Gordian came from an influential Roman family and had served in several high-ranking posts. He was appointed Governor of Carthage and some years into his duties a serious tax revolt erupted because of the drastic taxing Maximinus was imposing to fund his war machine. The elderly Gordian saw that the revolt would culminate in his own death unless he took action. In a life-saving marketing move he came across as the friend of the people and equally disgusted with the situation and was named emperor. The Roman Senate went along with this since they much preferred him to Maximinus.
Although he made preparations to go to Rome, Gordian and his son (who he made co-Augustus) were unable to overcome the obstacle that was the neighboring Governor of Numidia, Capellianus, a long-time rival of Gordian. Because Capellianus was in command of the only legion in Africa he remained loyal to Maximinus if only to spite his nemesis. He sent the legion against the Gordians whose army consisted of nothing but undisciplined militia men and, as expected, were crushed almost immediately. With all hope lost Gordian hung himself at the age of 87.
RIC 1, RSC 2 AR Denarius Obv: IMPMANTGORDIANVSAFRAVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind.
Rev: PMTRPCOSPP, Gordian, standing facing, head left, holding branch in right hand and a short scepter in left.
RIC 7, Cohen 3 Sestertius Obv: IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSAFRAVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind
Rev: PMTRPCOSPP, S C across field, Gordian standing left, holding branch in right hand and resting left on parazonium.