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    21-Day Co-ruler II

    Gordian II Africanus (AD 238). AR denarius (20mm, 2.69 gm, 7h). NGC MS★ 5/5 - 5/5. Rome, March-April AD 238. IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian II right, seen from behind / VIRTVS AVGG, Virtus standing facing, head left, resting right hand on grounded shield, inverted spear in left. RIC IV.II 3. Crisply struck excellent portrait on excellent flan.

    Together with his father, Gordian I, Gordian II holds the record for the shortest reign by any "legitimate" Roman emperor-- a mere 21 days. Their joint reign began as a provincial revolt in March of AD 238 against the tyranny of Maximinus I Thrax, a brutish soldier who persecuted the Roman upper classes with crushing taxation. The 80-year-old Gordian I was then governor of Africa, and his son was serving as his lieutenant. When a group of African nobles rebelled and murdered the tax agent sent by Maximinus, they hailed the elder Gordian as emperor, an honor he accepted only reluctantly and on condition that his more vigorous son be named as well. Laureled dispatches were sent to Rome, where the Senate enthusiastically embraced and legitimized the revolt by affirming the Gordians as co-emperors, granting them both the agnomen Africanus. Maximinus, then on campaign in Germany, marshaled his army and prepared to march on Rome while the Senate made ready to defend Italy against his vengeance. But back in Africa, things took a disastrous turn for the Gordians. The governor of nearby Mauritania remained loyal to Maximinus and sent an army to destroy to the rebels, who could respond only by raising an ill-trained rabble. Gordian II died in the fighting outside the walls of Carthage, and his father hung himself when the news reached him. Still, the Senatorial revolt sparked by the Gordians eventually succeeded in toppling Maximinus and proved the Roman aristocratic class was not yet a spent force.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2019
    25th-29th Thursday-Monday
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