The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Maximin

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
The American Cyclopædia
Maximin
Edition of 1879. See also Maximinus Thrax on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

MAXIMIN (Caius Julius Verus Maximinus), a Roman emperor, born in Thrace in the latter part of the 2d century, killed before Aquileia in 238. He was the son of a Goth by an Alan woman, and was brought up as a shepherd. During the passage of the emperor Septimius Severus through Thrace, on his return from the East, he attracted the attention of that monarch by marvellous feats of strength and agility, as well as by his gigantic stature, being more than 8 ft. high, and eventually able to wear the bracelet of his wife as a ring on his finger. Admitted to the army, though a barbarian, he rose from rank to rank, gained the admiration of his fellow soldiers by valor equalling his strength, and after several reigns succeeded in supplanting the virtuous Alexander Severus, on whose assassination by the soldiers in Gaul he was proclaimed emperor (235). He appointed his son Maximus to the dignity of Cæsar. Though successful in his almost continual wars against the Germans, the imperial barbarian, who is said to have eaten 40 pounds of meat and drunk an amphora of wine a day, was tormented by a sense of insecurity, and in order to preserve his power perpetrated cruelties which surpassed those of his previous masters, Caracalla and Elagabalus. He spared none whom birth or merit exposed to suspicion. For alleged conspiracy, Magnus, a senator, was put to death, with 4,000 other persons. Simple death was regarded as a favor. His rapacity was no less disastrous than his cruelty, and he finally sunk under the general indignation of the provinces aroused by a wholesale confiscation of municipal property for the use of the imperial treasury. The insurrection broke out in Africa, where the two Gordians were proclaimed emperors. These perishing soon after, the senate proclaimed Maximus and Balbinus their successors. Maximin, who had his winter quarters on the lower Danube, hastened to Italy, crossed the Alps, and besieged Aquileia, but was soon murdered, together with his son, by his own soldiers.