Who Was Maximus In Ancient Rome

Early Life and Background

Maximus was one of the most influential figures in ancient Rome. Born into a noble family, he had access to a great education. He was well versed in literature, history, and the arts of warfare and command.
He distinguished himself in military campaigns with great bravery and tactical acumen, eventually rising to the rank of General. His loyalty to the Senate and reverence for the Roman Republic made him a beloved and respected leader.

Military Career

Maximus was a brilliant tactician and gifted commander. He regularly led successful campaigns against his enemies, earning him high praise from both the Senate and the people of Rome. His reputation as a brilliant military leader spread far and wide, earning the respect of many powerful leaders in the Roman Empire.
He famously defeated the Germanic tribe known as the Quadi in a single devastating battle, earning him the title of “the Great Maximizer” among the Romans. This ultimately propelled him to become one of the most respected generals of the era.

Political Career

Maximus was not only a great military leader, but also a skilled politician. Many were surprised by his skill in oratory and his ability to sway key members of the Senate to his cause. He often negotiated deftly, managing to prevent the Empire from falling into a civil war.
He was also incredibly popular among the people, who saw him as a leader who could protect their interests in the face of a rapidly changing Rome. This earned him the nickname “Maximus the Popular”.


Maximus was a complex figure that captivated the imagination of both his own people and those of other empires. He was often idealised as a heroic figure, whether it be by the Senate or the people of Rome.
He is remembered today as a formidable leader and defender of the Roman Republic, who used his power and influence to protect his people and promote peace and stability. He is an inspiring figure who exemplifies the best of Roman ideals.


Throughout his life, Maximus had many mentors, both in the military and the political sphere. From his father, he learned the art of oratory and rhetoric, skills he would use to great effect when defending the Roman Republic.
He was also mentored by many leading figures in Rome, including prominent senators and generals. He learned from their successes and failures alike, giving him a unique insight into the challenges of running a great empire.


Maximus was fascinated by the esoteric arts and was known to engage in spiritual exercises, such as trance-inducing rituals and the study of philosophy. He was particularly influenced by the Epicureans, a group of philosophers who placed emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure and a life of calm contemplation.
This gave him a unique perspective on life, one that set him apart from his peers and colleagues. He was known to be a deeply spiritual figure who thought of life as a grand adventure, rather than a mundane march towards death.

Death and Funeral

Maximus died suddenly in 657 BC, sparking a flurry of rumours concerning the cause of his death. Many believed it was a conspiracy, while others surmised that he had succumbed to a sudden illness.
He was given a huge funeral in keeping with his status as a revered statesman. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay their respects, while the Senate declared three days of national mourning in his honour.

Altars and Temples

The people of Rome built an altar to honour Maximus in his death, which became a popular pilgrimage site for the faithful. Over time, a number of temples were built in his honour around the Roman world.
Maximus was deified by the Senate following his death, becoming a figure of utmost reverence and devotion across the Roman Empire. His legend only grew larger, spurring efforts to further honour him and his memory.

Influence on Philosophy

The great strategist, statesman and philosopher, Cicero, was greatly influenced by Maximus. In his book “On the Good Life” Cicero wrote of how the teachings of Maximus had greatly shaped his own thinking.
Maximus’s ideas on mysticism and the pursuit of pleasure also became popular among other philosophers, with some even attributing their works to him. This inspired many to take up philosophy, with his ideas inspiring a generation of philosophers and thinkers.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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