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Romans Crisis Third Century

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Crisis of the Third Century

The Crisis of the Third Century is the event in ancient Rome, which led to the collapse of the Principate. During this crisis, a group of soldiers gained the highest positions in the empire, they were known as the Barracks Emperors. This process led to the deterioration of what was previously known as an imperial government system. While the Emperors had maintained some forms of a republic under the Principate, the Crisis of the Thrid Century had an adverse effect on this. This crisis ended when Diocletian came to power, he was responsible for creating the period that came to be known as the Dominate.

The nomination of Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus to the status of Emperor was the beginning of this crisis. While the previous Emperors had all come from distinguished families, Maximinius had been born to a family that was a part of the lower classes. He started off his career as a soldier, and ironically enough, he never visited the city of Rome during the time that he was Emperor. The Senate tried hard to oppose him throughout his reign, and they backed a number of men to displace him. Another man who gained the title of emperor during this crisis was Maximinius Thrax. He was given the title of emperor after he had successfully put an end to a rebellion that occurred in what is today Tunisia.

His son also served in high consular positions within his government. Once Maximinius Thrax had gained the throne, the Senate immediately responded by backing two more men to become co-emperors, these were Pupienus and Balbinus. The Senate was successful in having Maximinius Thrax removed: He was killed by his own men after only being emperor for a short period of time. One dynasty that played an important part of this crisis was the Gordianan dynasty. The Gordianan dynasty started when Gordian III gained the throne. Some historians have described this dynast as being a quasi-dynasty, since they were not able to overthrow Maximinius.

The instability continued throughout this dynasty and afterwards. Philip the Arab became emperor, this was the second time a prefect of the Praetorian Guard displaced the emperor above him. Philip the Arab was the first Roman emperor in history to be killed in battle, and this was a result of a battle he had with the Goths. After his death, Aemilianus became emperor of Rome, he originated in Tunisia. Another dynasty that appeared during this time is the Valerianan dynasty. Though it did not last long, the members of this family were patricians.

Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris

Updated On:
22/07/2008



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