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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emperor of the
Western Roman Empire
As Majorian-RIC 2646v.jpg
Majorian on an as
Reign April 457 - August 2, 461
Full name Flavius Iulius Valerius Maiorianus
Born November 420
Died August 7, 461 (aged 40)
Predecessor Avitus
Successor Libius Severus

Flavius Iulius Valerius Maiorianus (November 420 - 7 August 461), commonly known as Majorian, was the Western Roman Emperor from 457 to 461.

He had distinguished himself as a general by victories over the Franks and Alemanni, and six months after the deposition of Avitus he was declared emperor by the regent Ricimer, which created problems with Emperor Leo in Constantinople who declared Majorian a usurper. Problems arising from this would last for the better part of Majorian's short reign.

After repelling an attack by the Vandals upon Campania in 458 he prepared a large force, composed chiefly of Germans, to invade Africa, where he previously visited in disguise.

Having during his stay in Gaul defeated Theodoric the Visigoth and then concluded an alliance with him, at the beginning of 461 he crossed the Pyrenees with the purpose of joining the powerful fleet which he had collected at Cartagena. The Vandal king Geiseric, however, after all overtures of peace had been rejected, succeeded through the treachery of certain officers in surprising the Roman fleet, most of the ships being either taken or destroyed.

Majorian thereupon made peace with Geiseric. But his ill-success had destroyed his military reputation; his efforts to put down abuses and improve the condition of the people had roused the hatred of the officials; and Ricimer, jealous of his fame and influence, stirred up the foreign troops against him.

A mutiny, possibly instigated by Ricimer, broke out in Lombardy on August 2, 461 and Majorian was forced to abdicate by his soldiers. He died five days afterwards, either of dysentery or by violence.

Majorian was the author of a number of remarkable laws, contained in the Codex Theodosianus. He remitted all areas of taxes, the collection of which was for the future placed in the hands of the local officials. He revived the institution of defensores or administrators of cities, whose duty it was to protect the poor and inform the emperor of abuses committed in his name. The practice of pulling down the ancient monuments to be used as building material, which was connived at by venal officials, was strictly prohibited. He also passed laws against compulsory ordination and premature vows of celibacy.

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Regnal titles
Preceded by
Western Roman Emperor
Succeeded by
Libius Severus

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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