Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus

Male Abt 159 - 238  (~ 79 years)    Has 17 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus  
    Relationshipwith Francis Fox
    Born Abt 159 
    Gender Male 
    Died 12 Apr 238 
    Person ID I616294  Geneagraphie | Voorouders HW
    Last Modified 19 Mar 2010 

    Father Marcus Antonius,   b. Abt 135,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Semprosia Romana,   b. Abt 140,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F268547  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Fabia Orestilla,   b. Abt 165,   d. Bef 238  (Age ~ 73 years) 
    Children 
     1. Antonia Gordiana,   b. Abt 190,   d. Abt 241  (Age ~ 51 years)
     2. Marcus Antonius Gordianus,   b. Abt 192,   d. 12 Apr 238  (Age ~ 46 years)
    Last Modified 19 Mar 2010 
    Family ID F268429  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus
    Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus

  • Notes 
    • Gordian climbed the hierarchy until he entered the Roman Senate . His political career started relatively late in his life and probably his early years were spent in rhetoric and literary studies. As a military man, Gordian commanded the Legio IIII Scythica when the legion was stationed in Syria . He served as governor of Roman Britain in 216 and was a Suffect Consul in the reign of Elagabalus . Inscriptions in Roman Britain bearing his name were partially erased suggesting some form of imperial displeasure during this role.
      While he gained unbounded popularity by the magnificent games and shows he produced as aedile , his prudent and retired life did not excite the suspicion of Caracalla , in whose honour he wrote a long epic poem called Antoninias. Gordian certainly retained his wealth and political clout during the chaotic times of the Severan dynasty, which suggest his personal dislike for intrigue.

      During the reign of Alexander Severus , Gordian (who was by then in his late sixties) was made Consul in 223 and threw the lots to the dangerous honours of government in Africa in 238. In the middle of his promagistrate , Maximinus Thrax killed emperor Alexander Severus in Germania Inferior and assumed the throne.
      Maximinus was not a popular emperor and universal discontent roused by his oppressive rule culminated in a revolt in Africa in 238. Gordian yielded to the popular clamour and assumed both the purple and the cognomen Africanus on March 22 . According to Edward Gibbon:
      An iniquitous sentence had been pronounced against some opulent youths of [Africa], the execution of which would have stripped them of far the greater part of their patrimony. (…) A respite of three days, obtained with difficulty from the rapacious treasurer, was employed in collecting from their estates a great number of slaves and peasants blindly devoted to the commands of their lords, and armed with the rustic weapons of clubs and axes. The leaders of the conspiracy, as they were admitted to the audience of the procurator, stabbed him with the daggers concealed under their garments, and, by the assistance of their tumultuary train, seized on the little town of Thysdrus, and erected the standard of rebellion against the sovereign of the Roman empire. (...) Gordianus, their proconsul, and the object of their choice [as emperor], refused, with unfeigned reluctance, the dangerous honour, and begged with tears that they should suffer him to terminate in peace a long and innocent life, without staining his feeble age with civil blood. Their menaces compelled him to accept the Imperial purple, his only refuge indeed against the jealous cruelty of Maximin (...).
      In respect to his advanced age, he insisted that his son, Marcus Antonius Gordianus ( Gordian II ), be associated with him. A few days later, Gordian entered the city of Carthage with the overwhelming support of the population and local political leaders. Meanwhile in Rome, Maximinus' praetorian prefect was assassinated and the rebellion seemed to be successful. The senate confirmed the new emperor on 2 April and most of the provinces gladly sided with Gordian.
      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 stationed 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 took his own life by hanging himself with his belt. The Gordians had reigned only thirty-six days.

      Gordian had deserved his high reputation by his amiable character. Both he and his son were men reported to be fond of literature and achieved great accomplishments, publishing voluminous works. But they were rather intellectual voluptuaries than able statesmen or powerful rulers. Having embraced the cause of Gordian, the senate was obliged to continue the revolt against Maximinus, and appointed Pupienus and Balbinus , as joint emperors. Nevertheless, by the end of 238, the recognised emperor would be Gordian III , his grandson. Gordian and his son were deified by the Senate


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