Monday, April 09, 2012

The Stunning Defeat of Maximinus the Giant

Our chronology of the empire now skips forward to 235 A.D. and we pass over Macrinius, Elagabalus, and Severus Alexander in the process.
Macrinius, assassin of Caracalla, reigned for a year. His lack of military success against the Parthians caused dissatisfaction among the troops and that combined with his lack of pedigree caused the army to embrace the 14 year old grandson of the sister of Caracalla's mother as emperor. His mother had put it out that he was Caracalla's son. The boy called himself Elagabalus, the hereditary priest of the Oriental sun god and his behavior set new Roman standards for the bizarre and unconventional, recalling Caligula. Once his handlers divined where things were headed, they forced him to adopt his 13 year old cousin as backup. The boys quickly became rivals leading to Elagabalus order that Severus Alexander be put to death. No one would obey the order. He sought to punish the disobedient, but they killed him instead. Alexander ascended to the throne and reigned for 13 years before his youth and lack of fortitude convinced the army a change was needed. Maximinus was declared emperor by the troops and Alexander was killed.