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MAXIMVS (Flavius Magnus), born in a family of little distinction in Spain, he rose, from serving in the army of Britain, to be a general under Theodosius. Profiting by the hatred entertained by the legions in that island towards Gratian, who neglected them, he corrupted their fidelity, and was proclaimed by them Emperor.
This usurper then passed over from England into Gaul, A.D. 383, and assembling around him a large force, marched against Gratian, who was encamped near Paris, seduced that emperor's army from their allegiance, and caused him to be assassinated at Lyon the same year. Thus become master of Gaul, Spain and Britain, with all the legions of the west under his orders, Maximus sought alliance with Theodosius, who, on certain conditions made in favor of Valentinian the Second, conferred on him the title of Augustus. He subsequently established his residence at Treves, rendering himself formidable to the nations surrounding him, especially to the Germans, whom he laid under tribute.
His ambition leading him to drive Justina and Valentinian II, from Milan, he was attacked by Theodosius, defeated on the Save, near Siscia, and being taken prisoner at Aquileia, was put to death by the soldiers of Theodosius, in spite of the wish of that emperor to spare the life of a man who had borne with glory the title of Augustus for more than five years.
-- "Brave, skilled in war, active and vigorous, this tyrant (says Beauvais) would have appeared worthy of the throne if he had not ascended it by means of a crime."
-- His coins are rare in gold and in second brass; common in silver of the usual size; but extremely rare in large silver or medallions; and scarce in third brass. On these he is styled D.N. MAG. MAXIMVS. P.F. AVG.
The annexed cut is from a fine silver medallion in the British Museum.
The portrait of Magnus Maximus on some of the brass coins is very different from the above, as is shown by an example found at Richborough, in Kent, and published in Mr Roach Smith's "Antiquities of Richborough, Reculver and Lymne." It appears to exhibit much individuality of features.
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