Valerius Severus Severus II, was a Western Roman Emperor from 306 to 307. After failing to besiege Rome, he fled to Ravenna, it is thought that he was executed near Rome. Severus was of humble birth, born in Northern Illyria around the middle of the third century AD, he rose to become a senior officer in the Roman army, as an old friend of Galerius, that emperor ordered that Severus be appointed Caesar of the Western Roman Empire, a post that he succeeded to on 1 May 305. He thus served as deputy-emperor to Augustus of the western half of empire. On the death of Constantius I in Britain in the summer of 306, Severus was promoted to Augustus by Galerius, in opposition to the acclamation of Constantine I by his own soldiers; when Maxentius, the son of the retired emperor Maximian, revolted at Rome, Galerius sent Severus to suppress the rebellion. Severus moved towards Rome from his capital, Mediolanum, at the head of an army commanded by Maximian. Fearing the arrival of Severus, Maxentius offered Maximian the co-rule of the empire.
Maximian accepted, when Severus arrived under the walls of Rome and besieged it, his men deserted to Maximian, their old commander. Severus fled to an impregnable position. Maximian offered to spare his life and treat him humanely if he surrendered peaceably, which he did in March or April 307. Despite Maximian's assurance, Severus was nonetheless displayed as a captive and imprisoned at Tres Tabernae. One belief is that when Galerius himself invaded Italy to suppress Maxentius and Maximian, the former ordered Severus's death, that he was executed on September 307 at Tres Tabernae, near the current Cisterna di Latina. Another belief is. Severus was survived by his son Flavius Severianus. Works related to The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1, Chapter XIV at Wikisource Media related to Flavius Valerius Severus at Wikimedia Commons
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history; when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title used was imperator a military honorific. Early Emperors used the title princeps. Emperors amassed republican titles, notably princeps senatus and pontifex maximus; the legitimacy of an emperor's rule depended on his control of the army and recognition by the Senate. The first emperors reigned alone; the Romans considered the office of emperor to be distinct from that of a king. The first emperor, resolutely refused recognition as a monarch. Although Augustus could claim that his power was authentically republican, his successor, could not convincingly make the same claim. Nonetheless, for the first three hundred years of Roman emperors, from Augustus until Diocletian, efforts were made to portray the emperors as leaders of a republic.
From Diocletian, whose tetrarchic reforms divided the position into one emperor in the West and one in the East, until the end of the Empire, emperors ruled in an monarchic style and did not preserve the nominal principle of a republic, but the contrast with "kings" was maintained: although the imperial succession was hereditary, it was only hereditary if there was a suitable candidate acceptable to the army and the bureaucracy, so the principle of automatic inheritance was not adopted. Elements of the republican institutional framework were preserved after the end of the Western Empire; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century after multiple invasions of imperial territory by Germanic barbarian tribes. Romulus Augustulus is considered to be the last emperor of the West after his forced abdication in 476, although Julius Nepos maintained a claim recognized by the Eastern Empire to the title until his death in 480. Following Nepos' death, the Eastern Emperor Zeno abolished the division of the position and proclaimed himself as the sole Emperor of a reunited Roman Empire.
The Eastern imperial lineage continued to rule from Constantinople. Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Roman emperor in Constantinople, dying in the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453; the "Byzantine" emperors from Heraclius in 629 and onwards adopted the title of basileus, which had meant king in Greek but became a title reserved for the Roman emperor and the ruler of the Sasanian Empire. Other kings were referred to as rēgas. In addition to their pontifical office, some emperors were given divine status after death. With the eventual hegemony of Christianity, the emperor came to be seen as God's chosen ruler, as well as a special protector and leader of the Christian Church on Earth, although in practice an emperor's authority on Church matters was subject to challenge. Due to the cultural rupture of the Turkish conquest, most western historians treat Constantine XI as the last meaningful claimant to the title Roman Emperor. From 1453, one of the titles used by the Ottoman Sultans was "Caesar of Rome", part of their titles until the Ottoman Empire ended in 1922.
A Byzantine group of claimant Roman emperors existed in the Empire of Trebizond until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1461, though they had used a modified title since 1282. Eastern emperors in Constantinople had been recognized and accepted as Roman emperors both in the East, which they ruled, by the Papacy and Germanic kingdoms of the West until the deposition of Constantine VI and accession of Irene of Athens as Empress regnant in 797. Objecting to a woman ruling the Roman Empire in her own right and issues with the eastern clergy, the Papacy would create a rival lineage of Roman emperors in western Europe, the Holy Roman Emperors, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire for most of the period between 800 and 1806; these Emperors were never recognized as Roman emperors by the court in Constantinople. Modern historians conventionally regard Augustus as the first Emperor whereas Julius Caesar is considered the last dictator of the Roman Republic, a view having its origins in the Roman writers Plutarch and Cassius Dio.
However, the majority of Roman writers, including Josephus, Pliny the Younger and Appian, as well as most of the ordinary people of the Empire, thought of Julius Caesar as the first Emperor. At the end of the Roman Republic no new, no single, title indicated the individual who held supreme power. Insofar as emperor could be seen as the English translation of imperator Julius Caesar had been an emperor, like several Roman generals before him. Instead, by the end of the civil wars in which Julius Caesar had led his armies, it became clear that there was no consensus to return to the old-style monarchy, but that the period when several officials, bestowed with equal power by the senate, would fight one another had come to an end. Julius Caesar, Augustus after him, accumulated offices and titles of the highest importance in the Republic, making the power attached to those offices permanent, preventing anyone with similar aspirations from accumulating or maintaining power for themselves. However, Julius Caesar, unlike those after
Aegidius was ruler of the short-lived Kingdom of Soissons from 461–464/465 AD. Before his ascension, he became magister militum per Gallias serving under Aetius, in 458 AD. An ardent supporter of Majorian, Aegidius rebelled against Ricimer when he assassinated Majorian and replaced him with Libius Severus. Aegidius threatened to invade Italy and dethrone Libius Severus, but never launched such an invasion. Aegidius launched several campaigns against the Visigoths and the Burgundians, recapturing Lyons from the Burgundians in 458, routing the Visigoths at the Battle of Orleans, he died after a major victory against the Visigoths. After his death he was succeeded by his son Syagrius, who would be the second and last ruler of the Kingdom of Soissons. Aegidius was born in a province of the Western Roman Empire, it is believed that he came from the aristocratic Syagrii family, based upon the name of his son, Syagrius. While this evidence is not absolute, modern historians consider a connection to the family by birth or marriage.
Aegidius served under Aetius during the latter's time as magister militum of the Western Roman Empire. He served alongside the future emperor Majorian. Aegidius was either a founding member of Majorian and Ricimer's faction, or else he joined it. After Majorian became Western Roman Emperor, Aegidius was granted the title of magister militum per Gallias in 458, as a reward for his loyalty. In the same year, Aegidius led troops at the Battle of Arelate, against the Visigoths under King Theodoric II. Aegidius is credited by ancient sources as being the primary cause for Theodoric II's defeat; as a result of the battle, Theodoric II was forced to return Visigoth territory in Hispania to the Western Roman Empire, submit again to being a Roman vassal. After Ricimer assassinated Emperor Majorian in 461 and replaced him with Libius Severus, Aegidius refused to recognize the new emperor. Libius Severus was not recognized by the Eastern Roman Emperor Leo I, considered the senior emperor. Aegidius may have pledged his allegiance directly to Leo I, in order to legitimize his independence from the Western Roman Empire, his retention of the Gallic legions.
Aegidius threatened to invade Italy, however he never did so. Modern historian Penny MacGeorge has suggested that this was due to pressure from the Visigoths, whereas others assert that he was unable or unwilling to march to Italy, leaving Gaul exposed, it is known that during this time, Ricimer ceded Lyons to the Burgundians, Narbonne and most of Narbonensis Prima to the Visigoths, in exchange for alliances. Ricimer appointed a replacement for Aegidius, despite the fact that Aegidius retained most or all of his Gallic forces; the two people most to have been given the title of magister militum per Gallias were the Roman general Agrippinus, or the Burgundian King Gundioc, Ricimer's brother-in-law. Around this time Aegidius sent embassies to the Vandal king Gaiseric in an effort to form an alliance to oppose Ricimer. According to some ancient sources the Frankish King Childeric I, who controlled much of northern Gaul, was exiled at some point after 457, the Franks elected Aegidius to rule them.
The ancient sources go on to say that Aegidius ruled them for eight years, before Childeric was recalled and reinstated as king. Another narrative given by primary sources is that Childeric formed an alliance with Aegidius, although this has slim historical evidence, is directly opposed by archeological evidence, which supports the theory of the Kingdom of Soissons, the historiographic name given to territory ruled by Aegidius and his son Syagrius, containing the expansion of the Franks. Aegidius recaptured Lyons from the Burgundians in 458 and repulsed an invasion by the Visigoths in 463, routing them at the Battle of Orleans. In this battle, Aegidius' forces killed the Visigoth general Frederic, the brother of Theodoric; some sources say. Aegidius won a minor engagement against the Visigoths near Chinon, at an unknown date. Despite these victories, he did not take the offensive against the Visigothic position in Aquitaine due to lack of resources, or due to threats from comes Paulus and the Western Roman generals Arbogast and Agrippinus.
Aegidius is recorded to have died in either late 464 or late 465. Sources of the time report that he was either assassinated or poisoned, but do not mention a perpetrator. Modern historians consider it possible. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Syagrius. Syagrius is reported to have moved his seat of government to Soissons, which would give Aegidius and Syagrius' breakaway government the historiographic name of the Kingdom of Soissons; the Franks defeated Syagrius and captured Soissons in the 480s. Aegidius was referred to by numerous titles in primary sources. In the Historia Francorum by Gregory of Tours, he is twice called magister militum, although Gregory describes him as being elected rex of the Franks. More confusingly, Gregory does not give him any title while menti
Gaiseric known as Geiseric or Genseric, was King of the Vandals and Alans who established the Vandal Kingdom and was one of the key players in the troubles of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. During his nearly 50 years of rule, he raised a insignificant Germanic tribe to the status of a major Mediterranean power. After he died, they entered eventual collapse. Succeeding his brother Gunderic at a time when the Vandals were settled in Baetica, Roman Hispania, Gaiseric defended himself against a Suebian attack and transported all his people, around 80,000, to Northern Africa in 428, he might have been invited by the Roman governor Bonifacius, who wished to use the military strength of the Vandals in his struggle against the imperial government. Gaiseric caused great devastation, he turned on Bonifacius, defeated his army in 430, crushed the joint forces of the Eastern and Western empires, sent against him. In 435 Gaiseric concluded a treaty with the Romans under which the Vandals retained Mauretania and part of Numidia as foederati of Rome.
In a surprise move on 19 October 439, Gaiseric captured Carthage, striking a devastating blow at imperial power. In a 442 treaty with Rome, the Vandals were recognized as the independent rulers of Byzacena and part of Numidia, he besieged Panormus (Palermo Sicily in 440 AD but was repulsed. He did in 455 seize the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and Malta, Gaiseric’s fleet soon came to control much of the western Mediterranean, he occupied Sicily in 468 for 8 years until the island was ceded in 476 to Odavacer except for a toehold on the far west coast, Lilybaeum was ceded in 491 to Theodoric.p. 410. His most famous exploit, was the capture and plundering of Rome in June 455. Subsequently, the King defeated two major efforts by the Romans to overthrow him, that of the emperor Majorian in 460 or 461 and that led by Basiliscus at the Battle of Cape Bon in 468. After dying in Carthage at the age of 77, Gaiseric was succeeded by his son Huneric. Gaiseric was an illegitimate son of King Godigisel. After his father's death in battle against the Franks during the Crossing of the Rhine 406 AD, Gaiseric became the second most powerful man among the Vandals, after the new king, his half-brother Gunderic.
After Gunderic's death in 428, Gaiseric was elected king. He began to seek ways of increasing the power and wealth of his people, who resided in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica in southern Hispania; the Vandals had suffered from attacks from the more numerous Visigothic federates, not long after taking power, Gaiseric decided to leave Hispania to this rival Germanic tribe. In fact, he seems to have started building a Vandal fleet before he became king. In 428 Gaiseric was attacked from the rear by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania; this Suebic army was defeated near Mérida and its leader Hermigario drowned in the Guadiana River while trying to flee. Taking advantage of a dispute between Boniface, Roman governor of North Africa, Aetius, Gaiseric ferried all of his people across to Africa in 429. Once there, he won many battles over the weak and divided Roman defenders and overran the territory now comprising modern Morocco and northern Algeria.
His Vandal army laid siege to the city of Hippo Regius, taking it after 14 months of bitter fighting. A peace between Gaiseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III was concluded on 11 February 435, in return for recognizing Gaiseric as king of the lands he and his men had conquered the Vandals would desist from attacks on Carthage, pay a tribute to the Empire, send his son Huneric as a hostage to Rome. On 19 October 439, noting that the forces of the Western Empire were involved in Gaul, Gaiseric took possession of Carthage through some treachery. Stewart Oost observes, "Thus he undoubtedly achieved what had been his purpose since he first crossed to Africa." The Romans were caught unaware, Gaiseric captured a large part of the western Roman navy docked in the port of Carthage. The Catholic bishop of the city, was exiled to Naples, since Gaiseric demanded that all his close advisors follow the Arian form of Christianity. Gaiseric gave freedom of religion to the Catholics, while insisting that the regime's elite follow Arianism.
The common folk had low taxes under his reign, as most of the tax pressure was on the rich Roman families and the Catholic clergy. Added to his own burgeoning fleet, the Kingdom of the Vandals now threatened the Empire for mastery of the western Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, became the new Vandal capital and an enemy of Rome for the first time since the Punic Wars. With the help of their fleet, the Vandals soon subdued Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. Gaiseric strengthened the Vandal defenses and fleet and regulated the positions of Arians and Catholics. In 442, the Romans acknowledged the Carthaginian conquests, recognized the Vandal kingdom as an independent
Placidia was the wife of Olybrius, unrecognized Western Roman Emperor. Her full name is uncertain; the Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The reign by reign record of the rulers of Imperial Rome by Chris Scarre gives her name as Galla Placidia Valentiniana or Galla Placidia the Younger, based on naming conventions for women in ancient Rome. Placidia was the second daughter of Valentinian III and Licinia Eudoxia, younger sister of Eudocia, who became the wife of Huneric, son of Gaiseric, king of the Vandals. Both were named for their grandmothers: Eudocia for the maternal, Aelia Eudocia, Placidia for the paternal, Galla Placidia. Placidia is estimated to have been born between 439 and 443. In 454 or 455, Placidia married a member of the Anicii family. A prominent family with known members active in both Italia and Gaul; the exact relation of Olybrius to other members of the family is not known as his parents are not named in primary sources. Several theories exist as to their identity. Emperor Valentinian intended to marry Placidia to a young man named Majorian, whom Oost describes as having "distinguished himself in a subaltern capacity fighting in Gaul against the Franks under Aëtius' own command."
Doing so, according to Roman customs, would link Majorian to the Imperial family and put him in line to succeed Valentinian. Once Flavius Aetius learned of this plan, he rusticated Majorian to his estates at some date before 451, he was recalled to Rome only after Aetius' death. Aetius attempted to consolidate his position "by compelling the Emperor to swear to friendship with him and to agree to betroth Placidia to his own younger son Gaudentius."Mommaerts and Kelley have proposed a theory that Petronius Maximus, the successor of Valentinian III on the Western Roman throne in 455, was behind the marriage of Placidia to Olybrius. They argue that Olybrius was a son of Petronius Maximus himself, reasoning that Petronius, once on the throne, would be unlikely to promote distant relatives as potential successors. According to Hydatius, Petronius arranged the marriage of his eldest stepdaughter Eudocia to Palladius, his eldest son and Caesar, they suggest that he followed suit in arranging the marriage of Placidia to one of his own younger sons, thus making the marriage of Placidia and Olybrius the third marriage between a member of the Theodosian dynasty and a member of the extended Anicii family within the same year.
According to the chronicler Malchus, "Around this time, the empress Eudoxia, the widow of the emperor Valentinian and the daughter of the emperor Theodosius and Eudocia, remained unhappily at Rome and, enraged at the tyrant Maximus because of the murder of her spouse, she summoned the Vandal Gaiseric, king of Africa, against Maximus, ruling Rome. He came to Rome with his forces and captured the city, having destroyed Maximus and all his forces, he took everything from the palace the bronze statues, he led away as captives surviving senators, accompanied by their wives. After he had returned, Gaiseric gave the younger Eudocia, a maiden, the daughter of the empress Eudoxia, to his son Huneric in marriage, he held them both, the mother and the daughter, in great honor". Eudoxia was following the example of her sister-in-law Justa Grata Honoria who had summoned Attila the Hun for help against an unwanted marriage. According to the chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine, Maximus was in Rome, he gave anyone.
He was assassinated by the imperial slaves. He had reigned for seventy-seven days, his body was never recovered. Victor of Tonnena agrees, adding that Pope Leo I negotiated with Gaiseric for the security of the city's population. Hydatius attributes the assassination to revolting troops of the Roman army, enraged at Maximus' attempted flight; the Chronica Gallica of 511 attributes the assassination to a rioting crowd. Jordanes identifies a single assassin as "Ursus, a Roman soldier". Sidonius Apollinaris makes a cryptic comment about a Burgundian whose "traitorous leadership" led the crowd to panic and to the slaughter of the Emperor, his identity is unknown a general who failed to face the Vandals for one reason or another. Historians have suggested two high-ranking Burgundians as possible candidates and his brother Chilperic. Both joined Theodoric II in invading Hispania in 455. Olybrius was in Constantinople at the time of the siege of Rome, he was separated from his wife for the duration of her captivity.
He visited Daniel the Stylite who predicted that Eudoxia and Placidia would return. Priscus and John of Antioch report that Gaiseric entertained the idea of placing Olybrius on the throne of the Western Roman Empire, at least as early as the death of Majorian in 461. Due to his marriage to Placidia, Olybrius could be considered both an heir to Theodosian dynasty and a member of the Vandal royal family through marriage. In 465, Libius Severus died and Gaiseric again promoted Olybrius as his candidate for the Western throne. Procopius report. According to the accounts of Priscus, John Malalas, Theodorus Lector, Evagrius Scholasticus, Theophanes the Confessor, Joannes Zonaras and Cedrenus, Placidia can be estimated to have stayed a prisoner in Carthage for six to seven years. In 461 or 462, Leo I, Eastern Roman Emperor, paid a large ransom fo
Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, was so used by Roman emperors thereafter; the feminine form Augusta was used for other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion, their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult. In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos, or Hellenised as Augoustos. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, it remains a given name for males. Some thirty years before its first association with Caesar's heir, Augustus was an obscure honorific with religious associations.
One early context, associates it with provincial Lares. In Latin poetry and prose, it signifies the "elevation" or "augmentation" of what is sacred or religious; some Roman sources connected it to augury, Rome was said to have been founded with the "august augury" of Romulus. The first true Roman Emperor known as "Augustus" was Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, he was the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar, murdered for his seeming aspiration to divine monarchy subsequently and deified. Octavian studiously avoided any association with Caesar's claims, other than acknowledging his position and duties as Divi filius, "son of the deified one", his position was unique and extraordinary. He had ended Rome's prolonged and bloody civil war with his victory at Actium, established a lasting peace, he was self-evidently favored by the gods. As princeps senatus he presided at senatorial meetings, he was chief priest of Roman state religion. He held consular imperium, with authority equal to the official chief executive, he was supreme commander of all Roman legions, held tribunicia potestas.
As a tribune, his person was inviolable and he had the right to veto any act or proposal by any magistrate within Rome. He was renamed Augustus by the Roman Senate on January 16, 27 BC – or the Senate ratified his own careful choice. So his official renaming in a form vaguely associated with a traditionally Republican religiosity, but unprecedented as a cognomen, may have served to show that he owed his position to the approval of Rome and its gods, his own unique, elevated, "godlike" nature and talents, his full and official title was Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. Augustus' religious reforms extended or affirmed augusti as a near ubiquitous title or honour for various minor local deities, including the Lares Augusti of local communities, obscure provincial deities such as the North African Marazgu Augustus; this extension of an Imperial honorific to major and minor deities of Rome and her provinces is considered a ground-level feature of Imperial cult, which continued until the official replacement of Rome's traditional religions by Christianity.
The title or name of Augustus was adopted by his successors, who held the name during their own lifetimes by virtue of their status and powers. This included the Christian emperors. Most emperors used imperator but others could and did bear the same title and functions. "Caesar" was used as a title, but was the name of a clan within the Julian line. Augusta was the female equivalent of Augustus, had similar origins as an obscure descriptor with vaguely religious overtones, it was bestowed on some women of the Imperial dynasties, as an indicator of worldly power and influence and a status near to divinity. There was no qualification with higher prestige; the title or honorific was shared by state goddesses associated with the Imperial regime's generosity and provision, such as Ceres, Bona Dea, Juno and Ops, by local or minor goddesses around the empire. Other personifications perceived as female and given the title Augusta include Pax and Victoria; the first woman to receive the honorific Augusta was Livia Drusilla, by the last will of her husband Augustus.
From his death she was known as Julia Augusta, until her own death in AD 29. Under Tetrarchy, the empire was divided into Western halves; each was ruled by a senior emperor, with the rank of augustus, a junior emperor, who ranked below him as a caesar. The Imperial titles of imperator and augustus were rendered in Greek as autokratōr, augoustos; the Greek titles were used in the Byzantine Empire until its extinction in 1453, although "sebastos" lost its imperial exclusivity and autokratōr became the exclusive title of the Byzantine Emperor. The last Roman Emperor to rule in the West, Romulus Augustus became known as Augustulus, due to the unimportance of his reign. Charlemagne used the title serenissimus augustus as a prefix to his titles His successors limited themselves to imperator augustus, in order to avoid conflict with the Byzantine emperors. Beginning with Otto III, the Holy Roman Emperors used Romanorum Imperator Augustus; the form
Flavius Julius Valerius Majorianus known as Majorian, was the Western Roman Emperor from 457 to 461. A prominent general of the Late Roman army, Majorian deposed Emperor Avitus in 457 and succeeded him. Majorian was the last emperor to make a concerted effort to restore the Western Roman Empire with its own forces. Possessing little more than Italy and some territory in northern Gaul, Majorian campaigned rigorously for three years against the Empire's enemies, his successors until the fall of the Empire, in 476/480, were instruments of their barbarian generals, or emperors chosen and controlled by the Eastern Roman court. After defeating a Vandal attack on Italy, Majorian launched a campaign against the Visigothic Kingdom in southern Gaul. Defeating king Theodoric II at the Battle of Arelate, Majorian forced the Goths to abandon their possessions in Septimania and Hispania and return to federate status immediately. Majorian attacked the Burgundian Kingdom, defeating them at the Siege of Lugdunum, expelling them from the Rhone valley and reducing them to federate status.
In 460, Majorian left Gaul to consolidate his hold on Hispania. His generals launched a campaign against the Suebic Kingdom in northwest Hispania, defeating them at the battles of Lucus Augusti and Scallabis and reducing them to federate status as well, his fleet for his planned campaign to recover Africa from the Vandals was destroyed due to treachery. Majorian sought to reform the imperial administration in order to make it more efficient and just; the powerful general Ricimer deposed and killed Majorian, who had become unpopular with the senatorial aristocracy because of his reforms. According to historian Edward Gibbon, Majorian "presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honour of the human species"; the life of Majorian and his reign are better known than those of the other Western Emperors of the same period. The most important sources are the chronicles that cover the second half of the 5th century — those of Hydatius and Marcellinus Comes, as well as the fragments of Priscus and John of Antioch.
Besides these sources, which are useful for the biographies of the other emperors, some peculiar sources are available that make Majorian's life known in some detail, both before and after his rise to the throne. The Gallo-Roman aristocrat and poet Sidonius Apollinaris was an acquaintance of the Emperor and composed a panegyric, the major source for Majorian's life up to 459; as regards his policy, twelve of his laws have been preserved: the so-called Novellae Maioriani were included in the Breviarium, compiled for the Visigothic king Alaric II in 506, help to understand the problems that pressed Majorian's government. Majorian was born after 420, as in 458 he is defined as a iuvenis, a "young man", he belonged to the military aristocracy of the Roman Empire. His grandfather of the same name reached the rank of magister militum under Emperor Theodosius I and, as commander-in-chief of the Illyrian army, was present at his coronation at Sirmium in 379; the daughter of the magister militum married an officer called Domninus, who administered the finances of Aetius, the powerful magister militum of the West.
The couple gave the name Maiorianus to their child in honour of his influential grandfather. It was under the same Aetius, he followed Aetius to Gallia, where he met under Aetius' command two officers of barbarian origin who were to play an important role in Majorian's life: the Suevic-Visigoth Ricimer and the Gaul Aegidius. Majorian distinguished himself in the defence of the city of Turonensis and in a battle against the Franks of king Clodio, near Vicus Helena. In the latter, Majorian fought at the head of his cavalry on a bridge, while Aetius controlled the roads leading to the battlefield: There was a narrow passage at the junction of two ways, a road crossed both the village of Helena... and the river. Was posted at the cross-roads while Majorian warred as a mounted man close to the bridge itself... Around 450, the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III considered the possibility of marrying his daughter Placidia to Majorian. Valentinian had two daughters and no sons, therefore no heir to the throne.
Having Majorian as son-in-law would have strengthened Valentinian in the face of other powerful generals and would have solved the problem of the succession. Furthermore, as Emperor, Majorian could have led the army himself, freed from the dangerous bond with a powerful general, such as Valentinian had been obliged to contract with Aetius; the intention of this plan was to avoid the possibility that barbarian generals like Huneric or Attila should succeed to Aetius, but clashed with the plans of Aetius himself. The Roman general, in fact, planned to marry his own son Gaudentius to Placidia, he therefore opposed Valentinian's plan, put an end to Majorian's military career, expelling him from his staff and sending him to his country estate. According to the poet Sidonius Apollinaris, the cause of the fall of Majorian was the jealousy of Aetius' wife, who feared that Majorian could overshadow Aetius' prestige, it was only in 454. In that year, Valentinian III killed Aetius with his own hands but, fearing that Aetius' troops might revolt, called Majorian back to office to quell them.
In the following year, Valentinian III was killed by two former officers of Aetius' staff. There was a fight for the succession, as no heir existed. Majorian played the role of the candidate for the throne of Licinia Eudoxia, Valentinian's widow, of Ricimer, who reserved for himself a role similar to Aet