Skip to content

Gordian I – 238 AD

Spread the love

Marcus Antonius Gordianus

Gordian I Musei Capitolini MC475.jpg

Gordian I Africanus

238 AD

Marcus Antonius Gordianus was born about 157 AD. During the reign of Maximinus I, the heavy taxation imposed both on the rich and the poor soon made this emperor deeply hated both in Rome and the provinces. The inevitable rebellion came in Africa. In 238 AD, the troops of Africa convinced the 81-year-old Gordian I, who was proconsul in Africa at the time, to accept the office of emperor. Gordian finally accepted on March 22nd of that year and then raised his son, Gordian II, to be joint-emperor, and a request was sent to the Senate of Rome for recognition.

Gordian was quite distinguished and noted for his intellect and character. For this reason, the Senate of Rome granted the petition and confirmed Gordian as the new emperor, and Maximinus was declared a public enemy. However, even before the news had reached Carthage, Capellianus, the governor of Numidia, marched upon Carthage. Gordian II was unprepared and was killed in the battle. Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Gordian committed suicide after a reign of only twenty-one days on April 12th, 238 AD.

Monetary System

gord1 d

Mints: Rome

Obverse Legends:



Gordian I Denominations Ar Denarius AE Sestertius

AU Aureus (6.54 grams)(Very Rare)
AR Denarius (3.54 grms)
Æ Sestertius


Gordian I AE Egypt


Æ Tetradrachm (Egypt)

Gordian I Ar Denarius Die

This is one of just a few genuine Roman imperial dies ever to have been discovered. This is an obverse die (punch)  on an iron cylinder which is typical, The diameter is 31 mm with the die of Gordian I with the legend IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG with a laurel portrait with the die being 16 mm in diameter. This is the standard observer for RIC 1-6 of the Gordian issues. It is in exceptional condition, most likely due to the fact that Gordian did not survive very long.

Monetary History of the World
by Martin A. Armstrong
© Princeton Economic Institute