Majorian – 457-461 AD


457-461 AD

Puppet Emperor of Ricimer

Julius Majorianus was descended from an old Roman family. Majorian had served with distinction under Aetius. Following the deposition ofAvitus in October, 456 AD, there was an interval of nearly six months before the next Emperor was chosen. He was elevated to the vacant Western throne by the general Ricimer. Majorian was, perhaps, the last Emperor of genuine ability to rule the crumbling Western division of the Empire, which was now less than two decades away from its final collapse. Majorian soon proved himself to be a much worthier Emperor than any of his immediate predecessors.

Majorian was determined to rid the Empire of these barbarian hoards. He entered Gaul late in 458 AD and defeated the Visigoths near Arelate. His next conquest was to focus on the Vandals in North Africa at Carthage. As preparations for the invasion were underway, a great fleet was assembled in the Spanish port of Alicante. As in the Punic Wars of the Republic, Majorian intended to use sea power to destroy the Vandal hoards once and for all.

As fate would have it, with the aid of treachery, the Vandals succeeded in destroying most of the Roman ships before the expedition had even set out in 460 AD. Majorian thus returned to Italy the following year, but at Tortona he was arrested, deposed and executed by the order of general Ricimer.

Monetary System

 The obverse type of his coinage displays an unusual military bust, in sharp contrast to his predecessors.

Mints: Arelate; Milan; Ravenna

Obverse Legends:



AU Solidus (4.50 grams)
AU Tremissis (1.45 grams)
AR Siliqua (3.25 grams)

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