GORDIAN I AFRICANUS (M. Antonius Gordianus)
GORDIAN II AFRICANUS (M. Antonius Gordianus)
- The emperor Maximinus I had subdued the Rhine and Danube frontiers, but these military operations were expensive and unpopular for those that had to pay for them.
- In January 238 at Thysdrus in Africa Proconsularis, a province of North Africa, a group of aristocrats killed the pro-Maximinus fiscal procurator and declared the governor of the province, the 80 year old Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus (Gordian I), and his 46 year old son, (Gordian II), Augustii.
- When Maximinus, who was at Sirmium (near Belgrade), heard the news he at once assembled an army and advanced on Rome.
- Meanwhile, Capellianus the governor of Numidia, bordering Africa Proconsularis, marched on Carthage, where the younger Gordian was killed. When his father heard the news he hanged himself, after just 20 days in power.
- As the Senate had supported the Gordians, it was now in danger from Maximinus. They therefore elected two of their number, Pupienus and Balbinus, as joint rulers.
- Because this was not popular with the citizens of Rome, the Senate also chose the 13 year old grandson of Gordian I (Gordian III) as caesar.
- Maximinus, having reached Italy, found the gates of the city of Aquileia closed to him.
- He beseiged the city, but his own soldiers were plotting against him. Some of his own solders from the Legion 'Parthica' and some from the praetorian guard, from Rome, forced their way into his tent and killed him. Also killed was his 23 year-old son, Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, who had been raised to the rank of Caesar two years before.
- The assassins took the heads of Maximinus and his son to Ravenna, where Pupienus was mustering troops, and then to Rome.
- Pupienus disbanded the forces of both sides and he returned to Rome.
- The two emperors, Balbinus and Pupienus had begun to fall out. At the beginning of May 238, a group of praetorians rushed the palace, seized the two of them, and dragged them naked through the streets of Rome, and finally murdered in the praetorian camp.They had reigned a 99 days.
- The praetorians proclaimed Gordian III emperor of Rome.