Magnus Maximus Posted July 7, 2022 · Member Share Posted July 7, 2022 Greetings all, I recently acquired a lovely siliqua of Magnus Maximus, who in some form or another ruled the Western Roman Empire from 383 to 388 AD. Like I and many others have said before, Maximus grew up in what is now modern-day Galicia, Spain, on the estates of Count(Comes) Theodosius before he joined the Roman army. Maximus was a competent subordinate and rose through the ranks to eventually command a garrison of troops near Hadrian's wall in Britain. After defeating a band of raiding Picts in early 383, soldiers under Maximus declared him Emperor, having grown dissatisfied with the rule of Emperor Gratian. Maximus overthrew Gratian in a relatively bloodless coup and then entered into negotiations with Theodosius I in the east and Valentinian II in Italy. Maximus, against all odds, managed to get imperial recognition from Theodosius I and Valentinian II in exchange for not invading Italy. While we don't know much of what Maximus was up to in his five years in Gaul, he seems to have run a competent administration and even campaigned across the Rhine frontier. What little we know of the domestic affairs of Magnus Maximus comes from letters he forwarded to the court of Valentinian II and to Pope Siricus of Rome. The aforementioned documents were later preserved in a collection of Church documents called the Collectivo Avellana. In his letter to the court of Valentinian II, usually dated to 386, Maximus berates Valentinian II for embracing Arian Christianity and begs him to return Italy to the rightful rule of Nicene Christianity. Author Maria Pano sees this letter as a move designed to isolate and delegitimize the reign of Valentinian II as he was embroiled in a religious pissing match between his Arian mother and Bishop Ambrose of Milian. In the second letter to Pope Siricus, usually dated to 386 as well, Maximus tells the reader that he was born into Nicene Christianity, in stark contrast to the Arian-born Valentinian II. Maximus then explains how he plans to respect the church's power and stay out of bishops' affairs. Maximus's claim about staying out of ecclesiastical affairs may seem odd considering that he tacitly approved the execution of the Christian heretic Priscilian. However, the Emperor claims that he was only carrying out the verdict that was given by the council of bishops at Trier in 385. Diplomacy between the courts of Magnus Maximus and Valentinian II eventually broke down in mid 387 and saw the forces of Maximus easily invade Italy and nearly capture the fleeing Valentinian II. Maximus would later face off against the armies of Theodosius I in 388 at the Save river in a bloody battle that would see him defeated. Maximus's brother, Marcellinus, managed to launch a successful counterattack against Theodosius I, which allowed the army of Maximus to retreat to Aquileia, where he would later be cornered and executed by the forces of Theodosius I. Interestingly enough, in his letters to the Court of Valentinian II, Maximus styled himself as Victor Magnus Maximus Perpetuus Triumphator Semper Augustus which roughly translates to 'Victorius Magnus Maximus Always Triumphant Ever Augustus"! In honor of the forever Augustus, please feel free to post your coins of Magnus Maximus. Obverse: D N MAG MAXIMVS P F AVG. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust rightReverse: VIRTVS ROMANORVM. Roma seated facing on throne, looking left, holding Victory on globe and spear, left leg bare. Mintmark TRPS in exergue. RIC IX Trier 84b Treveri mint 383-388 AD 2.04 grams 16mm Sources: Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum - Google Books (99+) Maximus'Letters in the Collectio Avellana: A Comparative Study, | María Victoria Escribano Paño - Academia.edu Battle of Save (388) Summary & Facts, Roman Empire (totallyhistory.com) 23 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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