Anthemius

Anthemius

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Anthemius'
Start a new discussion about 'Anthemius'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Procopius Anthemius was Western Roman Emperor from 467 to 472. Perhaps the last capable Western Roman Emperor, Anthemius attempted to solve the two primary military challenges facing the remains of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

: the resurgent Visigoths, under Euric
Euric
Euric, also known as Evaric, Erwig, or Eurico in Spanish and Portuguese , Son of Theodoric I and the younger brother of Theodoric II and ruled as king of the Visigoths, with his capital at Toulouse, from 466 until his death in 484.He inherited a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the...

, whose domain straddled the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

; and the unvanquished Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, under Geiseric, in undisputed control of North Africa. He failed, killed by Ricimer
Ricimer
Flavius Ricimer was a Germanic general who achieved effective control of the remaining parts of the Western Roman Empire, during the middle of the 5th century...

, his own general of German descent, who contested power with him.

Early life


Anthemius belonged to a noble family, the gens Procopia
Procopius (gens)
The Procopii were a family of Ancient Rome. Among the bearers of the name are:...

, which gave several high officers, both civil and military, to the Eastern Roman Empire. His mother Lucina, born c. 400, descended from Flavius Philippus
Flavius Philippus
Flavius Philippus was a Roman Empire officer under Emperor Constantius II.- Biography :Son of a sausage-maker, Philippus rose in social levels becoming a notarius. In 346, he became Praetorian Prefect of the East under Emperor Constantius, allegedly because of the influence of the court eunuchs...

, Praetorian prefect of the East in 346, and was the daughter of the influential Flavius Anthemius
Anthemius (praetorian prefect)
Flavius Anthemius was a high-ranking official of the late Roman Empire. He is notable as a Praetorian prefect of the East and effective regent of the Eastern Roman Empire during the later reign of Arcadius and the first years of Theodosius II, as well as for the construction of the first set of...

, Praetorian prefect of the East (404–415) and Consul in 405. His father was Procopius
Procopius (magister militum)
Procopius was a general and politician in the Eastern Roman Empire; he was the father of the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius.-Biography:...

, magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 per Orientem
from 422 to 424, who was descended from the Procopius
Procopius (usurper)
Procopius was a Roman usurper against Valens, and member of the Constantinian dynasty.- Life :According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Procopius was a native and spent his youth in Cilicia, probably in Corycus. On his mother's side, Procopius was related, a maternal cousin, to Emperor Julian, since...

 who had been a nephew of Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 and a usurper against the Eastern Emperor Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 (365–366).

Born in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 around 420, he went to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 to study in the school of the Neoplatonic philosopher Proclus
Proclus
Proclus Lycaeus , called "The Successor" or "Diadochos" , was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major Classical philosophers . He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism...

; among his fellow students there were Marcellinus
Marcellinus (magister militum)
Marcellinus was a Roman general and patrician who ruled over the region of Dalmatia in the Western Roman Empire and held sway with the army there from 454 until his death.-Origins:...

 (magister militum and governor of Illyricum), Flavius Illustrius Pusaeus (Praetorian prefect of the East and Consul in 467), Messius Phoebus Severus
Messius Phoebus Severus
Flavius Messius Phoebus Severus was a Roman politician and philosopher.- Biography :Born in Rome, he studied at the school of the platonic philosopher Proclus, in Alexandria; among the other students there were the Pagan poet Pamprepius , the military officer Marcellinus ,...

 (Consul in 470 and praefectus urbi
Praefectus urbi
The praefectus urbanus or praefectus urbi, in English the urban prefect, was prefect of the city of Rome, and later also of Constantinople. The office originated under the Roman kings, continued during the Republic and Empire, and held high importance in late Antiquity...

), and Pamprepius
Pamprepius
Pamprepius was a philosopher and a Pagan poet who rebelled against the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno....

 (Pagan poet).

In 453 he married Marcia Euphemia
Marcia Euphemia
Aelia Marcia/Marciana Euphemia was the wife of Anthemius, Western Roman Emperor.-Family:Marcia/Marciana Euphemia was the only known daughter of Marcian, Byzantine Emperor. The identity of her mother is unknown. Her stepmother was Pulcheria, second wife of her father. Pulcheria had taken a...

, daughter of the Eastern Emperor Marcian
Marcian
Marcian was Byzantine Emperor from 450 to 457. Marcian's rule marked a recovery of the Eastern Empire, which the Emperor protected from external menaces and reformed economically and financially...

 (450–457); after the marriage he was elevated to the rank of comes
Comes
Comes , plural comites , is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus, especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. The word comes derives from com- "with" +...

and sent to the Danubian
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 frontier with the task of rebuilding the border defences, left in bad condition after Attila's death in 453. In 454 he was recalled to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, where he received the title of patricius in 454 or 455 and became one of the two magistri militum or magister utriusque militiae of the East. In 455 he received the honour of holding the consulate
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

 with the Western Emperor Valentinian III
Valentinian III
-Family:Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna, the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne....

 as colleague.

This succession of honourable events – the wedding with Marcian's daughter; a promotion to an important military rank, but with administrative rather than military tasks; the prestigious rank of patricius and the highest military position; the consulate held with an Emperor as colleague – suggests that Marcian had selected Anthemius as a possible candidate for the Eastern or Western throne. This hypothesis is further strengthened by the fact that Anthemius' prestige misled the 6th century historian John Malalas
John Malalas
John Malalas or Ioannes Malalas was a Greek chronicler from Antioch. Malalas is probably a Syriac word for "rhetor", "orator"; it is first applied to him by John of Damascus .-Life:Malalas was educated in Antioch, and probably was a jurist there, but moved to...

 to state that Marcian had actually designated Anthemius as Western Emperor after Avitus
Avitus
Eparchius Avitus was Western Roman Emperor from July 8 or July 9, 455 to October 17, 456. A Gallic-Roman aristocrat, he was a senator and a high-ranking officer both in the civil and military administration, as well as Bishop of Piacenza.A representative of the Gallic-Roman aristocracy, he...

. In October 456, in fact, the Western Emperor Avitus had been deposed; it is probable that Marcian considered Anthemius as successor, but the Eastern Emperor died in January 457 before choosing his colleague. Therefore both empires had no Emperor, and the power was in the hands of the Western generals, Ricimer
Ricimer
Flavius Ricimer was a Germanic general who achieved effective control of the remaining parts of the Western Roman Empire, during the middle of the 5th century...

 and Majorian
Majorian
Majorian , was the Western Roman Emperor from 457 to 461.A prominent general of the Late Roman army, Majorian deposed Emperor Avitus in 457 and succeeded him. Majorian was one of the last emperors to make a concerted effort to restore the Western Roman Empire...

, and of the Eastern Magister militum, the Alan
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 Aspar
Aspar
Flavius Ardabur Aspar was an Alan patrician and magister militum of the Eastern Roman Empire. Aspar's family exerted a great influence on the Eastern Roman Emperors for half a century, from the 420s to his death in 471, over Theodosius II, Marcian and Leo I, who, in the end, had him killed.Alans...

. As Aspar could not sit on the throne because of his barbaric origin, he opposed Anthemius whose prestige would have made him independent and chose a low-ranking military officer, Leo; in the West, as his barbaric origin barred Ricimer from the throne, it was Majorian who received the purple.

Anthemius stayed in service under the new Emperor; as magister militum, his task was to defend the Empire from the barbaric populations pressing on its border. Around 460, he defeated the Ostrogoths of Valamir in Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

. During the winter of 466/467 he defeated a group of Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, led by Hormidac, who had crossed the frozen Danube and were pillaging the Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

. The raiders had conquered Serdica, and Anthemius besieged the city until the starved Huns decided to accept open battle; despite the treachery of his cavalry commander (a Hun), Anthemius led his infantry to victory, and when Hormidac offered surrender Anthemius asked for the deserter to be given to him.

Rise to the throne


The newly-elected Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I the Thracian, had a major foreign affairs problem: the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 of King Geiseric and their raids on the Italian coasts. After the death of Libius Severus
Libius Severus
Flavius Libius Severus Serpentius was Western Roman Emperor from November 19, 461 to his death.A Roman senator from Lucania Severus was one of the last Western Emperors, emptied of any effective power , and unable to solve the many problems affecting the Empire; the sources...

 in 465, the Western Empire had no Emperor. Gaiseric had his own candidate, Olybrius
Olybrius
Anicius Olybrius was Western Roman Emperor from April or May 472 to his death. He was in reality a puppet ruler, put on the throne by the Roman general of Germanic descent Ricimer, and was mainly interested in religion, while the actual power was held by Ricimer and his nephew Gundobad.-Family and...

, who was related to Gaiseric because both Olybrius and a son of Gaiseric's had married the two daughters of Emperor Valentinian III
Valentinian III
-Family:Valentinian was born in the western capital of Ravenna, the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius. The former was the younger half-sister of the western emperor Honorius, and the latter was at the time Patrician and the power behind the throne....

; with Olybrius on the throne, Gaiseric would become the real power behind the throne of the Western Empire. Leo, on the other hand, wanted to keep Gaiseric as far as possible near the imperial court at Ravenna, and took time to choose a successor to Severus. To put Leo under pressure, Gaiseric extended his attacks on Sicily and Italy to the territories of the Eastern Empire, sacking and enslaving people living in Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

, the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

 and other parts of Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, so Leo was obliged to take action.

On 25 March 467, Leo I, with the consent of Ricimer, designated Anthemius Western Emperor as Caesar and sent him to Italy with an army led by the Magister militum per Illyricum Marcellinus
Marcellinus (magister militum)
Marcellinus was a Roman general and patrician who ruled over the region of Dalmatia in the Western Roman Empire and held sway with the army there from 454 until his death.-Origins:...

. On April 12, Anthemius was proclaimed Emperor at the third or twelfth mile from Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Anthemius' election was celebrated in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 with a panegyric by Dioscorus
Dioscorus
Dioscorus can refer to:* Pope Dioscorus the Great, Coptic Pope of Alexandria .* Pope Dioscorus II, Coptic Pope of Alexandria .* Dioscorus, 3rd century martyr and saint...

.

By choosing Anthemius, Leo obtained three results: he sent a possible candidate to the Eastern throne far away; he repulsed Gaiseric's attempt to put a puppet of his on the Western throne; and he put a capable and proven general with a trained army in Italy, ready to fight the Vandals.

Relationship with the Eastern Empire


Anthemius' rule was characterised by a good diplomatic relationship with the Eastern Empire; for example, Anthemius is the last Western Emperor to be recorded in an Eastern law.

Both courts collaborated in the choice of the yearly consuls, as each court chose a consul and accepted the other's choice. Anthemius held the consulate with the honour of the sine collega (to be appointed without colleague) in 468, the first year he started as Emperor, following a similar honour given to Leo in 466. The following year the two consuls were Anthemius' son, Marcian
Marcian (usurper)
Marcian was a member of the House of Leo and an usurper against Emperor Zeno in 479.- Biography :Marcian was a member of several Roman imperial families...

, and Leo's son-in-law, Flavius Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

 (later successor of Leo on the Eastern throne). In 470 the consuls were Messius Phoebus Severus
Messius Phoebus Severus
Flavius Messius Phoebus Severus was a Roman politician and philosopher.- Biography :Born in Rome, he studied at the school of the platonic philosopher Proclus, in Alexandria; among the other students there were the Pagan poet Pamprepius , the military officer Marcellinus ,...

, Anthemius' old friend and fellow student at Proculus
Proculus
Proculus was a Roman usurper, one of the "minor pretenders" according to Historia Augusta; he took the purple against Emperor Probus in 280....

' school, and the Magister militum per Orientem Jordanes
Jordanes
Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

. In 471, the year in which Leo held his fourth consulate with the Praetorian prefect of Italy Caelius Aconius Probianus
Caelius Aconius Probianus
Caelius Aconius Probianus was a politician of the Western Roman Empire.He was Praetorian prefect of Italy under Emperors Leo I and Libius Severus; considering that his successor Caecina Decius Basilius was in office in 463, Probianus' mandate lasted between 461 and 463...

 as colleague, the two emperors strengthened their bonds with a marriage between Anthemius' son, Marcian, and Leo's daughter, Leontia
Leontia
Leontia was the Empress consort of Phocas of the Byzantine Empire.-Empress:Maurice reigned in the Byzantine Empire from 582 to 602. He led a series of Balkan campaigns and managed to successfully re-establish the Danube as a northern border for his state. By Winter 602, his strategic goals included...

; Marcian was honoured with his second consulate the following year, this time chosen by the Eastern court.

Anthemius' matrimonial policy also included the marriage of his only daughter, Alypia
Alypia (daughter of Anthemius)
Alypia was a noblewoman of the Western Roman Empire, daughter of the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius.- Life :Alypia was the only daughter of Anthemius and Aelia Marcia Euphemia, and grand-daughter of the Eastern Roman Emperor Marcian....

, and the powerful Magister militum Ricimer. The poet Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

 arrived in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 on the occasion of the wedding at the end of 467, and described the celebrations in which all social classes were involved; he also hints that Alypia might have not liked her husband, a barbarian.

Campaigns against the Vandals


The Vandals were the major problem of the Western Empire. In late 467, Anthemius organised a campaign of the western Roman army, probably under the command of Marcellinus
Marcellinus (magister militum)
Marcellinus was a Roman general and patrician who ruled over the region of Dalmatia in the Western Roman Empire and held sway with the army there from 454 until his death.-Origins:...

, but the result was a failure: the bad weather obliged the Roman fleet
Roman Navy
The Roman Navy comprised the naval forces of the Ancient Roman state. Although the navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean basin, it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions...

 to return to its base before completing the operation.

In 468, Leo I, Anthemius and Marcellinus organised a huge operation against the Vandal kingdom in Africa. The commander in chief of the operation was Leo's brother-in-law Basiliscus
Basiliscus
Basiliscus was Eastern Roman Emperor from 475 to 476. A member of the House of Leo, he came to power when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt....

 (to become Eastern emperor seven years later). A huge fleet was collected to transport the combined Eastern-Western-Illyric army, and while most of the expenses were paid for by the Eastern Empire, Anthemius and the Western treasury contributed to this operation's costs. The operation was however a failure, with Marcellinus killed at Roman hands in the wake of the operation. Leo decided to sign a separate peace with Gaiseric; Anthemius lost his allies and, with the imperial treasury almost emptied by the failed operation, renounced taking Africa back and concentrated on the second problem of his Empire, keeping under his control the Western provinces that were the target of Visigoth expansion.

Campaigns against the Visigoths


After the disastrous campaign in Africa Anthemius turned to the reconquest of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, occupied by Visigoths under the ambitious King Euric
Euric
Euric, also known as Evaric, Erwig, or Eurico in Spanish and Portuguese , Son of Theodoric I and the younger brother of Theodoric II and ruled as king of the Visigoths, with his capital at Toulouse, from 466 until his death in 484.He inherited a large portion of the Visigothic possessions in the...

 who had exploited the weak Roman control caused by political instability. Euric's sphere of influence had also separated some imperial provinces from the rest of the Empire. Even though Arelate and Marseilles in Southern Gaul were still governed by the Western court, Alvernia
Alvernia
Alvernia can refer to:*Alvernia University, a private university in Reading, Pennsylvania, United States*Mount Alvernia, highest point in the Bahamas*Mount Alvernia Hospital and Medical Centre, a private hospital in Singapore...

 was isolated from the rest of the Empire and governed by Ecdicius
Ecdicius
Ecdicius Avitus was a Gallo-Roman aristocrat, senator, and magister militum praesentalis from 474 until 475.As a son of the Emperor Avitus, Ecdicius was educated at Augustonemetum , where he lived and owned some land...

, son of Emperor Avitus, while the territory later included in the so-called Domain of Soissons
Domain of Soissons
The Domain of Soissons, by later writers called the Kingdom of Soissons, Kingdom of Aegidius or the Kingdom of Syagrius, was a rump state of the Western Roman Empire in northern Gaul for some 25 years during Late Antiquity....

 was located further north.

In 470, Anthemius recruited the Bretons living in Armorica
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

 to fight Euricus. At the beginning the Bretons, under King Riothamus
Riothamus
Riothamus was a Romano-British military leader, who was active circa AD 470. He fought against the Goths in alliance with the declining Roman Empire. He is called "King of the Britons" by the 6th-Century historian Jordanes, but the extent of his realm is unclear...

, were successful and occupied Bourges
Bourges
Bourges is a city in central France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher and also was the capital of the former province of Berry.-History:...

 with twelve thousand men. However, when they entered the core of Visigoth territory, trying to conquer Déols
Déols
Déols is a commune in the Indre department in central France.Déols is an ancient town with a famous Benedictine abbey: Abbaye Notre-Dame-du-Bourg-Dieu...

, they were defeated by an outnumbering Visigoth army, and Riothamus was forced to flee to the Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

, who were Roman allies.

Anthemius took the matter into his own hands, and decided to attack the Visigoths directly. He collected an army under the nominal leadership of his own son, Anthemiolus
Anthemiolus
Anthemiolus was the son of the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius and Marcia Euphemia, daughter of the Eastern Roman emperor Marcian....

, but actually commanded by the generals Torisarius, Everdingus and Hermianus. Anthemiolus moved from Arelate and crossed the Rhone
Rhône
Rhone can refer to:* Rhone, one of the major rivers of Europe, running through Switzerland and France* Rhône Glacier, the source of the Rhone River and one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva in the far eastern end of the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

 river, but was intercepted by Euric, who defeated and killed the Roman generals and pillaged the area.

Internal affairs


If Africa was lost and the control over Western provinces was shaky, Anthemius' power over Italy was threatened by internal opposition; he was of Greek origin, had been chosen by the Eastern Emperor from among members of the Eastern court, and was suspected of being a pagan.

Relationship with the Roman Senate


In order to obtain the support of the senatorial aristocracy, Anthemius conferred the rank of patricius on members of the Italian and Gallic governing class. He introduced the practice, common in the East, of appointing even civilians to the patrician rank, and honoured so many members of the aristocracy with this title that it suffered a sort of inflation.

Among the new patricii there were, obviously, Italian senators, e.g. Romanus
Romanus (Usurper)
Romanus was a Roman usurper in the West Roman Empire who unsuccessfully rebelled against the Emperor Anthemius in 470 before being executed at Rome.- Career :...

 and Messius Phoebus Severus
Messius Phoebus Severus
Flavius Messius Phoebus Severus was a Roman politician and philosopher.- Biography :Born in Rome, he studied at the school of the platonic philosopher Proclus, in Alexandria; among the other students there were the Pagan poet Pamprepius , the military officer Marcellinus ,...

, but against common practice he also appointed Gallic senators and even aristocrats without noteworthy careers, e.g. Magnus Felix and the Gallic poet Sidonius Apollinaris. Sidonius had come to Rome to bring a petition from his people; his contact in the court, Consul Caecina Decius Basilius
Caecina Decius Basilius
Flavius Caecina Decius Basilius was a politician of the Western Roman Empire, Consul and twice Praetorian prefect of Italy.- Biography :Basilius belonged to the Italian nobility, and was member of the influential gens Caecina....

, suggested that he should compose a panegyric to be performed at the beginning of Anthemius' consulate, on January 1 468. The Emperor honoured the poet, conferring on him the patrician rank, the high rank of Caput senatus, and even the office of Praefectus urbi
Praefectus urbi
The praefectus urbanus or praefectus urbi, in English the urban prefect, was prefect of the city of Rome, and later also of Constantinople. The office originated under the Roman kings, continued during the Republic and Empire, and held high importance in late Antiquity...

of Rome, usually reserved to members of the Italian aristocracy. Sidonius was so influential that he convinced the Emperor to commute the death penalty of Arvandus
Arvandus
Arvandus was a Gaul who rose through the hierarchy of Imperial Roman society to twice be appointed Praetorian prefect of Gaul.On the first occasion, 461, he was appointed by Emperor Libius Severus. This appointment ended when Severus died in 465...

, the Praetorian prefect of Gaul who had allied himself with the Visigoths.

Coinage


The good relationship between the two Roman Emperors was good news in the recent affairs between the two halves of the Roman Empire, and was used in imperial propaganda. Anthemius had his mints (Mediolanum
Mediolanum
Mediolanum, the ancient Milan, was an important Celtic and then Roman centre of northern Italy. This article charts the history of the city from its settlement by the Insubres around 600 BC, through its conquest by the Romans and its development into a key centre of Western Christianity and capital...

, Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 and Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

) issue solidi
Solidus (coin)
The solidus was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans, and a weight measure for gold more generally, corresponding to 4.5 grams.-Roman and Byzantine coinage:...

depicting the two Emperor joining hands in a show of unity.

Anthemius had restored his court in Rome, and thus this mint became more and more important, overshadowing the other two mints.

Some coins are in the name of his wife Marcia Euphemia
Marcia Euphemia
Aelia Marcia/Marciana Euphemia was the wife of Anthemius, Western Roman Emperor.-Family:Marcia/Marciana Euphemia was the only known daughter of Marcian, Byzantine Emperor. The identity of her mother is unknown. Her stepmother was Pulcheria, second wife of her father. Pulcheria had taken a...

; among these there is a solidus depicting two Empresses on the thrones, probably a reference to Alypia's marriage.

Death


The most important figure at the Western court was Ricimer
Ricimer
Flavius Ricimer was a Germanic general who achieved effective control of the remaining parts of the Western Roman Empire, during the middle of the 5th century...

, the powerful magister militum, who had already decided the fate of several emperors. The new Emperor, however, had been chosen by the Eastern court, and, despite the bond of the marriage between Ricimer and Anthemius' daughter, Alypia, they were not on good terms. The tipping point of their relationship was the trial of Romanus
Romanus (Usurper)
Romanus was a Roman usurper in the West Roman Empire who unsuccessfully rebelled against the Emperor Anthemius in 470 before being executed at Rome.- Career :...

, an Italian senator, who was a patricius and was supported by Ricimer, whom Anthemius accused of treachery and condemned to death in 470. Ricimer had gathered 6,000 men for the war against the Vandals, and after the death of Romanus he moved with his men to the north, leaving Anthemius in Rome. Supporters of the two parties fought several brawls, but Ricimer and the emperor signed a one-year truce after the mediation of Epiphanius
Epiphanius of Pavia
Epiphanius of Pavia , later venerated as Saint Epiphanius of Pavia, was Bishop of Pavia from 466 until his death in 496. Epiphanius additionally held the offices of lector, subdeacon and deacon....

, the Bishop of Pavia.

At the beginning of 472, the struggle between them renewed, and Anthemius was obliged to feign an illness and took refuge in St. Peter's Basilica. The Eastern Roman Emperor, Leo I
Leo I (emperor)
Leo I was Byzantine Emperor from 457 to 474. A native of Dacia Aureliana near historic Thrace, he was known as Leo the Thracian ....

, sent Olybrius
Olybrius
Anicius Olybrius was Western Roman Emperor from April or May 472 to his death. He was in reality a puppet ruler, put on the throne by the Roman general of Germanic descent Ricimer, and was mainly interested in religion, while the actual power was held by Ricimer and his nephew Gundobad.-Family and...

 to mediate between Ricimer and Anthemius but, according to John Malalas, had sent a secret letter to Anthemius, urging him to kill Olybrius. Ricimer intercepted the letter, and showed it to Olybrius, and had him proclaimed Emperor. The struggle became an open war. Anthemius, with the aristocracy and the people of the city faced the Goth magister militum and the barbaric units of the army, which included Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

's men. Ricimer blockaded Anthemius in Rome; five months of fighting followed. Ricimer entered the city and succeeded in separating the port on the Tiber
Tiber
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Umbria and Lazio to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It drains a basin estimated at...

 from the Palatine
Palatine
A palatine or palatinus is a high-level official attached to imperial or royal courts in Europe since Roman times...

, starving the supporters of the Emperor. Both sides appealed to the army in Gaul, but the Magister militum per Gallias, the Burgundian Gundobad
Gundobad
Gundobad was King of the Burgundians , succeeding his father Gundioc of Burgundy. Previous to this, he had been a Patrician of the Western Roman Empire in 472–473, succeeding his uncle Ricimer.- Early life :...

, supported his uncle Ricimer. Anthemius elevated Bilimer to the rank of Rector Galliarum and had him enter Italy with the loyal army. Bilimer arrived in Rome, but died trying to prevent Ricimer entering the centre of the city from the other side of the Tiber, through the Pons Aelius
Pons Aelius
Pons Aelius or Newcastle Roman Fort was an auxiliary castra and small Roman settlement on Hadrian's Wall in the Roman province of Britannia Inferior...

 in front of the Mausoleum of Hadrian.

Losing any hope of external help and pressed by the scarcity of food, Anthemius tried to rally, but his men were defeated and killed in great numbers. The emperor fled for the second time to St. Peter's (or, according to other sources, to Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere is a titular minor basilica, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and perhaps the first in which mass was openly celebrated...

), where he was captured and beheaded by Gundobad or by Ricimer on 11 July 472.

Primary sources


Sources for Anthemius's life are richer than for most fifth century Western Emperors, partly because of his origin in Constantinople, where the tradition of court histories was kept alive, and partly because of the details that can be extracted from a panegyric delivered on January 1, 468 by the Gallo-Roman
Gallo-Roman culture
The term Gallo-Roman describes the Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman mores and way of life in a uniquely Gaulish context...

 poet Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

.
  • Gregory of Tours
    Gregory of Tours
    Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

    , Historia Francorum
  • Jordanes
    Jordanes
    Jordanes, also written Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th century Roman bureaucrat, who turned his hand to history later in life....

    , Getica
  • Sidonius Apollinaris
    Sidonius Apollinaris
    Gaius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius or Saint Sidonius Apollinaris was a poet, diplomat, and bishop. Sidonius is "the single most important surviving author from fifth-century Gaul" according to Eric Goldberg...

    , Epistulae and Carmen

Secondary sources