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    Rare Majorian Solidus

    Majorian, Western Roman Empire (AD 457-461). AV solidus (22mm, 4.57 gm, 6h). NGC Choice AU★ 5/5 - 4/5. Arles, Late Court style, AD 459-461. D N IVLIVS MAIORI-ANVS PΓ AVC, helmeted, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed and bust of Majorian right, spear pointing forward in right hand, shield over left shoulder emblazoned with Christogram / VICTORI-A AVGGG, Majorian in military dress standing facing, right foot on human-headed serpent, long cross in right hand, stylized Victory on globe in left; A-R across fields, COMOB in exergue. RIC X 2631. Extremely rare.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex Adolph Hess Luzern AG/Bank Leu & Co. AG Zurich Sale (7 April 1960).

    The last heroic character to occupy the western Roman throne, Flavius Julius Valerius Majorianus was born ca. AD 420 to an aristocratic Roman family. His mother was daughter of the elder Majorianus, who served as Master of Soldiers to Theodosius I (AD 379-395), while his father was a financial officer during the long reign of Valentinian III (AD 430-455). Majorian entered military service at an early age and distinguished himself in battle, as well as cutting a dashing figure at court. When Valentinian III was murdered in AD 455, his widow Licinia Eudoxia favored Majorian as his replacement, but was outmaneuvered by the usurper Petronius Maximus. Majorian then allied himself with the powerful barbarian general Ricimer, master of soldiers under the emperor Avitus, whom they deposed late in October of AD 456. After a six-month "interregnum," Majorian was hailed as emperor by Ricimer and his troops on 1 April AD 457. His letter to the Roman Senate setting forth his military and domestic policies is one of the few reliable documents to have survived from this shadowy period. Majorian spent most of the next two years leading military expeditions into Spain and Gaul, regions that had virtually broken away from Roman authority. Defeats were dealt to the Visigoths, Burgundians, and Vandals, the first such Roman victories in decades. Coinage struck in his name by the Visigoths (including this rare gold solidus) show his efforts met with considerable success. He next prepared to launch an invasion of North Africa to eject the Vandals from their home base, but before he could embark, the Vandals attacked and captured his fleet at Cartagena late in AD 459. The disaster fatally crippled Majorian's regime. Forced to conclude a humiliating peace treaty, Majorian attempted to return to Italy. But after dismissing his bodyguard in Gaul, he was intercepted, arrested and executed by his former ally Ricimer, who appointed the docile Libius Severus in his stead.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
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