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Gordian II
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign 22 March - 12 April 238 (with Gordian, and in revolt against Maximinus Thrax)
Full name Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus (from birth to accession);
Caesar Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus Augustus (as emperor)
Born c. 192
Died 12 April 238 (aged 46)
Place of death Carthage
Predecessor Alexander Severus
Successor Pupienus and Balbinus
Consort to None
Dynasty Gordianan
Father Gordian
Mother Unknown
Year of the Six Emperors - 238
Maximinus Thrax
Gordian I and
Gordian II
Pupienus and Balbinus, nominally with Gordian III
Gordian III

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus (c. 192 – April 12, 238), known in English as Gordian II, was Roman Emperor during the year 238.

Gordian was the son of Emperor Gordian I. 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 Maximinus' unpopularity.

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.

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Maximinus Thrax
Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Gordian I
Succeeded by
Pupienus and Balbinus


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