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Macrinus
as Augustus  AD 217 - 218 (11 April AD 217 - 8 June 218)

Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus (earlier Marcus Opellius Macrinus) (AD 164 - 218), Father of Diadumenian.

AD 217 - 218 - sole reign
AD 218 - co-Emperor with Diadumenian

Marcus Oellius Macrinus was born to a poor family in Mauretania and began his career as a gladiator. After holding down several other odd jobs he studied law and came to the attention of highly placed officials. They recommended him to Caracalla, who appointed him to the praetorian prefecture in 212; in 217 Macrinus became a consul. While on campaign in Mesopotamia during the same year he got wind that Caracalla had been warned about him and to forestall action on the latter’s part, he caused his assassination. The soldiers then hailed him as emperor and he accepted, and to placate the troops, deified Caracalla right away. The Senate, quite displeased with the late emperor, duly confirmed him. In the meantime, however, Macrinus’ prestige in the army declined after a series of missteps. Armenia was practically lost after he granted its crown to Tiridates II, and he failed to check the advance of the Parthian monarch Artabanus V in Mesopotamia. Lowering the pay rate for new army recruits did not help either. The situation was used by Julia Maesa, the sister of Septimius Severus’s late wife Julia Doman, who had her grandson Varius Bassianus, also known as Elagabalus, proclaimed emperor in may 218. The forces sent to put down the revolt chose to murder their commander, the praetorian prefect Ulpius Julianus, and went over to Elagabalus. Moving his headquarters to Apamea, province of Second Syria, Macrinus offered battle, during which a whole legion deserted him. Hard pressed, Macrinus retreated to Antioch, where he hoped to regroup, but his opponents did not give him a chance. He suffered a crushing defeat near Antioch and had to flee west in disguise. A centurion recognized him just before he crossed over to Europe in Chalcedon, however, and he was promptly arrested, brought back to Antioch, and executed.

Mints: Constantinopolis, Cyzicus, Mediolanum, Nicomedia, Rome, Thessalonica.

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