Philip II was the son and successor of Philip I the Arab, who was the Roman emperor from 244 to 249 CE. Philip II was born in 237 CE and was made co-emperor by his father in 247 CE, when he was only ten years old. He was also given the title of Caesar and princeps iuventutis (prince of youth).
Philip II’s reign was marked by political instability and external threats. His father had to deal with several usurpers, such as Jotapianus in Syria, Pacatianus in Moesia, and Sponsianus in Pannonia. He also had to face the invasion of the Goths, who crossed the Danube and raided the Balkans and Asia Minor. Philip I managed to negotiate a peace treaty with them, but at the cost of paying them a large tribute.
Philip II also had to contend with the growing influence of the Christian religion in the empire. His father was rumored to be sympathetic to Christianity and even considered converting to it. Philip II himself may have been baptized by a Christian bishop, according to some sources. However, this did not prevent them from persecuting some Christians who refused to participate in the imperial cult or who were accused of treason.
In 249 CE, Philip I and Philip II faced a rebellion led by Decius, the governor of Moesia and Pannonia. Decius claimed that he was acting in defense of Rome and its traditions against the foreign influence of the Philips, who were of Arab origin. He marched his army towards Italy and confronted Philip I at the Battle of Verona, where he defeated and killed him.
Philip II remained in Rome with his mother Otacilia Severa and his guardian Priscus. He was recognized as the sole emperor by the Senate, but his position was precarious. Decius soon arrived at Rome and besieged it. The Praetorian Guard, who had sworn loyalty to Philip II, betrayed him and opened the gates to Decius. Philip II and his mother were captured and executed by Decius, who became the new emperor.
Philip II’s reign lasted only two years and he was the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He was also the youngest emperor to die at the age of twelve. He is remembered as a tragic figure who inherited a troubled empire and met a violent end.