Maximinus Denarius. FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing left, a standard in each hand.

Ancient Coins - Maximinus Denarius. FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing left, a standard in each hand.
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Maximinus Denarius. IMP MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG, laureate & draped bust right / FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing left, a standard in each hand. RIC 7a, RSC 7. s2337. VF. 3.8g.

Maximinus Thrax

Maximinus Thrax Musei Capitolini MC473.jpg
Bust of Maximinus Thrax
Reign 20 March 235 � April 238
Full name Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus
Born c. 173
Birthplace Thrace or Moesia
Died April 238 (aged 65)
Place of death Aquileia
Predecessor Alexander Severus
Successor Pupienus and Balbinus
Wife Caecilia Paulina
Offspring Gaius Julius Verus Maximus
Father A Goth / Getae (?)
Mother An Alan (?)

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus (c. 173 � 238), commonly known as Maximinus Thrax[1] or Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.

Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History. Maximinus was the first emperor to never set foot in Rome. He was the first of the so-called barracks emperors of the 3rd century; his rule is often considered to mark the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century.

Rise to power

According to the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta (Augustan History), Maximinus was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother, an Iranian people of the Scythian-Sarmatian branch; however, the supposed parentage is highly unlikely, as the presence of the Goths in the Danubian area is first attested after the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century. Sir Ronald Syme, writing that "the word 'Gothia' should have sufficed for condemnation" of the passage in the Augustan History, felt that the burden of evidence from Herodian, Syncellus and elsewhere pointed to Maximinus having been born in Moesia.[2] Most likely he was of Thraco-Roman origin (believed so by Herodian in his writings), and the references to his "Gothic" ancestry might refer to a Thracian Getae origin (the two populations were often confused by later writers, most notably by Jordanes in his Getica), as suggested by the paragraphs describing how "he was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves" and how he spoke "almost pure Thracian"[3].

His background was, in any case, that of a provincial of low birth, and Maximinus, similarly to later Thraco-Roman Roman emperors of the 3rd-5th century (Licinius, Galerius, Aureolus, Leo the Thracian, etc.), would elevate himself, via a military career, from the condition of a common soldier in one of the Roman legions to the foremost positions of political power. He joined the army during the reign of Septimius Severus, but did not rise to a powerful position until promoted by Alexander Severus. Maximinus was in command of the recruits from Pannonia, who were angered by Alexander's payments to the Alemanni and his avoidance of war. The troops, among whom included the Legio XXII Primigenia, elected the stern Maximinus, killing young Alexander and his mother at Moguntiacum, also a site where many Christians were martyred (Mainz) in 235. The Praetorian Guard acclaimed him emperor, and their choice was grudgingly confirmed by the Senate, who were displeased to have a peasant as emperor. His son Maximus became caesar.

According to British historian Edward Gibbon:

[H]e was conscious that his mean and barbarian origin, his savage appearance, and his total ignorance of the arts and institutions of civil life, formed a very unfavourable contrast with the amiable manners of the unhappy Alexander. He remembered that, in his humbler fortune, he had often waited before the doors of the haughty nobles of Rome, and had been denied admittance by the insolence of their slaves. He recollected too the friendship of a few who had relieved his poverty, and assisted his rising hopes. But those who had spurned, and those who had protected, the Thracian, were guilty of the same crime, the knowledge of his original obscurity. For this crime many were put to death; and by the execution of several of his benefactors Maximin published, in characters of blood, the indelible history of his baseness and ingratitude.[4]

[edit] Rule

[edit] Consolidation of power

Maximinus hated the nobility and was ruthless towards those he suspected of plotting against him. He began by eliminating the close advisors of Alexander. His suspicions may have been justified; two plots against Maximinus were foiled. The first was during a campaign across the Rhine, during which a group of officers, supported by influential senators, plotted the destruction of a bridge across the river, then leave Maximinus stranded on the other side. Afterwards they planned to elect senator Magnus emperor; however the plot was discovered and the conspirators executed. The second plot involved Mesopotamian archers who were loyal to Alexander. They planned to elevate Quartinus, but their leader Macedo changed sides and murdered Quartinus instead, although this was not enough to save his own life.

[edit] Defence of frontiers

The Crisis of the Third Century (also known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis") is a commonly applied name for the crumbling and near collapse of the Roman Empire between 235 and 284 caused by three simultaneous crises: external invasion, internal civil war, and economic collapse.

Maximinus' first campaign was against the Alamanni, whom Maximinus defeated despite heavy Roman casualties in a swamp near what is today Baden-W�rttemberg. After the victory, Maximinus took the title Germanicus Maximus, raised his son Maximus to the rank of Caesar and Prince of Youths, and deified his late wife Paulina. Securing the German frontier, at least for a while, Maximinus then set up a winter encampment at Sirmium in Pannonia, and from that supply base fought the Dacians and the Sarmatians during the winter of 235236.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia