Roman Empire

Majorian, Western Roman Emperor AD 457-461

RIC 2632; Lacam 35; Depeyrot 25/1, Extremely Fine

Arelate, ”Comitatesian mint,” 457-461. D N IVLIVS MAIORI-ANVS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted, draped and cuirassed bust of Majorian right, holding spear pointing forward and shield bearing Christogram. Reverse: VICTORI-A AVGGG, emperor standing facing, holding long cross and Victory on globe, foot on man-headed serpent; A-R//COMOB.

As a reward for the overthrow of Avitus, the Eastern Emperor Leo I granted Majorian the title of magister militum in AD 457. When an army dispatched by Majorian defeated an invading force of Alemanni it was treated as his personal victory and he was proclaimed Western Emperor. In AD 458, Majorian consolidated his hold on Italy and restored control of Gaul in part before opening a campaign against the Visigoths and Suebi in Hispania. Despite these successes, Majorian was deposed by Ricimer and a cabal of senators disturbed by the Western Emperor’s interest in efficient administration while traveling from Arles to Rome in AD 461. He was tortured for five days before he was at last beheaded.