Roman Empire, Philip I. Arabs, 246, AR Antoninianus
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Rs.Felicitas with caduceus and cornucopia
Marcus Iulius Philippus (known as Philippus Arabs "Philip the Arab") c. *204 in Shahba; † 249 near Verona).
He was Roman Emperor from 244 to 249 and is considered the first Roman Emperor to come from Arabia.
Philip was born in the city of Shahba, which he later refounded as Philippopolis (province of Arabia), in the countryside of Trachonitis in present-day Syria. He probably came from a family with Arab roots. Despite his relatively humble origins, he rose quickly in the Roman professional army and made it to praetorian prefect under Gordian III.
He married Marcia Otacilia Severa while he was still an officer in the cavalry under Gordian.
After the death of Gordian III, Philip had himself proclaimed emperor by the army in 244. The Roman Senate of necessity confirmed the decision of the troops and formally granted Philippus the powers of a princeps.
Immediately after taking office, he concluded or "bought" peace with the Sassanids.
Shapur I, however, clearly saw himself as the victor. In fact, the peace was clearly more advantageous for the Sassanids than for Rome. However, this did not stop Philip from being celebrated on coins as the Persian victor.
Even though he is traditionally counted among the soldier emperors, Philip was clearly in the tradition of the Severans and could certainly give the empire a certain stability:
At least for his time, it is not yet possible to speak of a general crisis of the empire. In 248, the thousandth anniversary of the city of Rome was celebrated under his reign. For this occasion, coins were minted with the portrait of Philippus Arabs or that of his wife or son Philippus Caesar on the obverse and various motifs and the circumscription SAECVLARES AVGG (secular celebration means a celebration marking the end of an old age and the beginning of a new one). on the reverse. The letters AVGG with two Gs indicate that these coins were minted in the name of both emperors, i.e. Philippus Arabs and his son.
The religious celebrations lasted for days and were accompanied by extremely elaborate gladiator fights, chariot races and animal fights. In order to be able to celebrate the great event in a fitting manner, the people of Rome received generous gifts of money from the emperor. The beginning of a new age was propagated, with a dynasty founded by Philip at its head.
During a very bloody decisive battle near Verona between the still senator Decius and Philippus Arabs, the latter died on the battlefield in 249.