as Princeps AD 306
as Caesar AD 306
as Augustus AD 306 - 312
Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius (ca. AD 280 - 312):
Son of Maximian and Eutropia;
Brother of Fausta;
Husband of Valeria Maximilla;
Father of Romulus;
Son-in-law of Galerius and Galeria Valeria;
Brother-in-law of Constantine the Great;
Uncle of Constantine II, Constantus II and Constans.
Marcus Aurelius Valerius, known as Maxentius, was born to Maximian of his Syrian wife Eutropia. Family connections, a likable personality, and unwise steps on the part of his political opponents propelled his fortunes in October 306, when Galerius bypassed him and appointed Severus II and Constantine as Augustus and Caesar respectively. Maxentius revolted and the praetorian soldiers and many Romans supported him. Most of Italy soon followed suit, as well as Africa with its crucial supply of grain for the capital. But Northern Italy stood for Severus, and Maxentius had no legionís allegiance. He therefore threaded lightly and after donning the purple on October 28, titled himself a Caesar only on his coins. To strengthen his position, he brought his father Maximian back from retirement and reconstituted the Praetorian Guard that had been abolished by Severus II. The latter step annoyed Galerian, the senior Augustus, and he requested that Severus II put an end to Maxentiusís enterprise. The expedition failed, as did Galeriusís own attack on Italy. The success emboldened Spain to join Maxentiusís camp, but this now alienated Constantine and on a summit meeting of the emperors in 308 Maxentius was declared a public enemy. This had the effect of freeing the hands of the acting Prefect of Africa to secede and cut off the grain supply for Rome. The shortages of food caused severe disturbances in the capital, where the privileged praetorians clashed with the famished citizens. It took until 311 for Maxentius to quash the rebellion in Africa and restore the grain supply. But the hostility with Constantine was what proved Maxentiusís undoing. In 312 Constantine crossed into Italy and even though Maxentiusís troops heavily outnumbered them, his generalship and his armyís discipline turned decisive. After a series of setbacks, Maxentius initially fell back on Rome, but then decided he could not trust the citizens and ventured an encounter on the open fields. The final battle took place at the Milvian Bridge across the Tiber. Outmaneuvered and pressed to the river, Maxentiusís soldiers drowned in droves. Maxentius himself perished in the waters after a boat bridge collapsed under him.
Mints: Aquileia, Carthage, Lugdunum, Ostia, Rome, Ticinum, Treveri.
List all Maxentius coins in the Catalog.