Marcus F. Ru. Jotapianus (d. c. 249) or Jotapian, he was also known as
Iotapianus or Iotapian. Jotapianus was a usurper in the eastern provinces
of the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Philip the Arab, around
249. Jotapianus is known from his rare coins and from accounts in
Aurelius Victor (Caesares xxix.2), Zosimus (i.20.2 and i.21.2), and Polemius
Jotapianus was a member of the Near East indigenous aristocracy.
His name is similar to those of Queen Julia Iotapa and her daughter, princess
Julia Jotapa of the Kingdom of Commagene, so he could have been a member
of the Royal Family of Commagene, which had lost its power in favour of
the Romans under Emperor Vespasian in 72.
Aurelius Victor reports that Jotapianus claimed descendance from an Alexander.
According to some scholars, he referred to Alexander Severus, while other
scholars note that King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene claimed descendance
from Greek King Alexander the Great. He could be a possible descendant
of Gaius Julius Agrippa or his brother Gaius Julius Alexander Berenicianus
or his sister Julia Iotapa.
Revolt and Death:
Jotapianus led a rebellion started in Syria, towards the end of Philip's
rule, against the increase in taxation ordered by the rector Orientis Priscus,
Philip's brother. It is possible that Philip somehow favoured his
Arabia over the other Eastern provinces, since his rule was not quietly
accepted by the local population. Jotapianus made Antioch his capital,
but the rebellion came to an end and Jotapianus was killed by his own soldiers,
possibly during Emperor Decius' rule.
Coins issued by Jotapianus had been found. All of them are antoniniani,
all of them show a crude design, and all of them have a VICTORIA AVG reverse,
celebrating a victory of the rebels over Philip troops or rather "the power
of the Emperor to conquer" (Roman Imperial Coins, 4.3). It has been
suggested that Jotapianus also issued Aureus, none of which survived.
The coins are the only source for his names, M. F. RV., which could be
expanded as Marcus Fulvius Rufus. Furthermore, their style suggest
that the revolt was short and spread over a small territory, since Jotapianus
controlled no major mint.
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