Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

( Latin GORDIANUS.)

There were three Roman emperors of this name, who reigned between A.D. 237-44, and all of whom met with violent deaths.

The first, Marcus Antonius Africanus Gordianus, descended on the father's side from the Gracchi and on the mother's from Trajan, was chosen emperor in Africa in opposition to the usurper Maximin, and the choice was confirmed by the Senate. On account of his advanced age, his son was associated with him in the purple. Their reign lasted only thirty-six days, the son being slain in battle by Maximin's lieutenant, Capellianus, and the father putting an end to his own life (July, 237).

M. Antonius Gordianus Pius, the grandson of the elder and nephew of the younger Gordian, a boy of thirteen, was appointed to the dignity of Caesar under the joint-emperors Maximus and Balbinus. These latter were massacred in 238 by the Praetorian guards, and the youthful Gordian became sole emperor. After being for a time under the control of his mother's eunuchs, he married the daughter of Misitheus, his teacher of rhetoric. Misitheus proved to be a capable politician and general, and stirred up his young charge to march in person against the Persians. At first the expedition met with success, but the death of Misitheus put an end to Gordian's prosperity. His soldiers mutinied, at the instigation of Philip, the successor of Misitheus, and slew him (244).

Under the Gordians the Church enjoyed peace. Their rival, Maximin, had been a fierce persecutor of the Christians ; hence they naturally cultivated the goodwill of those who had every reason to oppose his rule.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter