This image is of the reverse of a gold solidus struck by the Eastern emperor Marcian. This reverse image is typical of those seen on solidi of mid Fifth Century Emperors in both the East and the West. A solidus of Majorian is extremely rare and might bring twenty thousand dollars at auction while the contemporary issue in the East might bring four hundred dollars in better condition.
Majorian was actually an excellent military leader and capable emperor. He was able to push back the Visigoths in Gaul, defeating them at Arelate in A.D. 458. History does not know how things might have turned out had Majorian had a much longer reign like his less worthy predecessor Valentinian III. Majorian was more a victim of extreme bad luck and the blundering incompetence of others. The Eastern emperor Leo planned an expedition to take Africa back from the Vandals. The plan was to attack Gaiseric's stronghold in Carthage both overland and by sea. Majorian was in charge of the naval expedition that was to press the attack by sea. The great fleet was assembled at the port of Alicante in Spain, but most of the ships were destroyed in port by the treachery of some of Gaiseric's friends placed high in the Roman naval command structure. Count Ricimer, Majorian's Master General in Italy had Majorian arrested and executed following the destruction of the invasion fleet and appointed Severus III to be his puppet in Majorian's stead.
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