Pupienus Last Coin ------------------ Next Coin Gordian III & Tranquillina

Roman Empire

Ruler: Gordian III as Augustus
Reigned: Caesar 238 AD: Augustus 238-244 AD
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 240 AD*
Obverse: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. "IMP. GORDIANVS PIVS FEL. AVG."
Reverse: Diana standing right, holding lighted torch in both hands. "DIANA LVCIFERA"
Reference: RIC 127, RCVM 8673, RSC 69
Weight: 3.2 gms
Diameter: 19.3 mm
Comment: *The date of 241-242 given in RIC and RCVM is incorrect and the idea that this issue celebrated the marriage of Gordian and Tranquillina is also incorrect.

This issue was one of the last of the traditional silver Denarius that had first been issued c. 211 BC.

GORDIAN III (M. Antonius Gordianus)

  • Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. He was made Caesar by Pupienus and Balbinus and was only 13 years old when the murder of the two Augustii in May 238 left him as sole emperor.
  • Main power rested with Gaius Furius Sabinius Aquila Timesitheus, whom Gordian appointed commander of the praetorian guard.
  • Early in 241, Gordian married his daughter, Furia Sabinia Tranquillina.
  • In 240, Marcus Asinius Sabinianus, governor of Africa, had himself proclaimed emperor at Carthage, but the rebellion was suppressed by the governor of neighbouring Mauretania.
  • Also in 240 the Persians under Shapur I succeeded in capturing the desert city of Hatra
  • In 241 Timesitheus made arrangements for an expedition, first against the Goths on the Danube and then against Shapur.
  • In 243 they defeated the Persians at Rhesaina in northern Mesopotamia and regained control of Carrhae and Nisibis.
  • During the campaign, Timesitheus fell ill and died and was replaced as praetorian commander by Marcus Julius Philippus, known as Philip the Arab.
  • Philip stirred up trouble against the emperor and at a camp near Circesium he called upon the soldiers to choose between himself and Philip.They voted for Philip and Gordian was killed.
  • Philip I was now emperor.

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