as Caesar under Diocletian AD 285 - 286
as Augustus AD 286 - 305; AD 307 - 308; AD 310
Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus (ca. AD 250 - ca. 310):
Son-in-low of Diocletian;
Father of Maxentius and Fausta;
Atep-father of Theodora;
Grandfather of Romulus.
AD 285 - 286 - Caesar under Diocletian
AD 286 - 305 - First reign with Diocletian
AD 307 - 308 - Second reign with Maxentius and Constantine I
AD 310 - Third reign as a usurper in Massilia
Maximianus was born to a peasant family from Illyricum, joined the army at a young age, and went on to make a distinguished career, serving several emperors on the Danube, Euphrates, and Rhine. Long-time boon-companion to Diocletian, he was named Caesar in 285 and the following year, after crushing the marauding Bagaudae in Gaul, Diocletian endorsed his promotion to Augustus. Thereafter, Maximianus took control of the western part of the empire. Upon the establishment of the Tetrarchy in 293 he was formally given Italy, Sicily, Spain, and Africa, established his capital at Milan and took the Praetorian prefect Constantius Chlorus as his Caesar. The following years saw the two men keeping busy to suppress numerous smaller and greater revolts and beat off invasions along the imperial frontiers, from Britain and Germany to Mauretania in Africa. Along the line of keeping order, Maximianus took particularly seriously the Tetrarchs' decision for a thorough persecution of Christians. He seems to have been happy in command, warring incessantly and sponsoring large-scale architectural embellishments in Rome (the so-called Baths of Diocletian), in Milan, and at his sumptuous country residences, and only reluctantly laid down the purple in May 305 at the demand of Diocletian. His son's Maxentius's revolt gave him a chance to gladly come out of retirement and in February 307 he resumed the rank of Augustus celebrated with a coin issue. His influence caused the failure of two expeditions against Maxentius and to strengthen his son's position (and his own) Maximianus even arranged the marriage of his daughter Fausta to the future Constantine the Great. Then, for unknown reasons he declared against Maxentius and made a dramatic appearance in Rome, attempting to win over his son's praetorians. The bid failed, however, and he had to flee to his son-in-law's headquarters in Gaul. Another bitter disappointment came at the summit conference in 308 which, besides declaring Maxentius a public enemy, confirmed his own abdication. Returning for a while back to Gaul, he then waited out a few months until Constantine went on campaign to the German frontier and declared himself Augustus. By that time his prestige seems to have been in tatters, for at Constantine's return he had to beat a hasty retreat, fled to Massilia and then surrendered to his own man. Shortly afterwards he was found dead. He might have committed suicide, but given his reputation of being coarse, savage, brutal, and impossible to get on with, it is likely that Constantine had a hand in his demise.
Mints: Alexandria, Antioch, Aquileia, Cyzicus, Heraclea, Carthage, Londinium, Lugdunum, Nicomedia, Ostia, Rome, Serdica, Siscia, Thessalonica, Treveri.
List all Maximianus coins in the Catalog.