Philip the Arabian, Roman Emperor



Marcus Julius Philipus (204-249) was Emperor of Rome  from 244 to 249 CE. Better known as Philip the Arabian, he was born in what is now Syria. The Roman empire then included much of what is now called the Middle East, including Egypt, and what are now Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and a little of what are now Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 

Rome, a superpower, often fought another superpower, the Persian Empire, an empire ruling the rest of what is now the Middle East. During a military campaign against the Persians, Roman Emperor Gordian III was killed in a mutiny. Philip, a high-level official was proclaimed Emperor by his soldiers (some historians think that Philip had Gordian murdered). 

Philip hurried to Rome to get formal recognition by the Senate, which was essentially public relations because the Senate had little power. Philip faced almost constant war, and sent his general Decius to battle the invading Goths. 

Decius was successful, and his troops proclaimed him Emperor. The troops of Decius and Philip met in the battle of Verona. Philip lost, and was killed. This murderous politics was typical of Rome at the time. Philip is remembered for little other than being a Syrian who ruled Rome. There is some speculation that Philip may have been a Christian.

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