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Coin 6

Coin 9

Coin 34

Coin 35

Coin 37

4. A history of Ephesus from coins: the Roman province

4.5 Ephesus under the ‘soldier emperors’

Maximinus (235-238), the first of the "soldier-emperors," was a Thracian strongman who had risen in the ranks ( 6 ). He hadn't ruled long before a revolt rose up against him in the province Africa, where the ringleaders were a father and son named Gordian. Both of them were killed, but the grandson survived; Maximinus himself was killed in a mutiny of his own troops.

Gordian III (238-244), grandson of the elder Gordian, was 12 or 13 when he became Emperor ( 9 , 37 ). Business was probably run by the praetorian prefect Timesitheus, whose daughter Tranquillina Gordian married. Both the Emperor and his prefect died on an eastern campaign, against the new Sassanid dynasty of Persia.

Gordian III was followed by Philip the Arab (244-249), his son Philip, Trajan Decius (249-251), and Trebonianus Gallus (251-253). Valerian (253-260) ( 34 ) was declared emperor by the troops, and made his adult son Gallienus his co-ruler; Gallienus was responsible for the western part of the Empire while Valerian campaigned in the East. He made Ephesus once again four times neokoros; but he was captured by the Sassanid king Shapur I, and likely died in captivity.

Gallienus (253-268) ( 35 ) was made co-ruler by his father Valerian, and managed to stay in power despite the capture of his father and a number of challengers for the Empire. But Ephesus fell victim both to an earthquake and a sea-raid by invading Goths. A Gothic fleet went raiding from the Crimea in 262-3 and actually plundered the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Ephesus' local coinage ended after the joint reign of Valerian, though Ephesus would go on to flourish in the late antique period, and was the site of the third Ecumenical Council of 431 CE.

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