Europe 310: Maximian’s Last Stand

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 18 Jul 310 (Diocletian and the Tetrarchy: Maximian’s Last Stand), showing the following events: Filios Augustorum; Death of Hormizd II; Licinius in Istria; Battle of Bedaium; Maximian vs Constantine.

Maximinus Daza refused to accept the rulings at Carnuntum and demanded to be made an Augustus. Reluctantly, Galerius backed down, initially acknowledging Maximinus and Constantine as ‘Sons of Augusti’ then, after Maximinus threatened to rebel, recognizing them both as full Augusti in 310. That year Constantine faced his own problems when his father-in-law Maximian emerged from retirement in Viennensis and proclaimed himself emperor again. However, Maximian found little support and was forced to kill himself when Constantine’s army arrived.

Main Events

Dec 308 Filios Augustorum

The nomination of the officer Licinius to Augustus at the Council of Carnuntum greatly offended Maximinus Daza, who, as senior Caesar, expected the title for himself. Galerius attempted to placate him by abolishing the title of Caesar and acknowledging both Maximinus and Constantine as filios Augustorum (sons of the Augusti) in late 310, but by this point both Caesars had adopted the title of Augustus for themselves and more or less ignored this compromise. This standoff lasted until 310, when Galerius, bowing to a final ultimatum by Maximinus, announced that all four members of the imperial college—himself, Maximinus, Licinius, and Constantine—should have the title wikipedia

309 Death of Hormizd II

In c.309 Hormizd II of Persia led an army into Syria to demand tribute from the Ghassanids, who appealed to Rome for support. The Persians then killed the Ghassanid king, but later suffered a major setback when Hormizd himself was ambushed and fatally wounded while hunting in the desert. Taking advantage of this situation to gain influence within the empire, the Persian nobility and Zoroastrian clergy murdered Hormizd’s son and successor Adur Narseh, leaving the latter’s infant brother Shapur II as shah. Meanwhile, the Ghassanids, possibly with some Roman assistance, raided into Mesopotamia and plundered the outskirts of wikipedia

309?–310 Licinius in Istria

In late 309 or early 310, in an action known only from statue inscriptions, Licinius moved into Italy from Pannoniae, obtaining a number of towns in Istria from Maxentius. There is no evidence of fighting, although Maxentius did close his mints in northern Italy in 309, possibly in anticipation of this apparent invasion. After these small gains, Licinius made no further moves in this region, probably because he was needed on the Danube wikipedia

27 Jun 310 Battle of Bedaium

In June 310 Roman legions, probably under the authority of Licinius, achieved a major victory over barbarian raiders at Bedaium (modern Seebruck, Bavaria) in Pannoniae. There is some dispute among modern historians as to who these raiders were—Galerius was awarded victory titles over both the Carpi and the Sarmatians in this period. Either tribe would have traveled some distance from their original homeland to reach this point; possibly they had been under pursuit by the wikipedia

310 Maximian vs Constantine

In 310, while Constantine was on building a bridge across the Rhine to confront the Germans, his father-in-law Maximian proclaimed himself emperor in Arelate (Arles) and, with the help of bribery, persuaded a number of troops to support him. Constantine immediately marched south to deal with the problem, prompting Maximian to flee to Massilia (Marseilles). When the garrison of that city quickly surrendered, Maximian allegedly hanged himself rather than accept Constantine’s wikipedia