The Death of Maxentius

Maxentius met Constantine nine miles north of Rome at Saxa Rubra, the modern Malborghetto. As the forces of Maxentius were pushed back toward the city, they tried to cross the Tiber River on the flimsy bridge of boats and planks that they had hastily constructed. Maxentius, too, drove his horse across the planks, but there were so many troops rushing to retreat that he was thrown into the river and was drowned by his heavy armor.

Carrying Maxentius' head on a spear, Constantine entered Rome the next day in a ceremonial adventus and set about obliterating the memory of Maxentius in what is called a damnatio memoriae, "obliteration of (someone's) memory." He spent three months in Rome and during that time he undertook the construction of several major Christian basilicas, including the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and Saint Peter's Basilica. He also issued several letters ordering that Christians who had lost property in the persecutions were to have their property restored to them.

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