Balbinus, was Roman Emperor with Pupienus for three months in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Not much is known about Balbinus before his elevation to emperor, it has been conjectured that he descended from Publius Coelius Balbinus Vibullius Pius, the consul ordinarius of 137, wife Aquilia. If this were true, he was related to the family of Q. Pompeius Falco, which supplied many politicians of consular rank throughout the 3rd century, to the 1st-century politician and author Julius Frontinus, he was born around 178. He was a patrician from birth, was the son of Caelius Calvinus, legate of Cappadocia in 184, he was one of the Salii priests of Mars. According to Herodian he had governed provinces, but the list of seven provinces given in the Historia Augusta, as well as the statement that Balbinus had been both Proconsul of Asia and of Africa, are to be mere invention, he had been twice consul. According to Edward Gibbon: Balbinus was an admired orator, a poet of distinguished fame, a wise magistrate, who had exercised with innocence and applause the civil jurisdiction in all the interior provinces of the empire.
His birth was noble, his fortune affluent, his manners liberal and affable. In him, the love of pleasure was corrected by a sense of dignity, nor had the habits of ease deprived him of a capacity for business; the two colleagues had both been consul, both had been named among the twenty lieutenants of the senate. When the Gordians were proclaimed Emperors in Africa, the Senate appointed a committee of twenty men, including Balbinus, to co-ordinate operations against Maximinus Thrax. On the news of the Gordians' defeat, the Senate voted Pupienus and Balbinus as co-emperors on 22 April 238, though they were soon forced to co-opt the child Gordian III as a colleague. Unlike the situation in 161, both emperors were elected as pontifices maximi, chief priests of the official cults; this would be unthinkable in Republican times. Balbinus was in his early seventies: his qualifications for rule are unknown, except that he was a senior senator and well-connected. While Pupienus marched to Ravenna, where he oversaw the campaign against Maximinus, Balbinus remained in Rome, but failed to keep public order.
The sources suggest that after Pupienus's victorious return following Maximinus' death, Balbinus suspected Pupienus of wanting to supplant him, they were soon living in different parts of the Imperial palace, where they were assassinated by disaffected elements of the Praetorian Guard, with Balbinus' death occurring on 29 July 238. The'sarcophagus of Balbinus' has earned this Emperor a niche in the history of Roman Imperial art. While holding the title of Emperor, Balbinus had a marble sarcophagus made for himself and his wife. Discovered in fragments near the Via Appia and restored, this is the only example of a Roman Imperial sarcophagus of this type to have survived. On the lid are reclining figures of Balbinus and his wife, the figure of the Emperor being a fine portrait of him; the sarcophagus is held in collection at the Museo di Pretastato in the Park of the Caffarella near the Appian Way at Rome. Although in accounts of their joint reign Balbinus is emphasized as the civilian as against Pupienus the military man, on the side of the sarcophagus he is portrayed in full military dress.
Media related to Balbinus at Wikimedia Commons good portrait bust portrait head from the sarcophagus as an example of Roman'pathetic' style Livius.org: Balbinus
Diadumenian, was Roman Emperor, in 218. He was born to Macrinus, the future emperor, Nonia Celsa, whose name may be fictitious, on 14 September 208, he was elevated to Caesar in May 217, after Elagabalus revolted a few days Diadumenian was elevated to co-emperor. After Macrinus was defeated in the Battle of Antioch, on 8 June 218, Diadumenian was sent to the court of Artabanus V to ensure his safety. Diadumenian was born on 14 September 208, named Marcus Opellius Diadumenianus, to Macrinus, the Praetorian Prefect and future emperor, his fictitious wife Nonia Celsa. Macrinus declared himself emperor on 11 April 217, three days after Emperor Caracalla was assassinated. Shortly after, Diadumenian was elevated to caesar at Zeugma, while his guard was escorting him from Antioch to Mesopotamia, to join his father, he was given the name Antoninus, in honor of the Antonine dynasty, at this time. On 16 May 218 a revolt against him was launched in Emesa by Elagabalus, a relative of Caracalla through his mother, Julia Soaemias, Caracalla's cousin.
In order to put down the revolt, Macrinus led his legions to the praetorian fort at Apamea. There Macrinus elevated Diadumenian to augustus. After Macrinus was defeated by Elagabalus on 8 June 218, at the Battle of Antioch, Macrinus fled north to the Bosporus. Before fleeing he entrusted Diadumenian to loyal servants, instructing them to take him into the Parthian Empire, to the court of Artabanus V, to ensure his safety. Diadumenian was captured en route in Zeugma, executed in late June, his head was brought to Elagabalus, kept as a trophy. While caesar, a large number of coins were struck for Diadumenian, although less than the amount struck for his father. Coins in which he is depicted as augustus are limited, the only known coins from this time are denarii; this has led to the suggestion, first proposed by Ancient Numismatist Curtis Clay, that a large issue of coins was being made for Diadumenian, however they were melted down when the news of Macrinus' defeat spread. Notably, some eastern provincial coins from the period exist which give Diadumenian the title sebastos, at the time the Greek equivalent of the Roman augustus.
In terms of gold coins, Diadumenian has one known style of aureus, bearing his image on the obverse, displaying Spes standing on the reverse, one known style of half-aureus, bearing his image on the obverse, displaying himself holding a sceptre and standard. Bédoyère, Guy de la. Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300226270. Bunson, Matthew. Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. Facts On File. ISBN 9781438110271. Friedberg, Arthur L.. Gold Coins of the World - 9th edition: From Ancient Times to the Present. An Illustrated Standard Catlaog with Valuations. Coin & Currency Institute. ISBN 9780871840097. Vagi, David L.. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire, c. 82 B. C.- A. D. 480. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 9781579583163
Maximinus Thrax known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238. A Thraco-Roman of low birth, Maximinus was the commander of the Legio IV Italica when Severus Alexander was assassinated by his own troops in 235; the Praetorian Guard elected Maximinus emperor. In the year 238, a senatorial revolt broke out, leading to the successive proclamation of Gordian I, Gordian II, Pupienus and Gordian III as emperors in opposition to Maximinus. Maximinus advanced on Rome to put down the revolt, but was halted at Aquileia, where he was assassinated by disaffected elements of the Legio II Parthica. Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History, he was a so-called barracks emperor of the 3rd century. Maximinus was the first emperor who hailed neither from the senatorial class nor from the equestrian class. Most Maximinus was of Thraco-Roman origin. According to the notoriously unreliable Augustan History, he was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother, an Iranian people of the Scythian-Sarmatian branch.
British historian Ronald Syme, writing that "the word'Gothia' should have sufficed for condemnation" of the passage in the Augustan History, felt that the burden of evidence from Herodian and elsewhere pointed to Maximinus having been born in Moesia. The references to his "Gothic" ancestry might refer to a Thracian Getae origin, as suggested by the paragraphs describing how "he was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves" and how he spoke "almost pure Thracian", his background was, in any case, that of a provincial of low birth, was seen by the Senate as a barbarian, not a true Roman, despite Caracalla’s edict granting citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire. According to the Augustan History, he was a shepherd and bandit leader before joining the Imperial Roman army, causing historian Brent Shaw to comment that a man who would have been "in other circumstances a Godfather, became emperor of Rome." In many ways, Maximinus was similar to the Thraco-Roman emperors of the 3rd–5th century, elevating themselves, via a military career, from the condition of a common soldier in one of the Roman legions to the foremost positions of political power.
He joined the army during the reign of Septimius Severus, but did not rise to a powerful position until promoted by Alexander Severus. Maximinus was in command of Legio IV Italica, composed of recruits from Pannonia, who were angered by Alexander's payments to the Alemanni and his avoidance of war; the troops, who included the Legio XXII Primigenia, elected the stern Maximinus, killing young Alexander and his mother at Moguntiacum. The Praetorian Guard acclaimed him emperor, their choice was grudgingly confirmed by the Senate, who were displeased to have a peasant as emperor, his son Maximus became caesar. Maximinus was ruthless towards those he suspected of plotting against him, he began by eliminating the close advisors of Alexander. His suspicions may have been justified; the first was during a campaign across the Rhine, when a group of officers, supported by influential senators, plotted to destroy a bridge across the river, in order to strand Maximinus in hostile territory. They planned to elect senator Magnus emperor afterwards, but the conspiracy was discovered and the conspirators executed.
The second plot involved Mesopotamian archers. They planned to elevate Quartinus, but their leader Macedo changed sides and murdered Quartinus instead, although this was not enough to save his own life; the accession of Maximinus is seen as the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century, the applied name for the crumbling and near collapse of the Roman Empire between 235 and 284 caused by three simultaneous crises: external invasion, internal civil war, economic collapse. Maximinus' first campaign was against the Alemanni, whom he defeated despite heavy Roman casualties in a swamp in the Agri Decumates. After the victory, Maximinus took the title Germanicus Maximus, raised his son Maximus to the rank of caesar and princeps iuventutis, deified his late wife Paulina. Maximinus may have launched a second campaign deep into Germania, defeating a Germanic tribe beyond the Weser in the Battle at the Harzhorn. Securing the German frontier, at least for a while, Maximinus set up a winter encampment at Sirmium in Pannonia, from that supply base fought the Dacians and the Sarmatians during the winter of 235–236.
Early in 238, in the province of Africa, a treasury official's extortions through false judgments in corrupt courts against some local landowners ignited a full-scale revolt in the province. The landowners armed their clients and their agricultural workers and entered Thysdrus, where they murdered the offending official and his bodyguards and proclaimed the aged governor of the province, Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus, hi
Gordian III was Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD. At the age of 13, he became the youngest sole legal Roman emperor throughout the existence of the united Roman Empire. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Little is known of his early life before his acclamation. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238 AD. In 235, following the murder of Emperor Alexander Severus in Moguntiacum, the capital of the Roman province Germania Superior, Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed Emperor. In the following years, there was a growing opposition against Maximinus in the Roman senate and amongst the majority of the population of Rome. In 238 a rebellion broke out in the Africa Province, where Gordian's grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors; this revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax.
The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace-loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus' oppression. Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors; these senators were not popular men and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordians' fate, so the Senate decided to take the teenage Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus like his grandfather, raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus due to the defection of several legions the II Parthica, who assassinated Maximinus. However, their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. On July 29, Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian Guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor. Due to Gordian's age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the Senate.
In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was brought under control. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus; as chief of the Praetorian Guard and father in law of the Emperor, Timesitheus became the de facto ruler of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube, the Sassanid Empire across the Euphrates increased its own attacks; when the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia, the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, sent a large army to the East. The Sassanids were defeated in the Battle of Resaena; the campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy's territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, the Emperor's security, were at risk. Gaius Julius Priscus and on, his own brother Marcus Julius Philippus known as Philip the Arab, stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefects and the campaign proceeded.
Around February 244, the Persians fought back fiercely to halt the Roman advance to Ctesiphon. Persian sources claim that a battle occurred near modern Fallujah and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away from Misiche, at Zaitha in northern Mesopotamia. Modern scholarship does not unanimously accept this course of the events. One view holds that Gordian died at Zaitha, murdered by his frustrated army, while the role of Philip is unknown. Other scholars, such as Kettenhofen and Winter have concluded that Gordian died in battle against the Sassanids. Philip arranged for his deification. Gordian's youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of the enemy, earned him the lasting esteem of the Romans. Katrin Herrmann: Gordian III. - Kaiser einer Umbruchszeit. Speyer 2013. ISBN 978-3-939526-20-9 Potter, David. S; the Roman Empire At Bay AD 180-392, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0-203-67387-5 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Gordian". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12. Cambridge University Press. P. 247. Meckler, Michael, "Gordian III", De Imperatoribus Romanis Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire, 23.5.7 Media related to Gordian III at Wikimedia Commons
Caligula was Roman emperor from AD 37 to AD 41. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Germanicus' uncle and adoptive father, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in AD 14. Although he was born Gaius Caesar, after Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname "Caligula" from his father's soldiers during their campaign in Germania; when Germanicus died at Antioch in AD 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in AD 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in AD 37.
There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate, he directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province. In early AD 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard and courtiers; the conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however.
On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in AD 68, Caligula's death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line. See Julio-Claudian family tree. Gaius Julius Caesar was born in Antium on 31 August 12 AD, the third of six surviving children born to Germanicus and his second cousin Agrippina the Elder. Gaius had two older brothers and Drusus, as well as three younger sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla, he was a nephew of Claudius, Germanicus' younger brother and the future emperor. Agrippina the Elder was the daughter of Julia the Elder, she was a granddaughter of Scribonia on her mother's side. Through Agrippina, Augustus was the maternal great-grandfather of Gaius; as a boy of just two or three, Gaius accompanied his father, Germanicus, on campaigns in the north of Germania. The soldiers were amused that Gaius was dressed in a miniature soldier's outfit, including boots and armour.
He was soon given his nickname Caligula, meaning "little boot" in Latin, after the small boots he wore. Gaius, though grew to dislike this nickname. Suetonius claims that Germanicus was poisoned in Syria by an agent of Tiberius, who viewed Germanicus as a political rival. After the death of his father, Caligula lived with his mother until her relations with Tiberius deteriorated. Tiberius would not allow Agrippina to remarry for fear her husband would be a rival. Agrippina and Caligula's brother, were banished in 29 AD on charges of treason; the adolescent Caligula was sent to live with his great-grandmother Livia. After her death, he was sent to live with his grandmother Antonia Minor. In 30 AD, his brother, Drusus Caesar, was imprisoned on charges of treason and his brother Nero died in exile from either starvation or suicide. Suetonius writes that after the banishment of his mother and brothers and his sisters were nothing more than prisoners of Tiberius under the close watch of soldiers. In 31 AD, Caligula was remanded to the personal care of Tiberius on Capri, where he lived for six years.
To the surprise of many, Caligula was spared by Tiberius. According to historians, Caligula was an excellent natural actor and, recognizing danger, hid all his resentment towards Tiberius. An observer said of Caligula, "Never was there a better servant or a worse master!"Caligula claimed to have planned to kill Tiberius with a dagger in order to avenge his mother and brother: however, having brought the weapon into Tiberius's bedroom he did not kill the Emperor but instead threw the dagger down on the floor. Tiberius knew of this but never dared to do anything about it. Suetonius claims that Caligula was cruel and vicious: he writes that, when Tiberius brought Caligula to Capri, his purpose was to allow Caligula to live in order that he "... prove the ruin of himself and of all men, that he was rearing a viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world."In 33 AD, Tiberius gave Caligula an honorary quaestorship, a position he held until his rise to emperor. Meanwhile, both Caligula's mother and his brother Drusus died in prison.
Caligula was married to Junia Claudilla, in 33, though she died in childbirth the following year. Caligula spent time befriending Naevius Sutorius Macro, an important ally. Macro spoke well of Caligula to Tiberius, attempting to quell any
Philip II (Roman Emperor)
Marcus Julius Philippus Severus known as Philippus II, Philip II and Philip the Younger was the son and heir of the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab by his wife Marcia Otacilia Severa. According to numismatic evidence, he had a sister called Julia Severa or Severina, whom the extant literary sources do not mention, a brother, Quintus Philippus Severus; when his father became emperor in 244, the younger Philip was appointed Caesar. In 247 he became consul, was elevated by his father to the rank of Augustus and co-ruler, his father was killed in battle by his successor Decius in 249. When news of this death reached Rome, Philip was murdered by the Praetorian Guard, he died in his mother's arms, aged twelve years. Media related to Philippus II at Wikimedia Commons roman-emperors.org ettuantiquities.com