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Glycerius[2] (c. 420 – after 480) was a Western Roman Emperor from 473 to 474.[3] Elevated by his Magister militum, Gundobad, Glycerius’ elevation was rejected by the court at Constantinople,[4][5] and he was ousted by Julius Nepos. He later served as the bishop of Salona in the early Catholic Church.


Rise to power

Sources on Glycerius are scarce and scanty. It is known that, at the time of his elevation to the throne, he was the comes domesticorum,[2] the commander of the imperial guard of the court at Ravenna. Previous to this posting, he had been the military commander in Dalmatia.[6]

In 472, the Western Roman Empire was plagued by a civil war, fought between Emperor Anthemius and his Magister militum (commander in chief of the army), Ricimer.[7] Ricimer killed the Emperor and put Olybrius on the throne, but in a short time both Ricimer and Olybrius were dead.[8] The Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I the Thracian, tarried in choosing his successor, so the Germanic elements of the army, represented by the new Magister militum and Patrician, Gundobad (a nephew of Ricimer's), elected Glycerius Emperor on March 3 or 5, 473 in Ravenna.[9]


Little is known about the short reign of Glycerius, but it appears that he tried to reconcile with the Eastern Roman Empire and that he succeeded in keeping his own Empire under control despite the attacks of the barbarian peoples.[7] For most of his rule, Glycerius lived in Northern Italy, as testified by the fact that the only mints which issued in his name are Milan and Ravenna.[10]

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