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Maximian was born of humble birth in Sirmium c.250. He became a Roman army officer and was a comrade-in-arms of Diocletian. Soon after Diocletian became emperor, he realised that ruling the vast Roman Empire was too big a job for one man alone, and so he appointed Maximian as his junior co-emperor to rule in the West whilst Diocletian himself concentrated on ruling the East. In order to cement this alliance, Diocletian gave Maximian one of his daughters in marriage. Diocletian considered himself to be a skilled politician and administrator, but a poor general. Maximian was on the other hand, an excellent general.
Maximian was relatively successful in keeping order in Gaul and securing the borders from the encroaching Alemanni tribe. However, he chose poorly in appointing Carausius as his lieutenant in Britannia. Fearing execution, Carausius subsequently rebelled, with Britannia and parts of Northern Gaul seceding from the Roman Empire under his rule. Maximian's attempt to crush Carausius and restore Britain to the Empire ended in failure, apparently due to a storm which destroyed most of his fleet.
Partly due to this failure, Diocletian decided in 293 that not even two emperors were enough to rule the Empire, and told Maximian to appoint a junior emperor (Caesar) to assist him, whilst he would do the same. This was the beginning of the Tetrarchy (rule of four). Maximian appointed his son in law and Praetorian prefect Constantius Chlorus, for whom he set the task of bringing the rebel British Empire to heel, which he achieved in 296.
With Britain restored to Roman rule, Maximian travelled to Africa to campaign against the Berbers. After inflicting a crushing defeat upon them, despite initial difficulties, Maximian returned to Italy and left the military responsibilities of defending the Empire to his Caesar Constantius. In 305, Diocletian abdicated and went into retirement, compelling Maximian to do likewise. Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus, but died the following year whilst on campaign in Britain, whilst his son Constantine (later known as Constantine the Great) was raised to the rank of Augustus.
Maximian had only abdicated with the greatest reluctance, and did not settle well into retirement. He schemed and plotted to return to power at the expense of the succeeding Tetrarchs, including his own son Maxentius, from whom he fled to Constantine's court after an unsuccessful plot to usurp him. Maximian later plotted to usurp Constantine, and when this plot was foiled, Maximian was forced to commit suicide. He was subsequently subjected to the Damnatio Memoriae after his death. However, he was rehabilitated and granted divine status in 317, perhaps due to the fact that via his daughter, who was married to Constantine, he was the grandfather of Constantine's sons Constantius, Constantine and Constans. Since Maximian had been dead for several years at this point, Constantine perhaps took the view that he could afford to grant this concession to him as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation to mutual family members and Maximian's own former supporters.
The coin featured is an Antoninianus minted during Maximian's first reign, before Diocletian's famous coinage reform which rendered this denomination obsolete. This Antoninianus is therefore one of the last of its kind to have been minted. This particular type is also rather scarce.
Price & Availability:-
|Description||Grade||Price £||Price $||Availability|
|Antoninianus of Maximian 4.6g||GVF/Fine||£55||$Ask||Yes|
Roman Historical Notes
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