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Western Roman Empire

Ruler: Magnus Maximus
Reigned: 383 - 388 AD
Denomination: Bronze Maiorina
Mint: Arelate
Date of Issue: 383 - 386 AD
Obverse: Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. "D.N. MAG. MAXIMVS P.F. AVG."
Reverse: Maximus standing left, raising kneeling female. In the emperor's right hand is Victory who is crowning him. "REPARATIO REIPVB."
Mint marks:
(P,S or T)CON
Reference: RIC IX 26a, RCVM 20650
Weight: 4.6 gms
Nominal Weight: 4.5 - 5.0 gms extremely variable
Diameter: 22.9 mm

MAGNUS MAXIMUS (Magnus Clemens Maximus)

  • Magnus Maximus was born in Galicia, in Spain. He served in Britain under Count Theodosius (to whom he was related) who was father of Theodosius I and who cleared Britain of marauding Picts, Scots, Franks and Saxons in 368-9.
  • Maximus was given the post of governor of Wales, renamed Valentia after the emperor Valentinian I. His capital was Segontium, now Caernarvon.
  • He married a Welsh woman, called Elen (or Helen) of the Hosts.
  • When the eastern emperor, Valens, was killed at the battle of Hadrianopolis in 378, Theododius was appointed emperor in the east. However, this left the two young sons of Valentinian I, namely Gratian and Valentinian II, as co-rulers in the west.
  • In 383, the soldiers in Britain had became discontented with the rule of Gratian and persuaded Maximus to declare himself emperor.
  • He crossed to Gaul, taking with him the best troops in Britain. Deserted by his troops, Gratian fled to Lugdunum (Lyon), where he was overtaken and killed.
  • Maximus set up his court in Trier and the following year Theodosius recognised his rule over Britain, Gaul, Spain and Africa, with Valentinian retaining only Italy.
  • In 387, Maximus invaded Italy. Valentinian fled to Theodosius, and Maximus appointed his son, Flavius Victor, as co-emperor in the West.
  • Theodosius advanced on Italy, where he defeated Maximus at Poetovio and executed him near Aquileia, July 28th, 388. Victor was also killed.
  • Magnus Maximus is the subject of Kipling's "Puck of Pook's Hill".

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