Marcus Opellius Macrinus

AD165 ~ AD218

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was born in 165 into a middle class equestrian family. His education allowed him to rise to the Roman political class and over the years he became a very capable lawyer and became an important bureaucrat under Severus’s rule. After the death of Severus and the ascension of Caracalla he became prefect of the Praetorian Guard. This position was second in command to the emperor and normally designated as the emperors bodyguard.


In 217 along with members of the Praetorian Guard, Macrinus accompanied Caracalla to the eastern provinces while he prepared his attack against the Parthian empire. Along the way, Caracalla was murdered by one of the guards and less than a week later, Macrinus stepped up to proclaim himself as emperor. He nominated his son Diadumenianus as Caesar and claimed that he would succeed Macrinus after his death.

During his reign he was known for his reluctance to engage in military conflict and instead preferred to reconcile differences in a peaceful manner. He returned hostages held previously by Caracalla but when defeated in battle by the Parthians he was forced to pay an extraordinary sum of money in exchange for a peace deal.

His inability to defeat an army, thought of as inferior by most, along with decreasing benefits and salary among soldiers led them to search for a new leader. Residents of Rome were also unsatisfied with his reign.

After Elagabalus was proclaimed emperor in 218 Macrinus and his son fled but were found and put to death.

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