective administrator, leaving his successors a large surplus in the treasury, expanding free access to drinking water throughout the Empire, encouraging legal conformity, facilitating the enfranchisement of freed slaves.
He died of illness in 161 and was succeeded by his adopted sons Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as co-emperors. He was born as the only child of Titus Aurelius Fulvus, consul in 86, whose family came from Nemausus. Titus Aurelius Fulvius was the son of a senator of the same name, who, as legate of Legio III Gallica, had supported Vespasian in his bid to the Imperial office and been rewarded with a suffect consulship, plus an ordinary one under Domitian in 85; the Aurelii Fulvii were therefore a new senatorial family from Gallia Narbonensis whose rise to prominence was supported by the Flavians. The link between Antoninus' family and their home province explains the increasing importance of the post of Proconsul of Gallia Narbonensis during the late Second Century. Antoninus was born near Lanuvium and his mother was Arria Fadilla. Antoninus’ father died shortly after his 89 ordinary consulship, Antoninus was raised by his maternal grandfather Gnaeus Arrius Antoninus, reputed by contemporaries to be a man of integrity and culture and a friend of Pliny the Younger.
The Arrii Antonini were an older senatorial family from Italy influential during Nerva's reign. Arria Fadilla, Antoninus' mother, married afterwards Publius Julius Lupus, suffect consul in 98; some time between 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria Faustina the Elder. They are believed to have enjoyed a happy marriage. Faustina was the daughter of consul Marcus Annius Verus and Rupilia Faustina. Faustina was a beautiful woman, despite rumours about her character, it is clear that Antoninus cared for her deeply. Faustina bore two sons and two daughters, they were: Marcus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus. Marcus Galerius Aurelius Antoninus, his name appears on a Greek Imperial coin. Aurelia Fadilla, she appeared to have no children with her husband. Annia Galeria Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger, a future Roman Empress, married her maternal cousin Marcus Aurelius in 146; when Faustina died in 141, Antoninus was distressed. In honour of her memory, he asked the Senate to deify her as a goddess, authorised the construction of a temple to be built in the Roman Forum in her name, with priestesses serving in her temple.
He had various coins with her portrait struck in her honor. These coins were elaborately decorated, he further created a charity which he founded and called it Puellae Faustinianae or Girls of Faustina, which assisted destitute girls of good family. Antoninus created a new alimenta; the emperor never remarried. Instead, he lived with one of Faustina's freed women. Concubinage was a form of female companionship sometimes chosen by powerful men in Ancient Rome widowers like Vespasian, Marcus Aurelius, their union could not produce any legitimate offspring who could threaten any heirs, such as those of Antoninus. As one could not have a wife and an official concubine at the same time, Antoninus avoided being pressed into a marriage with a noblewoman from another family. Having filled the offices of quaestor and praetor with more than usual success, he obtained the consulship in 120, he was next appointed by the Emperor Hadrian as one of the four proconsuls to administer Italia greatly increased his reputation by his conduct as proconsul of Asia during 134–135.
He acquired much favor with Hadrian, who adopted him as his son and successor on 25 February 138, after the death of his first adopted son Lucius Aelius, on the condition that Antoninus would in turn adopt Marcus Annius Verus, the son of his wife's brother, Lucius, son of Lucius Aelius, who afterwards became the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. On his accession, Antoninus' name and style became Imperator Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pontifex Maximus. One of his first acts as Emperor was to persuade the Senate to grant divine honours to Hadrian
The denarius was the standard Roman silver coin from its introduction in the Second Punic War c. 211 BC to the reign of Gordian III, when it was replaced by the Antoninianus. It continued to be minted in small quantities for ceremonial purposes and through the tetrarchy; the word dēnārius is derived from the Latin dēnī "containing ten", as its value was of 10 assēs. The word for "money" descends from it in Italian, Slovene and Spanish, its name survives in the dinar currency. Its symbol is represented in Unicode as, however it can be represented as X̶. A predecessor of the denarius was first struck in 267 BC, five years before the First Punic War, with an average weight of 6.81 grams, or 1⁄48 of a Roman pound. Contact with the Greeks prompted a need for silver coinage in addition to the bronze currency that the Romans were using at that time; the predecessor of the denarius was a Greek-styled silver coin called the didrachm, struck in Neapolis and other Greek cities in southern Italy. These coins were inscribed for Rome but resemble their Greek counterparts.
They were most used for trade purposes and were used in Rome. The first distinctively Roman silver coin appeared around 226 BC. Classic historians sometimes called these coins denarii, but they are classified by modern numismatists as quadrigati, derived from the quadriga, or four-horse chariot, on the reverse, which with a two-horse chariot or biga was the prototype for the most common designs used on Roman silver coins for the next 150 years. Rome overhauled its coinage around 211 BC and introduced the denarius alongside a short-lived denomination called the victoriatus; this denarius contained 1⁄72 of a Roman pound, of silver. It formed the backbone of Roman currency throughout the Roman republic; the denarius began to undergo slow debasement toward the end of the republican period. Under the rule of Augustus its silver content fell to 3.9 grams. It remained at nearly this weight until the time of Nero, when it was reduced to 1⁄96 of a pound, or 3.4 grams. Debasement of the coin's silver content continued after Nero.
Roman emperors reduced its content to 3 grams around the late 3rd century. The value at its introduction was 10 asses, giving the denarius its name, which translates as "containing ten". In about 141 BC, it was re-tariffed at 16 asses; the denarius continued to be the main coin of the Roman Empire until it was replaced by the antoninianus in the middle of the 3rd century. The coin was last issued, in bronze, under Aurelian between AD 270 and 275, in the first years of the reign of Diocletian.. It is difficult to give rough comparative values for money from before the 20th century, as the range of products and services available for purchase was so different. Classical historians say that in the late Roman Republic and early Roman Empire the daily wage for an unskilled laborer and common soldier was 1 denarius or about US$2.80 in bread. During the republic, legionary pay was 112.5 denarii per year doubled by Julius Caesar to 225 denarii, with soldiers having to pay for their own food and arms.
Centurions received higher pay: under Augustus, the lowest rank of centurion was paid 3,750 denarii per year, the highest rank, 15,000 denarii. The silver content of the denarius under the Roman Empire was about 50 grains, 3.24 grams, or 1⁄10 troy ounce. On June 6, 2011, this was about US$3.62 in value. The fineness of the silver content varied with economic circumstances. From a purity of greater than 90% silver in the 1st century AD, the denarius fell to under 60% purity by the year 200, plummeted to 5% purity by the year 300. By the reign of Gallienus, the antoninianus was a copper coin with a thin silver wash. By comparison, a laborer earning the minimum wage in the United States in January 2014 made US$58 for an 8-hour day, before taxes and an employee earning the minimum wage in the United Kingdom in 2014 made £52 for an 8-hour day, before taxes. In the final years of the 1st century BC Tincomarus, a local ruler in southern Britain, started issuing coins that appear to have been made from melted down denarii.
The coins of Eppillus, issued around Calleva Atrebatum around the same time, appear to have derived design elements from various denarii such as those of Augustus and M. Volteius. After the denarius was no longer issued, it continued to be used as a unit of account, the name was applied to Roman coins in a way, not understood; the Arabs who conquered large parts of the land that once belonged to the Eastern Roman Empire issued their own gold dinar. The lasting legacy of the denarius can be seen in the use of "d" as the abbreviation for the British penny until 1971, it survived in France as the name of a coin, the denier. The denarius survives in the common Arabic name for a currency unit, the dinar used from pre-Islamic times, still used in several modern Arab nations; the major currency unit in former Principality of Serbia, Kingdom of Serbia and former Yugoslavia was dinar, it is still used in present-day Serbia. The Macedonian currency denar is derived from the Roman denarius; the Italian word
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for "dynasty" may include "family" and "clan", among others; the longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a "noble house", which may be styled as "royal", "princely", "ducal", "comital" etc. depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members. Historians periodize the histories of numerous nations and civilizations, such as Ancient Egypt and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties; as such, the term "dynasty" may be used to delimit the era during which a family reigned, to describe events and artifacts of that period. The word "dynasty" itself is dropped from such adjectival references; until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty: that is, to expand the wealth and power of his family members.
Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter established a new dynasty in her husband's ruling house; this has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female. For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant; the earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother's dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
Less a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession. Not all feudal states or monarchies were/are ruled by dynasties. Throughout history, there were monarchs. Dynasties ruling subnational monarchies do not possess sovereign rights; the word "dynasty" is sometimes used informally for people who are not rulers but are, for example, members of a family with influence and power in other areas, such as a series of successive owners of a major company. It is extended to unrelated people, such as major poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team; the word "dynasty" derives from Latin dynastia, which comes from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to "power", "dominion", "rule" itself. It was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, "power" or "ability", from dýnamai, "to be able". A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a "dynast", but this term is used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne.
For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication. In historical and monarchist references to reigning families, a "dynast" is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy's rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg, their son Duke Maximilian was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast. Since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position; the term "dynast" is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm's monarchs, sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown.
On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles. He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain's Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on 26 March 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999. Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who
The Gordian dynasty, sometimes known as the Gordianic dynasty, was short-lived, ruling the Roman Empire from 238–244 AD. The dynasty achieved the throne in 238 AD, after Gordian I and his son Gordian II rose up against Emperor Maximinus Thrax and were proclaimed co-emperors by the Roman Senate. Gordian II was killed by the governor of Numidia and Gordian I killed himself shortly after, either 21 or 36 days after he was declared emperor. On 22 April 238, Pupienus and Balbinus, who were not of the Gordian dynasty, were declared co-emperors but the Senate was forced to make Gordian III a third co-emperor on 27 May 238, due to the demands of the Roman people. Maximinus attempted to invade Italy but he was killed by his own soldiers when his army became frustrated. After this, the Praetorian Guard killed Pupienus and Balbinus, leaving Gordian III as the sole emperor. Gordian III ruled until 244 AD when he was either killed after his betrayal by Philip the Arab, killed by Philip the Arab or killed at the Battle of Misiche.
The Gordian dynasty was founded by the governor of Africa Proconsularis. Gordian I was said to be related to prominent senators of his time, his praenomen and nomen Marcus Antonius suggest his ancestors became citizens under the Triumvir Mark Antony, or one of his daughters, during the late Roman Republic. Gordian's cognomen Gordianus indicates that his family origins were from Anatolia, in the region of Galatia or Cappadocia; the Gordian dynasty rose in opposition to Maximinus Thrax, proclaimed Emperor by the army but not the Senate and whose reign from 235 to 238 AD, was tyrannous. Maximinus embezzled from expropriated taxes collected by cities, he reversed the religious reforms of Emperor Severus Alexander, which had increased tolerance toward Christianity. During his reign, the popes Pontian and Anterus were put to death, along with the antipope Hippolytus. There was a vast amount of corruption during his rule, with his favored officials prosecuting individuals on false charges and extorting huge fines.
His abuses towards the population led to an uprising in the province of Africa in 238, where the people revolted and killed his tax collectors. The movement gathered momentum especially among the army, who proclaimed Gordian I emperor. A delegation of centurions was sent to Rome from Africa, to assassinate Publius Aelius Vitalianus, the Praetorian prefect and to spread a rumor that Maximinus had been killed while campaigning against the Sarmatians; the Senate believed the rumor and proclaimed Gordian I and his son Gordian II as co-emperors in 238. Soon after, governor of Numidia, invaded Africa and succeeded in killing Gordian II during the Battle of Carthage. Gordian I, shortly thereafter, hanged himself out of grief, either 21 or 36 days after being declared emperor. Both emperors never reached Rome. Following the news of both emperors' deaths, the Senate formed a committee of twenty senators to elect the next emperor, resulting in the election of two of the senators on the committee and Balbinus, on 22 April 238.
Large crowds gathered in Rome, demanding that a blood relative of Gordian I be made emperor. The Senate conceded and elected Gordian III, the son of Gordian I's daughter Antonia Gordiana, as the third emperor on 27 May 238. News of the Gordians' rebellion reached Maximinus, still campaigning against the Sarmatians in Pannonia and he marched on Italy with his Pannonian Legions, he attempted to gain the allegiance of the fortified city of Aquileia but failed and laid siege to it. His troops became disaffected during the unexpected siege, at which time they suffered from famine and disease. In May 238, Maximinus' soldiers killed him, along with his son, Maximus. On 29 July 238, Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian Guard, who proclaimed Gordian III sole emperor; when the Sassanids invaded the Roman Empire in 241, occupying the province of Syria and capturing Antioch and Carrhae, Gordian III sent Timesitheus to counterattack. He won a decisive victory at Battle of Resaena. Between 242 and 243, while leading troops across the Euphrates, Timesitheus fell ill and died from what is believed to have been an intestinal infection.
In 244, Gordian III died, although the manner of his death is a matter of debate. There is evidence that Philip the Arab, deputy Praetorian prefect and who rose to the title of Praetorian prefect after the death of Timesitheus, undermined Gordian III's authority. Zosimus and the Historia Augusta said that Philip the Arab conspired to have him killed by sabotaging supplies to turn the army against him. Orosius, John of Antioch and Eutropius assert that Philip the Arab played a more direct role in having him killed, beginning to conspire after Gordian III won a great victory in Persia. George Syncellus and the Epitome de Caesaribus say that Philip began conspiring against him before the army had reached Ctesiphon and not after a great victory. Byzantine and Persian sources and Cedrenus and the Persian King Shapur I, wrote that Gordian III died in the Battle of Misiche. Philip the Arab claimed the throne. During the reign of Gordian III, changes took place in Roman numismatics; the Tetradrachm, a coin equivalent to four drachmae, was produced again, having not been minted since the reign of Elagabalus, between 218 and 222, during which only two mints produced it and not having been minted since the reign of Macrinus, between 217 and 218.
The production of Tetradrachms continued after Gordian's death, being produced until 253. The Antoninianus, equivalent to 20 Assēs, w