History, Facts and Information about Maximianus
The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about the Emperor Maximianus and the all-powerful Caesars who ruled the empire of Ancient Rome. The word "Caesar" was originally the name of the famous aristocratic patrician family of ancient Rome and became synonymous with the Roman Emperors. Refer to the comprehensive List of Roman Emperors for the names of the most famous Romans, their dynasties and the historic eras of all the Roman Emperors and usurpers. Read about the life of Maximianus who can be described or remembered as:
"The Emperor who 'retired' and then returned..."
Short Biography about the life of Maximianus (aka Herculius and also Maximian)
Short Biography profile and facts about one of the most famous Romans of all, in the life of Maximianus, Emperor of Rome and provinces of the Roman Empire.
Name commonly known as: Maximianus (aka Herculius and also Maximian)
Latin Roman Name: Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus Daia
Also referred to by the title of Herculius
Reigned as Roman Emperor / Caesar: April 1, 286 – May 1, 305 Maximianus (Maximian) as Augustus of the West with Diocletian as Augustus of the East
Two Caesars were appointed to assist in the control of the Empire: Galerius, reporting to Diocletian, who controlled the legions of the Danube and Constantius reporting to Maximianus who controlled Britain, Spain and Gaul
Dynasty / Historical Period: In 285 the Roman Empire was split in half by Diocletian - The Western Roman Empire and the other half became known as the Eastern Roman Empire or the Byzantine Empire.
Usurpers during the reign of Maximianus: Maxentius, Carausius, Allectus and Domitius Domitianus
Place and Date of Birth: 20 November c. 270 at Felix Romuliana (Serbia)
Name of previous Emperor: His predecessor or the Emperor before Maximianus was Diocletian
Family connections / Genealogy
Place and Date of Death: Died August 313
Name of next Emperors: The successors to Maximianus were Constantius Chlorus and Galerius
Interesting facts about the life of Maximianus (aka Herculius and also Maximian)
Obtain a fast overview of the times of the Roman Emperor Maximianus from the following facts and information about his life. Finding the empire too large to be governed by a single ruler, the Emperor Diocletian selected General Maximianus as co-emperor. Maximianus was a brave, fierce but ignorant soldier, who had risen to a high rank in the army. The Diarchy ('the rule of two') was therefore created. Maximianus always admitted the intellectual superiority of Diocletian who was the more senior of the two. Diocletian assumed the title of Jovius and Maximianus assumed the title of Herculius.
Maximianus - The Tetrarchy
A Tetrarchy (Greek meaning "leadership of four people") is a system of government where power is divided between four individuals. The first Tetrarchy was instituted by Emperor Diocletian and Emperor Maximianus in 293 and lasted until c. 313. Diocletian and Maximianus appointed two Caesars, Constantius and Galerius, to aid the co-emperors in the defence of the empire. Augustus Diocletian and his Caesar, Galerius controlled the East. Augustus Maximianus and his Caesar, Constantius controlled the West. The Roman Empire was divided between the four princes, the Tetrarchy.
Diocletian was Augustus of the East: Ruling Asia, Egypt and Thrace
Maximianus was Augustus of the West: Ruling Italy and Africa
Maximianus - Reasons for creating the Tetrarchy
The Tetrarchy was created for the following reasons:
To provide a stronger foundation for the rule of the co-emperors
To govern and manage the huge Roman Empire
To limit any possible fighting over the succession to the throne
Maximianus - Cementing the Tetrarchy
To cement the relationship between Maximianus and his Caesar a political marriage was arranged between Constantius and the elder daughter of Maximianus whose name was Theodora. This policy continued and ten years later, the son of Constantius Chlorus, called Constantine, would marry the younger daughter of Maximianus called Fausta.
Maximianus - The Split of the Roman Empire
The split of the Roman Empire provides a clear view of the immense extent of the Roman power and how its commanders were simultaneously struggling successfully against its enemies in Africa, Britain, Germany, and the East. The four rulers worked together in harmony, but the establishment of four courts in different parts of the empire obliged them to increase the taxes. Even Italy, which had always been favored in regard to taxes, was now heavily burdened, and everywhere lands were abandoned and left uncultivated because their owners could not pay the taxes.
Maximianus, Rebellions and Usurpers
In A.D. 287 a rebellion occurred in Gaul, which was suppressed by Maximianus; soon after, Carausius, having become master of Britain, and possessing a considerable fleet, defied the power of the emperor; but when Constantius was appointed Caesar he prepared to reduce the island to subjection. In A.D. 294 Carausius was put to death by Allectus, a new usurper. Constantius now crossed the Channel and recovered the island, which, after a separation of ten years, was once more reunited to the empire. During this reign the Goths, Vandals, and other northern barbarians fought each other; but whenever, in intervals of peace, they invaded the Roman territory, they were driven back by the strength of the two Caesars. In 296 AD Galerius, added Persia including Mesopotamia to the Roman empire. Maximian, in the mean time, subdued a revolt in Africa.
Maximianus - The Last Triumph
The two co-emperors returned to Rome following their victories in Africa and Egypt and celebrated their Triumph November 20, A.D. 303 which became the last spectacle of its kind ever witnessed. In the last triumph, the two emperors were attended by the spoils of Africa and Britain, of the East and the West.
The 'Retirement' and Death of Maximianus
In A.D. 305 Diocletian decided to abdicate his power and 'persuaded' Maximianus to do the same. Maximianus retired from public life in Lucania or Campania. Upon the abdication of Maximianus and Diocletian, the two Caesars, Constantius and Galerius, assumed the title of Augustus and succeeded as co-emperors. Maximianus retired from public life in Lucania or Campania. His retirement lasted for just one year. The son of Maximianus, called Maxentius, provoked a new Civil War in the empire. On 28 October 306 Maxentius was proclaimed emperor at Rome and Maximianus was forced to back his son and they ruled jointly until 308. Maximianus attempted to depose his son in 308 but failed and his son, the usurper Maxentius, continued to act as ruler until October 312. In the summer of 310 Maximianus proclaimed himself again emperor and Maximianus was eventually taken prisoner. He was granted pardon for his crimes but then he attempted to have Constantine murdered in his bed. Maximianus died shortly after the failed assassination attempt either by his own hand or on the orders of Constantine.
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Map of the Roman Empire c395AD illustrating the power of the Emperor