Macrinus

Reece Period attributed: Period 10

Obverse image of a coin of Macrinus

Member of the The Severans dynasty.

Coins for this issuer were issued from 217 until 218.

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was born in AD 164 in Mauretania. His Moorish features stood out, but moreso his humble origins—he was the first Roman emperor who was not a senator.

Plautianus, commander of the Praetorian Guard under Severus, appointed Macrinus his steward. In 212 Macrinus became Praetorian Prefect himself, and served under Caracalla in the east. It is unclear whether he aspired to become emperor, but after the assassination of Caracalla, no clear successor emerged. After three days, Macrinus sought the affirmation of the troops.

Macrinus soon fell out with Julia Domna, Severus’ widow. The troops also grew distrustful after Macrinus made a huge monetary settlement with the Parthians, which they viewed as disgraceful to Roman valour. He also began removing some of the troops’ privileges.

The soldiers shifted their allegiance to fourteen-year-old Varius Avitus (eventually Elagabalus), whom they believed to be an illegitimate son of Caracalla. Macrinus saw his power slipping and fled to Rome, but was captured and executed in Cappadocia.

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Record: BERK-8652FE
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper ally Roman denarius of Macrinus (…
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Record: PUBLIC-781F2D
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A silver Roman denarius of Macrinus (AD 21…
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Record: SUR-40FB3D
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper alloy as of Macrinus dating to t…
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Record: PUBLIC-66D674
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: ROMAN
Description: A copper alloy contemporary copy of a den…
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Information from Wikipedia

  • Preferred label: Macrinus
  • Full names:
    • (from birth to accession);
    • Marcus Opellius Macrinus
    • Caesar Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus (as emperor)
    • Macrinus
  • Title: Consul of the Roman Empire
  • Predecessor: Caracalla
  • Successor: Elagabalus
  • Definition: Macrinus (Latin: Marcus Opellius Severus Macrinus Augustus; c. 165 – June 218), was Roman Emperor from April 217 to 8 June 218. He reigned jointly with his young son Diadumenianus. Macrinus was by origin a Berber from Mauretania Caesariensis. He became the first emperor who did not hail from the senatorial class—he was a member of the equestrian class—and was the first emperor of Mauretanian descent. Before becoming emperor, Macrinus served under Emperor Caracalla as a praetorian prefect and dealt with Rome's civil affairs. He later conspired against Caracalla and had him murdered in a bid to protect his own life, succeeding him as emperor. Macrinus was proclaimed emperor of Rome by 11 April 217, while in the eastern provinces of the empire, and was subsequently confirmed as such by the Senate; however, for the duration of his reign he never had the opportunity to return to Rome. His predecessor's policies had left Rome's coffers empty and the empire at war with several kingdoms, including Parthia, Armenia and Dacia. As emperor, Macrinus first attempted to enact reform to bring economic and diplomatic stability to Rome. While Macrinus' diplomatic actions brought about peace with each of the individual kingdoms, the additional monetary costs and subsequent fiscal reforms generated unrest in the Roman military. Julia Maesa, taking advantage of the unrest, instigated a rebellion to have her fourteen-year-old grandson, Elagabalus, recognized as emperor. Macrinus was overthrown at the Battle of Antioch on 8 June 218 and Elagabalus proclaimed himself emperor with support from the rebelling Roman legions. Macrinus fled the battlefield and headed for Rome, but was captured in Chaceldon and later executed in Cappadocia. He sent his son to the care of Artabanus V of Parthia, but Diadumenianus was also captured and executed. After Macrinus' death the Senate declared him and his son enemies of Rome and had their names struck from the records and their images destroyed.
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    • List of Roman Emperors
    • Consul of the Roman Empire
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