Roman Empire

Ricimer, Magister Militum of the Western Empire AD 457-472

RIC 2518; Lacam 5 (same rev. die); Depeyrot 52/2 (under Libius Severus), Choice Very Fine

In the name of the Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I. Rome, AD 465-467. D N LEO PERPE-TVVS AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust of Leo I right. Reverse: VICTOR-IA AVGGG, emperor standing facing, holding long cross and Victory on globe, foot on man-headed serpent; R-M//COMOB.

Although this issue carries the types and name of the Eastern Emperor Leo I, it was struck in Italy by Ricimer, probably in the months between the death of Majorian and his elevation of Libius Severus in AD 461. As magister militum, Ricimer certainly commanded the military might to make himself Emperor instead of the weak men that he served, but his barbarian background (Suebic on his father’s side and Visigothic on his mother’s) made him an unacceptable candidate. Despite the problems posed by his Germanic ancestry, Ricimer still managed to rule as the power behind the throne of three usurpers (Majorian, Libius Severus, and Anthemius) over the course of his lifetime. Indeed, he may have created still more puppet Western Emperors if he had not died of a hemorrhage six weeks after he deposed Anthemius.