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In 286 A.D., Maximian was sent by the Emperor Diocletian against Gaulish rebels, and upon their defeat was raised to the rank of Augustus on 1 April 286. When Diocletian instituted the Tetrarchy, Maximianus was made emperor of the Western empire and seven years later Constantius I joined him as Caesar. Maximianus was forced to abdicate with Diocletian in 305 A.D., but the year after he resumed the throne with his son Maxentius. Forced to abdicate once again at the Conference of Carnute, he resumed the title of Augustus once more in 310 A.D. but was defeated and forced to commit suicide by Constantine the Great.
Also see ERIC - MAXIMIAN.
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MAXIMIANVS (Valerius), surnamed Herculeus, on the ground of his pretended descent from Hercules, was born at Sirmium (Sirmich), in Pannonia, in the year of our Lord 250. Entering the army he served with distinction under Aurelian and Probus. It was on account of his valor and military talents, and in spite of his unpolished mind and harsh temper, that he was associated in the empire with the title of Augustus by Diocletian, A.D. 268, having previously been created Caesar by the same emperor.--Maximianus was an outrageous tyrant, covetous, violent, and cruel; an abominable persecutor of Christians, against whom he further instigated his sufficiently prejudiced colleague. He conquered and kept down the Bagaudae, the Persians, and the Germans.--In 292, whilst Diocletian adopted Galerius Maximianus, he on his part conferred the title of Caesar on Constantius Chlorus, and besides adopting the two emperors joined them by the closer bond of relationship. After becoming Augustus, he defeated and dispersed the Mauri of Africa (296).--On the day of Diocletian's abdication (305), Maximianus renounced the empire also, the former retiring to Nicomedia, the latter into Lucania, having named Severus in his place. At the solicitation of his son Maxentius, or as some say for the lust of power, he resumed the quality of Emperor at Rome (307); but driven from that city, he fled (308) into Gaul, and received protection from Constantine, afterwards the Great, who had married his daughter Fausta, and to whom he had given the title of Augustus. Lodged in the palace of Constantine at Arles, he, in the absence of that prince, once more attempted to regain the imperial dignity A.D. 309. But Constantine having retraced his steps back into Gaul, soon compelled Maximianus to make his escape to the city of Marseilles, where he was made prisoner, and for the third time forced to abdicate his pretensions to empire. Having, however, entered into a plot against his son-in-law, he was detected, through the disclosures of his wife, who preferred, in this case, her husband to her father, and Constantine ordered him to be strangled, at Marseilles, in the 60th year of his age, and in the year of Christ 310. He is numismatically styled VAL. MAXIMIANVS NOBilissimus CAES.--IMP. M. AVR. VAL. MAXIMIANVS P.F. AVG.--HERCVLEVS MAXIMIANVS AVG. &c.--The same as in the instance of Diocletian, the medals which give to Maximian the epithets of SENior, BEATISSIMVS, FELICissimus, and the title of Dominus Noster, are posterior to his first abdication, as above noticed. Maximianus the elder boasted of celestial origin; hence on his coins is read HERCVLI DEBELLATORI, with the figure of striking the hydra; then HERCVLI PACIFERO; and also HERCVLI VICTORI. His head not infrequently appears covered with the lion's skin. (See IOVI ET HERCVLI AVGG)--Eutropia, a Syrian woman, was the wife of this Maximianus. His silver medals are rare; his gold still rarer; second and third brass for the most part very common.--See Herculio Maximiano.