The powerful name of the powerful character played by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film Gladiator first appeared on the popularity charts that same year. Max to the max. One time considered a "too much name" name, Maximus has entered the realm of possibility--enough so that there were close to two thousand boys given that name last year.
Maximus was originally a Latin title of honor given to successful military commanders, such as Quintus Fabius Maximus, and then came to be a personal name, borne by several early saints.
In George Eliot's novel Felix Holt: The Radical, Maximus Debarry is very much an aristocrat.