Maximinus Thrax

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Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus (c. 173 – 238), commonly known as Maximinus Thrax[2] or Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238.

Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History. Maximinus was the first emperor to never set foot in Rome.[3] He was the first of the so-called barracks emperors of the 3rd century; his rule is often considered to mark the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century. He died at Aquileia whilst attempting to put down a Senatorial revolt.

Contents

Rise to power

According to the notoriously unreliable Augustan History (Historia Augusta), Maximinus was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother,[4] an Iranian people of the Scythian-Sarmatian branch; however, the supposed parentage is highly unlikely, as the presence of the Goths in the Danubian area is first attested after the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century. Sir Ronald Syme, writing that "the word 'Gothia' should have sufficed for condemnation" of the passage in the Augustan History, felt that the burden of evidence from Herodian, Syncellus and elsewhere pointed to Maximinus having been born in Moesia.[5] Most likely he was of Thraco-Roman origin (believed so by Herodian in his writings),[6] and the references to his "Gothic" ancestry might refer to a Thracian Getae origin (the two populations were often confused by later writers, most notably by Jordanes in his Getica), as suggested by the paragraphs describing how "he was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves" and how he spoke "almost pure Thracian".[7]

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