Maximian (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius Augustus; c. 250 – c. July 310) was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent most of his time on campaign. In late 285, he suppressed rebels in Gaul known as the Bagaudae. From 285 to 288, he fought against Germanic tribes along the Rhine frontier. Together with Diocletian, he launched a scorched earth campaign deep into Alamannic territory in 288, temporarily relieving the Rhine provinces from the threat of Germanic invasion.
The man he appointed to police the Channel shores, Carausius, rebelled in 286, causing the secession of Britain and northwestern Gaul. Maximian failed to oust Carausius, and his invasion fleet was destroyed by storms in 289 or 290. Maximian's subordinate, Constantius, campaigned against Carausius' successor, Allectus, while Maximian held the Rhine frontier. The rebel leader was ousted in 296, and Maximian moved south to combat piracy near Hispania and Berber incursions in Mauretania. When these campaigns concluded in 298, he departed for Italy, where he lived in comfort until 305. At Diocletian's behest, Maximian abdicated on May 1, 305, gave the Augustan office to Constantius, and retired to southern Italy.
In late 306, Maximian took the title of Augustus again and aided his son Maxentius' rebellion in Italy. In April 307, he attempted to depose his son, but failed and fled to the court of Constantius' successor, Constantine (Maximian's step-grandson and son-in-law), in Trier. At the Council of Carnuntum in November 308, Diocletian and his successor, Galerius, forced Maximian to renounce his imperial claim again. In early 310, Maximian attempted to seize Constantine's title while the emperor was on campaign on the Rhine. Few supported him, and he was captured by Constantine in Marseille. Maximian killed himself in mid-310 on Constantine's orders. During Constantine's war with Maxentius, Maximian's image was purged from all public places. However, after Constantine ousted and killed Maxentius, Maximian's image was rehabilitated, and he was deified.
|Augustus of the Western Roman Empire|
Bust of Emperor Maximian
|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||July 21 or July 25 285 – 286 (as Caesar under Diocletian)|
April 2, 286 – May 1, 305 (as Augustus of the West, with Diocletian as Augustus of the East)
Late 306 – November 11, 308 (declared himself Augustus)
310 (declared himself Augustus)
|Successor||Constantius Chlorus and Galerius|
|Co-emperor||Diocletian (Eastern Emperor)|
Sirmium (present-day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia)
|Died||c. July 310 (age 60)|
Massilia (Marseille, France)
|Issue||Flavia Maximiana Theodora|
Maximian was born near Sirmium (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia) in the province of Pannonia, around 250 into a family of shopkeepers. Beyond that, the ancient sources contain vague allusions to Illyricum as his homeland, to his Pannonian virtues, and to his harsh upbringing along the war-torn Danube frontier. Maximian joined the army, serving with Diocletian under the emperors Aurelian (r. 270–275) and Probus (r. 276–282). He probably participated in the Mesopotamian campaign of Carus in 283 and attended Diocletian's election as emperor on November 20, 284 at Nicomedia. Maximian's swift appointment by Diocletian as Caesar is taken by the writer Stephen Williams and historian Timothy Barnes to mean that the two men were longterm allies, that their respective roles were pre-agreed and that Maximian had probably supported Diocletian during his campaign against Carinus (r. 283–285) but there is no direct evidence for this.
With his great energy, firm aggressive character and disinclination to rebel, Maximian was an appealing candidate for imperial office. The fourth-century historian Aurelius Victor described Maximian as "a colleague trustworthy in friendship, if somewhat boorish, and of great military talents". Despite his other qualities, Maximian was uneducated and preferred action to thought. The panegyric of 289, after comparing his actions to Scipio Africanus' victories over Hannibal during the Second Punic War, suggested that Maximian had never heard of them. His ambitions were purely military; he left politics to Diocletian. The Christian rhetor Lactantius suggested that Maximian shared Diocletian's basic attitudes but was less puritanical in his tastes, and took advantage of the sensual opportunities his position as emperor offered. Lactantius charged that Maximian defiled senators' daughters and traveled with young virgins to satisfy his unending lust, though Lactantius' credibility is undermined by his general hostility towards pagans.
Maximian had two children with his Syrian wife, Eutropia: Maxentius and Fausta. There is no direct evidence in the ancient sources for their birthdates. Modern estimates of Maxentius' birth year have varied from c. 276 to 283, and most date Fausta's birth to c. 289 or 290. Theodora, the wife of Constantius Chlorus, is often called Maximian's stepdaughter by ancient sources, leading to claims by Otto Seeck and Ernest Stein that she was born from an earlier marriage between Eutropia and Afranius Hannibalianus. Barnes challenges this view, saying that all "stepdaughter" sources derive their information from the partially unreliable work of history Kaisergeschichte, while other, more reliable, sources refer to her as Maximian's natural daughter. Barnes concludes that Theodora was born no later than c. 275 to an unnamed earlier wife of Maximian, possibly one of Hannibalianus' daughters.
At Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) in July 285, Diocletian proclaimed Maximian as his co-ruler, or Caesar. The reasons for this decision are complex. With conflict in every province of the Empire, from Gaul to Syria, from Egypt to the lower Danube, Diocletian needed a lieutenant to manage his heavy workload. Historian Stephen Williams suggests that Diocletian considered himself a mediocre general and needed a man like Maximian to do most of his fighting.
Next, Diocletian was vulnerable in that he had no sons, just a daughter, Valeria, who could never succeed him. He was forced therefore to seek a co-ruler from outside his family and that co-ruler had to be someone he trusted. (The historian William Seston has argued that Diocletian, like heirless emperors before him, adopted Maximian as his filius Augusti ("Augustan son") upon his appointment to the office. Some agree, but the historian Frank Kolb has stated that arguments for the adoption are based on misreadings of the papyrological evidence. Maximian did take Diocletian's nomen (family name) Valerius, however.)
Finally, Diocletian knew that single rule was dangerous and that precedent existed for dual rulership. Despite their military prowess, both sole-emperors Aurelian and Probus had been easily removed from power. In contrast, just a few years earlier, the emperor Carus and his sons had ruled jointly, albeit not for long. Even the first emperor, Augustus, (r. 27 BC–AD 14), had shared power with his colleagues and more formal offices of co-emperor had existed from Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180) on.
The dual system evidently worked well. About 287, the two rulers' relationship was re-defined in religious terms, with Diocletian assuming the title Iovius and Maximian Herculius. The titles were pregnant with symbolism: Diocletian-Jove had the dominant role of planning and commanding; Maximian-Hercules the heroic role of completing assigned tasks. Yet despite the symbolism, the emperors were not "gods" in the Imperial cult (although they may have been hailed as such in Imperial panegyrics). Instead, they were the gods' instruments, imposing the gods' will on earth. Once the rituals were over, Maximian assumed control of the government of the West and was dispatched to Gaul to fight the rebels known as Bagaudae while Diocletian returned to the East.
The Bagaudae of Gaul are obscure figures, appearing fleetingly in the ancient sources, with their 285 uprising being their first appearance. The fourth-century historian Eutropius described them as rural people under the leadership of Amandus and Aelianus, while Aurelius Victor called them bandits. The historian David S. Potter suggests that they were more than peasants, seeking either Gallic political autonomy or reinstatement of the recently deposed Carus (a native of Gallia Narbonensis, in what would become southern France): in this case, they would be defecting imperial troops, not brigands. Although poorly equipped, led and trained – and therefore a poor match for Roman legions – Diocletian certainly considered the Bagaudae sufficient threat to merit an emperor to counter them. Maximian has been implicated in a massacre of Coptic Christian troops from the headquarters unit of a legion raised in Thebes at Aucanus in modern Switzerland in early 285, during the preparations for the campaign against the Bagaudae.
Maximian traveled to Gaul, engaging the Bagaudae late in mid-285. Details of the campaign are sparse and provide no tactical detail: the historical sources dwell only on Maximian's virtues and victories. The panegyric to Maximian in 289 records that the rebels were defeated with a blend of harshness and leniency. As the campaign was against the Empire's own citizens, and therefore distasteful, it went unrecorded in titles and official triumphs. Indeed, Maximian's panegyrist declares: "I pass quickly over this episode, for I see in your magnanimity you would rather forget this victory than celebrate it." By the end of the year, the revolt had significantly abated, and Maximian moved the bulk of his forces to the Rhine frontier, heralding a period of stability.
Maximian did not put down the Bagaudae swiftly enough to avoid a Germanic reaction. In late 285, two barbarian armies – one of Burgundians and Alamanni, the other of Chaibones and Heruli – forded the Rhine and entered Gaul. The first army was left to die of disease and hunger, while Maximian intercepted and defeated the second. He then established a Rhine headquarters in preparation for future campaigns, either at Moguntiacum (Mainz, Germany), Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), or Colonia Agrippina (Cologne, Germany).
Although most of Gaul was pacified, regions bordering the English Channel still suffered from Frankish and Saxon piracy. The emperors Probus and Carinus had begun to fortify the Saxon Shore, but much remained to be done. For example, there is no archaeological evidence of naval bases at Dover and Boulogne during 270–285. In response to the pirate problem, Maximian appointed Mausaeus Carausius, a Menapian from Germania Inferior (southern and western Netherlands) to command the Channel and to clear it of raiders. Carausius fared well, and by the end of 285 he was capturing pirate ships in great numbers.
Maximian soon heard that Carausius was waiting until the pirates had finished plundering before attacking and keeping their booty himself instead of returning it to the population at large or into the imperial treasury. Maximian ordered Carausius' arrest and execution, prompting him to flee to Britain. Carausius' support among the British was strong, and at least two British legions (II Augusta and XX Valeria Victrix) defected to him, as did some or all of a legion near Boulogne (probably XXX Ulpia Victrix). Carausius quickly eliminated the few remaining loyalists in his army and declared himself Augustus.
Maximian could do little about the revolt. He had no fleet – he had given it to Carausius – and was busy quelling the Heruli and the Franks. Meanwhile, Carausius strengthened his position by enlarging his fleet, enlisting Frankish mercenaries, and paying his troops well. By late 286, Britain, much of northwestern Gaul, and the entire Channel coast, was under his control. Carausius declared himself head of an independent British state, an Imperium Britanniarum and issued coin of a markedly higher purity than that of Maximian and Diocletian, earning the support of British and Gallic merchants. Even Maximian's troops were vulnerable to Carausius' influence and wealth.
Spurred by the crisis with Carausius, on April 1, 286, Maximian took the title of Augustus. This gave him the same status as Carausius – so the clash was between two Augusti, rather than between an Augustus and a Caesar – and, in Imperial propaganda, Maximian was proclaimed Diocletian's brother, his equal in authority and prestige. Diocletian could not have been present at Maximian's appointment, causing Seeck to suggest that Maximian usurped the title and was only later recognized by Diocletian in hopes of avoiding civil war. This suggestion has not won much support, and the historian William Leadbetter has recently refuted it. Despite the physical distance between the emperors, Diocletian trusted Maximian enough to invest him with imperial powers, and Maximian still respected Diocletian enough to act in accordance with his will.
In theory, the Roman Empire was not divided by the dual imperium. Though divisions did take place – each emperor had his own court, army, and official residences – these were matters of practicality, not substance. Imperial propaganda from 287 on insists on a singular and indivisible Rome, a patrimonium indivisum. As the panegyrist of 289 declares to Maximian: "So it is that this great empire is a communal possession for both of you, without any discord, nor would we endure there to be any dispute between you, but plainly you hold the state in equal measure as once those two Heracleidae, the Spartan Kings, had done." Legal rulings were given and imperial celebrations took place in both emperors' names, and the same coins were issued in both parts of the empire. Diocletian sometimes issued commands to Maximian's province of Africa; Maximian could presumably have done the same for Diocletian's territory.
Maximian realized that he could not immediately suppress Carausius and campaigned instead against Rhenish tribes. These tribes were probably greater threats to Gallic peace anyway and included many supporters of Carausius. Although Maximian had many enemies along the river, they were more often in dispute with each other than in combat with the Empire. Few clear dates survive for Maximian's campaigns on the Rhine beyond a general range of 285 to 288. While receiving the consular fasces on January 1, 287, Maximian was interrupted by news of a barbarian raid. Doffing his toga and donning his armor, he marched against the barbarians and, although they were not entirely dispersed, he celebrated a victory in Gaul later that year.
Maximian believed the Burgundian and Alemanni tribes of the Moselle-Vosges region to be the greatest threat, so he targeted them first. He campaigned using scorched earth tactics, laying waste to their land and reducing their numbers through famine and disease. After the Burgundians and Alemanni, Maximian moved against the weaker Heruli and Chaibones. He cornered and defeated them in a single battle. He fought in person, riding along the battle line until the Germanic forces broke. Roman forces pursued the fleeing tribal armies and routed them. With his enemies weakened from starvation, Maximian launched a great invasion across the Rhine. He moved deep into Germanic territory, bringing destruction to his enemies' homelands and demonstrating the superiority of Roman arms. By the end of 287, he had the advantage and the Rhenish lands were free of Germanic tribesmen. Maximian's panegyrist declared: "All that I see beyond the Rhine is Roman."
Early the next year, as Maximian made preparations for dealing with Carausius, Diocletian returned from the East. The emperors met that year, but neither date nor place is known with certainty. They probably agreed on a joint campaign against the Alamanni and a naval expedition against Carausius.
Later in the year, Maximian led a surprise invasion of the Agri Decumates – a region between the upper Rhine and upper Danube deep within Alamanni territory – while Diocletian invaded Germany via Raetia. Both emperors burned crops and food supplies as they went, destroying the Germans' means of sustenance. They added large swathes of territory to the Empire and allowed Maximian's build-up to proceed without further disturbance. In the aftermath of the war, towns along the Rhine were rebuilt, bridgeheads created on the eastern banks at such places as Mainz and Cologne, and a military frontier was established, comprising forts, roads, and fortified towns. A military highway through Tornacum (Tournai, Belgium), Bavacum (Bavay, France), Atuatuca Tungrorum (Tongeren, Belgium), Mosae Trajectum (Maastricht, Netherlands), and Cologne connected points along the frontier.
In early 288, Maximian appointed his praetorian prefect Constantius Chlorus, husband of Maximian's daughter Theodora, to lead a campaign against Carausius' Frankish allies. These Franks controlled the Rhine estuaries, thwarting sea-attacks against Carausius. Constantius moved north through their territory, wreaking havoc, and reaching the North Sea. The Franks sued for peace and in the subsequent settlement Maximian reinstated the deposed Frankish king Gennobaudes. Gennobaudes became Maximian's vassal and, with lesser Frankish chiefs in turn swearing loyalty to Gennobaudes, Roman regional dominance was assured.
Maximian allowed a settlement of Frisii, Salian Franks, Chamavi and other tribes along a strip of Roman territory, either between the Rhine and Waal rivers from Noviomagus (Nijmegen, Netherlands) to Traiectum, (Utrecht, Netherlands) or near Trier. These tribes were allowed to settle on the condition that they acknowledged Roman dominance. Their presence provided a ready pool of manpower and prevented the settlement of other Frankish tribes, giving Maximian a buffer along the northern Rhine and reducing his need to garrison the region.
By 289, Maximian was prepared to invade Carausius' Britain, but for some reason the plan failed. Maximian's panegyrist of 289 was optimistic about the campaign's prospects, but the panegyrist of 291 made no mention of it. Constantius' panegyrist suggested that his fleet was lost to a storm, but this might simply have been to diminish the embarrassment of defeat. Diocletian curtailed his Eastern province tour soon after, perhaps on learning of Maximian's failure. Diocletian returned in haste to the West, reaching Emesa by May 10, 290, and Sirmium on the Danube by July 1, 290.
Diocletian met Maximian in Milan either in late December 290 or January 291. Crowds gathered to witness the event, and the emperors devoted much time to public pageantry. Potter, among others, has surmised that the ceremonies were arranged to demonstrate Diocletian's continuing support for his faltering colleague. The rulers discussed matters of politics and war in secret, and they may have considered the idea of expanding the imperial college to include four emperors (the Tetrarchy). Meanwhile, a deputation from the Roman Senate met with the rulers and renewed its infrequent contact with the imperial office. The emperors would not meet again until 303.
Following Maximian's failure to invade in 289, an uneasy truce with Carausius began. Maximian tolerated Carausius' rule in Britain and on the continent but refused to grant the secessionist state formal legitimacy. For his part, Carausius was content with his territories beyond the Continental coast of Gaul. Diocletian, however, would not tolerate this affront to his rule. Faced with Carausius' secession and further challenges on the Egyptian, Syrian, and Danubian borders, he realized that two emperors were insufficient to manage the Empire. On March 1, 293 at Milan, Maximian appointed Constantius to the office of Caesar. On either the same day or a month later, Diocletian did the same for Galerius, thus establishing the "Tetrarchy", or "rule of four". Constantius was made to understand that he must succeed where Maximian had failed and defeat Carausius.
Constantius met expectations quickly and efficiently and by 293 had expelled Carausian forces from northern Gaul. In the same year, Carausius was assassinated and replaced by his treasurer, Allectus. Constantius marched up the coast to the Rhine and Scheldt estuaries where he was victorious over Carausius' Frankish allies, taking the title Germanicus maximus. His sights now set on Britain, Constantius spent the following years building an invasion fleet. Maximian, still in Italy after the appointment of Constantius, was apprised of the invasion plans and, in mid-296, returned to Gaul. There, he held the Rhenish frontiers against Carausius' Frankish allies while Constantius launched his invasion of Britain. Allectus was killed on the North Downs in battle with Constantius' praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus. Constantius himself had landed near Dubris (Dover) and marched on Londinium (London), whose citizens greeted him as a liberator.
With Constantius' victorious return, Maximian was able to focus on the conflict in Mauretania (Northwest Africa). As Roman authority weakened during the third century, nomadic Berber tribes harassed settlements in the region with increasingly severe consequences. In 289, the governor of Mauretania Caesariensis (roughly modern Algeria) gained a temporary respite by pitting a small army against the Bavares and Quinquegentiani, but the raiders soon returned. In 296, Maximian raised an army, from Praetorian cohorts, Aquileian, Egyptian, and Danubian legionaries, Gallic and German auxiliaries, and Thracian recruits, advancing through Spain later that year. He may have defended the region against raiding Moors before crossing the Strait of Gibraltar into Mauretania Tingitana (roughly modern Morocco) to protect the area from Frankish pirates.
By March 297, Maximian had begun a bloody offensive against the Berbers. The campaign was lengthy, and Maximian spent the winter of 297–298 resting in Carthage before returning to the field. Not content to drive them back into their homelands in the Atlas Mountains – from which they could continue to wage war – Maximian ventured deep into Berber territory. The terrain was unfavorable, and the Berbers were skilled at guerrilla warfare, but Maximian pressed on. Apparently wishing to inflict as much punishment as possible on the tribes, he devastated previously secure land, killed as many as he could, and drove the remainder back into the Sahara. His campaign was concluded by early 298 and, on March 10, he made a triumphal entry into Carthage. Inscriptions there record the people's gratitude to Maximian, hailing him – as Constantius had been on his entry to London – as redditor lucis aeternae ("restorer of the eternal light"). Maximian returned to Italy in early 299 to celebrate another triumph in Rome.
After his Mauretanian campaign, Maximian returned to the north of Italy, living a life of leisure in palaces in Milan and Aquilea, and leaving warfare to his subordinate Constantius. Maximian was more aggressive in his relationship with the Senate than Constantius, and Lactantius contends that he terrorized senators, to the point of falsely charging and subsequently executing several, including the prefect of Rome in 301/2. In contrast, Constantius kept up good relations with the senatorial aristocracy and spent his time in active defense of the empire. He took up arms against the Franks in 300 or 301 and in 302 – while Maximian was resting in Italy – continued to campaign against Germanic tribes on the Upper Rhine.
Maximian was only disturbed from his rest in 303 by Diocletian's vicennalia, the 20-year anniversary of his reign, in Rome. Some evidence suggests that it was then that Diocletian exacted a promise from Maximian to retire together, passing their titles as Augusti to the Caesars Constantius and Galerius. Presumably Maximian's son Maxentius and Constantius' son Constantine – children raised in Nicomedia together – would then become the new Caesars. While Maximian might not have wished to retire, Diocletian was still in control and there was little resistance. Before retirement, Maximian would receive one final moment of glory by officiating at the Secular Games in 304.
On May 1, 305, in separate ceremonies in Milan and Nicomedia, Diocletian and Maximian retired simultaneously. The succession did not go entirely to Maximian's liking: perhaps because of Galerius' influence, Galerius' former army comrade Severus and Galerius' nephew Maximinus (both of whom had long military careers) were appointed Caesar, thus excluding Constantine and Maxentius. Maximian quickly soured to the new tetrarchy, which saw Galerius assume the dominant position Diocletian once held. Although Maximian led the ceremony that proclaimed Severus as Caesar, within two years he was sufficiently dissatisfied to support his son's rebellion against the new regime. Diocletian retired to the expansive palace he had built in his homeland, Dalmatia near Salona on the Adriatic. Maximian retired to villas in Campania or Lucania, where he lived a life of ease and luxury. Although far from the political centers of the Empire, Diocletian and Maximian remained close enough to stay in regular contact.
After the death of Constantius on July 25, 306, Constantine assumed the title of Augustus. This displeased Galerius, who instead offered Constantine the title of Caesar, which Constantine accepted. The title of Augustus then went to Severus. Maxentius was jealous of Constantine's power, and on October 28, 306, he persuaded a cohort of imperial guardsmen to declare him Augustus. Uncomfortable with sole leadership, Maxentius sent a set of imperial robes to Maximian and saluted him as "Augustus for the second time", offering him theoretic equal rule but less actual power and a lower rank.
Galerius refused to recognize Maxentius and sent Severus with an army to Rome to depose him. As many of Severus' soldiers had served under Maximian, and had taken Maxentius' bribes, most of the army defected to Maxentius. Severus fled to Ravenna, which Maximian besieged. The city was strongly fortified so Maximian offered terms, which Severus accepted. Maximian then seized Severus and took him under guard to a public villa in southern Rome, where he was kept as a hostage. In late 307, Galerius led a second force against Maxentius but he again failed to take Rome, and retreated north with his army mostly intact.
While Maxentius built up Rome's defenses, Maximian made his way to Gaul to negotiate with Constantine. A deal was struck in which Constantine would marry Maximian's younger daughter Fausta and be elevated to Augustan rank in Maxentius' secessionist regime. In return, Constantine would reaffirm the old family alliance between Maximian and Constantius, and support Maxentius' cause in Italy but would remain neutral in the war with Galerius. The deal was sealed with a double ceremony in Trier in late 307, at which Constantine married Fausta and was declared Augustus by Maximian.
Maximian returned to Rome in the winter of 307–8 but soon fell out with his son and in early 308 challenged his right to rule before an assembly of Roman soldiers. He spoke of Rome's sickly government, disparaged Maxentius for having weakened it, and ripped the imperial toga from Maxentius' shoulders. He expected the soldiers to recognize him but they sided with Maxentius, and Maximian was forced to leave Italy in disgrace.
On November 11, 308, to resolve the political instability, Galerius called Diocletian (out of retirement) and Maximian to a general council meeting at the military city of Carnuntum on the upper Danube. There, Maximian was forced to abdicate again and Constantine was again demoted to Caesar, with Maximinus the Caesar in the east. Licinius, a loyal military companion to Galerius, was appointed Augustus of the West. In early 309 Maximian returned to the court of Constantine in Gaul, the only court that would still accept him. After Constantine and Maximinus refused to be placated with the titles of Sons of the Augusti, they were promoted in early 310, with the result that there were now four Augusti.
In 310, Maximian rebelled against Constantine while the Emperor was on campaign against the Franks. Maximian had been sent south to Arles with part of Constantine's army to defend against attacks by Maxentius in southern Gaul. In Arles, Maximian announced that Constantine was dead and took up the imperial purple. Although Maximian offered bribes to all who would support him, most of Constantine's army remained loyal, and Maximian was compelled to leave the city. Constantine soon heard of the rebellion, abandoned his campaign against the Franks, and moved quickly to southern Gaul, where he confronted the fleeing Maximian at Massilia (Marseille). The town was better able to withstand a long siege than Arles, but it made little difference as loyal citizens opened the rear gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured, reproved for his crimes, and stripped of his title for the third and last time. Constantine granted Maximian some clemency but strongly encouraged his suicide. In July 310, Maximian hanged himself.
Despite the earlier rupture in relations, after Maximian's suicide Maxentius presented himself as his father's devoted son. He minted coins bearing his father's deified image and proclaimed his desire to avenge his death.
Constantine initially presented the suicide as an unfortunate family tragedy. By 311, however, he was spreading another version. According to this, after Constantine had pardoned him, Maximian planned to murder Constantine in his sleep. Fausta learned of the plot and warned Constantine, who put a eunuch in his own place in bed. Maximian was apprehended when he killed the eunuch and was offered suicide, which he accepted. In addition to the propaganda, Constantine instituted a damnatio memoriae on Maximian, destroying all inscriptions referring to him and eliminating any public work bearing his image.
Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Maxentius died, and Italy came under Constantine's rule. Eutropia swore on oath that Maxentius was not Maximian's son, and Maximian's memory was rehabilitated. His apotheosis under Maxentius was declared null and void, and he was re-consecrated as a god, probably in 317. He began appearing on Constantine's coinage as divus, or divine, by 318, together with the deified Constantius and Claudius Gothicus. The three were hailed as Constantine's forebears. They were called "the best of emperors". Through his daughters Fausta and Flavia, Maximian was grandfather or great-grandfather to every reigning emperor from 337 to 363.
Emperor of the West 286-305
∞ Valeria Maximilla
|(?) Flavia Maximiana Theodora||Constantius Chlorus|
Emperor of the West
|Valerius Romulus||Flavius Dalmatius|
MaximianBorn: 250 Died: July 310
| Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Diocletian
Constantius Chlorus and Galerius
Marcus Junius Maximus,
| Consul of the Roman Empire
Marcus Magrius Bassus,
Lucius Ragonius Quintianus
Marcus Magrius Bassus,
Lucius Ragonius Quintianus
| Consul of the Roman Empire
Gaius Junius Tiberianus,
| Consul of the Roman Empire
| Consul of the Roman Empire
Anicius Faustus Paulinus,
Anicius Faustus Paulinus,
| Consul of the Roman Empire
| Consul of the Roman Empire
| Consul of the Roman Empire
with Constantine I,
Flavius Valerius Severus,
Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I, was a Roman Emperor who ruled between 306 and 337 AD. Born in Naissus, in Dacia Ripensis, town now known as Niš (Serbian Cyrillic: Ниш, located in Serbia), he was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer. His mother was Empress Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father's death in 306 AD. He emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.
As emperor, Constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century.
Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he lived much of his life as a pagan, and later as a catechumen, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325, which produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the forged Donation of Constantine. He has historically been referred to as the "First Christian Emperor", and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople (now Istanbul) after himself (the laudatory epithet of "New Rome" came later, and was never an official title). It became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern Roman Empire now being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian's tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign, due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I (Latin: Marcus Flavius Valerius Constantius Herculius Augustus; 31 March c. 250 – 25 July 306), commonly known as Constantius Chlorus (Greek: Κωνστάντιος Χλωρός, Kōnstantios Khlōrós, literally "Constantius the Pale"), was a Caesar from 293 to 305 and a Roman Emperor from 305 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty.
As Caesar, a junior emperor, he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the Alamanni and Franks. Upon becoming Augustus in 305, Constantius launched a successful punitive campaign against the Picts beyond the Antonine Wall. However, Constantius died suddenly in Eboracum (York) the following year. His death sparked the collapse of the tetrarchic system of government inaugurated by the Emperor Diocletian.Diocletian
Diocletian (; Latin: Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus), born Diocles (22 December 244 – 3 December 311), was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor. The title was also claimed by Carus' surviving son, Carinus, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus.
Diocletian's reign stabilized the empire and marks the end of the Crisis of the Third Century. He appointed fellow officer Maximian as Augustus, co-emperor, in 286. Diocletian reigned in the Eastern Empire, and Maximian reigned in the Western Empire. Diocletian delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors, under himself and Maximian respectively. Under this 'tetrarchy', or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire. Diocletian secured the empire's borders and purged it of all threats to his power. He defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, and usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298. Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned successfully against Sassanid Persia, the empire's traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked their capital, Ctesiphon. Diocletian led the subsequent negotiations and achieved a lasting and favourable peace.
Diocletian separated and enlarged the empire's civil and military services and reorganized the empire's provincial divisions, establishing the largest and most bureaucratic government in the history of the empire. He established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum, Sirmium, and Trevorum, closer to the empire's frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome. Building on third-century trends towards absolutism, he styled himself an autocrat, elevating himself above the empire's masses with imposing forms of court ceremonies and architecture. Bureaucratic and military growth, constant campaigning, and construction projects increased the state's expenditures and necessitated a comprehensive tax reform. From at least 297 on, imperial taxation was standardized, made more equitable, and levied at generally higher rates.
Not all of Diocletian's plans were successful: the Edict on Maximum Prices (301), his attempt to curb inflation via price controls, was counterproductive and quickly ignored. Although effective while he ruled, Diocletian's tetrarchic system collapsed after his abdication under the competing dynastic claims of Maxentius and Constantine, sons of Maximian and Constantius respectively. The Diocletianic Persecution (303–312), the empire's last, largest, and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity, failed to eliminate Christianity in the empire; indeed, after 324, Christianity became the empire's preferred religion under Constantine. Despite these failures and challenges, Diocletian's reforms fundamentally changed the structure of Roman imperial government and helped stabilize the empire economically and militarily, enabling the empire to remain essentially intact for another 150 years despite being near the brink of collapse in Diocletian's youth. Weakened by illness, Diocletian left the imperial office on 1 May 305, and became the first Roman emperor to abdicate the position voluntarily. He lived out his retirement in his palace on the Dalmatian coast, tending to his vegetable gardens. His palace eventually became the core of the modern-day city of Split in Croatia.Eutropia
Eutropia (d. after 325), a woman of Syrian origin, was the wife of Emperor Maximian.Fausta (opera)
For the Roman Empress, see Fausta. For the Catholic saint, see Saint Fausta.
Fausta is a melodramma, or opera seria, in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was partly written by Domenico Gilardoni, who died while doing so: the remainder was written by Donizetti. The literary source of the opera's libretto is Crispo, a tragedy improvised by Tommaso Sgricci on 3 November 1827.The opera successfully debuted on 12 January 1832 at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, and was written with prima donna Giuseppina Ronzi de Begnis in mind. De Begnis was rumored to be the King's mistress.
Although the libretto had irked the chief censor, the production went ahead, supposedly because of De Begnis' influence in high places. Donizetti wrote this opera for the birthday of King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. Walter Scott was present at the premiere and it has been suggested that the King introduced him to the composer; Scott thought that Fausta was “without any remarkable music.” The opera marked the beginning of an important and fruitful collaboration with Ronzi de Begnis. Only 18 days separate the premiere of Bellini's Norma at La Scala and Donizetti's new opera – both set in ancient Rome and her Empire. Donizetti's aim was not to compete with Bellini's opera but simply to expand on the success of his Anna Bolena of 1830.
The opera, based on historical events, involves the complications that ensue when Fausta, the wife of Emperor Constantine I falls in love with her stepson. Historical accuracy leaves something to be desired; in fact Maximian had died much before the incestuous scandal involving Fausta and Crispus exploded.Flavia Maximiana Theodora
Flavia Maximiana Theodora, also known as Theodora, was a Roman Empress, wife of Constantius Chlorus.
She is often referred to as a stepdaughter of Emperor Maximian by ancient sources, leading to claims by historians Otto Seeck and Ernest Stein that she was born from an earlier marriage between Eutropia, wife of Maximian, and Afranius Hannibalianus. This man was consul in 292 and praetorian prefect under Diocletian.
Timothy Barnes challenges this view stating that all "stepdaughter sources" derive their information from the partially unreliable work Kaisergeschichte (written in the 4th century), while more reliable sources refer Theodora as Maximian's natural daughter. He concludes that she was born no later than c. 275 to an unnamed earlier wife of Maximian, possibly one of Hannibalianus' daughters.In 293, Theodora married Flavius Valerius Julius Constantius (later known as Constantius Chlorus), after he had divorced from his first wife, Helena, to strengthen his political position. The couple had six children:
Julius Constantius, father of Roman Emperor Julian and of the unnamed wife of Constantius II;
Hannibalianus (must have died before the imperial purges that occurred in 337 because he is not listed among its victims);
Anastasia, who was to marry Bassianus;
Flavia Julia Constantia, wife of Roman Emperor Licinius;
Eutropia, mother of Nepotianus.Galerius
Galerius (; Latin: Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus Augustus; circa 250 – April or May 311) was Roman emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign, he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300. Although he was a staunch opponent of Christianity, Galerius ended the Diocletianic Persecution when he issued an Edict of Toleration in Serdica in 311.Legio II Herculia
Legio II Herculia (devoted to Hercules) was a Roman legion, levied by Emperor Diocletian (284-305), possibly together with I Iovia, to guard the newly created province of Scythia Minor. It was stationed at Capidava. The cognomen of this legion came from Herculius, the attribute of Maximian (Diocletian's colleague) meaning "similar to Hercules".
According to Notitia Dignitatum, at the beginning of the 5th-century, II Herculia was still in its camp on the Danube.Legio I Maximiana
The Legio I Maximiana (of Maximian) was a comitatensis Roman legion, probably created in the year 296 or 297 by the Emperor Diocletian.
The I Maximiana was formed together with II Flavia Constantia, to garrison the newly created province Thebaidos, in Aegyptus. The legion is also known as Maximiana Thebanorum or Thebaeorum ("Maximian legion of the Thebans"). Since no Legio I Maximiana is listed as being stationed at Thebes in the Notitia Dignitatum, the designation is interpreted more broadly as of the Thebaid in general. The cognomen Maximiana originated from Maximian, Diocletian's colleague.
In 354, I Maximiana was in Thrace, in the neighborhood of Adrianople (modern Edirne). Thus it is likely that it fought in the Battle of Adrianople, in 378, when emperor Valens was defeated by Goths. According to Notitia Dignitatum, the I Maximiana Thebanorum was still under Thracian command (magister militum per Thracias) at the beginning of the 5th century, while the I Maximiana was in Philae (Egypt, south of Aswan), under the dux Thebaidos.
There exists also a Theban Legion in the legend of Saint Maurice from the 5th century. According to that tradition, this (Prima Maximiana Thebanorum) was a legion from Thebes that was ordered to move by Maximian. Thus it is sometimes related to I Maximiana Thebanorum. However, according to tradition, the Theban Legion of Saint Maurice was martyred in 286, while the I Maximiana was not founded until ten years later.Lucian of Beauvais
Saint Lucian (Lucianus, Lucien) of Beauvais (died c. 290 AD) is a Christian martyr of the Catholic Church, called the "Apostle of Beauvais." He was killed in the 3rd century during the Diocletian persecution, although later traditions make him a martyr of the 1st century instead. This was because the church of Beauvais attempted to claim apostolic origins for itself. Odo, bishop of Beauvais during the 9th century, was actually the first writer to designate Lucian as the first bishop of Beauvais.Nevertheless, the foundation of the diocese of Beauvais is traditionally attributed to him. His Passio assigns him two disciples, Maximian (Maxien, Maximien) and Julian (Julien), who were decapitated with him on the hill of Montmille.Maxentius
Maxentius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius Augustus; c. 278 – 28 October 312) was Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius. The latter part of his reign was preoccupied with civil war, allying with Maximinus II against Licinius and Constantine. The latter defeated him at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, where Maxentius, with his army in flight, purportedly perished by drowning in the Tiber river.Maximian (Bishop of Carthage)
Maximian was a 4th-century Bishop of Carthage and founder of a splinter group that left (or reformed) Donatism.Maximianus
Maximianus or Maximian may refer to:
Marcus Valerius Maximianus, suffect consul in 186, legionary legate during the Marcomannic Wars
Maximian (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus Herculius), co-emperor with Diocletian, 286–305
Galerius Maximianus, Roman emperor, 305–311
Magnus Maximus, or Maximianus (c. 335–388), usurping ruler of the Western Roman Empire
Maximian (Bishop of Carthage) (late 4th century), an adherent of the Donatist sect of Christianity
Archbishop Maximianus of Constantinople, archbishop 431–434
Maximianus of Ravenna (499–556), bishop of Ravenna
Maximianus (poet), sixth-century Latin poetMaximianus of Constantinople
Maximianus (? – 12 April 434) was the archbishop of Constantinople from 25 October 431 until his death on 12 April 434.Mediolanum
Mediolanum, the ancient Milan, was originally an Insubrian city, but afterwards became an important Roman city in northern Italy. The city was settled by the Insubres around 600 BC, conquered by the Romans in 222 BC, and developed into a key centre of Western Christianity and capital of the Western Roman Empire. It declined under the ravages of the Gothic War, its capture by the Lombards in 569, and their decision to make Ticinum the capital of their Kingdom of Italy.
During the Principate the population was 40,000 in 200 AD; when the city became capital of the Western Roman Empire under emperor Maximian (r. 286-305), the population rose to 100,000 people and thus Milan became one of the largest cities in Roman Italy.Roman Emperor (Dominate)
The accession on November 20, 284, of Diocletian, the lower-class, Greek-speaking Dalmatian commander of Carus's and Numerian's household cavalry, marked a major departure from traditional Roman constitutional theory regarding the Emperor, who was nominally first among equals during the Principate. Whereas before Emperors had worn only a purple toga and were greeted with deference, Diocletian wore jewelled robes and shoes, and required those who greeted him to kneel and kiss the hem of his robe. In many ways, Diocletian was the first monarchical Emperor, and this is symbolised by the fact that the word dominus ("Lord") rapidly replaced princeps as the favoured word for referring to the Emperor. In short, the Dominate represents a time when the emperors unabashedly showcased their status and authority compared to the earlier Principate.
The Dominate also featured a shift in the Empire's "center of gravity" from the west to the east, particularly after the establishment of Constantinople; neither Diocletian nor his co-Emperor Maximian spent much time in Rome after 286, establishing their Imperial capitals at Nicomedia and Mediolanum (modern Milan), respectively.Tetrarchy
The term "tetrarchy" (from the Greek: τετραρχία, tetrarchia, "leadership of four [people]") describes any form of government where power is divided among four individuals, but in modern usage usually refers to the system instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire. This tetrarchy lasted until c. 313, when mutually destructive civil wars eliminated most of the claimants to power, leaving Constantine in control of the western half of the empire, and Licinius in control of the eastern half.Throne of Maximian
The Throne of Maximian (or Maximianus) is a throne that was made for Archbishop Maximianus of Ravenna and is now on display at the Archiepiscopal Museum, Ravenna. It is generally agreed that the throne was carved in the Greek East of the Byzantine Empire and shipped to Ravenna, but there has long been scholarly debate over whether it was made in Constantinople or Alexandria.The style of the throne is a mixture of Early Christian art and that of the First Golden Age of Byzantine art. It is made of carved ivory panels, with frames of winding vines and grapevines, on a wooden frame. The throne itself is large with a high semi-circular back and may have held a jewelled cross or Gospel book for some of the time. The ivory carvings are done in relief and the panels depict important biblical figures. The back of the throne shows scenes of the Life of Christ, the sides include scenes of the Story of Joseph from the Book of Genesis, and on the front of the throne are the Four evangelists around John the Baptist, who is holding a medallion with the Lamb of God and Maximian’s name above him.Valerius Severus
Valerius Severus (Latin: Flavius Valerius Severus Augustus; died September 307), also Severus II, was a Western Roman Emperor from 306 to 307. After failing to besiege Rome, he fled to Ravenna. It is thought that he was killed there or executed near Rome.
27 BC – 235 AD
|Empire of Nicaea|
Italics indicates a co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper.