As fathers day approaches, i cant help but to think of the people who do not have good relationships with their fathers or their children. As an optimist, I would ask these people to look on the bright side. Read this article, and realize things could probably be worse and unlike these figures, you can still change your fate. Before I dive into these figures, I want to note that I will be sharing the different historical possibilities for each of them. Roman History is extremely muddy, and the most often used sources are often tainted with political bias (or the possibility of such bias). Marcus Julius Philippus, or as we know him, Philip the Arab/ Philip I. 244-249 AD Co- Emperor/ Son - Philip II After the death of the young emperor Gordian III, (who was either killed in battle against Persians, or the victim of a plot, which could have been directed by Philip) Philip took the leap from Praetorian Prefect to emperor. He was a very smart man, a skilled administrator and a capable general, but he was known to be arrogant. Born into an equestrian family, Philip lacked the aristocratic bloodlines of a typical emperor. He also made a meteoric rise by quickly parlaying his role as prefect, into a grasp on the imperial throne. Philip undertook an expensive building program and worked to maintain good relations with the senate. He also severely raised taxes which would help erode his support among the tax paying class. He was however, very tolerant of Christianity, with some historians arguing he was a Christian. He does seem to be very interested in Christianity and certainly tolerant, but evidence shows he carried out traditional roman state religion as "Pontifex Maximus". It didn’t take long for bad circumstances to catch up with Philip, and a few years into his reign he realized he was in danger. Continuing to set new precedent, Philip went to the senate and offered to resign his position as emperor. The senate strongly supported his continued reign and Philip was given a boost of confidence. He sent a particularly vocal supporter of his in the senate, Decius, to quell a rebellion in Moesia. Decius would achieve a quick and efficient victory and in a twist of fate, was named emperor by his soldiers. He was now a usurper to the throne, which was currently occupied by Philip and his young son, Philip II. Philip, was no longer willing to resign (perhaps he never really was in the first place) and he met Decius at Verona. They had negotiated, but Philip’s pride had overtaken logic and no deal could be reached. Decius scores a victory at Verona and Philip is either killed in battle or assassinated by his own soldiers after his loss became apparent. Philips' 12 year old son was murdered as a result of his father's blunder. Most theories say that he was killed by his own praetorian guard, once news of his father's loss reached Rome. Some say that he was in Verona and died alongside his father, but his young age makes this version less likely. Philip I Antoninianus - 22 MM Philip II Tetradrachm- 26 MM Gaius Messius Quintus Traianus Decius, or as we know him, Trajan Decius (or just Decius) 249-251 AD Co-Emperor/ Son - Herennius Etruscus Trajan Decius would take over an empire threatened by external forces. His domestic policy included severe persecution of Christians (in stark contrast to his predecessor) and a building program. He repaired the Colosseum, and built the “Baths of Decius” a remarkable structure that stood for 1300 years (it was finished in 252, after his death). He elevated his son Herennius Etruscus to co-emperor in the final year of his reign. When the Goths invaded Roman provinces along the Danube, Decius and his son personally commanded the army to go beat back the invading force. After an initial victory against the Goths, things went south for the Romans. After a few back and forth exchanges, the Goths set an ambush and forced the Romans into the Battle of Abritus. It was in this battle that both Decius and his son were killed by the Goths. It is said that Herennius Etruscus died first (he was 24 years old at the time) and upon hearing the news, Decius shook it off and said something along the lines of “the death of one soldier is not of great importance”. Nobody really knows if Decius said anything like this, but it is definitely an interesting narrative. One might question why the emperors would put themselves in such danger. But if they had sent a general instead, a victory could have resulted in a challenge to their throne. Trajan Decius Antoninianus - 19 x 22 MM Herennius Etruscus Antoninianus - 21 MM Gaius Vivius Trebonianus Gallus, or as we know him, Trebonianus Gallus. 251-253 AD Co- Emperor/ Son- Volusian Trebonianus Gallus was serving as Governor of Moesia Superior when his predecessors were killed. Some sources claim that he betrayed Decius and conspired with the Goths. This isn’t clear, but he did make peace with the Goths on embarrassing terms, immediately after being named emperor by his troops. Perhaps this is evidence of such betrayal? Or maybe he just didn’t like his chances of surviving a drawn out fight against the Goths and wanted to hurry back to Rome to cement his position. Hostilian was another son of Decius and he had assumed the throne in Rome after the death of his father and brother. That didn’t stop Gallus from marching in and taking power for himself. He named The young Hostilian co-emperor in a political maneuver, but Hostilian would die just a few months later (exact age unknown, but he was in his late teens to early twenties as he was younger than his brother). His death is theorized as a possible murder, a way for Gallus to get rid of his young co-emperor and make room for his own son. Or it could have been the plague that killed him, as it devastated Rome from 251-266. Either way, Gallus immediately named his son Volusian, co-emperor. Between numerous external threats and a ravaging plague, Gallus didn’t leave much of a mark in terms of domestic policy. He did win favor of the people by granting burials to the victims of the plague (even the poor ones) and did what he could to fight the contagion. In 252, the Persian King Shapur I invaded Armenia and dealt quite the blow to Roman forces at Barbalissos. Shapur was then allowed to decimate provinces in Syria and even sacked Antioch, with no response from Gallus. When his successor as governor of Moesia Superior, Aemilanus, refused to pay the Goths tribute (that Gallus had promised under his peace deal) the Goths launched another invasion. Aemilanus was able to defeat them, and was named emperor by his troops. He would march on Italy and fight for the throne but Gallus called for reinforcements and prepared for battle. What happens next is unclear, but the best picture we have, indicates no battle between the two occurred. When the reinforcements Gallus called for (under future emperor Valerian) were late to arrive, his own troops murdered him and his son Volusian (23 years old). Trebonianus Gallus Antoninianus - 21 x 23 MM Volusian Antoninianus - 21 MM So we have these tragedies, where fathers were getting their sons killed during their quest for glory/ power. You might not have a good relationship with your father or one of your kids, but as long as you are both alive, it is never too late to attempt to change things. Just like the imperial figures we read about, sometimes we let our pride lead us down a path of destruction. Don’t be afraid to make the first move, even if getting rejected hurts. If you try to reconnect with an estranged loved one and they reject you, at least you know that you made an effort and you would still be in the same place you’re in now. Don’t let pride get in the way of reaching out. As I write this, I think of my own family. I watched as my middle brother (I’m the youngest of 3) had a frosty relationship with my father for years. A once good relationship had soured, when our parents divorced and my father moved to Florida. My father tried to unsuccessfully make contact a few times but he let his pride stop him from further attempts. Years went by and then just like that, my brother had realized he was being petty. I chalk it up to wisdom that comes with age (he was only 18 when this started). Now they hangout all the time, and I can tell they both regret the lost years without communicating. So, If you have a relative or someone else you cared about, that you haven’t spoken to in a long time, I hope you consider reaching out to them soon. All it takes is a “hello/ how are you doing/I hope you have been well” Or dare I say, you might even have the courage to throw in an “l’m sorry” if it makes sense. After all, what do you really have to lose ?