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351 Battle of Mursa Major ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Outcome: Victory of Constantius II over the army of the Western usurper Magnentius 28 September 351
War  &  Enemy: Enemy:
Romans (Civil War)
Later Roman Military Civil Wars
Battle Type:
Pitched Battle
The Battlefield Mursa Major Location:
In Mursa, Pannonia (modern Osijek, Croatia), along the valley of the Drava River, a Danube tributary.
Modern Country:
  The Byzantines(emperor:  Constantius II) The Enemies
Commander: Emperor Constantius II Magnentius, Augustus of the West
Forces: 60,000 35,000
Losses: c. 30,000 Two thirds of the army
Background story: Magnentius was the commander of the Herculians and Iovians, the Imperial guard units of Rome. When the army grew dissatisfied with the behavior of Western Roman Emperor Constans, Magnentius was elevated to the throne of the West on January 18, 350. Constans was abandoned by all and was killed shortly afterwards by a troop of light cavalry somewhere in the Pyrenees.
Magnentius gained quickly control of the territories of Western Europe, Italy and Africa and tried to extend his grasp to the east, moving towards the Danube.
The emperor of the East (and the brother of Constans), Constantius II, broke off his war in Syria with Persia, and marched west. The two contenders met in Mursa Major.
The Battle:
Mursa Major
Before the battle, Constantius tried to negotiate requiring that the usurper withdraw back to Gaul. After the failure of the talks, one of Magnentius' commanders, Claudius Silvanus, and most of his men deserted to Constantius, thus helping seal the outcome. Magnentius led his troops into battle, while Constantius spent the day of battle praying. Despite Magnentius' heroism, his troops were defeated and forced to retreat back to Gaul.
Noteworthy: There was also a religious meaning to the conflict. Magnentius had restored some rights to the pagans, while Constantius was a devote Christian and even left the battlefield to pray on the nearby tomb of a Christian martyr.
Aftermath: One of the bloodiest battles of the Romans. The severe casualties weakened the army and this had been one of the reasons of the decline of the Empire.