Maximinus I Thrax

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus, also known as Maximinus Thrax – the Thracian – was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238 CE. He rose to power when his legion – Legio IV 'Italica' – killed Emperor Alexander Severus and his mother in 235 and elected the stern general Emperor. They didn't really have the authority to do so, but they had a lot of swords.


Maximinus was a provincial of low birth, and was seen by the Senate as a barbarian, not even a true Roman, despite Caracalla’s edict granting citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire. Maximinus in turn hated the nobility and was ruthless towards those he suspected of plotting against him.

When the province of Africa revolted in 238, the Senate quickly turned on Maximinus and proclaimed the governor of Africa and his son – Gordian I and Gordian II – as emperors. They were killed within weeks by loyalist troops, and the desperate Senate now proclaimed two Senators emperor – Pupienus and Balbinus – but facing a revolt from the common people in Rome at this news they also reluctantly proclaimed the grandson & nephew of the Gordians co-emperor as Gordian III, which appeased the mob.

Meanwhile Maximinus marched on Rome, but faced resistance when Aquileia closed it's gates to him. Not prepared to deal with this forced siege, his troops starved and within a few months assassinated him and accepted the three Senatorial emperors.

My coins

I have a couple of coins of Maximinus – who I find to be a fascinating character. He was described as being much much larger in size than his contemporaries, and is thought to have suffered from acromegaly. He is said to have been 2.40m tall.

# Reference Obverse Reverse Notes
1 Sear 8310 Pax Avgusti
2 Sear 8315 Providentia Avg Limes