Who Was Magnus Maximus

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Who was Magnus Maximus? Magnus Maximus was born into a Spanish family. In the year 383 he took the throne by force against Emperor Gratian. By the following year he made some negotiations which led him to become Emperor in Britannia and Gaul. Valentinian II- Gratian’s brother- maintained his rule over Italy, Pannonia, Hispania and Africa. In the last paragraph on page 198 of the Pontifex’ Ambrose makes a direct prediction in the presence of Leo; “There will be war, Leo, not just now, perhaps, but Magnus Maximus will come to Italy”. True to Ambrose’s word, in the year 387 Magnus invaded Italy. This spur of ambition led him to be defeated in the Battle of Save in 388 by the hand of Theodosius. Magnus Maximus took power right away, and no one really responded to it until he got closer and closer to Italy. Theodosius was only worried about Magnus just taking power in his territory. Even Ambrose was unfazed by it until he started getting closer and closer to Trier and Italy. . Magnus appeared to have perfect timing because he was able to sneak under the radar. While other things were going on (Council of Aquilea and the Altar of Victory.) We should wonder what were Ambrose’s motives for getting involved? He didn’t like Justina that much; there fore we have to assume that it was because of his patron-client kind of thing. Sort of like his duty to his job and what it entailed. On page 192 of the Pontifex: “Ambrose knew that his task was to buy time for Theodosius, who was still trapped in Thessalonica negotiating terms with the Goths. He knew too, that he was in the awkward position of defending an Arian boy-emperor and his Arian mother- who he despised- against a Catholic pretender.” So our question would be; WHY? Why would Ambrose feel compelled to help this Arian boy and his mother if he felt this way about them? Abrose defends himself on page 193 of the Pontifex

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