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 Philip I the Arab Roman Emperor 244-249AD Biography Authentic Ancient Coins

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He was a Roman Emperor from 244 to 249.

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Marcus Julius Philippus or Philippus I Arabs (c. 204–249), known in English as Philip the Arab or formerly (prior to World War II) in English as Philip the Arabian, was a Roman Emperor from 244 to 249.Bust of emperor Philippus Arabus - Hermitage Museum.jpg

Shahba, about 55 miles southeast of Damascus, in the Roman province of Syria. Philip has the nickname "the Arab" because he had family who had originated in the Arabian peninsula, believed to be distant descendants of the prestigious Baleed family of Aleppo. Philip was the son of a Julius Marinus, a local Roman citizen, possibly of some importance. Many historians[1][2][3] agree that he was of Arab descent who gained Roman citizenship through his father, a man of considerable influence. Many citizens from the provinces took Roman names upon acquiring citizenship. This makes tracing his Arabic blood line difficult. However, it is documented that Rome used the Ghassan tribe from the Azd of f Yemen as vassals to keep the neighboring northern Arabs in check.

The name of Philip's mother is unknown, but sources refer to a brother, Gaius Julius Priscus, a member of the Praetorian guard under Gordian III (238–244). In 234, Philip married Marcia Otacilia Severa, daughter of a Roman Governor. They had two children: a son named Marcus Julius Philippus Severus (Philippus II) in 238 and according to numismatic evidence they had a daughter called Julia Severa or Severina, whom the ancient Roman sources don't mention.

Philip became a member of the Pretorian Guard during the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus, who was a Syrian. In ancient Rome the Pretorian Guard was closely associated with the emperor, serving among other things as the emperor's bodyguard.

 Political career

In 243, during Gordian III's campaign against Shapur I of Persia, the Praetorian prefect Timesitheus died under unclear circumstances. At the suggestion of his brother Priscus, Philip became the new Praetorian prefect, with the intention that the two brothers would control the young Emperor and rule the Roman world as unofficial regents. Following a military defeat, Gordian III died in 244 under circumstances that are still debated. While some claim that Philip conspired in his murder, other accounts (including one coming from the Persian point of view) state that Gordian died in battle. Whatever the case, Philip assumed the purple following Gordian's death. According to Edward Gibbon:

His rise from so obscure a station to the first dignities of the empire seems to prove that he was a bold and able leader. But his boldness prompted him to aspire to the throne, and his abilities were employed to supplant, not to serve, his indulgent master.

Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, and was aware that he had to return to Rome in order to secure his position with the senate. He thus travelled west, after concluding a peace treaty with Shapur I, and left his brother Priscus as extraordinary ruler of the Eastern provinces. In Rome he was confirmed Augustus, and nominated his young son Caesar and heir.

Philip's rule started with yet another Germanic incursion on the provinces of Pannonia and the Goths invaded Moesia (modern-day Serbia and Bulgaria) in the Danube frontier. They were finally defeated in the year 248, but the legions Tiberius Claudius Pacatianus was proclaimed emperor by the troops. The uprising was crushed and Philip nominated Gaius Messius Quintus Decius as governor of the province. Future events would prove this to be a mistake. Pacatianus' revolt was not the only threat to his rule: in the East, Marcus Jotapianus led another uprising in response to the oppressive rule of Priscus and the excessive taxation of the Eastern provinces. Two other usurpers, Marcus Silbannacus and Sponsianus, are reported to have started rebellions without much success.

In April A.D. 248 (April 1000 A.U.C.), Philip had the honour of leading the celebrations of the one thousandth birthday of Rome, which according to tradition was founded in 753 BC by Romulus. He combined the anniversary with the celebration of Rome's alleged tenth saeculum. According to contemporary accounts, the festivities were magnificent and included spectacular games, ludi saeculares, and theatrical presentations throughout the city. In the coliseum, more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. The events were also celebrated in literature, with several publications, including Asinius Quadratus's History of a Thousand Yearss, specially prepared for the anniversary.

Despite the festive atmosphere, discontent in the legions was growing. Decius Verona that summer. Decius won the battle and Philip was killed sometime in September 249, either in the fighting or assassinated by his own soldiers who were eager to please the new ruler. Philip's eleven-year-old son and heir may have been killed with his father and Priscus disappeared without a trace.

 Religious beliefs

Some later traditions, first mentioned in the historian Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, held that Philip was the first Christian Roman emperor. This tradition seems to be based on reports in Eusebius that Philip allegedly had once entered a Christian service on Easter, after having been required by a bishop to confess his sins. Later versions located this event in Antioch.

state religion. Critics ascribe Eusebius' claim as probably due to the tolerance Philip showed towards Christians. Saint Quirinus of Rome was, according to a legendary account, the son of Philip the Arab.

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