Gordian I.

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Bust of Gordian in the Capitoline Museums
Sestertius of Gordian with his nickname AFR , Africanus .

Gordian I. (* around 159; † 20 January 238 ) was in January 238 for 20 days with his son Gordian II as co-regent of the Roman emperor .


Little is known of the early life of Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus, as he was called by all his nicknames. The family probably came from Asia Minor , from Phrygia , Galatia or Cappadocia in what is now Anatolia . His parents were supposedly Maecius Marullus and Ulpia Gordiana. In addition to Gordian II, Gordian had at least one other child, the daughter Maecia Faustina , mother of the future emperor Gordian III .

Gordian was already 80 years old when he was proclaimed emperor by the Senate - allegedly against his will - after a revolt by the large landowners in North Africa , as the latter feared their expropriation by Emperor Maximinus Thrax . At the same time Maximinus, who ruled the Roman Empire as a soldier emperor from Sirmium near today's Belgrade and had denied the Senate any say, was declared an enemy of the state.

However, Capelianus , the governor of Numidia , was loyal to Maximinus Thrax and easily defeated Gordian II, who had no military experience. As Gordian I learned of the death of his son, he committed the same day suicide . Thereupon Pupienus and Balbinus were installed by the Senate as emperors of equal rank and Gordian's only 13-year-old grandson Gordian III. appointed co-regent and declared successor.


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predecessor Office successor
Maximinus Thrax Roman Emperor 238 (with Gordian II. )
(with Gordian II. )
Pupienus and Balbinus