Maximian (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus)măksĭm´ēən [key], d. 310, Roman emperor, with Diocletian (286–305). An able commander, he was made caesar (subemperor) by Diocletian in 285 and augustus in 286. He was in general charge of the empire in the West but failed to put down the revolt of Carausius. Two new caesars, Galerius and Constantius I, were created in 293, and Constantius was successful against Carausius. Maximian abdicated with Diocletian in 305, but the death of Constantius in 306 brought confusion to the political scene—there was a struggle for power among Severus (d.307), Galerius, Constantine (Constantine I, son of Constantius), and Maxentius (son of Maximian). Maximian plunged into the conflict, at first to aid his son in Italy; he captured Severus, repulsed Galerius, and won over Constantine, to whom he gave his daughter Fausta in marriage. Then Maximian and Maxentius became enemies, and, having failed to depose his son, Maximian fled to Constantine and abdicated again (308). He could not, however, rest content but revolted against Constantine. In 310 he was forced to commit suicide.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Rome: Biographies