Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius was born in 278 to roman emperor Maximian and was son-in-law to Galerius.
During his fathers reign he never actually served any time in the military or held any form of administrative position though he was always regarded as a crown prince. He married the daughter of Galerius and had two sons.
When diocletianus and Maximian resigned in 305 the Caesars took over even though Maxentius could have taken power being the son of the former emperor. He instead retired to an estate a few miles out of Rome.
Riots broke out when the emperors tried to introduce a capitation tax and a group of officers turned to Maxentius to step up as ruler and he was publicly announced emperor in 306 and was regognised in central and southern Italy and the African provinces.
Galerius refused to recognise him as emperor in the attempt to prevent others from claiming a title in this manner and in 307 sent Severus to defeat him.
The army that Severus led, however, were mostly men who served under Maxentius’ father so upon arriving to Rome many changed sides to stand by Maxentius and defeated Severus and with him out of the way he was able to take possession of northern Italy and assumed the title of Augustus.
Galerius attempted to defeat him but suffered the same fate as Severus and Maxentius then had his daughter marry Constantine, and then promoted Constantine to Augustus.
In 308 Maxentius was denied recognition as a legitimate emperor and Licinius was appointed and Maxentius’ relations with Constantine deteriorated. He attempted to claim back his land through battle with Constantine but fell into a river and drowned during battle.
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