Marcus Opellius Macrinus, otherwise known as “Macrinus,” was born in Caesarea, a town in Mauretania, in approximately 164 AD. He lived in a middle class family and studied law, in his younger years Rome was under the rule of Severus.
When he was older and Rome was under the rule of Caracalla, Caracalla made Macrinus the legal advisor of the praetorian prefect. (A praetorian perfect is the post second in command to the emperor.) The praetorian perfect at that time was Caraculla’s father-in-law.
In 212 AD, after the demise of Carculla’s father-in-law, Macrinus was appointed praetorian perfect. Macrinus took part in many of Caraculla’s campaigns, and was appointed consul in 217. Later that year Macrinus heard that he was being accused of being a threat to the throne. According to many, Macrinus was in fear for his life, so he planned to have Caracalla murdered while he was on a pilgrimage. The story was that one of the guards had killed the emperor and then killed himself, not everyone believed this.
On April 11th 217 AD Macrinus was hailed emperor by his troops, and approved by the senate. Macrinus was the first emperor that was not a senator.
Caracalla’s mother Julia Domna, could not stay out of politics. Macrinus ordered her to leave, and Domna starved herself to death.
His First act as an emperor was to send messages proposing peace to the Parthian ruler, but the ruler had sensed weakness and constructed an army. Fighting began between the two armies and the Parthains won, Macrinus ended up paying huge amounts of money for bribes and restoration. This definitely resulted in a decrease of popularity for Macrinus.
Another woman, Julia Domna’s sister Julia Maesa, wanted her son Elagabalus, to overthrow
Macrinus. On the 15th of May 218 AD, Elagabalus was declared the emperor by the third legion. Other troops soon joined the rebellion, Macrinus led his loyal soldiers to the revolt. He declared his son, Diadumenianus emperor, to try to win back some support, but it failed. The two armies met in a village on June 8th 218. Macrinus was defeated. He sent his 10 year old son, Diadumenianus with an ambassador, to the Parthian king. Macrinus shaved his beard and in a disguise tried to make his way back to Rome, he was nearly there when he was found. He was executed. His son fled also, but was put to death.
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