Majorianus, Julius Valerius
MAJORIANUS, JULIUS VALERIUS, emperor of the West from 457 to 461, was the successor of Avitus. He had been a distinguished soldier under Aetius, and also after the death of that general ; for his election to the purple he was indebted to the powerful Count Bicimer, patrician of Rome. To put a stop to the harassing incursions of the Vandals he, in 458, resolved to lead an expedition against Genseric himself ; for this purpose he got together a large army, composed chiefly of barbarians, and, passing the Alps in November 458, made Lyons, and afterwards Arles, his headquarters until the preparations for the invasion of Africa had been completed. Having during his stay in Gaul succeeded in pacifying Theodoric, he, in the beginning of 460, crossed the Pyrenees for the purpose of joining his armament at Carthagena. Genseric, however, after all overtures for 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. Majorianus returned at once to Gaul, where he made peace with Genseric in the following year. Soon afterwards, while at Tortona in Lombardy, he was surrounded by partisans of Ricirner, and compelled to abdicate (August 2, 461). He died, most probably by violence, five days afterwards, and was succeeded on the throne by Severus. He was the author of several laws, which, " remarkable for an original cast of thought and expression, faithfully represent the character of a sovereign who loved his people, who sympathized in their distress, who had studied the causes of the decline of the empire, and who was. capable of applying (as far as such reformation was practicable) judicious and effectual remedies to the public disorders" (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 39).