Battle of Antioch (218)
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|Battle of Antioch|
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The Battle of Antioch (June 8, 218) took place between two Roman armies of the Roman Emperor Macrinus and his contender Elagabalus, whose troops were commanded by general Gannys. Elagabalus won and was crowned emperor.
Macrinus became emperor in 217 after Caracalla was murdered by Justin Martialus while fighting the Parthians. Many people believe Macrinus was involved in this assassination. Macrinus was proclaimed emperor three days later by the troops in Parthia.
Caracalla's mother, Julia Domna, and his aunt, Julia Maesa, were suspicious of Macrinus' role in the death of Caracalla, and returned home to Syria. They championed the cause of Elagabalus, then aged 14, who was Caracalla's cousin and who they passed off as his illegitimate son.
Macrinus had fought an indecisive battle with the Parthians and signed an agreement with the Parthians that many people thought was unfavourable to Rome. Macrinus then made the mistake of cutting pay for the legionnaires. This prompted Legio III Gallica to hail Elagabalus as emperor on 16 May 218. Other legionnaires soon joined Elagabalus ranks prompted by discontent over pay. Macrinus sent a cavalry force led by Ulpinus Julianus, but the cavalry killed Ulpinus and joined Elagabalus.
Macrinus finally realised his mistake, abandoning his paycuts and delivering a bonus. His efforts were in vain as a whole legion (II Parthica) defected to the challenger and desertions and mutinies made his situation so bad that he had to retire to Antioch. General Gannys, the Commander of Elagabalus's forces, marched against him and Macrinus was decisively defeated just outside Antioch on 8 June 218, with most of his forces abandoning him. Elagabalus became emperor while Macrinus fled, having shaved off his beard and hair to disguise himself as a member of the military police. Macrinus was recognised by a centurion at Chalcedon on the Bospurus, taken back to Antioch and killed.
- The Battle for Antioch. Dere Militari. Accessed December 27, 2012.