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For other Licinii, see Licinius (gens).

Flavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus Licinius (c. 250 - 325) was Roman emperor from 307 to 324.

Of Illyrian peasant origin, after the death of Flavius Valerius Severus he was elevated to the rank of Augustus by Galerius, his former friend and companion in arms, on November 11 307, receiving as his immediate command the provinces of Illyricum.

On the death of Galerius, in May 311, Licinius shared the entire empire with Maximinus, the Hellespont and the Bosporus being the dividing line.

In March 313 he married Constantia, half-sister of Constantine, at Mediolanum (now Milan), and in the following month inflicted a decisive defeat on Maximinus at Heraclea Pontica, establishing himself master of the East, while his brother-in-law, Constantine, was supreme in the West.

In 314 his jealousy led him to encourage a treasonable enterprise in favor of Bassianus against Constantine. When his actions became known, a civil war ensued, in which he was twice severely defeated — first near Cibalae in Pannonia (October 8, 314), and next in the plain of Mardia in Thrace; the outward reconciliation, which was effected in the following December, left Licinius in possession of Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, but added numerous provinces to Constantine's control.

In 323 Constantine, tempted by the "advanced age and unpopular vices" of his colleague, again declared war against him, and, having defeated his army at Adrianople (July 3, 323), succeeded in shutting him up within the walls of Byzantium.

The defeat of the superior fleet of Licinius by Flavius Julius Crispus, Constantine’s eldest son, compelled his withdrawal to Bithynia, where a last stand was made; the battle of Chrysopolis, near Chalcedon (September 18), resulted in his final submission. He was interned at Thessalonica and executed in the following year on a charge of treasonable correspondence with the barbarians.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

Preceded by:
Galerius (305 - 311)
Roman emperors
Followed by:
Constantine the Great
(306 - 337)