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Gordian I
as Co-emperor with Gordian II  AD 238

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus "Africanus".
Father of Gordian II;
Grandfather of Gordian III.

Marcus Antonius Gordianus was born to a wealthy family that claimed relationship with Trajan. After slowly going through the standard cursus honorum of offices and provincial governorships he reached consulship in his sixties and held what was supposed to be his last office, the governorship of Africa, already in his early eighties. At that point, oppressive taxation incited African nobles to revolt and as exit strategy against inevitable reprisals, proclaim Gordian rival emperor. In March 238 Gordian entered the provincial capital, Carthage, in the purple, accompanied by his son of the same name, whom he had appointed a joint emperor. An embassy to Rome quickly gained the approval of the Senate and most of the western provinces. However, in the meantime in Africa the Gordians ran into trouble with Capellianus, the governor of the nearby province of Numidia. Capellianus led his troops against Carthage and won a decisive battle. The young Gordian was killed in the encounter and his father hanged himself. They have been emperors for less than a month.

Mints: Rome.

List all Gordian I coins in the Catalog.

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