Emperor Maximinus Thrax

maximus thraxBorn as Gaius Iulius Verus Maximinus in 173, he was the first emperor to never actually set foot in Rome and his rule marked the beginning of the “Crisis of the Third Century” .

Historical accounts state that he was reportedly 8ft 6 in tall and was incredibly strong. He joined the army during the reign of Septimius Severus but was not promoted to a powerful position until the reign of Alexander Severus. The legions elected him to take over Alexander’s rule and although the senate weren’t happy having a peasant as a ruler he was supported strongly by the praetorian guard.

He hated the nobility and suspected many of plotting against him, but as a result of this over-cautiousness he thwarted at least two plots against him.

After his first victory on the battlefield, he promoted his son Maximus to the rank of Caesar.

Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus was born in 178 and due to his previous military success, was able to ascend in the Roman hierarchical system.

During his political career he was a primus pilus or professional officer in the roman army, he then went on to become a military tribune, a praetor, was elected as consul twice and then became the governor of several Roman provinces.

In 234 he gained a reputation of severity while being a prefect but in 238 was elected co-emperor by the senate and defeated the vengeful ruler Maximinus but was assassinated 3 months later by the Praetorians.

During the reign of Maximinus Thrax, a governor of the province of Africa, Gordian I and his son Gordian II, took law into their own hands when murdering a corrupt government official who had initially caused a revolt in the region.

Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus was born in 159 and came from a very wealthy equestrian family but climbed the ranks until he entered the roman senate. His early years were spent in study and his political career did not start until later in his life.

During the rule of Maximinus a revolt began due to the overall unhappiness generated by his oppressive rule. Because of his age Gordian I sought assistance from his son Gordian II and together they entered the city of Carthage where the political leaders and population showed and overwhelming amount of support for them. The senate elected Gordian I as the new emperor and most of the provinces were quick to become allies with Gordian.

The governor of a neighboring province, Capelianus, was a strong supporter of Maximinus and fought the Battle of Carthage against Gordian’s legions to renew his alliance with Maximinus. Gordian II led his soldiers who were largely untrained onto the battlefield and was killed, upon hearing this Gordian I took his own life by hanging himself.

When Maximinus reached Rome the senate became extremely worried as they had shown such great support for the Gordian’s and were determined to defy him by electing two of their own (Pupienus and Balbinus) as co-emperors. 

The people of Rome were unhappy with this decision and Gordian III was elected Caesar in 238 after much fighting in the street. At the same time Maximinus was assassinated by his own guards.

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