Kalvin Balbin

Kalvin Balbin

Roman Emperor in June-July 238
Country: Italy

Biography of Calvin Balbin

Calvin Balbin was a Roman Emperor who ruled in June-July 238 AD. He came from a noble and wealthy family. Before becoming Emperor, he served as consul twice and governed several provinces, including Asia, Africa, Bithynia, Galatia, Pontus, Thrace, and Gaul. Balbin was known for his kindness, integrity, and honesty, which earned him immense love and respect from the people. He was tall and had a striking appearance. He was also renowned for his eloquence and was a talented poet.

Despite his virtues, Balbin had an excessive fondness for indulgence. He had a voracious appetite for wine, food, and the pleasures of Venus. He also had a penchant for elegant clothing. However, his flaws did not overshadow his qualities, which made him highly regarded by both the Senate and the people.

In 238 AD, after the deaths of the Senate's chosen emperors Gordian I and Gordian II, Balbin was elected as Emperor alongside another senator, Maximus. At the request of the people, the young Gordian III was also appointed as their co-rulers. Maximus was entrusted with the task of waging war against the deposed Maximinus, while Balbin was to remain in the capital and handle internal affairs. It was believed that each ruler's assigned task suited their character, as Maximus was strict and uncompromising, while Balbin was merciful, kind, and had abundant resources at his disposal.

However, things turned out differently. The external war, which was feared the most, unexpectedly ended without any bloodshed, while Balbin had to face a great danger to his life in pacifying a violent unrest within Rome. After Maximus left for war, a portion of the Praetorian cohorts remained in Rome. Soon, discord arose between the Praetorians and the people, escalating into a civil war. Much of Rome was burned, temples were desecrated, and the streets were filled with blood, as Balbin, a very gentle person, was unable to quell the unrest. He went out to the people, reaching out his hand to each individual, and he was almost struck by a stone, with some even claiming that he was struck with a stick.

Balbin would not have been able to stop the turmoil if he had not presented the young Gordian, dressed in purple, to the people, placing him on the shoulders of a very tall man. Soon, Maximus returned to Rome, and the emperors ruled together for a while. According to Capitolinus, they governed wisely, enacted fair laws, patiently listened to disputes, and restored order to the military. However, they could not rid themselves of the soldiers' hatred towards them. During the Capitoline Games, the soldiers suddenly attacked the Palace on the Palatine Hill, killing both emperors and transferring all power to Gordian.