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980

MAXENTIUS.

returned to Rome, there to celebrate a flagitious triumph, and to indulge the worst passions of a depraved nature, at the expense of the citizens.

Elated by these successes, Maxentius now openly aspired to dominion over all the Western provinces; and having first insulted and then declared open war against Constantine, assuming, as a pretext, the, conduct of the latter towards Maximianus, he prepared to pass into Gaul with an army numbering not less than two hundred thousand men. But his schemes were -frustrated by the prudent boldness of his adversary, who, encouraged by an embassy despatched from Rome imploring relief from the oppression of the despot, determined at once to cross the Alps. The events of this campaign are detailed elsewhere [constantinus, p. 834]. The forces of the tyrant, shattered by the defeats of Turin and Verona, retired upon Rome ; the deci­ sive battle was fought at Saxa Rubra, not far from the storied stream of the Cremera ; the imperial army, cut off from retreat, were driven by thou­ sands into the Tiber; the Milvian bridge broke beneath the fugitives at the very moment when Max­ entius was forcing his way through the throng which choked up the passage, and borne down by the weight of his armour, he perished miserably in the stream on the 28th of October, 312, exactly six years from the day on which he was saluted em­ peror. ;

All historians agree in representing this prince as a monster of rapacity, cruelty, and lust. The only favoured class was the military, upon whom he depended for safety; and in order to secure their devotion and to gratify his own evil passions, every other portion of his subjects were made the victims of the most revolting licentiousness, and ruined by the most grinding exactions. Various statements have been put forth with regard to his conduct towards the Christians, since by some he is commended for the solitary virtue of tolerance, while by others he is numbered among the most cruel persecutors. The truth seems to be, that neither of these repre­sentations is accurate. The Christians suffered in common with all who had the misfortune to own his sway ; but while there is no reason to believe that they received any encouragement or patronage, so, on the other hand, there is no evidence to prove that they were at any time the objects of special hostility. (Zosim. ii. 9—18 ; Zonar. xii. 33, xiii. 1 ; Panegyr. Vet. ix. 2, 3, 11—25, x. 6, 7, &c.,

27. &c., xi. 16 ; Auctor. de Mort. Persecut, cc. 26,

COIN OF MAXENTIUS.

MAXENTIUS, JOANNES, whom Cave, ap­parently without just ground, identifies with joannes scythopolitanus ('Iwav^s 6 ^.KvQo-iro\lr7)s) [joannes, No. 111.], lived in the. early part of the sixth century. In the beginning of the

28. 44 ; Euseb. H. E. viii. 14, Vit. Const, i. 26, 33, &c. ; Fragments published by Valesius at the end of his edition of Ammianus Marcellinus ; Vic­tor, de Caes. 40, EpiL 40 ; Eutrop. x. 2.) [W. R.]

MAXENTIUS.

reign of the Byzantine emperor, Justin I., who sue--ceeded Anastasius a. d. 51.8, certain "Scythian monks," as their contemporaries term them, who appear to have come from the bishopric of Tomi and the adjacent bishoprics near the south bank of the Danube, made a great stir at Constantinople, by contending for the propriety of the expression " Unus e Trinitate in carne crucifixus est." This mode of expression was suspected of covering the Monophysite or Eutychian heresy [eutyches] ; and the formula " Una Persona e Trinitate" was regarded as more orthodox. Here was sufficient cause in that age of logomachy for bitter contro­versy. Maxentius appeared in Constantinople on the side of the " Scythians ;" but whether he was one of them is questionable: he was, or claimed to be, of the monastic profession, and styled himself abbot; but from what place he came is very doubtful. The Magdeburgh Centuriators and Pos-sevino absurdly identify him with Maxentius, an abbot' of Poitou, in France ; and Usher, followed by Cave, misunderstanding an expression in one of Maxentius* works, makes him a monk and pres­byter of Antioch. Some have confounded him with the Joannes of Antioch mentioned by Genna-dius (de Viris Illustr. c. 93). From whatever quarter he came, he entered warmly into the contest, which was further inflamed by the addition of the con­troversy about divine grace, revived in the East by the diffusion of the Semi-Pelagian writings of Faustus of Riez [faustus reiensis]. Maxentius became the leader of the Scythians, and presented on their part and his own a confession of faith to the legates of pope Hormisdas, who were at Con­stantinople on other matters. This confession was designed to vindicate them from the suspicion or charge of Eutychianism, and to obtain the sanction of the legates to the favourite expression " Uilus e Trinitate," &c. Failing in this, four of the monks, of whom it is questioned whether Maxentius was one, were despatched to Rome, to try what could be done with the pope himself. But though they strained every nerve, they could effect nothing ; and after a stay of a year'or more they returned to Constantinople ; shortly after which Hormisdas, in a letter to Possessor, an African bishop then in. exile at Constantinople, branded them as deceivers and men of the worst character. To this letter Maxentius published a reply; and in order to have more liberty to assail it, chose to regard it as not genuine. Nothing further of Maxentius's history is known.

His works are extant only in a Latin version, and have been published in various collections of the fathers. They first appeared in the Orthodoxo-graplia^ fol. Basel, 1555. In the Maorima Biblioth. Patrum^ fol. Lyon, 1677, vol. ix. p. 533, &c., they appear in the following order:—1. Joannis Max-entii Confessio suae Fidei, s. de Christo Professio^ with a prefatory letter to the legates of the Holy See. This appears to be the confession already noticed. 2. Ejusdem contra Nestorianos Capitula: these appear to have been published by the delegates of the Scj'thian monks at Rome, and consist of twelve brief anathemas against various dogmas. 3. Ejusdem alia Fidei Professio : shorter than No. 1. It is not known on what occasion it was composed. 4. Ejusdem Adunationis Verbi Dei ad propriam Carnem Ratio. This is followed by the letter of Honnisdas to Possessor, already noticed ; and then 5, Maxentius' reply, Joannis Maxentii

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