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Magnus Maximus' Ancestry

Magnus Clemens Maximus was born in Galicia on the Iberian Peninsula in the mid 4th century. Though from a Roman household, his origins are confused. He was certainly a relative of the Comes Theodsius, whose son was to become Emperor Theodosius the Great, but Welsh writers tell us more.

The popular story says he was the son of a Romano-Briton, named Lolelinus (or Llywelyn), who had travelled to Rome and become a senator in the Imperial Senate. Coel Godhebog (the Magnificent) was thus made Maximus' uncle, and the Emperor Constantius Chlorus, the husband of his cousin, Helena. However, the chronology is all wrong.

Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote that Maximus was of Imperial descent, and early Welsh genealogical tracts seem to back up this idea, showing Constantius' son, Constantine the Great, as Maximus' grandfather. There is, however, little room for such a relationship in the Imperial family tree, as currently understood at this period. It might just be possible that there was an extra, currently unknown, son of Constantine who lived to become Maximus' father, though it seems unlikely. His name may have been something like Maximianus Constans, a combination of those sited in Welsh sources. The former was certainly Geoffrey's name for Maximus himself. Blackett & Wilson, however, claim him as a lesser known son named Flavius Julius Crispus.

The Harleian MS.3859 gives Maximus' ancestry under the pedigree of the Kings of Dyfed, thus:

Constantii Constantius, Roman Emperor
Constantini Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor
Constans Possible father of Maximus
Pincr Misser Corrupt
Stater Corrupt
Eliud Duplicate generations
Protector Title used by the early Kings of Dyfed, duplicate generations
Maxim Gulecic Macsen Wledig (the Imperator) alias Magnus Maximus

The Jesus College MS.20 gives Maximus' ancestry under the pedigree of the Kings of Glywysing, thus:

Custeint Constantius, Roman Emperor
Constantinus Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor
Maximianus Possible father of Maximus
Maxen Macsen Wledig (the Imperator) alias Magnus Maximus

Magnus Maximus married at least twice, though which came first is unknown. Likewise, the birth order of his children is unclear. EBK suggests the following:

Magnus Maximus alias Macsen Wledig (the Imperator),
Emperor of the West, Abt 340 - 388

m. Ceindrech ferch Reiden

  1. Victor alias Gwidyr, Abt 354 - 388

  2. Eugenius alias Owain Finddu (Black Lips), King of Mid-South Wales, Abt 355 -

m. St. Helena of the Host, alias Elen  Lwyddog, daughter of Octavius the Old alias Eudaf Hen, Abt 340 -

  1. Antoninus Donatus alias Anwn Dynod, King of South-West Wales, Abt 357 -

  2. Constantine alias Custennin Fawr (the Great), King of North-West Wales, Abt 360 -

  3. Publicus alias St. Peblig of Llanbeblig, Abt 363 -

  4. Gratianna, Abt 367 - , m. Tudwal ap Gwrfawr, King of Dumnonia, Abt 375 -

  5. Severa, Abt 370 - , m. Vortigern Vorteneu (the Thin), King of Powys & All Britain, Abt 370 - Abt 459


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