It's uncertain exactly how Magnus Maximus came to power. At the time
he was a general in Britain and whether by his own will or that of his troops he
was hailed as emperor. Gratian moved quickly to put down the revolt and bring
Maximus to justice but, his troops mutinied, switched sides and had Gratian
executed instead. Maximus then sought to have his claim recognized throughout
the rest of the empire and to this end he sent a delegation to the court of
Theodosius. If not outright enthusiastic, Theodosius was at least initially
cooperative and accepted Maximus. However, the situation changed when Maximus
upset the balance of power by intending to appropriate Italy which was under the
control of Valentinian II. Suddenly, Theodosius realized that Maximus was intent
on becoming the sole ruler of the West and possibly the East as well. Theodosius
then rescinded his recognition of Maximus and sent a large army against him. The
two sides met roughly halfway between their courts and Maximus was defeated.
Maximus was then captured and executed in Aquileia.
AE4 383--388 A.D.
Obv. DN MAG MAXIMVS PF AVG: Diademed bust right
Rev. SPES ROMANORVM: Camp-gate with star between two turrets, T CON in