A veterinarian is a gazetted officer

Tiberius Claudius Maximus - Tiberius Claudius Maximus

Roman cavalryman of the late 1st / early 2nd century
Plaster cast (Cichorius 108) of the tablet on Trajan's column. The head of the defeated Dacian king Decebalus (left background) is depicted on a shield of the Roman troops (106 AD). The head was then taken to Rome to be the central exhibit in the official triumph of the Emperor Trajan

Tiberius Claudius Maximus (Died after AD 117) Was a cavalryman in the Imperial Roman Army who served in the Roman Legions and Auxilia under Emperors Domitian and Trajan from AD 85 to AD 117. He is known for handing the head of the Dacian king Decebalus to Trajan, who committed suicide after being surrounded by Roman cavalry at the end of the Dacian Wars (AD 106).


Tiberius Claudius Maximus Monument

The only source of Maximus' career is the inscription Année Épigraphique (1985) 721, which is engraved on the monument Maximus erected for himself during his lifetime and which was found in Philippi, Greece:

Ti (berius) Claudius / Maximus Tierarzt (eranus) / [s (e)] v (ivo) f (aciendum) c (uravit) militavit / eque (s) im Bein (ione) VII C (laudia) P (ia) F (ideli) fac / tus qu (a) estor equit (um) / singularis legati le / gionis eiusdem vexil / larius equitum item / bello Dacico ob virtu / te (m) donis donatus ab Im / p (eratore) Domitiano factus dupli (carius) / a Divo Troiano (!) in ala secu (n) d (a) / Pannoniorum a quo et fa © / tus explorator in bello Da / cico and ob virtute (m) to donis / donatus bello Dacico et / Parthico et ab eode (m) factus / decurio in ala eade (m) quod / cepisset Decebalu (m) et caput / eius pertulisset ei Ranissto / ro missus Volunteerarius ho / nesta missione a Terent [io Scau] / riano consulare [exercise] / tus provinciae nov [ae Mes] / [opotamiae ....


Veteran Tiberius Claudius Maximus arranged this memorial while he was still alive. He served as a soldier in Legio VII. Claudia Pia Fidelis became Quaestor Equitum appointed , then to Singularis of Legatus Legionis same legion, then to the Vexillarius of the soldiers of this unit, received awards from Emperor Domitian for bravery in the Dacian War duplicarius in Ala II Pannoniorum by Emperor Trajan and was made explorator received in the Dacian War and twice awards for bravery in the Dacian and Parthian Wars and was made decurio in the same ala of him for having captured Decebalus and bearing his head to him in Ranisstorum. His honorable discharge as He got volunteer from the consular commander Terentius Scaurianus of the army of Provincia Mesopotamia Nova .


If the location of his tombstone represents his hometown (as has often been the case with retired veterans), Maximus was in Colonia Iulia Augusta Philippensis was born , a colony of Roman military veterans who died in 42 BC. It was founded (in Philippi, Northern Greece) and greatly expanded under Emperor Augustus (ruled 30 BC - 14 AD). He was a Roman citizen when he was born, as evidenced by his name and initial enlistment in a Roman legion that required citizenship (at the time, only 10-20% of the population of the Roman Empire were citizens). It is therefore possible that Maximus was a descendant of an Italian veteran who was settled in Philippi by Augustus. Maximus was probably born around AD 65.

Early military career

Maximus joined the army in AD 85 at the latest. He served as a Eques (Cavalryman) in the cavalry contingent (only 120 men strong) of Legion VII Claudia, who was stationed in Viminacium (Moesia) from at least 66 AD, claims to have held three higher positions in the contingent, although it is unclear whether all this formal military ranks or simply roles played by Maximus.

  1. Quaestor Equitum , probably treasurer of the cavalry contingent. This contribution is only documented in this inscription. There is one attested in the Praetorian cavalry Fisci curator ("Finance Manager").
  2. singularis legati legionis (Member of the legion commander's personal cavalry guard): presumably a selected detail, probably one of the 4th Towers (Squadron of 30 men) in contingent. It is unclear whether any particular Tower this role exercised (So ​​according to the special status of their soldiers) or whether the Tower itself just took turns protecting the general. In the latter case it was not a rank.
  3. Vexillarius (Standard bearer). This is the only one of the three positions that was certainly a military rank, a junior officer. In terms of pay, a legionnaire was infantry Vexillarius probably a Sesquiplicarius ("one and a half wage man"), ie entitlement to 50% more wages than a rank.

Maximus fought in the Dacian War (86–88 AD) from Emperor Domitian (ruled 81–96 AD). It is therefore likely that he was present at the first battle of Tapae (86) and the second battle of Tapae (88). He was honored by Domitian for his bravery.

Roman conquest of Dacia (101-106 AD)

Maximus served in the Dacian Wars of the Emperor Trajan (101-2 and 105-6). It was probably during this time that Maximus was promoted by Trajan from the legionary cavalry, whose role was limited to escort and communication, to the Alae, the elite combat cavalry of the Auxilia corps. Maximus was considered a Duplicarius ("Double payer"), gazetted as a junior officer in the regiment Ala II Pannoniorum. This move likely resulted in a significant wage increase for Maximus.

In AD 106, in the final stages of the conquest of Dacia, Maximus was considered to be with his unit Explorer (Scout), involved in the pursuit of the defeated Dacian king Decebalus, who until then had only escaped from Dacian with his personal bodyguard, nobles left him (the rest of the Dacian nobility had surrendered to Trajan). It appears that Maximus and his men cornered Decebalus in a mountainous location. Before Maximus could reach him, however, Decebalus committed suicide by cutting his throat, an incident shown on Trajan's pillar. Maximus severed Decebalus' head and presented it to the Emperor Trajan at his campaign base in Ranisstorum. As a reward, Trajan decorated Maximus and promoted him to decurion (leader of a Tower ), the cavalry equivalent of the centurion in infantry.

Trajan's Parthian War (114–6 AD)

Occupation (Cichorius 104) of the tablet on Trajan's column showing the beginning of the sequence leading to the capture and death of the Dacian king Decebalus. novel ala Cavalry - soldiers (who wear neck scarves and mail cuirasses, probably from Maximus 'Regiment, Ala II Pannoniorum) and Praetorian Horseguards (who wear troopers' coats, foreground ) ride out in search of Decebalus and his remaining followers. (The previous panel (Cichorius 103) shows many Dacian Pileati (Nobles) who surrender to the Roman Emperor Trajan.)
Occupation (Cichorius 105) of a plaque on Trajan's column depicting the Roman cavalry ( upper right corner ) shows how they were fleeing Dacian Pileati (Nobles) of the bodyguard of King Decebalus in mountainous terrain intercepts . The Pileatus in the middle foreground bears a resemblance to King Decebalus, as he is shown in the following panel, and can depict the king in flight. Note the fallen Dacian ( right foreground ) and the Falx (Dacian-style curved sword) that fell from his hand ( middle foreground ).
Occupation (Cichorius 106) of the plaque on Trajan's column showing the cornering and suicide of Decebalus 106 AD. Notice the trampled Dacian Pileatus ( left foreground ) and the Falx Decebalus is holding by his own neck ( middle foreground ).

Maximus later served in Trajan's Parthian War (114–6) and was again honored by the emperor for bravery. Maximus was probably already one at that time Volunteer ("Volunteer") as he is in his subsequent Mission describes because his contractually agreed period of service (25 years) should have expired a few years earlier (approx. 110).


Maximus was eventually granted an honorable discharge ( honesta missio ) in AD 116-7 by Decimus Terentius Scaurianus, one of Trajan's top generals and then commander of Roman troops in the newly established (and soon abandoned) province of Mesopotamia Nova.

He died after AD 117. During his lifetime he designed his own tombstone, which was found at Philippi in Greece (now in the Museum in Drama). This bears a representation of 2 torcs bestowed on him for his bravery and indicates his claim to have captured Decebalus.

Death of Decebalus

There are two accounts of the incident that made Maximus famous, the persecution and the suicide of King Decebalus.

(A) The bas-relief on his tombstone shows Maximus on horseback, carrying a sword, shield and two spears, and approaching King Decebalus. He wears a Phrygian cap, the typical headgear of the Dacian nobles (hence the Roman name Pileati) , "the capped"). Decebalus lies on his back and holds a curved Dacian sword (known to the Romans as Falx known , literally "sickle"). This image appears to be stylized to reflect the stereotype of the Thracian hero (usually it shows a rider impaling an animal or human on the ground, although in this case Maximus approaches Decebalus with a sword in his forehand).

(B) Another, much more detailed and less stylized (i.e. probably more factually more accurate) depiction of Decebalus' capture is provided by a panel on Trajan's column (spiral 22, panel B; Cichorius 106, above). This should be considered in conjunction with the previous two fields, which show the sequence of events that lead to Decebalus' death.

  1. In the first panel, the Roman cavalry rides selected ones in search of Decebalus and his personal bodyguard Pileati . (Due to the artistic fusion, each driver represents dozens, if not hundreds, of soldiers). Three of the Roman soldiers wear cloaks: in accordance with the stereotypes of the military units as depicted on the pillar, they were likely members of the emperor's own horsemen, the Equites Singulares Augusti , the cavalry arm of the Praetorian Guard, most of whom Trajan had escorted from Rome to Dacia. The rest of the soldiers do not wear coats, so their postal cuirasses and scarves are visible: They were probably soldiers from Maximus' own regiment, the Ala II Pannoniorum. So it appears that the operation to capture Decebalus has been entrusted to a joint task force of elite cavalrymen from the Praetorians and Ala.
  2. The second panel shows the Roman cavalry catching Decebalus' horsemen (and possibly Decebalus himself). The weapons of the Roman soldiers (spears and swords) have disappeared due to stone erosion from pollution. The sequence of events (put together to fit the tablets) shows that Decebalus' bodyguards were destroyed: note the one trampled under the hooves of the Roman horses (right foreground).
  3. According to the third panel, after the fall of the last bodyguard (left foreground), the king fled alone to a rocky place, where he was apparently reached by a Roman soldier who had dismounted and led his horse on foot, presumably because that was the area too steep or rough to drive (right foreground). This soldier could represent Maximus because of his role as a scout leader. An alternate view, supported by Speidel, is that the mounted soldier closest to Decebalus was Maximus, as this figure appears to be recreated in Maximus' own funerary monument.

Most likely, the soldiers had orders to capture Decebalus as alive as possible so that he could form the centerpiece of Trajan's impending triumph in Rome to celebrate his Dacian victory. (The traditional format would have chained the defeated enemy leader in front of the triumphant's chariot. The climax of the show was when the emperor decided the prisoner's fate: in some cases, the prisoner's life was spared, such as Claudius' reprieve for the British King Caractacus, who had led the fierce resistance (43–51 AD) to the Roman invasion of Great Britain, otherwise the prisoner of Garrote would be executed and his body thrown down the Gemonian Steps and left to rot. In which case was es Decebalus' head that landed at the bottom of the stairs.

Based on these images, it has been suggested by some scholars that Decebalus was still alive (although he was mortally wounded) when he was captured by the Romans. Maximus himself claimed to have "captured" Decebalus. But a passage in the epitome of History of rome by Cassius Dio makes it clear that he was already dead: "Decebalus, when his capital was destroyed and his entire territory occupied and he himself was in danger of being captured, killed himself. His head was brought to Rome".



  • Boris Rankov: Singular Legati Legionis: A Problem in the Interpretation of the Ti. Claudius Maximus inscription from Philippi, in A magazine for Papyrology and Epigraphy , Vol. 80, Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habel GmbH, 1990, p. 165-175. (JSTOR)
  • JB Campbell: The Roman Army, 31 BC - AD 337: A source book . Routledge 1994, ISBN 978-0-415-07173-4, pp. 32–33 (contains a full translation of the Philippi memorial and a photo of it.)
  • Michael Alexander Speidel: Wage scales of the Roman army, im Journal of Roman Studies , Vol. 3 , No. 82, Cambridge: Society for the Advancement of Romance Studies, 1992, p. 87-106.
  • Michael P. Speidel: The kidnapper of Decebalus. A new inscription from Philippi in Mr. Speidels' Roman Army Studies , Vol. 3, No. 1, Amsterdam: JC Gieben, 1984, p. 173-187.
  • Yann Le Bohec: The roman army . Franz Steiner Verlag 1993, ISBN 978-3-515-06300-5 ( abstract , P. 164, on Google Books)

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