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Maximus Decimus Meridius (1??-192 AD) was the commander of the Armies of the North and the Felix Legions under the Roman Empire. The greatest general of Rome during the 2nd century AD, he served loyally under Emperor Marcus Aurelius during his Twelve Year Campaign against the Germanic tribes at Vindobona in Germania. Marcus Aurelius wanted him to succeed him and make Rome a republic by his son Commodus, who ordered the Praetorian Guard to kill Maximus and his family after Maximus refused to swear loyalty to him. Maximus escaped, but was later enslaved and became a very famous gladiator. In 192, he finally had the opportunity to avenge his deceased emperor as well as his wife and son, and he killed Commodus, although he died of his wounds. He was played by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film Gladiator.

While not appearing in Gladiator II, Maxmimus's legacy looms large over the film's events. He is idolized by Lucius Verus, who remembers his legacy as he fights to free Rome from from the tyrannical forces who have taken control of it. Meanwhile, one of such forces, Emperor Marcus Acacius, actually trained under Maximus.

Personal life[]

Maximus Decimus Meridus was born in Hispania, though his exact date of birth is never mentioned in the movie. He had a farm where his son and wife lived. You could smell the herbs during the day. He was a Roman General who led his legions to many victories. He was favored by Emperor Marcus Aurelius because he is a good man, honorable General and was incorruptible. His wife and son were both murdered by Commodus and his village was razed.

Life as a General[]

Maximus led the Roman Legions for the Emperor Marcus Aurelius during his wars against Germania. Maximus and his subordinate Quintus defeated the Barbarians in a battle. After the battle, he was honored by the Emperor for his duty. He was envied by Marcus' son Commodus, who was a coward. Maximus was offered the title of Caesar by Marcus, who knew that Commodus was too weak to rule Rome. He accepted the post, but Commodus killed his Father in secret and later became the Emperor. He was betrayed by Quintus, and was sent to be executed in the woods. He escaped by killing the executioner and three other men, only to find that Commodus had ordered his wife and son to be murdered. His arrival at his farm was gruesome; he found his family crucified. He buried his wife and son before falling unconscious from exhaustion by their grave side. He later avenged his family in the Colosseum of Rome by killing Commodus during the 150 days of games.

Life as a Gladiator[]

Maximus was captured by a band of drifting thieves while asleep. He made acquaintance with Juba, a Numidian soldier posing as a hunter who was also taken to be sold as a slave. After crossing the desert, Maximus and Juba were taken to a market; where he was sold to Proximo, an old gladiator. Maximus refused to practice fighting and removed the legion's mark from his shoulder while in captivity. Maximus took on the name "Spaniard" and displayed his strength against several Gladiators in many games and arenas. Maximus continued to do so until Proximo offered him to go to Rome to fight in the Colosseum.

Maximus fought with Juba, Hagen and several other gladiators as "Barbarians" of Carthage in the first game in the arena. Following "The Spaniard's" command, the gladiators were successful. Commodus came down from his seat, demanding to know the "Spaniard's" name. Maximus removed his helmet and revealed his true identity. Commodus stood in shock, after believing Maximus was dead, and let the Gladiators live after the crowd began to cheer Maximus' name.

Lucilla met up with Maximus in secret, trying to get the gladiator to meet with Senator Gracchus in attempt to overthrow Commodus. Maximus declined and told her to leave, as he wasn't the same man any more.

Commodus made plans for Maximus to fight Tigris of Gaul for the next game, striving for Maximus to die. Maximus was thrown into the arena with several Tigers and Tigris. Maximus refused to kill Tigris, and spared the Gladiator's life. He won the crowd as "Maximus the Merciful" which angered Commodus. Maximus left the arena and was greeted by his loyal servant Cicero. He was given his figures for prayer, Maximus then asked for Cicero to tell Lucilla he would meet Gracchus.

Behind the scenes[]

Although his character does not appear in the sequel, Gladiator II, due to having been killed off in the original film, filmmaker Ridley Scott felt that it was important given that the sequel has an identity shaped by his legacy that it should have a connection to him. This led to the storyline of Marcus Acacius having trained under him, while Lucius Verus remembers his legacy from seeing him as a child.[1]


  1. Breznican, Anthony (July 1, 2024). Paul Mescal vs. Pedro Pascal: A First Look at the Epic Gladiator II. Vanity Fair. Retrieved on July 14, 2024.