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Headword: Maximinos
Adler number: mu,172
Translated headword: Maximinus
Vetting Status: high
Emperor of [the] Romans.[1] This man, after taking over the imperial rule, made quite a change by employing his power very quickly and with much terror, and he tried to turn everything from a tame empire into the savageness of a tyranny.[2] He was by nature a barbarian in character as well as in race, for his murderous behavior was hereditary. And so without delay he did away with all of Alexander’s[3] friends who accompanied him, and the council had been selected by the senate, since he wanted to be the only one with the army and to have no one with him with a noble conscience.[4] He killed the majority of them through suspicion of plots against him.
Ruling the east,[5] he made excessive displays of his foul and unnatural acts and particularly a cruel and inhuman persecution against the Christians in all the east. In this persecution very many of the glorious were martyred. And he suffered things that were worthy of his impiety and preambles to the coming punishment he would receive — he contracted the most awful sickness, and severe pains racked his whole body. His internal organs wasted away under the most penetrating and powerful burning, and his flesh all melted away like wax. As he was being violently roasted and melted, his very bones were roasted too so that even the very image of his human form disappeared. As he was pitifully rotting away, he exuded such a stench that it was no different from the smell of decayed bodies in tombs. Then, after taking a short breath and letting out a groan, he died.[6]
Greek Original:
Maximinos, basileus Rhômaiôn. houtos paralabôn tên archên pollên tên metabolên epoiêsato, trachutata kai meta pollou phobou têi exousiai chrômenos, ek te hêmerou basileias eis turannidos ômotêta metagagein panta epeirato. phusei de ên to êthos hôsper kai to genos barbaros to te phonikon patrion echôn. eutheôs oun tous te philous pantas, hoi sunêsan tôi Alexandrôi, sunedroi te hupo tês sunklêtou epilechthentes apeskeuasato, boulomenos monos einai en tôi stratôi kai mêdena autôi pareinai ek suneidêseôs eugenous. pleistous de autôn kai apekteinen, epiboulas hupopteuôn. basileuôn de tês heôias polla miara kai atopa kath' huperbolên epedeixato kai pros toutois diôgmon apênê kai apanthrôpon kata pasan anatolên eis tous Christianous, kath' hon pleistoi tôn eudokimôn emarturêsan. axia de tês dussebeias autou prooimia tês mellousês auton diadechesthai kolaseôs eikotôs peponthe: nosôi gar deinotatêi peripesontos, algêdones ischurai tên pasan sarka autou dielumainonto: kai ta men enkata diephtheironto hupo tês endomuchousês sphodrotatês purôseôs, hê de sarx pasa kêrou dikên exetêketo: labroterôs de phlogizomenôi kai têganizomenôi kai auta sunephrugêsan ta osta, hôste exaphanisthênai kai ton charaktêra tês anthrôpinês morphês. eleeinôs de katasêpomenos tosautên dusôdian exepempen, hôs ouden tôn en taphois dialuthentôn diapherein. ho de brachu empneôn kai stenaxas apethane.
[1] Maximinus Thrax (ruled 235-238), the subject of the first part of this entry (through “u(popteu/wn”), is not to be confused with Maximinus Daia (ruled 305-313) to whom the latter part refers. The De Imperatoribus Romanis project provides brief biographies and bibliographies for both Thrax (web address 1) and Daia (web address 2). The compiler who put together this entry has given no indication that the two Maximini are different. See further below, nn. 1 and 5.
[2] The first half of the entry, until 'plots against him', is John of Antioch fr.142 FHG (4.594), now 221 Roberto, which is found at Constantine VII Porphyrogenitius, De Virtutibus et Vitiis 1.194.1-9.
[3] 'Alexander' here means Alexander Severus (ruled 222-235). See alpha 1124 and web address 3. Maximinus’ murder of Alexander’s associates is also mentioned in the Historia Augusta (Life of Maxinus Thrax 9.7).
[4] In the Historia Augusta, he disposes of all those who know the details of his peasant parents and one-time shepherding, even some of his friends (Life of Maximinus Thrax 9.1, cf. 1-2).
[5] From here to the end of the entry, the subject is Maximinus Daia or Daza (ruled 305-313) who along with Galerius was responsible for much persecution of Christians in the eastern empire. This part of the entry is from George the Monk, Chronicon 482.5-21 (= Constantine VII Porphyogenitus, De Virtutibus et Vitiis 1.15 (pp. 146-7)). For Maximinus Daia and the period of the Tetrarchy, Eusebius and Lactantius are two of our key sources (see web addresses 4 & 5), but one must be wary of their Christian bias against Daia and the other pagan emperors.
[6] The story of Daia’s death is no doubt a Christian moralizing invention; compare Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors ch.33 (web address 5), for a very similar account of the awful disease and his final groan. According to DiMaio (web address 2), Daia actually died at Tarsus after suffering military defeat by Licinius.
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5
Keywords: biography; Christianity; ethics; geography; historiography; history; imagery; medicine; military affairs; politics; religion
Translated by: Abram Ring on 30 March 2007@22:45:06.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (x-ref; another keyword; cosmetics) on 1 April 2007@04:12:18.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 2 May 2013@04:43:44.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 8 November 2014@11:34:39.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 29 January 2015@10:54:41.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 9 July 2020@01:22:06.


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