People - Ancient Rome: Magnentius
Born Flavius Magnus Magnentius, he was a usurper of the Roman Empire
Magnentius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
A German by birth who conspired against the life of the
emperor Constans, whom he caused to be murdered in his bed.
Subsequently, being pursued by the vengeance of Constantius,
and defeated by him at the battle of Mursa (a. d. 351), he
took his own life by falling on his sword. His reign lasted
from A.D. 350 to 353. His full name was Flavius Popilius
Magnentius. See Victor, Caes. 41 and 42.
Magnentius in Roman Biography
Magnentius, mjg-nen'she-us, [Fr. Magnence, mtn'-
yONss'7] (Fi.avius,) a Roman general, born in Germany
about 300 A.D. While commanding an army in Gaul,
he revolted against the emperor Constans, and usurped
the empire of the West in 350. Constans was killed by
his orders. Magnentius made himself master of the city
of Koine. A war ensued between him and Constantius,
who defeated the usurper on the river Drave in 351.
He retreated to Gaul, was again defeated, and killed
himself in August, 353 A.D.
See Gikhon^" !><< in and Fall of the Roman Empire;" Le
Beau, " Hiatnin tin Bas-Empin."
Magnentius in Wikipedia
Flavius Magnus Magnentius (303–August 11, 353) was a usurper of the Roman Empire (January 18, 350 –
August 11, 353).
Early life and career -
Born in Samarobriva (Amiens), Gaul, Magnentius was the commander of the Herculians and Iovians, the
imperial guard units. When the army grew dissatisfied with the behaviour of Roman Emperor Constans,
it elevated Magnentius at Autun on January 18, 350. Constans was abandoned by all except a handful of
retainers, and he was slain shortly afterwards by a troop of light cavalry near the Pyrenees.
Magnentius quickly attracted the loyalty of the provinces in Britannia, Gaul, and Hispania, in part
because he proved to be far more tolerant towards both Christians and Pagans. His control on Italia and
Africa was applied through the election of his men to the most important offices. However, the short-
lived revolt of Nepotianus, a member of the Constantinian dynasty, showed Magnentius that his status of
Emperor was to be consolidated against the members of that dynasty.
The self-proclaimed emperor tried to strengthen his grasp on the territories previously controlled by
Constans, moving towards the Danube. Vetranio, commander of the Pannonian army, had been elected
Augustus by his troops in Mursa on 1 March. This revolt had a loyalist mark, since Vetranio was
supported by Constantina, and Constantius II himself recognized Vetranio, sending him the imperial
The remaining emperor of the family of Constantine I, Constantius II broke off his war in Syria with
Persia, and marched west. Despite Magnentius' efforts to gain Vetranio to his cause, the old general
reached Constantius with his army, and resigned the crown.
After electing Magnus Decentius (probably his brother) to Caesar and gathering as many troops as
possible, the armies of Magnentius and Constantius met in the Battle of Mursa Major in 351; Magnentius
led his troops into battle, while Constantius spent the day of battle praying in a nearby church.
Despite Magnentius' heroism, his troops were defeated and forced to retreat back to Gaul.
As a result of Magnentius' defeat, Italy ejected his garrisons and rejoined the loyalist cause.
Magnentius made a final stand in 353 in the Battle of Mons Seleucus, after which he committed suicide
by falling on his sword.
Following the suppression of Magnentius' rebellion, Constantius commanded an investigation be made to
find his followers. The most notorious agent in this search was the primicerius notariorum Paulus
Some sources state that Magnentius' father was a Briton and his mother a Frank.
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