Born Marcus Antoninus Gordianus Sempronianus Africanus around 159 AD. He was Consul under Elagabalus and was Proconsul in North Africa when a tax revolt broke out. The wealthy families of the area petitioned him to become emperor in opposition to Maximinus and he agreed on 22 March 238, raising his son Gordian II to the rang as well. The pair sent a delegation to Rome asking for the support of the Senate which was given. Before the delegation returned, Capellianus, Governor of Numidia, invaded Africa with Legio III Augustus. Gordian II went to meet him but his inexperienced troops were destroyed and Gordian II was killed. Gordian I hung himself on 12 April 238 AD when he received the news of his son's death after a reign of 22 days.
RIC IV, Part II - Gordian I, 1: AR Denarius, 19x21mm (Rome) 238 AD
Obverse: IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG
- Laureated bust of Gordian I draped and cuirassed right, seen from behind.
Reverse: P M T-R P COS P P
- Emperor, togate, standing left, holding branch in right hand and wearing parazonium.
IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG
IMP M ANT GORDIANVS AFR AVG