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Maxentius

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Maxentius
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Maxentius

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, Western Roman Emperor from AD 306 to 312, was the son of Maximian, and the son-in-law of Galerius.

Owing to his poor character of a licentious nature he was left out of account in the division of the empire which took place in 305. A variety of causes, however, had produced strong dissatisfaction at Rome with many of the arrangements established by Diocletian, and on October 28, 306, the public discontent expressed itself in the massacre of those magistrates who remained loyal to Flavius Valerius Severus and in the election of Maxentius to the imperial dignity. He was supported by the Praetorian Guard.

With the help of his father, Maxentius put Severus to death and repelled the invasion of Galerius; his next steps were first to banish Maximian, and then, after achieving a military success in Africa against the rebellious governor, Domitius Alexander, to declare war against Constantine as having brought about the death of his father Maximian. His intention of carrying the war into Gaul was anticipated by Constantine, who marched into Italy.

Expecting Maxentius to hide behind the walls of the city and force a destructive siege, Constantine was surprised and delighted to find him waiting just outside the city for a pitched battle. Maxentius was easily defeated at the Battle of Milvian Bridge at Saxa Rubra near Rome, most of Maxentius's army had defected from their unworthy leader. He was pushed into the Tiber by the angry residents of Rome and drowned under his armor while attempting to retreat across the Milvian bridge back into the city.


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