Maximian was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 286 to 305. He was Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 but spent most of his time on campaign. In the late summer of 285, he suppressed rebels in Gaul known as the Bagaudae
In the time of the later Roman Empire bagaudae were groups of peasant insurgents who emerged during the "Crisis of the Third Century", and persisted particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were "exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great...

. From 285 to 288, he fought against Germanic tribes along the Rhine frontier.

285    Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar and co-ruler.

285    Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler.

286    Roman Emperor Diocletian raises Maximian to the rank of ''Caesar''.

305    Diocletian and Maximian retire from the office of Roman Emperor.

307    After divorcing his wife Minervina, Constantine marries Fausta, the daughter of the retired Roman Emperor Maximian.

308    At Carnuntum, Emperor ''emeritus'' Diocletian confers with Galerius, ''Augustus'' of the East, and Maximianus, the recently returned former ''Augustus'' of the West, in an attempt to restore order to the Roman Empire.

Maximian was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 286 to 305. He was Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 but spent most of his time on campaign. In the late summer of 285, he suppressed rebels in Gaul known as the Bagaudae
In the time of the later Roman Empire bagaudae were groups of peasant insurgents who emerged during the "Crisis of the Third Century", and persisted particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were "exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great...

. From 285 to 288, he fought against Germanic tribes along the Rhine frontier. Together with Diocletian, he launched a scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 campaign deep into Alamanni
The Alamanni, Allemanni, or Alemanni were originally an alliance of Germanic tribes located around the upper Rhine river . One of the earliest references to them is the cognomen Alamannicus assumed by Roman Emperor Caracalla, who ruled the Roman Empire from 211 to 217 and claimed thereby to be...

c territory in 288, temporarily relieving the Rhine provinces from the threat of Germanic invasion.

The man he appointed to police the Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 shores, Carausius
Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius was a military commander of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. He was a Menapian from Belgic Gaul, who usurped power in 286, declaring himself emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. He did this only 13 years after the Gallic Empire of the Batavian...

, 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
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

, campaigned against Carausius' successor, Allectus
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

, while Maximian held the Rhine frontier
Limes Germanicus
The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD...

. The rebel leader was ousted in 296, and Maximian moved south to combat piracy near Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 and Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 incursions in Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

. 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
Maxentius was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian, and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius.-Birth and early life:Maxentius' exact date of birth is unknown; it was probably around 278...

' rebellion in Italy. In April 307, he attempted to depose his son, but failed and fled to the court of Constantius' successor, Constantine
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 (who was both Maximian's step-grandson and also his son-in-law), in Trier. At the Council of Carnuntum
Carnuntum was a Roman army camp on the Danube in the Noricum province and after the 1st century the capital of the Upper Pannonia province...

 in November 308, Diocletian and his successor, Galerius
Galerius , 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...

, 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 committed suicide in the summer of 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.

Early life

Maximian was born near Sirmium
Sirmium was a city in ancient Roman Pannonia. Firstly mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by the Illyrians and Celts, it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Lower Pannonia. In 294 AD, Sirmium was...

 (modern Sremska Mitrovica
Sremska Mitrovica
Sremska Mitrovica is a city and municipality located in the Vojvodina province of Serbia, on the left bank of the Sava river. As of 2002 the town had a total population of 39,041, while Sremska Mitrovica municipality had a population of 85,605...

, Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

) in the province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

, around 250 into an Illyrian
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

 family of shopkeeper
A shopkeeper is an individual who owns a shop. Generally, shop employees are not shopkeepers, but are often incorrectly referred to as shopkeepers. Today, a shopkeeper is usually referred to as a manager, though this term could apply to larger firms .*In many south asian languages like Hindi, Urdu,...

s. Beyond that, the ancient sources contain vague allusions to Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

 as his homeland, to his Pannonian virtues, and to his harsh upbringing along the war-torn Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 frontier. Maximian joined the army, serving with Diocletian under the emperors Aurelian
Aurelian , was Roman Emperor from 270 to 275. During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire's eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following...

 (r. 270–275) and Probus (r. 276–282). He probably participated in the Mesopotamian campaign of Carus
Carus , was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success. During his campaign against the Sassanid Empire he sacked their capital Ctesiphon, but died shortly thereafter...

 in 283 and attended Diocletian's election as emperor on November 20, 284 at Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

. Maximian's swift appointment by Diocletian as Caesar is taken by the writer Stephen Williams and historian Timothy Barnes
Timothy Barnes
Timothy David Barnes is a British classicist.Timothy David Barnes was born in Yorkshire in 1942. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield until 1960, going up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he read Literae Humaniores, taking his BA in 1964 and MA in 1967...

 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
Carinus , was Roman Emperor 282 to 285. The elder son of emperor Carus, he was appointed Caesar and co-emperor of the western portion of the empire upon his father's accession...

 (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
Aurelius Victor
Sextus Aurelius Victor was a historian and politician of the Roman Empire.Aurelius Victor was the author of a History of Rome from Augustus to Julian , published ca. 361. Julian honoured him and appointed him prefect of Pannonia Secunda...

 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 panegyrist of 289, after comparing his actions to Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

' victories over Hannibal during the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

, suggested that Maximian has never heard of them. His ambitions were purely military; he left politics to Diocletian. The Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine I, guiding his religious policy as it developed, and tutor to his son.-Biography:...

 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 Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n wife, Eutropia
Eutropia a woman of Syrian origin, who was the wife of Emperor Maximian.- Marriage to Maximian and their children :In the late 3rd century, she married Maximian, though the exact date of this marriage is uncertain. By Maximian, she had two children, a boy, Maxentius , who was Western Roman...

: Maxentius
Maxentius was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian, and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius.-Birth and early life:Maxentius' exact date of birth is unknown; it was probably around 278...

 and Fausta
Fausta Flavia Maxima was a Roman Empress, daughter of the Roman Emperor Maximianus. To seal the alliance between them for control of the Tetrarchy, in 307 Maximianus married her to Constantine I, who set aside his wife Minervina in her favour. Constantine and Fausta had been betrothed since...

. There is no direct evidence in the ancient sources for their birthdates. Modern estimates of Maxentius' birth year have varied from c. 277 to c. 287, and most date Fausta's birth to c. 298. Theodora
Flavia Maximiana Theodora
Flavia Maximiana Theodora was the stepdaughter of Maximian. Her parents were Flavius Afranius Hannibalianus and wife, divorced before 283, Eutropia, later wife of Maximian. Theodora's father was consul in 292, and praetorian prefect under Diocletian...

, the wife of Constantius Chlorus, is often called Maximian's stepdaughter by ancient sources, leading to claims by Otto Seeck
Otto Seeck
Otto Seeck was a German classical historian who is perhaps best known for his work on the decline of the ancient world. He was born in Riga....

 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
Enmannsche Kaisergeschichte
The Enmannsche Kaisergeschichte is a modern term for a hypothesized Latin historical work, written in the 4th century but now lost....

, 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.

Appointment as Caesar

At Mediolanum
Mediolanum, the ancient Milan, was an important Celtic and then Roman centre of northern Italy. This article charts the history of the city from its settlement by the Insubres around 600 BC, through its conquest by the Romans and its development into a key centre of Western Christianity and capital...

Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

) 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
Frank Kolb
Frank Kolb is a German professor of ancient history at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany. He has been involved in a controversy over findings concerning the late Bronze Age in Troy, and accused Dr...

 has stated that arguments for the adoption are based on misreadings of the papyrological evidence. Maximian did take Diocletian's nomen (family name
Family name
A family name is a type of surname and part of a person's name indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world...

) 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
Carus , was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success. During his campaign against the Sassanid Empire he sacked their capital Ctesiphon, but died shortly thereafter...

 and his sons had ruled jointly, albeit not for long. Even the first emperor, Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, (r. 27 BC–AD 19), 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
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 had the dominant role of planning and commanding; Maximian-Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 the hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

ic role of completing assigned tasks. Yet despite the symbolism, the emperors were not "gods" in the Imperial cult
Imperial cult (ancient Rome)
The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State...

 (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.

Early campaigns in Gaul and Germany

The Bagaudae
In the time of the later Roman Empire bagaudae were groups of peasant insurgents who emerged during the "Crisis of the Third Century", and persisted particularly in the less-Romanised areas of Gallia and Hispania, where they were "exposed to the depredations of the late Roman state, and the great...

 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
Aelianus (rebel)
Aelianus was together with Amandus the leader of an insurrection of Gallic peasants, called Bagaudae, in the reign of Diocletian. It was put down by the Caesar Maximianus Herculius in 285....

, 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
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

, in what would become southern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan 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 traveled to Gaul, engaging the Bagaudae late in the summer of 285. Details of the campaign are sparse and provide no tactical detail: the historical sources dwell only on Maximian's virtues and victories. The 289 panegyric
Panegyrici Latini
The Panegyrici Latini or Latin Panegyrics is a collection of twelve ancient Roman panegyric orations. The authors of most of the speeches in the collection are anonymous, but appear to have been Gallic in origin. Aside from the first panegyric, composed by Pliny the Younger in 100 CE, the other...

 to Maximian 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
Victory title
A victory title is an honorific title adopted by a successful military commander to commemorate his defeat of an enemy nation. This practice was first used by Ancient Rome and is still most commonly associated with the Romans, but it has also been adopted as a practice by many modern empires,...

 and official triumphs
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

. 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 the autumn of 285, two barbarian armies – one of Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 and Alamanni, the other of Chaibones and Heruli
The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe who are famous for their naval exploits. Migrating from Northern Europe to the Black Sea in the third century They were part of the...

 – 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
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), or Colonia Agrippina (Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Germany).


Although most of Gaul was pacified, regions bordering the English Channel still suffered from Frankish
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 and Saxon
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. The term can include acts committed on land, in the air, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator...

. The emperors Probus and Carinus had begun to fortify the Saxon Shore
Saxon Shore
Saxon Shore could refer to one of the following:* Saxon Shore, a military command of the Late Roman Empire, encompassing southern Britain and the coasts of northern France...

, but much remained to be done. For example, there is no archaeological evidence of naval bases at Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

 and Boulogne
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

 during 270–285. In response to the pirate problem, Maximian appointed Mausaeus Carausius, a Menapian
The Menapii were a Belgic tribe of northern Gaul in pre-Roman and Roman times. Their territory according to Strabo, Caesar and Ptolemy stretched from the mouth of the Rhine in the north, and southwards along the west of the Schelde. Their civitas under the Roman empire was Cassel , near Thérouanne...

 from Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior
Germania Inferior was a Roman province located on the left bank of the Rhine, in today's Luxembourg, southern Netherlands, parts of Belgium, and North Rhine-Westphalia left of the Rhine....

 (southern and western Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

) to command the Channel and to clear it of raiders. Carausius did well. 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 that their booty was going into Carausius' pockets instead of to the population at large or into the imperial treasury. Maximian ordered Carausius' arrest and execution, prompting him to flee the continent to Britain. Carausius' support among the British was strong, and at least two British legions (II Augusta
Legio II Augusta
Legio secunda Augusta , was a Roman legion, levied by Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus in 43 BC, and still operative in Britannia in the 4th century...

 and XX Valeria Victrix) defected to him, as did some or all of a legion near Boulogne (probably XXX Ulpia Victrix
Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix
Legio trigesima Ulpia Victrix was a Roman legion levied by the Emperor Trajan in 100 for the Dacian Wars. The legion was active until disbandment of the Rhine frontier in the beginning of the 5th century. Their emblems were the gods Neptune and Jupiter and the Capricorn...

). 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 the autumn of 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.

Maximian appointed Augustus

Spurred by the crisis with Carausius, on April 1, 286, Maximian took the title of Augustus
Augustus (honorific)
Augustus , Latin for "majestic," "the increaser," or "venerable", was an Ancient Roman title, which was first held by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus , and subsequently came to be considered one of the titles of what are now known as the Roman Emperors...

 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
In Greek mythology, the Heracleidae or Heraclids were the numerous descendants of Heracles , especially applied in a narrower sense to the descendants of Hyllus, the eldest of his four sons by Deianira Other Heracleidae included Macaria, Lamos, Manto, Bianor, Tlepolemus, and Telephus...

, the Spartan Kings
Kings of Sparta
Sparta was an important Greek city-state in the Peloponnesus. It was unusual among Greek city-states in that it maintained its kingship past the Archaic age. It was even more unusual in that it had two kings simultaneously, coming from two separate lines...

, had done." Legal rulings were given and imperial celebrations took place in both emperors' names; 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.

Campaigns in 286 and 287

Maximian realized that he could not immediately suppress Carausius and campaigned instead against Rhenish tribes. These tribes were probably greater threats to Gallic peace than Carausius in any case 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
Fasces are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, which is an image that traditionally symbolizes summary power and jurisdiction, and/or "strength through unity"...

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
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

Vosges is a French department, named after the local mountain range. It contains the hometown of Joan of Arc, Domrémy.-History:The Vosges department is one of the original 83 departments of France, created on February 9, 1790 during the French Revolution. It was made of territories that had been...

 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 winter 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."

Joint campaign against the Alamanni

The following spring, 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
Agri Decumates
The agri decumates or decumates agri were a region of the Roman Empire's province of Germania superior , covering the Black Forest area between the Main river and the sources of Danube and Rhine rivers, presently in Southwestern Germany...

 – a region between the upper Rhine and upper Danube deep within Alamanni territory – while Diocletian invaded Germany via Raetia
Raetia was a province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian people. It was bounded on the west by the country of the Helvetii, on the east by Noricum, on the north by Vindelicia, on the west by Cisalpine Gaul and on south by Venetia et Histria...

. 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
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

), Bavacum (Bavay
Bavay is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It lies 15 m. ESE of Valenciennes by railway.-History:Under the name of Bagacum or Bavacum, the town was the capital of the Nervii and, under the Roman Empire, an important center of roads, the meeting-place of which was marked by a...

, France), Atuatuca Tungrorum (Tongeren, Belgium), Mosae Trajectum (Maastricht
Maastricht is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border...

, Netherlands), and Cologne connected points along the frontier.

Constantius, Gennobaudes, and resettlement

In early 288, Maximian appointed his praetorian prefect Flavius Constantius
Constantius Chlorus
Constantius I , commonly known as Constantius Chlorus, was Roman Emperor from 293 to 306. He was the father of Constantine the Great and founder of the Constantinian dynasty. As Caesar he defeated the usurper Allectus in Britain and campaigned extensively along the Rhine frontier, defeating the...

, husband of Maximian's daughter Theodora, to lead a campaign against Carausius' Frankish allies. These Franks controlled the Rhine estuaries
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

, thwarting sea-attacks against Carausius. Constantius moved north through their territory, wreaking havoc, and reaching the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. 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 Frisians
The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...

, Salian Franks
Salian Franks
The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living north of the limes in the area above the Rhine. The Merovingian kings responsible for the conquest of Gaul were Salians. From the 3rd century on, the Salian Franks appear in the historical records as...

, Chamavi
The Chamavi were a Germanic tribe of Late Antiquity and the European Dark Age. They first appear under that name in the 1st century AD Germania of Tacitus as a Germanic tribe that, for most of their history, existed along the North bank of the Lower Rhine in the region today called Hamaland after...

 and other tribes along a strip of Roman territory, either between the Rhine and Waal rivers from Noviomagus (Nijmegen, Netherlands) to Traiectum (Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

, Netherlands) or near Trier. These tribes were allowed to settle only on condition they acknowledged Roman dominance. Their presence, providing a ready pool of manpower and preventing the settlement of other Frankish tribes, gave Maximian a buffer along the northern Rhine and reduced his need to garrison the region.

Failed expedition against Carausius

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 emperors descend on the city 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
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

). Meanwhile, a deputation from the Roman Senate met with the rulers and renewed their 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. However, Diocletian would not long put up with such an affront to his dignity. 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.

Campaign against Allectus

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
Allectus was a Roman usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296.-History:Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286...

. 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 the summer of 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
North Downs
The North Downs are a ridge of chalk hills in south east England that stretch from Farnham in Surrey to the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent. The North Downs lie within two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty , the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs...

 in battle with Constantius' praetorian prefect, Asclepiodotus. Constantius himself had landed near Dubris
Dubris or Portus Dubris was a town in Roman Britain. It is now Dover, Kent, England.As the closest point to continental Europe and the site of the estuary of the Dour, the site chosen for Dover was ideal for a cross-channel port...

 (Dover) and marched on Londinium (London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

), whose citizens greeted him as a liberator.

Campaigns in North Africa

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
Mauretania Caesariensis
Mauretania Caesariensis was a Roman province located in northwestern Africa. It was the easternmost of the North African Roman provinces, mainly in present Algeria, with its capital at Caesarea , now Cherchell.-Historical background:In the first century AD, Roman...

 (roughly modern Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

) gained a temporary respite by pitting a small army against the Bavares and Quinquegentiani
The Quinquegentiani were a tribe in North Africa that revolted against Roman rule in the late 3rd Century and were put down by the forces of Maximianus Herculius.-References:...

, but the raiders soon returned. In 296, Maximian raised an army, from Praetorian cohorts
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

, Aquileia
Aquileia is an ancient Roman city in what is now Italy, at the head of the Adriatic at the edge of the lagoons, about 10 km from the sea, on the river Natiso , the course of which has changed somewhat since Roman times...

n, Egyptian, and Danubian legionaries, Gallic and German auxiliaries
Auxiliaries (Roman military)
Auxiliaries formed the standing non-citizen corps of the Roman army of the Principate , alongside the citizen legions...

, and Thracian recruits, advancing through Spain that autumn. He may have defended the region against raiding Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 before crossing the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq , albeit the Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat or...

 into Mauretania Tingitana
Mauretania Tingitana
Mauretania Tingitana was a Roman province located in northwestern Africa, coinciding roughly with the northern part of present-day Morocco. The province extended from the northern peninsula, opposite Gibraltar, to Chellah and Volubilis to the south, and as far east as the Oued Laou river. Its...

 (roughly modern Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

) 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
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 before returning to the field. Not content to drive them back into their homelands in the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

 – 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
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

, 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
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

. His campaign was concluded by the spring of 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 299 to celebrate another triumph in Rome in the spring.

Leisure and retirement

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
Maxentius was a Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian, and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius.-Birth and early life:Maxentius' exact date of birth is unknown; it was probably around 278...

 and Constantius' son Constantine – children raised in Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

 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
Secular games
The Secular Games were a religious celebration, involving sacrifices and theatrical performances, held in ancient Rome for three days and nights to mark the end of a saeculum and the beginning of the next...

 in 304.

On May 1, 305, in separate ceremonies in Milan and Nicomedia, Diocletian and Maximian retired simultaneously. The succession did not go not entirely to Maximian's liking: perhaps because of Galerius' influence, Severus
Flavius Valerius Severus
Severus , sometimes known as Severus II, was a Western Roman Emperor from 306 to 307.- Officer in the Roman army :Severus was of humble birth, born in the Illyrian provinces around the middle of the third century AD...

 and Maximinus
Maximinus II , also known as Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, was Roman Emperor from 308 to 313. He was born of Dacian peasant stock to the half sister of the emperor Galerius near their family lands around Felix Romuliana; a rural area then in the Danubian region of Moesia, now Eastern Serbia.He...

 were appointed Caesar, thus excluding Maxentius. Both the newly appointed Caesars had had long military careers and were close to Galerius: Maximinus was his nephew and Severus a former army comrade. 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
Diocletian's Palace
Diocletian's Palace is a building in Split, Croatia, that was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD.Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 AD. It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from...

 he had built in his homeland, Dalmatia near Salona on the Adriatic
Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula, and the system of the Apennine Mountains from that of the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges...

. Maximian retired to villas in Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

 or Lucania
Lucania was an ancient district of southern Italy, extending from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Gulf of Taranto. To the north it adjoined Campania, Samnium and Apulia, and to the south it was separated by a narrow isthmus from the district of Bruttium...

, 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.

Maxentius' rebellion

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 as 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
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, 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 the autumn of 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 the late summer of 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 the spring of 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
Licinius I , was Roman Emperor from 308 to 324. Co-author of the Edict of Milan that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire, for the majority of his reign he was the rival of Constantine I...

, 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.

Rebellion against Constantine

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
Tyrian purple
Tyrian purple , also known as royal purple, imperial purple or imperial dye, is a purple-red natural dye, which is extracted from sea snails, and which was possibly first produced by the ancient Phoenicians...

. In spite of offering bribes to any who would support him as emperor, most of Constantine's army remained loyal, and Maximian was compelled to leave. 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
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

). 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
A eunuch is a person born male most commonly castrated, typically early enough in his life for this change to have major hormonal consequences...

 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
Damnatio memoriae
Damnatio memoriae is the Latin phrase literally meaning "condemnation of memory" in the sense of a judgment that a person must not be remembered. It was a form of dishonor that could be passed by the Roman Senate upon traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman State...

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
Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

 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
Claudius II
Claudius II , commonly known as Claudius Gothicus, was Roman Emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alamanni and scored a crushing victory against the Goths at the Battle of Naissus. He died after succumbing to a smallpox plague that ravaged the provinces of...

. The three were hailed as Constantine's forbears. 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.

See also

  • 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
    20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia
    The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia allegedly died in Nicomedia in Bithynia during the rule of Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in the early fourth century...

     Executed partially during Maximian's reign.
  • Saints Sergius and Bacchus
    Saints Sergius and Bacchus
    Saints Sergius and Bacchus , were third century Roman soldiers who are commemorated as martyrs by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches...

    , officers of Maximian's army who were executed for being Christians
  • Saints Demetrius and Nestor
    Nestor of Thessaloniki
    Nestor of Thessaloniki was a companion of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki . St. Nestor's feast day is celebrated on October 27.Having been moved to act against the mighty Lyeios , a most feared gladiator who mocked and tormented the Christians in the arena, Nestor went to see the imprisoned St....

     were executed by Maximian in Thessaloniki in 306

External links

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