Maximus of Barcelona – 409-411 AD

Maximus of Barcelona

409-411 AD


Around the same time when the Roman Emperor Honorius was clashing with the Visigothic King Alaric who sacked Rome in 410AD, we find so many other events undermining the Roman Empire. The Picts of Scotland invaded Britain crossing Hadrian’s Wall, and Vandals, Alans, and Suebi invaded Gaul (France) devastating the landscape. Honorius ruled what was left of the Western Roman Empire from Ravenna, and the city of Rome had been abandoned by the officials of government. The Visigoths had forced the Senate to appoint Priscus Attalus emperor as their puppet and the remnants of legions in the Britain elevated Constantine III and his son Constans to the throne in a desperate attempt to retake the Empire. Even St Jerome said that Britain was the fertile land of tyrants ( Orosius, VII.28. ‘Ibi saepe a barbaris incertis foederibus illusus detrimento magis reipublicae fuit.‘)

Nonetheless, Spain (Iberia) was initially spared, but then in 409AD when the Vandals invaded and began to devastate the region. When Constantine III sent his son Constans with an army to Spain. One of their generals named Gerontius mutinied. His reasons are open to speculation that somehow he feared he would be replaced when Constantine was negotiating with Emperor Honorius. However, Gerontius had received no support from Italy and was threatened by Constans. As a result, Gerontiusmade arrangements with Vandal barbarian allies. Constans  had fled Hispania and rejoined his father Constantine III in Gaul. It was at this time when Gerontius appointed Maximus of Barcelona (Barcino) as his own puppet emperor. Maximus was probably at least a senior staff officer and may have also been a relative in some way perhaps his son or son-in-law. Maximus thus became one of six men claiming to be Emperor in the year 410AD.

Gerontius besieged, defeated and executed Constans  at Vienne. The general then besieged Constantine III at Arles, but the forces of Honorius joined the fight and defeated him. Gerontius was trapped and committed suicide. Maximus then fled to his Vandal allies in Iberia who protected him until he was pardoned by Honorius.

It is not known whether or not Maximus Tryannus was the same man, by this Maximum rebelled in 420AD against Rome. He was swiftly captured, taken to Ravenna, and executed by Honorius 422AD.


Monetary System

The coinage of Maximus is quite rare. No denominations other than the reduced silver siliquae are known.

Mints: Barcino

Obverse Legend:

D N MAXIMUS P F AVG


DENOMINATIONS

AR Siliqua (1.22 grams)


The Monetary History of the World
© Martin A. Armstrong