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    Gordian II Africanus (AD 238). AR denarius (2.98 gm). Rome, March-April AD 238. IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian II right / VIRTVS AVGG, Virtus standing left, resting hand on grounded shield and holding inverted spear. RIC 3. BMC 30. RSC 14. Toned. Extremely fine.

    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.

    From The W.B. and R. E. Montgomery Collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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