Tallest Roman Emperor

Maximinus Thrax is believed to be the tallest of all the Roman Emperors even if his quoted height of 8 ft 6 in has been debunked.

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus (c. 173 – 238), commonly known as Maximinus Thrax or Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238. Maximinus was the first emperor to never set foot in Rome. He was the first of the so-called barracks emperors of the 3rd century; his rule is often considered to mark the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century.

Ancient sources, ranging from the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta to the Herodian's Roman History, speak of Maximinus as a man of significantly greater size than his contemporaries.

He is consistently depicted in ancient imagery as man with a prominent brow, nose, and jaw which lead some researchers to suspect that he may have suffered from overgrowth to some extent in the form of acromegaly.

While the exact size of Maximinus will probably never be known with any amount of certainty, he was nonetheless likely to be a man of great size and much taller than than the average resident of the Roman Empire of his time.

He is, moreover, depicted in ancient imagery as man with a prominent brow, nose, and jaw; symptoms of one form of overgrowth. While the exact size of Maximinus will probably never be known with any amount of certainty, he was nonetheless likely to be a man of great size and much taller than than the average resident of the Roman Empire of his time.

According to Historia Augusta, "he was of such size, so Cordus reports, that men said he was eight foot, six inches in height". It is likely however that this is one of the many 'tall tales' in the Historia Augusta, and is immediately suspect due to its citation of 'Cordus', one of the several fictitious authorities the work cites.

Although not going into the supposedly detailed portions of Historia Augusta, chronicler Herodian, a contemporary of Maximinus, mentions him as a man of greater size, noting that: "He was in any case a man of such frightening appearance and colossal size that there is no obvious comparison to be drawn with any of the best-trained Greek athletes or warrior elite of the barbarians."

Some historians interpret the stories on Maximinus' unusual height (as well as other information on his appearance, like excessive sweating and superhuman strength) as popular stereotyped attributes which do no more than intentionally turn him into a stylized embodiment of the barbarian bandit or emphasize the admiration and aversion that the image of the soldier evoked in the civilian population.

Updated September 2, 2010.   By: Quartknee

 

 

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