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Gordian III and Philip the Arab (Hardback)

The Roman Empire at a Crossroads

Ancient History Military Biographies Rome Biographies Military

By Ilkka Syvanne
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 75 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526786753
Published: 28th February 2021

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This is a dual biography of the emperors Marcus Antonius Gordianus (‘Gordian III’, reigned 238-244) and Marcus Julius Philippus Augustus (‘Philip the Arab’, reigned 244-249), focusing mainly on the political and military events during this crucial stage of the ‘Third Century Crisis’. The tumultuous 'Year of the Six Emperors' saw Gordian raised to the purple at just thirteen years of age, becoming the youngest emperor in the Empire’s history at a time when the borders were threatened by the powerful Sassanid Persians and the Goths, among others. Gordian died on a campaign against the Persians, either in battle or possibly murdered by his own men.

Philip, succeeded Gordian, made peace with Shapur I and returned to Italy. His reign encompassed the spectacular celebration of Rome’s millennium in 248 but the wars in the Balkans and East together with crippling taxation led to mutinies and rebellions. Philip and his brother had until then fought successfully against the Persians and others but this did not save Philip, who was killed by a usurper’s forces at the Battle of Verona in 249. He had been Rome’s first Christian emperor and the author considers why it was fifty years before she had another.

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About Ilkka Syvanne

Dr. Ilkka Syvänne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from the University of Tampere in his native Finland. Since then he has written extensively about ancient and medieval warfare and his publications include: The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636 (Tampere UP 2004), The Reign of Gallienus (Pen & Sword, 2019), the multivolume Military History of Late Rome published by Pen & Sword and the critically acclaimed Caracalla. A Military Biography also published by Pen & Sword. He is the co-author with Professor Katarzyna Maksymiuk of the Military History of Third Century Iran (Siedlce UP, 2018) and the Military History of Fifth Century Iran (Siedlce UP, 2019). He was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies from 2007 until 2016. He has been an Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa since 2016. He lives in Kangasala, Finland.

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