« Magnentius, Flavius Popilius, emperor Majorianus, Julius Valerius Majorinus, a church reader at Carthage »

Majorianus, Julius Valerius

Majorianus, Julius Valerius, declared emperor of the West Apr. 1, 457, at Columellae, six miles from Ravenna. Tillemont argues (Emp. vi. 634) that he did not become emperor till some months later. Majorian apparently remained at Ravenna till Nov. 458, the year of his consulship, which was marked by a series of remarkable laws, which may be found among the "Novels" at the end of the Theodosian Code. An outline of these laws is given by Gibbon; the seventh enacted that a curialis who had taken orders to avoid the duties of his position, if below the rank of a deacon, should be at once reduced to his original status, while, if he had been ordained deacon, priest, or bishop, he was declared incapable of alienating his property. The sixth law, intended to encourage marriage, forbade nuns to take the veil before the age of forty. A girl compelled by her parents to devote herself to perpetual virginity was to be at liberty to marry if at her parents' death she was under 40. The whole of this law, except the restrictions on the testamentary power of widows, was repealed by Majorian's successor, Severus. It is remarkable that the Catalogue of the Popes given by the Bollandists (AA. SS. Apr. i. 33) states that Leo the Great forbad a woman taking the veil before 60 years of age, or according to a various reading 40, and that the 19th canon of the council of Agde (Mansi, viii. 328), following the law of Majorian, fixes the age at 40.

On his arrival at Lyons, before the close of 458, Majorian was greeted by Sidonius with a long panegyric (Carm. v.). At Arles, Mar. 28, 460, he issued a law declaring ordinations against the will of the person ordained to be null; subjected an archdeacon who had taken part in such an ordination to a penalty of ten pounds of gold to be received by the informer, and referred a bishop guilty of the same offence to the judgment of the apostolic see. By the same law parents who compelled a son to take orders against his will were to forfeit to him a third part of their property.

On Majorian's return to Italy in 461 Ricimer excited a mutiny in the army against him at Tortona, forced him to abdicate on Aug. 2, and five days afterwards caused him to be assassinated on the banks of the Ira.

[F.D.]

« Magnentius, Flavius Popilius, emperor Majorianus, Julius Valerius Majorinus, a church reader at Carthage »





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