Maximi'nus Ii. or the younger Maximi'nus
Roman emperor A.D. 305-- 314. GALERIUS VALERIUS MAXIMINUS, who originally bore the name of DAZA. was the nephew of Galerius by a sister, and in early life followed the occupation of a shepherd in his native Illyria. Having forsaken this humble calling for the life of a soldier, by force of interest rather than of any conspicuous merit, he rose to the highest rank in the service, and upon the abdication of Diocletian at Nicomedeia in A. D. 305 [DIOCLETIANUS, p. 1013], although altogether undistinguished, and indeed unknown, was adopted by the new emperor of the East, received the title of Jovius,
was elevated to the rank of Caesar, and was nominated to the government of Syria and Egypt. Little grateful for these extraordinary and most undeserved marks of favour, he displayed violent indignation upon being passed over in the arrangements which followed the death of Constantius Chlorus in A. D. 307, when Licinius was created Augustus. [LICINIUS; GALERIUS VALERIUS MAXIMIANUS.] Far from being satisfied by the concession of Galerius, who invented the new title of Filii Auyustorum
to supersede the appellation of Caesars,
he assumed without permission the highest imperial designation, and with much difficulty succeeded in wringing a reluctant acquiescence from his uncle. Upon the death of the latter, in 311, he entered into a convention with Licinius, in terms of which he received the provinces of Asia Minor in addition to his former dominion, the Hellespont and the Bosporus forming the common boundary of the two sovereignties; but having treacherously taken advantage of the absence of his neighbour, who had repaired to Milan in 313 for the purpose of receiving in marriage the sister of Constantine, he suddenly invaded Thrace, and surprised Byzantium. leaving, however, been signally defeated in a great battle fought near Heracleia, he fled first to Nicomedeia and thence to Tarsus, where lie soon after died according to some accounts of despair, according to others by poison. His wife and children were murdered, and every imaginable insult heaped upon his memory by the conqueror.
The great military talents of Herculius, Galerius, and Licinius, served in some degree, if not to palliate, at least to divert attention from, their vices and their crimes.
But not one quality, either noble or dazzling, relieves the coarse brutality of Maximin, who surpassed all his contemporaries in the profligacy of his private life, in the general cruelty of his administration, and in the furious hatred with which he persecuted the Christians. His elevation, which was the result of family influence alone, must have been as unexpected by himself as by others; but he did not prove by any means such a passive and subservient tool as was anticipated. His extravagant vanity, for we can scarcely dignify the feeling by the name of ambition, was for a while gratified, because Galerius felt unwilling to engage in a civil war with the creature of his own hands; but the arrogance engendered by this success in all probability prompted him to the unprovoked aggression which proved his ruin. (Zosim. 2.8; Victor, Epit.
40; Oros. 7.25
; Auctor. de Mort. Persec.
5, 32, 36, 38, 45, &c.; Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 8.14
, &c.; Eckhel, vol. viii. p. 51.)