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Galerius (d. 311)

Licinius (308—324)

Constantine I (c. 274—337) Roman emperor

Maxentius, Marcus Aurēlius Valerius (b. c. 283)


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Originally named Daia, born in Illyricum c.ad 270, son of a sister of Galerius, was rapidly promoted in the army, and made Caesar when Galerius became Augustus (305). Charged with governing Syria and Egypt, he was resentful that Galerius made Licinius Augustus (308). Spurning the title filius Augustorum (‘son of the Augusti’), he had his troops proclaim him Augustus; Galerius recognized this (309/10). On Galerius' death (311), as senior Augustus he seized Asia Minor while Licinius occupied Galerius' European territories; war with Licinius was averted, but to balance the latter's alliance with Constantine (see CONSTANTINE I) he drew closer to Maxentius. Learning of the latter's defeat, and that the senate had made Constantine senior Augustus, he crossed the Hellespont. Defeated by Licinius near Adrianople (30 April 313), he fled and committed suicide at Tarsus. Like Galerius, he was an ardent pagan. In 306 and 308 he ordained that all in his dominions should sacrifice: city magistrates and census officials drew up lists and individuals were called on by name. From 307 he used the death penalty only rarely, but mutilated recusants and sent them to the mines; outside Egypt there were relatively few executions. When Galerius ended the persecution Maximin acquiesced but in autumn 311 recommenced. With little genuine support, he incited cities and provinces to petition against the Christians. ‘Acts of Pilate’ and confessions of ex-Christians to incest were published as propaganda. To revive paganism he organized the pagan priesthood hierarchically. The persecution was relaxed and then called off just before his defeat.

Raymond Peter Davis

Subjects: Classical studies

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