Gordian II

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Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus (c. 192 – April 12, 238), commonly known as Gordian II, was Roman Emperor for one month with his father Gordian I in 238, the Year of the Six Emperors. Seeking to overthrow the emperor Maximinus Thrax, he died in battle outside of Carthage.


Early Career

Born c. 192, Gordian II was the only known son of Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus the Elder. His family were of Equestrian rank, who were modest and very wealthy.[3] Gordian was said to be related to prominent senators.[4] His praenomen and nomen Marcus Antonius suggest that his paternal ancestors received Roman citizenship under the Triumvir Mark Antony, or one of his daughters, during the late Roman Republic.[4] Gordian’s cognomen ‘Gordianus’ suggests that his family origins were from Anatolia, especially Galatia and Cappadocia.[5]

According to the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta, his mother was a Roman woman called Fabia Orestilla,[2] born circa 165, who the Augustan History claims was a descendant of Roman Emperors Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius through her father Fulvus Antoninus.[2] Modern historians have dismissed this name and her information as false.[6] There is some evidence to suggest that Gordian's mother may have been the granddaughter of Greek Sophist, consul and tutor Herodes Atticus.[7] His younger sister was Antonia Gordiana, who was the mother of Emperor Gordian III.

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