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Panegyric 6 and the death of Maximian

Rajiv Kumar Bhola

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


If Patrick Bruun’s monumental re-dating of the Battle of Cibalae serves as any indication, some of our long-held assumptions regarding Constantinian chronology, however seemingly indisputable, are not always as secure as we take them to be. The revolt and death of the senior emperor Maximian Herculius, traditionally dated to mid-310, is one such episode from the early years of the emperor Constantine’s reign that requires reconsideration. Several ancient sources mention the downfall of Maximian with varying degrees of detail, but our most reliable accounts are still Lactantius’ De mortibus persecutorum and Panegyrici Latini 6. The latter in particular is inextricably linked to this event: having been delivered at Constantine’s capital city Trier only a month or two after the fact, it is our earliest source for Maximian’s failed revolt and ‘execution’. More to the point, in a somewhat circular fashion the traditional dating of the panegyric (1 August 310) is not only heavily dependent on the accepted dating of Maximian’s death, but confirms it as well by virtue of its reputation as ‘the Panegyric of 310’. This paper examines the relevant passages from Panegyric 6 and De mortibus persecutorum with a view to the coinage of Constantine and the emperor Maxentius, in order to demonstrate that both the panegyric and the death of Maximian can be more reasonably dated to the year 309.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventClassical Association of Canada - Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada
Duration: 11 May 201613 May 2016


ConferenceClassical Association of Canada
Abbreviated titleCAC
CityQuebec City

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