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Unpopular Roman Emperor - Maximinus Thrax
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/28/12
By: Yona Williams

Maximinus Thrax was not a very well-liked emperor because of his role in causing what was known as the Crisis of the 3rd century, which was precipitated by his hand in the murders of several dozen of his closest friends, advisors and supporters. In this article, you will learn more about the distrustful ancient Roman emperor who ruled from 235 to 238.

It was difficult for Maximinus to trust anyone, which was a downfall in his character. He felt that he could make the people fall in love with him through expansion and conquest. While he was a fearful-looking man with historians clocking his height as more than six feet tall with some saying that he reached seven feet, he used death and destruction as a way to gain respect.

Maximinus also did not like the nobles in Rome and was relentless towards anyone he suspected of plotting against him. Some of the first people to catch his wrath were the close advisors of Alexander, but this was for the good because two plots against Maximinus were thwarted. The first time an attempt on his life took place was during a campaign across the Rhine. A group of officers were swayed by influential senators to destroy a bridge across the river, and then leave Maximinus stranded on the other side. They wanted to elect a senator to the position of emperor. The plot was uncovered before the conspirators had a chance to put the plan into effect. They were promptly executed.

The first campaign of Maximinus was against the Alamanni people of Germania. At the time, they were no threat at all to Rome, but Maximinus decided to invade and conquer anyways. The results led to great losses for his army. He did not gain the respect of his people with this action and instead of loving their leader, they grew to hate him. However, Maximinus did not pay attention and continued to invade other lands, including Sarmatia and Dacia, which are what we know today as the Ukraine and Romania. The people of these lands did nothing to deserve the wrath of Rome.

In North Africa, a revolt was brewing around the same time that Maximinus was busy conquering lands. Two men emerged as possible leaders for the Roman throne – Gordianus Sempronianus and his son. The Roman senate gave their support to the father and son. Maximinus marched his army on Rome, but the exhaustion and sickness that the troops suffered because of the previous battles prevented them from entered the closed city gates. As a result, Maximinus lost many of his men to desertion.

His Praetorian Guard could no longer take it, and stabbed Maximinus in the back. His son (along with his advisors) lost their heads, which were placed on poles around the city walls.


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