Marc Julius Philippe became the first Arabian to seize the throne of the Roman emperor. That is why he remained in history as Philip I Arab (or Arabian). He came to power as a result of a coup d'état: Philip, whom Gordian III appointed pretorite prefect, was not enough authorized power. In the year 244, the predecessor was killed, and the Arabian took his place. However, in this matter, not all historians are unanimous: there are also versions that Gordian died in battle, or even died of illness.
Anyway, after the unexplained demise of the young emperor Gordian, power was concentrated in the hands of the former prefect of the praetorium. The 18th century British historian Edward Gibbon, author of the monumental treatise “The History of the Decline and Destruction of the Roman Empire,” described Philip as an individual:
“His ascent from the insignificance to the highest levels of the imperial hierarchy in itself testified that this man was distinguished by courage and remarkable organizational skills. But courage pushed him to usurp the throne, and his remarkable abilities were used up in order to deprive his power of not too trusting patron, instead of serving him. ”
Coin with the image of Mark Julius Philip
The position of the new emperor was rather precarious. But, as you know, the people are ready to forgive all the flaws and sins to those who bestow it with bread and circuses. It was in this way that Philip decided to go. Another scientist and encyclopedist Varro, who died in 27 BC. e., calculated that in the year 248 Rome will mark a round date and exchange the second thousand years. According to the calculations of ancient researchers, the city led its history from April 753 BC. er - it was then that it was founded by the first Roman king Romulus. Emperor Philip, who by that time occupied the throne for only four years, decided to raise his ratings among the population and give the city a series of large-scale celebrations that were to mark the transition from the tenth century to the eleventh.
The highlight of the program was the Secular Games, in some sources also featured under the more ancient name Terentinsky. The main platform for the bloody entertainment was the Flavian Amphitheater - the legendary Colosseum. According to contemporaries, in April 248, dozens of exotic animals of various species became victims of the terrible celebration: 60 lions, 40 horses, 32 elephants, 30 leopards, 20 donkeys, 10 tigers, 10 hyenas, 10 giraffes, 10 zebras, 6 hippos and even one rhino. Apparently, these animals, caught even during the reign of Gordian II, were intended for large-scale celebrations of a different kind: the previous emperor planned to celebrate victory over the Persians in a big way. Actually, it was during the military campaigns that the animals were caught. However, they were destined to become victims at another celebration of life.
However, Rome would not be Rome, if the celebrations were limited only to the killing of animals. Contemporaries of events noted that the number of human victims was even more impressive and terrifying. According to a few testimonies, during the April celebrations it was decided to thank heaven for each year of Rome to kill two gladiators. Since the city celebrated the millennium since its founding, with the help of a simple arithmetic operation it can be established that 2,000 people were sacrificed.
Gladiatorial fights in Rome. 16th century engraving
Also, on the occasion of the anniversary, a lengthy historical work by Gai Azinia Kvadrat “History of a thousand years” was prepared. They encouraged citizens and financially: a special (as they would say now, limited edition) series of coins with images of the emperor himself and exotic animals were printed, the torments of which the Romans saw with great joy. On some coins were depicted elephants - these drawings have become the most important symbol of the celebrations. Elephants have long been considered a model of longevity, so Philip, comparing himself with these noble animals, wanted to emphasize that he and his dynasty would reign in Rome for many centuries.
However, such symbolism did not help the emperor to linger on the throne: just a year after the end of the pompous celebrations, Philip fell victim to another conspiracy and died in the battle of Verona. The sad fate befell his son.