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Roman Empire

Ruler: Maximianianus: first reign Western Augustus
Reigned: 1st reign 286-305 AD: 2nd reign 306-308 AD
Denomination: AE Quarter Follis (RIC laureate fraction)
Mint: Siscia
Date of Issue: c. 305 AD
Obverse: Laureate bust right. "IMP. C.M.A. MAXIMIANVS P.F. AVG."
Reverse: Genius standing left, modius on head, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, right hand holding patera, left, cornucopiae. "GENIO POPVLI ROMANI".
Mint marks:
 
SIS
Reference: RIC VI 146, RCVM 13307A
Weight: 2.0 gms
Nominal Weight: 1.5 - 2.3 gms
Diameter: 19.0 mm

MAXIMIAN (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus)

  • Maximian was the son of shopkeepers from near Sirmium in the Roman province of Pannonia (in present day Slovenia).
  • Diocletian defeated Carinus at the battle of the River Margus, becoming sole emperor of the Roman Empire in 285 A.D.
  • In November 285, he surprised everyone by bestowing on one of his most trusted colleagues, Maximian, an Illyrian army officer like himself, the title of Caesar, with control of the western provinces. This freed him to deal with the problems of the Danube frontier.
  • Maximian was raised to the rank of Augustus on 1st April, 286.
  • While Diocletion was busy on the Danube, Maximian suppressed the Bagaudae, powerful bandits who were ravaging parts of Gaul.
  • In 288 the two emperors joined forces against the Alemanni, when Maximian advanced across the Rhine and Diocletian across the Upper Danube.
  • In 286, Carausius, commander of the Roman North Sea fleet, seized control of Britain and pronounced himself emperor. Maximian attempted quell the revolt in 289, but his forces were defeated by Carausius's powerful navy.
  • Diocletian now wanted to arrange a formal succession for the joint emperors, so on 1st March 293, Maximian adopted his praetorian commander Julius Constantius as son and Caesar, while Diocletian adopted Galerius Maximian as son and Caesar.
  • Maximian crossed to Africa to put down a revolt by the Quinquegentiani.
  • By 304 A.D., Diocletian was in poor health and decided to abdicate. He persuaded Maximian to do so as well, and on 1st May 305, they did so. Constantius and Galerius became the new senior emperors, while Maximinus Daia and Severus took their places as Caesars.
  • When Constantius died at York on 25 July 306, his army immediately proclaimed his son, Constantine, "Augustus". Galerius was not pleased with this arrangement and sought to demote Constantine to Caesar and raise Severus to Augustus.
  • Maxentius, son of Maximian, was disappointed in being passed over, and proclaimed himself emperor at Rome on 28th October 306.
  • Maxentius invited his father to become emperor for the second time, which he did. They made an alliance with Constantine, who thereafter was recognised as Augustus in their territories.
  • Severus tried and failed to defeat them, fleeing to Ravenna where he was captured, forced to abdicate, and killed, on 16th September 307.
  • In April 308 Maximian tried to usurp his son's position at Rome, but the attempt failed and he fled to seek refuge with Constantine in Gaul.
  • Diocletian was briefly brought out of retirement in November 308 for an imperial conference at Carnuntum near Vienna. The result was a new tetrarchy. Licinius, another Illyrian army officer and friend of Galerius, was appointed Augustus in the west, in place of Severus. Constantine and Maximinus were given the title of filius Augusti, Maxentius was declared a public enemy and Maximian, whom Maxentius had created co-ruler, was forced to resign. Under pressure from Constantine and Maximinus, Galerius promoted them to full Augustii, early in 309.
  • In 310, after two years at Constantine's court, Maximian, while Constantine was fighting a campaign against the Franks, went to Arles, where he proclaimed himself emperor for the third time, announcing that Constantine was dead.
  • While Constantine hurried south to confront him, Maximianus fled to Marseilles. The citizens of Marseilles, however, opened the city gates to Constantine. Maximian was captured, and soon afterwards he allegedly hanged himself.

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