« Glycerius, deacon in Cappadocia Glycerius, emperor of the West Gnosticism »

Glycerius, emperor of the West

Glycerius (8), emperor of the West, afterwards bp. of Salona. In Mar. 473, being then comes domesticorum, he assumed the imperial title at Ravenna in succession to Olybrius; but the emperor of the East, Leo I. the Thracian, set up Julius Nepos, who was proclaimed at Ravenna late in 473 or early in 474, and marched against Glycerius and took him prisoner at Portus. (See art. GLYCERIUS D. of G. and R. Biogr.) Glycerius has been reckoned bp. of Portus, of Milan, and of Salona. The Chronicon of Marcellinus Comes under a.d. 474 states that Glycerius "imperio expulsus, in portu urbis Romae ex Caesare episcopus ordinatus est, et obiit" (Patr. Lat. li. 931); on the strength of which he has been named bp. of Portus, as by Paulus Diaconus, who writes: "Portuensis episcopus ordinatur" (Hist. Misc. lib. xv. in Patr. Lat. xcv. 973 B). Cappelletti and Ughelli (who calls him Gulcerius) assign him to that see between Petrus and Herennius (Ug. Ital. Sac. i. 111; Capp. Le Chiese d᾿ Ital. i. 497). Evagrius, on the other hand, relates (H. E. ii. 16) that Nepos appointed Glycerius bp. of the Romans ἐς Σάλωνας, scarcely, however, intending to say, as Canisius understands him, that Glycerius was made bp. of Rome. He must mean (writing as a Greek) that Glycerius was ordained bp. for Salona by the Roman ecclesiastical authorities, and that his see belonged to the Roman or western part of the empire and to that patriarchate rather than the Byzantine. Jornandes likewise states that Nepos "Glycerium ab imperio expellens, in Salona Dalmatiae episcopum fecit" (Jorn. de Reg. Succ. in Muratori, Rer. Ital. Script. t. i. p. 239 B). It is therefore best to understand with Canisius (note on the passage in Evagrius, vid. Patr. Gk. lxxxvi, pt. 2, p. 2546) that the deposition of Glycerius took place at Portus, where at the same time he was appointed to Salona. Thus also Farlati (Illyr. Sac. ii. I17-I20). The principality of Dalmatia belonged to Nepos independently of the imperial title. Thither he retired before his successful competitor Orestes, and was brought into contact once more with Glycerius. Photius (Biblioth. Cod. 78) mentions the now lost Byzantine History of Malchus the Sophist as stating that Nepos, having divested Glycerius of his Caesarian authority and invaded "the empire of the Romans," ordained him, made him a bishop, and finally perished by his machinations (insidiis petitus), not "was assassinated," as stated by Gibbon. Farlati assigns six years to his episcopate, placing his death in 480.

The supposition that he was bp. of Milan rests on very slender ground. Ennodius, bp. of Pavia, who dedicates short poems to several successive bishops of Milan, inscribes one to Glycerius, whom he places between Martinianus and Lazarus (carm. 82, in Patr. Lat. lxiii. 349); but there is nothing in the verses to identify him with the ex-emperor. Ennodius, 394in his Life of Epiphanius, bp. of Pavia, mentions the emperor Glycerius as shewing so much veneration for that saint as to accept his intercession for some people in the diocese of Pavia, who had incurred the imperial displeasure (Ennod. Vit. Epiphan. in Patr. Lat. lxiii. 219 A). These are the sole grounds on which Gibbon hazards, doubtfully, the statement (Decl. and Fall, vol. iv. p. 295, ed. Smith) that Glycerius was promoted by Orestes from Salona to the archbishopric of Milan in reward for his assassination of Nepos.


« Glycerius, deacon in Cappadocia Glycerius, emperor of the West Gnosticism »
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