Roman Empire

Julius Nepos, Western Roman Emperor First reign, AD 474-475

RIC 3212; Lacam 30 (this coin); Ranieri 181; Depeyrot 41/1, Extremely Fine

Ravenna. D N IVL NE-POS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Julius Nepos facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder and shield with horseman spearing fallen enemy motif. Reverse: VICTORI-A AVGGG:, Victory standing facing, head left, holding long jewelled cross; R-VCOMOB.

Ex NAC 54 (24 March 2010), 664; Bank Leu 15 (4 May 1976), 411

Flavius Julius Nepos owes his cognomen to the fact that he was married to the niece of Leo I and was a nephew (Latin nepos) of Marcellinus a Roman governor of Dalmatia. In AD 474, Leo I appointed him as Western Emperor in opposition to Glycerius. Although Nepos easily deposed the usurper, in the following year he was himself overthrown by Orestes, his magister militum. Julius Nepos was forced to flee Italy, but took up an abode in Dalmatia where he continued to reign as Western Emperor with some recognition by Leo’s successor, Zeno. In AD 479, Nepos began to plot a return to Italy, but he was murdered by one of his own soldiers in the following year, perhaps as part of a plot involving Odoacer, the killer of Orestes and Germanic king of Italy, and the deposed Glycerius.