- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
Guidelines
How to
zoom.asp
Index Of All Titles


BEST OF

AEQVITI
Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Aphlaston
Armenian Numismatics Page
Brockage
Byzantine
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
Carausius
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Codewords
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denomination
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Draco
Edict on Prices
ERIC
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
EQVITI
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Fibula
Flavian
Fourree
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmoneans
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Koson
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Monogram
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
romancoin.info
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Scarabs
Serdi Celts
Serrated
Siglos
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Vabalathus
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite
XXI

   View Menu
 

Pupienus

Reigned: 238 A.D.

Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus was born about 164 to a family of unknown origins. He married Quintia Crispilla and had a daughter named Sextia Cethegilla. He held at least two governorships, of Bithynia and Germany. He was twice a consul (probably in 217 and 234) and sometime in the mid-230's became Praefect of Rome. The fateful year 238 found him a member of the Senate.

Maximinus I had come to the throne in 235 by the murder of the gentle Severus Alexander, but had never visited Rome after seizing the throne. His crude barbarian ways made him much more at home on the frontiers, and he despised the aristocracy. The Senate, although it had helplessly affirmed Maximinus' elevation, chafed under the heel of the huge barbarian. A rebellion in Africa, initially against oppressive taxation, gained respectability when the aged patrician Gordian I accepted the rebels' acclamation as Augustus (March 19, 238). Once proclaimed, he realized that his only hope of survival was in spreading the rebellion, and he played upon the hatred between Maximinus and the Senate. He and his son of the same name (see GORDIAN II) immediately went to Carthage and dispatched a delegation to Rome asking for the Senate's support. The Senate, mostly composed of friends of the Gordians, was overjoyed at the chance to be rid of Maximinus. On April 2, 238 the Senate confirmed them as co-Augusti (giving them the titles 'AFRICANVS'), deified Severus Alexander, declared Maximinus and his son Maximus to be public enemies, and organized a committee of twenty Senators to oversee the defense of Italy. Pupienus was chosen to be one of the twenty. Although both Gordians were given the title of Augustus, only the senior Gordianus was given the title of 'Pontifex Maximus', implying superiority. The delegation also secured the assassination of Vitalianus, the Praetorian Praefect who had unswerving loyalty to the war-like Maximinus, and would have posed a threat to the security of the Senate itself.

However, in Africa events were moving swiftly, as Capellianus, the Governor of Numidia, had a personal grudge against Gordian I (it seems that he had sued Capellianus over some matter.) and moved quickly to crush the revolt. He moved his III Augusta legion and auxiliaries against the Gordians in Carthage. The younger Gordian tried to organize the few regular troops at Carthage and the enthusiastic citizenry into a fighting force, but they were completely overwhelmed by the disciplined legion of Capellianus just outside of Carthage. The younger Gordian was believed slain in the battle (although his body was never found), and his eighty-year-old father, who awaited the outcome of the battle in Carthage, committed suicide by hanging immediately afterward (April 12, 238).

When word reached Rome of the disaster in Africa, the Senators at first re-acted with a stunned disbelief, but finally a senator descended from Trajan proposed that the Senate should nominate two men to replace the deceased Gordians, one to direct military defense and the other to direct the civil administration. He further proposed Pupienus and Balbinus, respectively. Both men were well qualified and respected and the proposal was unanimously carried. For the first time in Roman history, both Emperors were theoretically equal in rank, both having been given Tribunicial powers, proclaimed Fathers of their Country, and sharing the title of 'Pontifex Maximus'.

The Senate had barely finished congratulating itself when the populace violently demanded that a descendent of the Gordians should also share the throne. To appease the crowd, the thirteen-year-old grandson of Gordian I (and nephew of Gordian II), Marcus Antonius Gordianus (see GORDIAN III), was put forth and duly invested with the title of Caesar. The two co-Augusti vigorously set to their appointed tasks, with Balbinus taking charge of the civil administration in Rome while Pupienus with some Praetorians rode north to Ravenna to organize resistance to the onslaught of Maximinus, who had been at Sirmium when news of the revolt arrived.

Trouble soon developed in Rome however when two Praetorians were discovered in the Senate-house and summarily murdered by the distrustful senators. The Praetorians were still unsettled by the murder of their Praefect Vitalianus and, like nearly all soldiers, tended to favor the crude, war-like Maximinus over the refined senators. Having murdered the two 'spies', the senators rashly called upon the people (and bands of gladiators!) to fall upon the Praetorians. The Praetorians retreated to their fortified camp and there ensued many days of raids and counter-raids, carnage, fires and general destruction before both sides were exhausted and a truce of sorts enacted.

Meanwhile in the north things had gone very well for the senatorial party because Maximinus and his son Maximus were both murdered by their own men while besieging Aquileia (May 10, 238). Pupienus had only to accept the heads of the former rulers, and return to Rome with his troops, by now mingled with some of the former soldiers of Maximinus.

Although the triumphant entry to Rome went well enough, unfortunately the mixture of the still sullen Praetorians with the former troops of Maximinus proved to be a fatal combination for Balbinus and Pupienus, who had begun to regard each other with suspicion. Balbinus for his part had certainly suffered a loss of prestige from the riots at Rome, while Pupienus enjoyed popular acclaim from the success of the military (although Balbinus probably reminded everyone that Pupienus really had little to do with it). Pupienus surrounded himself with a large German guard, and, while suspicion grew, they were able at least to agree upon a plan to combat the Empire's foreign enemies: Balbinus would campaign against the Goths, while Pupienus would attack the Sassanians.

The Praetorian resentment against the 'Rulers of the Senate' was still simmering, and they were afraid that they might actually be disbanded and replaced with the German favorites of Pupienus. The Praetorians finally swung into action one evening while the Capitoline Games were being celebrated, making their way to the Palace. Balbinus was afraid to let the German bodyguard be called, fearful of treachery by Pupienus. The Praetorians accordingly entered the Palace, seized both Emperors, stripped them and drug them out into the streets. The faithful German guards finally became aware of what was happening, and rushed to the rescue. At the approach of the Germans, however, the Praetorians murdered both Balbinus and Pupienus (July 29, 238) and left their naked bodies lying in the streets.

Average well preserved denarius weight 3.05 grams. Average well preserved antoninianus weight 4.64 grams.


DICTIONARY OF ROMAN COINS





Please help us convert the Dictionary of Roman Coins from scans to text by typing the original text here. Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
All coins are guaranteed for eternity