People - Ancient Rome: Gordian II
Born Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus, he was Roman Emperor for one
month with his father Gordian I in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors.
Gordian II in Wikipedia
Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus (c. 192 – April 12, 238), commonly known as Gordian II, was Roman
Emperor for one month with his father Gordian I in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors.
Gordian's mother may be the granddaughter of Greek Sophist, consul and tutor Herodes Atticus. His younger sister was Antonia
Gordiana, who was the mother of Emperor Gordian III. The official history of the Roman emperors provides the only account of
Gordian's early career. Since his memory was cherished after his death, the information is questionable and remains unproven.
According to this source, Gordian served as quaestor in Elagabalus' reign and as praetor and consul suffect with Alexander
Severus as emperor. In 237, Gordian went to the Africa Roman province under his father's command as a governor.
Gordian II on a coin, celebrating his military prowess
Early in 235, emperor Alexander Severus and his mother Julia Avita Mamaea were assassinated by mutinous troops in Germania
Inferior. The leader of the rebellion, Maximinus Thrax, became emperor, despite his popular background and the disapproval of
the Roman Senate. Pushed by the local politicians, Gordian's father began a revolt against Maximinus in 238 and became
Augustus on March 22. Due to Gordian I's advanced age, the younger Gordian was attached to the imperial throne and acclaimed
Augustus too. Father and son saw their pretensions ratified both by the senate and most of the other provinces, due to
Opposition would come from the neighbouring province of Numidia. Capelianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of
Maximinus Thrax, renewed his alliance to the former emperor and invaded Africa province with the only legion stationing in
the region, III Augusta, and other veteran units. Gordian II, at the head of a militia army of untrained soldiers, lost the
Battle of Carthage and was killed, and Gordian I took his own life. This first rebellion against Maximinus Thrax was
unsuccessful but, by the end of 238, Gordian II's nephew would be recognised emperor by the whole Roman world as Gordian III.
Gordianus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
M. Antonius Africanus, son of Gordianus, was instructed by
Serenus Samonicus, who left him his library, which consisted
of 62,000 volumes. He was well informed, and wrote several
works, but was rather too fond of pleasure, which latter
circumstance seems to have recommended him to the favour of
the emperor Elagabalus. Alexander Severus advanced him
subsequently to the consulship. He afterwards passed into
Africa as lieutenant to his father, and, when the latter was
elevated to the throne, shared that dignity with him. But,
after a reign of not quite two months, he fell in battle, at
the age of forty-six, against Capellianus, a partisan of
Maximinus. (See Gordianus, 1.)
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