Licinius I

Maximinus II vs. Licinius I – April 30, 313 AD

While the Tetrarchy was breaking down, with rival claimants to the throne of the Roman Empire assessing the power of the others, the emperor Galerius sent Licinius I in 307 AD to meet with Maxentius in Rome about his usurpation and occupation of the city. Maxentius accepted the title of Augustus from officers in Rome who promoted him in 306, since he was passed over for the title of Caesar, as was Constantine I (who was raised to Augustus in 305 after the death of his father, Constantius I), in favor of Severus II and Maximinus II Daia. But, Galerius then decided to put Licinius in charge of the eastern provinces and deal with Maxentius himself, after Maxentius defeated Severus II, whom Galerius first sent. The miscalculation Galerius made was many of the troops under Severus II first serv...

Wedding Bells – March 31, 307 AD

On March 31, 307 AD, the daughter of Maximianus, Flavia Maxima Fausta, married one of the caesars of the Tetrarchy – Flavius Valerius Constantinus (Constantine the Great). The marriage was politically motivated, allying the rebels Maximianus and Maxentius in Italy with Constantine in Gaul, against Severus II for central Europe. Before the marriage to Fausta, the status of Constantine is unclear – he had a relationship of some kind with Minervina, the mother of Constantine’s son, Flavus Julius Crispus. Whatever the relationship was, Minerva and Constantine didn’t associate with each other after his new marriage. You will a Constantine Coins selection at the bottom of this post. Fausta and Constantine were wed during a tumultuous time in the Roman Empire, as the Tetrarchy was in upheaval. Co...

Christian Persecution – February 23, 303 AD

February 23, 303, saw the celebration of Terminalia in the Roman Empire – the day pagans boasted they would put an end to Christianity. During this festival, because of the encouragement of Galerius Caesar, the emperor Diocletian issued an edict ordering the destruction of the newly built Christian church in Nicomedia. The city prefect went to the church with many officers and assistants and forced open the doors, removed all of the sacred books and burned them, confiscated the treasury, then leveled the building itself, all while Diocletian and Galerius observed. Following this, a general edict was issued for the entire empire, commanding the destruction of all Christian churches and texts, along with naming all Christians as outlaws. In Nicomedia, all Christians were being rounded up and...

Maxentius, “the Rebel” – October 28, 306 AD

Born c.278 AD, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius was the son of Maximianus and Eutropia. When his father was promoted to co-emperor of the Roman Empire by Diocletian in 285, it was assumed he would follow in his father’s footsteps and eventually be declared emperor as well. However, when Diocletian and Maximianus retired and abdicated, Maxentius and Constantine I were passed over and the previous Caesars, Constantius Chlorus and Galerius became co-Augustii and promoted Severus II and Maximinus II Daia to co-Caesarii. Constantius Chlorus was the father of Constantine I and Galerius was the father-in-law of Maxentius, through the marriage of his daughter, Valeria Maximilla. After Constantius died in 306, Constantine I was promoted to Caesar. In later 306, the Tetrarchy was planning to disba...

“In This Sign Ye Shall Conquer” – October 28, 312 AD

After the death of Galerius in 311 AD, the Roman Empire was split between four Augustii – Constantine I in the western provinces allied with Licinius I in the Balkans, Pannoniae and Illyria and Maxentius controlling Italy and Africa, allied with Maximinus II Daia in Asia and Egypt. Each of the four viewed the others as hostile, so the alliances that did exist were out of convenience to choose sides for the inevitable civil war. Constantine invaded Italy to confront Maxentius, even though he was vastly outnumbered militarily. What he had on his side was discipline and tactics. The armies of Maxentius had many veterans who were enjoying the finer things in Rome after having served their emperor. The younger recruits were not yet fully trained. Constantine, however, had well-seasoned troops a...

Constantine vs. Licinius – October 8, 316 AD

After Licinius defeated Maximinus Daia in 313, and added Asia and Egypt to all of his Balkan territories, he and Constantine the Great were the two remaining rulers of the Roman Empire. At first, they tried to cooperate and rule the empire with Licinius in the East and Constantine in the West, but the agreement they had was merely out of convenience and not because they truly wanted to co-rule. This is a category of  Constantine coin. Tensions began immediately and both decided to create essentially a buffer zone in Rhaetia and Pannonia, managed by Bassianus, who was married to the sister of the wife of Licinius, and was also the half-brother-in-law to Constantine. Both saw this as fair, since his loyalty should be split evenly between the two emperors. However, Licinius managed to convinc...

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