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LIBERATORI/RESTITVTORI VRBIS SVAE or the entrance of the city of Rome in the orbit of Constantine. Ist Part.

January 21, 2017

Milvian Bridge battle took place october 28th of A.D. 312. very close to the southern abutment of that bridge which, saving the Tiber current, provided continuity to the Via Flaminia to the heart of the crowded streets of Rome.

This battle faced the famous emperor Constantine, formal Caesar of western –although Augustus in fact since the death of Severus II in 307--, and the murderer of the latter, the usurper Maxentius: son of the old western Augustus Maximianus Herculius and self-proclaimed emperor in Roma in 306, counting among his dominions the Italian peninsula, Sicily and Proconsular African province, this one specially valuable for its agricultural wealth. At stake was nothing less than supremacy over the pars occidentalis, the western half of the Roman Empire, which had been in doubt almost from the moment of the death of Constantius Chlorus in 305: father of Constantine and the last of the “legitimate” western Augustus, in the sense of proclaimed under succession system designed by architect tetrarchic system, the great Diocletian.

 

Although the strength of numbers favored Maxentius, who led an army of about 80,000 soldiers compared to just over 40,000 which ranked his rival, the truth is that Constantine got the victory.

 

Leaving for a more detailed work possible supernatural divine intervention ("in this sign conquer"), it seems reasonable to hypothesize as ultimate causes constantine´s victory both serious tactical errors committed by Maxentius (leave the river behind him, with a fragile temporary wooden bridge -the Milvian had been disabled a few days before the battle, as the only way to escape the city at a pinch) and the difference in quality between the troops of both armies: hardened and disciplined frontier legionaries in the winner, poorly disciplined hardened praetorians with the support of well-armed but little experienced roman urban cohorts in the defeated one.

 

Like many of his soldiers, Maxentius drown crossing the Tiber river in a desperate attempt to protect himself within the powerful walls of Rome that seemed so distant now that the temporary bridge, collapsed by the wild transcript of so many fugitives, had felled with a crash at the height of the battle. With his death closed a turbulent reign, most likely not as sinister as Christian writers portray him (we lack of alternative sources to inform us) although undoubtedly fatally hampered by the severe economic difficulties caused by the isolation respect the rest of roman empire consequence of the sentence of Maxentius as "outlaw", signed by the other lords of the Empire at the conference of Carnuntum (308). Anyway, we can highlight, as main axes of his policy of government, both his moderately mi