Gordianus III, the thirteen-year old grandson of Gordianus I was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard after they had murdered Balbinus and Pupienus. He was very popular amongst the people and especially the Praetorians, who lifted him up on a shield to be cheered by the jubilant people of Rome. Gordian appointed the wise and good Timestheus as Praetorian Prefect. Under the counsel of Timestheus, Gordian ruled well and became quite popular. The Roman Empire had peace and stability during his reign, which was rare during the Third Century.
In 241, the Persian king Ardashir died, and his son Shapur immediately began making trouble for Rome by invading Syria. Shapur would later actually capture the Roman emperor Valerian in battle in A.D. 260. Gordianus and his army went to deal with Shapur a year later and won several victories in battle against the ruthless Persian. Timestheus died of an illness in 243 and Philip the Arab became Gordian's Praetorian Prefect in his place. Philip was not the loyal friend that Timesthius was, and had Gordian murdered on February 25, A.D. 244 while campaigning in the East with the army. Philip first took great pains to make the soldiers dislike Gordianus by bringing about a shortage of supplies and blaming it on Gordianus' inexperience.
To view coins bearing portraits of Gordianus III, Please visit the virtual galleries devoted to the Antoninianii of Gordian III, Military Standards on coins, and Copper Coins of the Roman Empire.
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