Coins of Maxentius

Western Roman Emperor (AD 306-312)

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, born c. AD 278, was the son of Diocletian’s co-emperor Maximian. In AD 305, Diocletian and Maximian handed the Empire over to their Caesars, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius, but the two new Augusti did not appoint Maxentius as one of their own Caesars. Maxentius faded into the background for a time, but when Constantius’ son Constantine was acclaimed as Caesar after his father’s death in 306, Maxentius was ready to accept the same honour. Indeed, the Praetorian Guard in Rome was unhappy with the situation and readily acclaimed Maxentius.

Certain provinces of the Empire recognized Maxentius as emperor, while others remained loyal to Constantine. Galerius did not acknowledge Maxentius as he had recognized Constantine. He attempted to eliminate Maxentius in 307, but his troops betrayed him for Maxentius--and his father Maximinian, who had left his retirement in order to support his son’s claim.

Power swung one way and then the other for almost five years. Maximian even attempted to depose his son, but was defeated in 308. Maxentius’ support had evaporated by AD 312, and, at the Battle of the Mulvian Bridge in that year, Constantine defeated his forces and Maxentius himself was drowned.

AE Follis, Rome
AD 306-312

Laureate head of Maxentius r. IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG

Roma draped, seated front, head l., in hexastyle temple on three steps, holding globe and sceptre, wreath in pediment. CONSERV VRB SVAE