A native of Arabia, Philip I, historically called “Philip the Arab” was appointed to the post of Praetorian Prefect by Gordian III after the death of Timisitheus. He soon brought about the deposition and murder of the young emperor and after concluding a satisfactory peace with the Persians, he returned to Rome. The chief event of Philip’s reign was the celebration, in 248, of the Thousandth Anniversary of the Foundation of Rome.
There were magnificent games with many wild beasts, most of which had been collected by Gordian from his Persian triumph. A series of coins was also struck to commemorate the event. The latter part of Philip’s reign was troubled by a number of pretenders, and in 249 he had to take the field in person to deal with the rebellious legions of Decius. The two armies met near Verona and in the ensuing battle Philip was defeated and killed together with his son.