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Maximianus, Marcus Aurelius Valerius

MAXIMIANUS, MARCUS AURELIUS VALERIUS, surnamed Herculius, Roman emperor from A.d. 286 to 305, was born of humble parents at Sirmium in Pannonia. He achieved distinction during long service in the army, and having been made Caesar by Diocletian in 285, received the title of Augustus in the following year (April 1, 286). In 287 he suppressed the rising of the peasants (Bagaudae) in Gaul, but in 289, after a three years' struggle, his colleague and he were compelled to acquiesce in the assumption by his lieutenant Carausius (who had crossed over to Britain) of the title of Augustus. After 293 Maximianus left the care of the Rhine frontier to Constantius Chlorus, who had been designated Caesar in that year, but in 297 his arms achieved a rapid and decisive victory over the barbarians of Mauretania, and in 302 he shared at Rome the triumph of Diocletian, the last pageant of the kind ever witnessed by that city. On the 1st of May 305, the day of Diocletian's abdication, he also, but without his colleague's sincerity, divested himself of the imperial dignity at Mediolanum (Milan), which had been his capital, and retired to a villa in Lucania; in the following year, however, he was induced by his son Maxentius to reassume the purple. In 307 he brought the emperor Flavius Valerius Severus a captive to Rome, and also compelled Galerius to retreat, but in 308 he was himself driven by Maxentius from Italy into Illyricum, whence again he was compelled to seek refuge at Arelate (Aries), the court of his son-in-law, Constantine. Here a false report was received, or invented, of the death of Constantine, at that time absent on the Rhine. Maximianus at once grasped at the succession, but was soon driven to Massilia (Marseilles), where, having been delivered up to his pursuers, he strangled himself.

See Zosimus ii. 7-11; Zonaras xii. 31-33; Eutropius ix. 20, x. 2, 3; Aurelius Victor p. 39. For the emperor Galerius Valerius Maximianus see GALERIUS.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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