Dautha – “Maximinus Thrax”

Roman emperors, as paragons of both glorious conquerors and vicious tyrants, are among the most popular lyrical subjects of classical reception in metal. Songs dedicated to the likes of Caesar, Caligula, Nero, and other of the most famous and infamous imperatores will get plenty of airtime on this page.

Dautha play Swedish epic doom metal. They released their debut album Brethren of the Black Soil last year.

This song is named after a lesser known emperor, Maximinus Thrax (i.e. “The Thracian”), who reigned briefly from 235-238 CE. After assassinating the last ruler of the Severan dynasty, Maximinus became the first in a frequent and bloody succession of “soldier-emperors” who vied for supremacy for a half-century. This period is now called the Third-Century Crisis, which saw the near collapse of the Empire. Maximinus was reputed to be a giant of a man and an iron-fisted commander, reviled by the Roman Senate for despising their ancient prestige, and because of his half-barbarian, “Thracian” lineage. Emperors by this time no longer came from Rome, or Italy, or even the nobility of any region. They were crowned on the battlefield by their fellow soldiers.

Maximinus’ claim to imperium was not unchallenged. The Senate in Rome scoffed at the idea of a lowly barbarian ruling their empire, and so promoted rival emperors (Pupienus and Balbinus) to take his place. Maximinus began marching on Italy to face these challengers. In the process he besieged the city of Aquileia, but when the campaign met with unforeseen resistance, Maximinus’ own soldiers wavered in their loyalty, chafing under his iron discipline. They eventually betrayed and assassinated him before he could finish his mission of capturing the capital.

Dautha see in Maximinus the appeal of a “barbarian” emperor, who takes command of Rome not by privilege, but by his own merits as a warrior. But they also marvel at his super-human monstrosity in the eyes of his senatorial rivals, comparing him to legendary monsters, like Typhon who challenged Zeus, and to cruel tyrants like Phalaris. Maximinus embodies a quasi-satanic figure, an irresistible, violent, and triumphant force of resistance to traditional authority, of individuality against the collective.

I am Maximinus
Titan spawn of Cyclops
Born for greatness I was never small
By blood of the Alani
But ever since she found me
Her spirit has been crying emperor!

Woe, oh Rome,
A Sciron to save you from decline
Woe, oh Rome,
Come stand on the shoulders of Typhon
Woe, oh Rome,
Your kingdom of gold to rust and iron,
In the dawn of the heartless

A soldier of the barack’s
My legions hail me Ajax
While the nobles are plotting for my fall
Oh, creatures of the Senate
I’ll send them all to Hades
With lust for blood I’m coming for my throne

The senators plan was devious
Destroying all my bridges
Cutting me off when I had crossed the Rhine
Their men would then surround me
Fools died by their own treachery
I killed them all and made Germania mine

Day by day I’m fiercer
More savage with each wound
There’s no escaping Maximinus boot!

I am Maximinus, titan spawn of Cyclops
I am great Busiris, Gigas and Phalaris

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