Maximianus             286 - 310 A.D.


One of the members of the Tetrarchy, Maximianus had a convoluted reign that started when he and Diocletian began ruling as equals in 286. Maximianus was in charge of the western portion of the empire along with Constantius I, his junior in command, while Diocletian and Galerius ruled the eastern half. After several years of putting down revolts and usurpers, both he and Diocletian abdicated to let their Caesars take their place in 306. However, this peaceful arrangement would come to an end soon when Maximianus's son Maxentius initiated a revolt of his own. Seeing that it would lend an air of legitimacy to his claims, Maxentius requested his father to return to assume the high post along with him. Maximianus, although possibly reluctant initially, took up his son's offer. He had abdicated less than voluntarily under Diocletian's scheme and now he was caught up in the fervor of Maxentius's drive to become sole ruler. In time, Maxentius met with failure after he lost several key battles to Constantine and Maximianus found himself in the awkward position of being an emperor with no rightful claim nor army willing to proceed with his agenda. Increasingly isolated, Constantine cornered him and he was either executed or committed suicide.


Billon Tetradrachm 286--305 A.D.

19 mm., 3 mm. thick

Obv. MAXIMIANVS AVG: Laureate head right

Rev. Nike advancing left with palm and wreath, S above L in left field

S. 4794 (similar)