Aelius Maximus Decimus Meridius was a high ranking Roman general in command of multiple Roman legions who served under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in his Twelve Year Campaign against the barbarians in Germania. He later served as a Gladiator in the arena after he escaped Commodus. He eventually killed Commodus.
He was played by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film Gladiator.
Maximus was born in Spain, 152 AD. 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, amazing general and he was not corrupted. His wife and son were both murdered by Commodus and burnt the whole village.
Maximus led the Roman Legions for the Emperor Marcus Aurelius during his wars against Germania. Maximus and his subordinate Quintus defeated the Bararians 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 brutally 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.
Maximus was captured by a band of drifting thieves while asleep. He made acquaintance with Juba, 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 Graccus.