Maxentius

306 - 312 A.D.

The tale of Maxentius is one of the more convoluted accounts of any Roman emperor. It all started when some years before Diocletian came up with his Tetrarchy scheme. Together with Maximian, both were to be Augusti ruling jointly with each overseeing half of the empire. Each in turn named a Caesar as right-hand-man and would succeed the emperor when the latter died. Maximian was the father of Maxentius and, in other times, would have normally been Maximian's successor but the new ruling format had no place for him. When Diocletian abdicated and forced Maximian to do likewise Maxentius lost all hope. He knew that unless he took action he would be sidelined permanently.

Taking advantage of a growing dissatisfaction within Italy, and particularly Rome, at Galerius's decision to revoke their tax-free status, Maxentius gathered an empathetic army and had himself declared Caesar. He avoided the title of Augustus because he wanted to make it clear to Constantius Chlorus and Constantine that he was revolting only against Galerius. However, when Constantine was named emperor and failed to warm up to Maxentius he decided to go against both and proclaimed himself emperor at this point.

To make himself seem more legitimate in the eyes of the Roman world he convinced his father to come out of retirement and assume joint rule with him. Galerius would be unable to defeat these forces and retreated back to the east without a conclusive battle. Attention then turned to Constantine but here their luck would turn. In poor judgment, Maximian would go at it alone and distanced himself from Maxentius only to become cannon fodder under Constantine. Maxentius then faced a revolt from the African quarters and was able to put it down but at a high cost to his own popularity. Weakened thus he still had to face Constantine and was defeated in the battle of Milvian Bridge north of Rome.

AE Follis

RIC 35, S 3776 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG. Laured head of Maxentius.
Rev: AETERNITASAVGN. Castor and Pollux (the Dioscuri) stg. facing each other, each holding horse by bridle. Lot sold for $44 11/9/01.


RIC 37 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG. Laureate and cuirassed bust left, right hand holding spear over shoulder, left shield.
Rev: AETERNITASAVGN. Castor and Pollux, each with cross above cap, naked but for chlamys hanging on shoulders, standing facing each other, each leaning on scepter and holding bridled horse; between them she-wolf suckling twins.


RIC 45, S 3782 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG. Laureate bust of Maxentius right.
Rev: FIDESMILITVMAVGN Exe: MOST(officina) - Fides holding two standards.


RIC 47 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG, laureate, helmeted and cuirassed bust left, holding spear over right shoulder, shield on left arm
Rev: FIDESMILITVMAVGN Exe: MOSTP, Fides standing left, holding standard in each hand. Lot sold for $650 1/16/02.


RIC 54 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG. Laureate bust of Maxentius right.
Rev: VICTORIAAETERNAAVGN. Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm.


RIC 127 AE Follis Obv: IMPMAXENTIVSPFAVGCONSII. Bust right, laureate, in imperial mantle, right hand holding eagle-tipped scepter.
Rev: CONSERVVRBSVAE. Roma seated facing, head left, in hexastyle temple, right hand holding globe, left scepter; shield by side; knobs as acroteria; crescent in pediment.


RIC 210, S 3779 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG, laureated and bearded head right.
Rev: CONSERVVRBSVAE, Roma seated left in hexastyle temple holding globe and scepter. Lot sold for $25 3/28/02.


RIC 227 AE Follis Obv: MAXENTIVSPFAVG - Laureate head right.
Rev: VICTORIAAETERNAAVGN Exe: RS - Victory standing right, writing VOT/X on shield set atop a pillar. Seated captive to left.


RIC 258 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG. laureate head right.
Rev: CONSERVVRBSVAE. Roma seated facing, head left, in hexastyle temple, right hand holding globe, left scepter; shield at left side; knobs as acroteria; wreath in pediment.


S 3651 AE Follis, Maximianus Commemorative Obv: IMPMAXENTIVSDIVOMAXIMIANOPATRI. Veiled head right.
Rev: AETERNAEMEMORIAE. Temple with domed roof surmounted by eagle.


S 3781 AE Follis Obv: IMPCMAXENTIVSPFAVG, laureate and bearded head right.
Rev: CONSERVVRBSVAE, Roma seated left in tetrastyle temple presenting globe to Maxentius holding scepter.