Magnus Maximus, Western Roman Emperor

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Flavius Magnus Maximus Augustus Gueletic, , Western Roman Emperor

Welsh: Macsen Wledig Gueletic, , Western Roman Emperor
Also Known As: "Macsen", "Wledig", "Magnus", "Maximus", "Maxianus", "Macsen Wledig", "The Imperator", "Magnus Clemens Maximus", "Usurper Emperor of the Western Roman Empire", "Flavius Clemens Magnus Maximus Augustus", "Welsh: Macsen Wledig"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Callaecia, Spain
Death: Died in Aquileia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Cause of death: Execution
Immediate Family:

Husband of Ceindrech ferch Rheiden and St. Elen Lwyddog 'of the Host' of Britain
Father of Eugenius / Owain Finddu; Flavius Victor, Roman Usurper; Antonius Donatus Gregorius; Custennin Fendigaid Constantine "the Blessed"; St. Publicus and 4 others

Occupation: Spanish-born, emperor of Rome 383-8, Emporer of Western Rome (Britain), Western Roman Emperor (383 to 388)
Managed by: Erin Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Magnus Maximus, Western Roman Emperor

Magnus Maximus (Latin: Flavius Magnus Maximus Augustus) (ca. 335 – August 28, 388), also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383. However, through negotiation with Theodosius I the following year he was made emperor in Britannia and Gaul - while Gratian's brother Valentinian II retained Italy, Pannonia, Hispania, and Africa. Nevertheless Maximus' ambitions led him to invade Italy in 387, leading to his defeat by Theodosius at the Battle of the Save in 388. His death marked the end of real imperial activity in northern Gaul and Britain. After Maximus, no significant Roman emperor (ignoring shadowy and short-lived usurpers) ever went north of Lyons again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Maximus

Magnus Maximus alias Macsen Wledig (the Imperator), Emperor of the West, Abt 340 - 388

  • m. Ceindrech ferch Reiden
    • Victor alias Gwidyr, Abt 354 - 388
    • Eugenius alias Owain Finddu (Black Lips), King of Mid-South Wales, Abt 355 -
  • m. St. Helena of the Host, alias Elen Lwyddog, daughter of Octavius the Old alias Eudaf Hen, Abt 340
    • Antoninus Donatus alias Anwn Dynod, King of South-West Wales, Abt 357 -
    • Constantine alias Custennin Fawr (the Great), King of North-West Wales, Abt 360 -
    • Publicus alias St. Peblig of Llanbeblig, Abt 363 -
    • Gratianna, Abt 367 - , m. Tudwal ap Gwrfawr, King of Dumnonia, Abt 375 -
    • Severa, Abt 370 - , m. Vortigern Vorteneu (the Thin), King of Powys & All Britain, Abt 370 - Abt 459

Ancestry

He was a Spanish Celt, born in Galicia and originally named Maximus. He is generally said to have been a peasant, but he was almost certainly a relative of his patron Theodosius, perhaps a son of Eucherius.


There are two traditional Welsh pedigrees for him.


1. He was the son of Ytec, son of Ytector, son of Ebiud, son of Eliud, son of Stater, son of Pircsmesser, son of Constans, son of Constantini (Constantine the the Great), son of Constantii (Constantius) (Harleian MS. 3859). However, because Constantine the Great died in 337, it is obvious that Maximus, who died 51 years later, cannot have been his 5th great grandson.


2. He was the son of Maxmianus, son of Constantius (Constantine the the Great), son of Custeint (Constantius) (Jesus College MS. 20). Chronologically, he could have been a son of Maximianus. Alternatively, some modern sources speculate he might have been a son of Constantine's disinherited son Crispus. However, it is unlikely he belonged to an earlier, more legitimate dynasty that were potential rivals of his patron Theodosius.

Some modern sources suggest he might have been a son of Constantine's disinherited son Crispus.

Welsh genealogies call him Macsen Gwledig. He was Dux Moesiae Secundae (376 CE), Comes Britanniae (about 380 CE), Emperor of Rome (Britain, Gaul, Spain and Africa) (383-388 CE), and Consul of Rome (388 CE). [Geoffrey Ashe, 29.]

He rose through the patronage of Theodosius. He became a Roman general and was given command of the army in Britain. In 383 he was proclaimed Emperor of Rome by the army in Britain. He made his young son Victor his colleague in power. In 384 he took his army into Gaul against the lawful emperor Gratian, who was captured and killed. However, he had to defend against the incursions of the Franks. Sulpicius wrote that the Franks broke into Germania at this time, and "When news of this reached Trier, Nanninus and Quintinus, masters of the soldiers, to whom Maximus had entrusted his young son and the defense of Gaul, gathered their forces and assembled at Cologne. But the enemy, having pillaged the richest parts of the provinces, crossed the Rhine, laden with plunder. They left a good number of their men behind on Roman soil, ready to lay waste again. Fighting them suited the Romans, and many Franks were put to the sword in the Carbonarian forest."

In 388 Maximus was himself defeated. Orosius' Histories Against the Pagans says, "Theodosius therefore put his trust in God and hurled himself against the usurper Maximus with no advantage but that of faith, for he was inferior in every point of military equipment . . . . Thus Theodosius crossed the undefended Alps without being noticed, much less opposed, by anyone, and arrived unexpectedly before Aquileia. His mighty enemy Maximus, a stern ruler who exacted taxes even from the savage Germanic peoples by the mere terror of his name, was surrounded, captured, and put to death without recourse to treachery and without a contest. After the destruction of Maximus and of his son Victor, whom Maximus had left among the Gauls as their emperor, Valentinian the Younger, now restored to his realm, passed over into Gaul." Prosper's Chronicle says "The usurper Maximus, despoiled of his royal garments, appeared before Valentinian and Theodosius at the third milestone from Aquilea and was condemned to death. His son Victor was killed in Gaul by Count Arbogast in the same year."

He fared better in legend: Nennius says that the 7th emperor to rule in Britain was Maximianus who slew Gratian, who gave his men land in Gaul where they became the Armoricans or Bretons. Geoffrey of Monmouth tells a similar story: the 6th emperor to rule in Britain was Maximus, who was divested by Valentinius and Theodosius (presumably Valentinian II who ruled 375-392, and Theodosius I who ruled 379-395). Maximus' son Victor was killed in Gaul, so he was succeeded as Emperor in Britain by Maximianus, who slew Gratianus, King of the Romans (presumably the same Emperor Gratian, died 383). The Dream of Maxen Gwledig calls him a Roman senator of British descent, and says that he was son of his wife's uncle Llewelyn. He succeeded his wife's father Eudaf as King of Britain, but he was opposed by Eudaf's nephew Cynan Meriadoc. They made peace and went on an expedition to the continent. Maxen left his sword behind in Britain, where it becomes the famous "Caliburn," sword of King Arthur. Maxen rewarded Cynan with a grant of Armorica (Brittany). In this story, Maxen killed Valentinian, drove out Gratian, and was finally himself killed at Rome.

Maximus seems to have become confused with the Roman emperors Constantius (died 306) and Maximian (died 309-310), who were father and father-in-law respectively of the Emperor Constantine the Great. Edward I of England "discovered" Maxen's tomb at Caernarvon and, confusing his identity in this way, built a castle there in a style imitating the city walls of Constantinople, which Constantine had founded.


Maximianus Maximus (my 42nd great grandfather).

Magnus Maximus (Latin: Flavius Magnus Maximus Augustus) (ca. 335 – August 28, 388), also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388

The earliest Welsh genealogies give Maximus (referred to as Macsen/Maxen Wledig, or Emperor Maximus) the role of founding father of the dynasties of several medieval Welsh kingdoms, including those of Powys and Gwent.[10][11] He is given as the ancestor of a Welsh king on the Pillar of Eliseg, erected nearly 500 years after he left Britain, and he figures in lists of the Fifteen Tribes of Wales.[12]

After he became emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Maximus would return to Britain to campaign against the Picts and Scots (i.e., Irish), probably in support of Rome's long-standing allies the Damnonii, Votadini, and Novantae (all located in modern Scotland). While there he likely made similar arrangements for a formal transfer of authority to local chiefs—the later rulers of Galloway, home to the Novantae, would claim Maximus as the founder of their line, the same as did the Welsh kings


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnus_Maximus

In 383 as commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against emperor Gratian; and through negotiation with emperor Theodosius I the following year he was made emperor in Britannia and Gaul – while Gratian's brother Valentinian II retained Italy, Pannonia, Hispania, and Africa. In 387 Maximus' ambitions led him to invade Italy, resulting in his defeat by Theodosius I at the Battle of the Save in 388. In the view of some historians his death marked the end of direct imperial presence in Northern Gaul and Britain.[1]

Maximus was born in Gallaecia, on the estates of Count Theodosius (the Elder) to who was a nephew, Flavius Iulius Eucherius son. According near-contemporaries described his dignity as offended when lesser men were promoted to high positions. Maximus was a distinguished general, who served under Count Theodosius in Africa in 373 and on the Danube in 376. It is likely he also may have been a junior officer in Britain in 368, during the quelling of the Great Conspiracy. Assigned to Britain in 380, he defeated an incursion of the Picts and Scots in 381. The western emperor Gratian had become unpopular because of perceived favouritism toward Alans over Roman citizens. The Alans are an Iranian speaking people (see also Sarmatians and Ossetians) who were early adopters of Christianity and migrated both east and west from their homeland. In 383 Maximus was proclaimed emperor by his troops. He went to Gaul to pursue his imperial ambitions, taking a large portion of the British garrison troops with him. Following his landing in Gaul, Maximus went out to meet his main opponent, emperor Gratian, whom he defeated near Paris. Gratian, after fleeing, was killed at Lyon on August 25, 383. Continuing his campaign into Italy, Maximus was stopped from overthrowing Valentinian II, who was only twelve, when Theodosius I, the Eastern Roman Emperor, sent Flavius Bauto with a powerful force to stop him. Negotiations followed in 384 including the intervention of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, leading to an accord with Valentinian II and Theodosius I in which Maximus was recognized as Augustus in the west. Maximus made his capital at Augusta Treverorum (Treves, Trier) in Gaul, and ruled Britain, Gaul, Spain and Africa. He issued coinage and a number of edicts reorganizing Gaul's system of provinces. Some scholars believe Maximus may have founded the office of the Comes Britanniarum as well. He became a popular emperor, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus delivered a panegyric on Maximus' virtues. He used foederati forces such as the Alamanni to great effect. He was also a stern persecutor of heretics. It was on his orders that Priscillian and six companions became the first people in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy, in this case of Priscillianism, by other Christians (though the civil charges laid by Maximus himself were for the practice of magic or "witchcraft", technically spiritual fraud by use of ventriloquism,[2] and their property was confiscated. These executions went ahead despite the wishes of prominent men such as St. Martin of Tours. Maximus' edict of 387 or 388 which censured Christians at Rome for burning down a Jewish synagogue, was condemned by bishop Ambrose, who said people exclaimed: ‘the emperor has become a Jew’ [3]

Coin of Magnus Maximus. In 387 Maximus managed to force emperor Valentinian II out of Milan, after which he fled to Theodosius I. Theodosius I and Valentinian II then invaded from the east, and campaigned against Magnus Maximus in July–August 388, their troops being led by Richomeres and other generals. Maximus was defeated in the Battle of the Save,[4] and retreated to Aquileia. Meanwhile the Franks under Marcomer had taken the opportunity to invade northern Gaul, at the same time further weakening Maximus' position. Andragathius, magister equitum of Maximus and the killer of emperor Gratian, was defeated near Siscia while Maximus' brother, Marcellinus, fell in battle at Poetovio.[5] Maximus surrendered in Aquileia, and although he pleaded for mercy was executed. The Senate passed a decree of Damnatio memoriae against him. However, his mother and at least two daughters were spared.[6] Theodosius' trusted general Arbogast strangled Maximus' son, Flavius Victor, at Trier in the fall of the same year.[7] What exactly happened to Maximus' family after his downfall is not recorded. He is known to have had a wife, who is recorded as having sought spiritual counsel from St. Martin of Tours during his time at Trier. Her ultimate fate, and even her name (but see the Welsh tradition below), have not been preserved in definitive historic records. The same is true of Maximus' mother and daughters, other than that they were spared by Theodosius I. One of Maximus' daughters may have been married to Ennodius, proconsul Africae (395). Ennodius' grandson was Petronius Maximus, another ill-fated emperor, who ruled in Rome for but 77 days before he was stoned to death while fleeing from the Vandals on May 24, 455. Other descendants of Ennodius, and thus possibly of Maximus, included Anicius Olybrius, emperor in 472, but also several consuls and bishops such as St. Magnus Felix Ennodius (Bishop of Pavia c. 514-21). We also encounter an otherwise unrecorded daughter of Magnus Maximus, Sevira, on the Pillar of Eliseg, an early medieval inscribed stone in Wales which claims her marriage to Vortigern, king of the Britons. Role in British and Breton history[edit] Maximus' bid for imperial power in 383 coincides with the last date for any evidence of a Roman military presence in Wales, the western Pennines, and the fortress of Deva. Coins dated later than 383 have been found in excavations along Hadrian's Wall, suggesting that troops were not stripped from it, as was once thought.[8] In the De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae written c. 540, Gildas says that Maximus left Britain not only with all of its Roman troops, but also with all of its armed bands, governors, and the flower of its youth, never to return.[9] Having left with the troops and senior administrators, and planning to continue as the ruler of Britain in the future, his practical course was to transfer local authority to local rulers. Welsh legend supports that this happened, with stories such as Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig (English: The Dream of Emperor Maximus), where he not only marries a wondrous British woman (thus making British descendants probable), but also gives her father sovereignty over Britain (thus formally transferring authority from Rome back to the Britons themselves). The earliest Welsh genealogies give Maximus (referred to as Macsen/Maxen Wledig, or Emperor Maximus) the role of founding father of the dynasties of several medieval Welsh kingdoms, including those of Powys and Gwent.[10][11] He is given as the ancestor of a Welsh king on the Pillar of Eliseg, erected nearly 500 years after he left Britain, and he figures in lists of the Fifteen Tribes of Wales.[12] After he became emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Maximus would return to Britain to campaign against the Picts and Scots (i.e., Irish), probably in support of Rome's long-standing allies the Damnonii, Votadini, and Novantae (all located in modern Scotland). While there he likely made similar arrangements for a formal transfer of authority to local chiefs—the later rulers of Galloway, home to the Novantae, would claim Maximus as the founder of their line, the same as did the Welsh kings.[8] The ninth century Historia Brittonum gives another account of Maximus and assigns him an important role: The seventh emperor was Maximianus. He withdrew from Britain with all its military force, slew Gratianus the king of the Romans, and obtained the sovereignty of all Europe. Unwilling to send back his warlike companions to their wives, families, and possessions in Britain, he conferred upon them numerous districts from the lake on the summit of Mons lovis, to the city called Cant Guic, and to the western Tumulus, that is Cruc Occident. These are the Armoric Britons, and they remain there to the present day. In consequence of their absence, Britain being overcome by foreign nations, the lawful heirs were cast out, till God interposed with his assistance. Modern historians believe that this idea of mass British troop settlement in Brittany by Maximus may very well reflect some reality, as it accords with archaeological and other historical evidence and later Breton traditions. Armorica declared independence from the Roman Empire in 407 CE, but contributed archers for Flavius Aetius's defence against Attila the Hun, and its king Riothamus was subsequently mentioned in contemporary documents as an ally of Rome's against the Goths. Despite its continued usage of two distinct languages, Breton and Gallo, and extensive invasions and conquests by Franks and Vikings, Armorica retained considerable cultural cohesion into the 13th century. Maximus also established a military base in his native Gallaecia, i.e. Galicia (Spain), which persisted as a cultural entity despite occupation by the Suebi in 409, see Kingdom of Galicia. This kingdom successfully resisted the Moors and subsequently initiated the Spanish Reconquista. Aetius sent large numbers of Alans to both Armorica and Galicia following the defeat of Attila at the Battle of the Catalunian Plains. The Alans evidently assimilated quickly into the local Celtic cultures, contributing their own legends, e.g. to the Arthurian Cycle of romances. Welsh legend[edit] Legendary versions of Maximus' career in which he marries the Welsh princess Elen may have circulated in popular tradition in Welsh-speaking areas from an early date. Although the story of Helen and Maximus's meeting is almost certainly fictional, there is some evidence for the basic claims. He is certainly given a prominent place in the earliest version of the Welsh Triads which are believed to date from c. 1100 and which reflect far older traditions. Welsh poetry also frequently refers to Macsen as a figure of comparison with later Welsh leaders. These legends come down to us in two separate versions.[12] Geoffrey of Monmouth[edit] Wikisource has original text related to this article: History of the Kings of Britain/Book 5 According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's fictional Historia Regum Britanniae (ca. 1136), the basis for many English and Welsh legends, Maximianus as he calls him, was a Roman senator, a nephew of Coel Hen through his brother Ioelinus, and king of the Brythons following the death of Octavius. Geoffrey writes this came about because Octavius, the king of the Britons, wanted to wed his daughter to such a powerful half-Roman, half-Briton and to give the kingship of Britain as a dowry to that husband so he sent a message to Rome offering his daughter to Maximian. Caradocus, the Duke of Cornwall, had suggested and supported the marriage between Octavius's daughter and Maximian. Maximian accepted the offer and left Rome for Britain. Geoffrey claims further that Maximian gathered an army as he sacked Frankish towns along the way. He invaded Clausentum (modern Southampton) unintentionally and nearly fought the army of the Britons under Conanus before agreeing to a truce. Following further negotiations, Maximian was given the kingship of Britain and Octavius retired. Five years into his kingship, Magnus Maximus assembled a vast fleet and invaded Gaul, leaving Britain in the control of Caradocus. Upon reaching the kingdom of Armorica (historically, the region between the Loire and Seine rivers, later comprising Brittany, Normandy, Anjou, Maine and Touraine), he defeated the king and killed thousands of inhabitants. Before departing to Rome, he summoned Conanus, the rebellious nephew of Octavius, and asked him to rule as king of the land, which was renamed Brittany, or "Little Britain". Conan's men married native women after cutting out their tongues to preserve the purity of their language. Geoffrey of Monmouth presents this legend to explain the Welsh name for Brittany, Llydaw, as originating from lled-taw or "half-silent". Given that Conan was well established in genealogies as the founder of Brittany, this account is certainly connected to an older tradition than Geoffrey. Following the death of Caradocus, rule of Britain as regent passed to Dionotus, who - facing a foreign invasion - appealed to Maximus, who finally sent a man named Gracianus Municeps with two legions to stop the attack. He killed many thousands before the invaders fled to Ireland. Maximus died in Rome soon after and Dionotus became the official king of the Britons. Unfortunately, before he could begin his reign, Gracianus took hold of the crown and made himself king over Dionotus. The Dream of Macsen Wledig[edit] Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Dream of Maxen Wledig Main article: The Dream of Macsen Wledig Although the Mabinogion tale The Dream of Macsen Wledig is written in later manuscripts than Geoffrey's version, the two accounts are so different that scholars agree the Dream cannot be based purely on Geoffrey's version. The Dream's account also seems to accord better with details in the Triads, so it perhaps reflects an earlier tradition. Macsen Wledig, the Emperor of Rome, dreams one night of a lovely maiden in a wonderful, far-off land. Awakening, he sends his men all over the earth in search of her. With much difficulty they find her in a rich castle in Wales, daughter of a chieftain based at Segontium (Caernarfon), and lead the Emperor to her. Everything he finds is exactly as in his dream. The maiden, whose name is Helen or Elen, accepts and loves him. Because Elen is found a virgin, Macsen gives her father sovereignty over the island of Britain and orders three castles built for his bride. In Macsen's absence, a new emperor seizes power and warns him not to return. With the help of men from Britain led by Elen's brother Conanus (Welsh: Kynan Meriadoc, Breton: Conan Meriadeg), Macsen marches across Gaul and Italy and recaptures Rome. In gratitude to his British allies, Macsen rewards them with a portion of Gaul that becomes known as Brittany. Later literature[edit] The prominent place of Macsen in history, Welsh legend and in the Matter of Britain means he is often a character or referred to in historical and Arthurian fiction. Such stories include Stephen R. Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, Mary Stewart's The Hollow Hills, Jack Whyte's Camulod Chronicles, Nancy McKenzie's Queen of Camelot and Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill. The popular Welsh folk song Yma o Hyd, recorded by Dafydd Iwan in 1981, recalls Macsen Wledig and celebrates the continued survival of the Welsh people since his days. Stemmata[edit] Ancestor: Sextus Iulius Caesar Grandfathers: Iulius Honorius / Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Valerius Carausius Father: Flavius Iulius Eucherius Uncles: Flavius Iulius Theodosius / Flavius Iulius Honorius Cousins: Flavius Theodosius / Flavius Honorius Second Grade Nephews: Flavius Didimus / Flavius Theodosiolus / Flavius Lagodius / Flavius Verenianus / Flavius Honorius / Flavius Arcadius / Favia Serena / Flavia Maria / Galla Placidia Mother: Flavia Wife: Helen Ferch Eudaf Sons: Flavius (Victor / Eugenius / Publicius / Dionotus / Aldroenus / Constantine) Daughters: Flavia Severa / Flavia Aelia Flacilia Grandsons: Flavius Constans / Flavius Ambrosius Aurelius) / Flavius Eucherius Grandgrandsons: Aurelius Ambrosius Aurelianus / Moderatus (Mordret)

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Magnus Maximus, Western Roman Emperor's Timeline

302
302
340
340
Callaecia, Spain
360
360
Age 20
364
364
Age 24
Caer Gloui, Gwent, North Wales
365
365
Age 25
DB1
374
374
Age 34
Caer Gloui, Gwent, North Wales
375
375
Age 35
Caer Gloui, Gwent, North Wales
383
383
Age 43
Caer Gloui, Gwent, North Wales
388
August 28, 388
Age 48
Aquileia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy