Ricimer (c. 405 – August 18, 472) (pronEng|ˈrikimer), was a Germanic general who was master of the Western Roman Empire during part of the fifth century.

Ricimer was an Arian Christian, the son of a prince of the Suebi. His mother was the daughter of Wallia, king of the Visigoths. His youth was spent at the court of the western Roman emperor Valentinian III, where he won distinction fighting under Flavius Aëtius, Valentinian's "magister militum" of the western portion of the Roman Empire.

The deaths of Valentinian and Aëtius in 454–55 created a power vacuum in the west. At first, Petronius Maximus attempted to seize control of the imperial throne, but he was killed when the Vandal king Geiseric sacked Rome in May of 455. Avitus was then made Emperor by the Visigoths. Following his arrival in Rome, Avitus appointed Ricimer as commander of the stricken Western Empire (by then reduced to Italy and a part of southern Gaul). He raised a new army and navy from among the Germanic mercenaries available to him.

After leaving Rome, Geiseric had left a powerful fleet blockading the Italian coast. In 456, Ricimer led his own fleet out to sea, and defeated the Vandals in a sea-fight near Corsica. He also defeated the Vandals on land near Agrigentum in Sicily. Backed by the popularity thus acquired, Ricimer gained the consent of the Roman Senate for an expedition against the emperor Avitus, whom he defeated in a bloody battle at Piacenza on October 16, 456. Avitus was taken prisoner, made bishop of Piacenza, and shortly afterwards sentenced to death. Ricimer then obtained from Leo I, the eastern emperor at Constantinople, the title of Patrician.

Ricimer spent the rest of his life as the "de facto" ruler of what was left of the western empire. However, the way in which he exercised power made him one of the most controversial figures of his time. As a Germanic tribesman, he could not assume the title of Augustus (emperor) himself; on the other hand, power over the Augustus in Rome gave him prestige and offered him some influence over the other Germanic peoples occupying Gaul, Hispania, and Northern Africa. This left him with two options — dissolve the western imperial court and rule officially as a "dux", or governor, of a single emperor in Constantinople, or set up his own figurehead emperors and rule through them. He chose to do the latter, even going so far as to have his name inscribed on the coinage along with the emperor.

In 457, Ricimer set up Majorian as his own emperor in the West and induced Leo to give his consent. However, Majorian proved to be a capable ruler and soon became uncomfortably independent. Majorian was defeated (possibly by treachery) by Geiseric near the modern city of Valencia, Spain, while trying to organize an expedition against him, in 461. Ricimer then forced him to abdicate and caused his assassination on August 7, 461. The successor whom Ricimer placed upon the throne was Libius Severus, who proved to be more docile than Majorian, but had to face the disapproval of Leo in the East and rivalry of Aegidius in Gaul. Upon Libius Severus' death in 465 — said to be due to poisoning by Ricimer — this emperor-maker ruled the West for eighteen months without an emperor.

Finally, after a lengthy debate in which he and Geiseric, now working together, tried to force their own candidate as emperor upon Leo, Ricimer accepted Leo's candidate Anthemius. He diplomatically married Anthemius' daughter, and for some time lived in peace with him.

Ricimer commanded a large portion of the Roman forces in an expedition mounted by Leo against Geiseric in 468. His behavior raised suspicions that Ricimer secretly wanted the expedition to fail, which it ultimately did.

Four years later, Ricimer moved to Mediolanum (Milan), ready to declare war upon Anthemius. St. Epiphanius, bishop of Milan, patched up a short-lived truce, after which Ricimer was again before Rome with an army of Germans. He proclaimed as emperor Olybrius, the candidate for emperor he and Geiseric had once favored. After a three months' siege, he took the city, on July 1, 472. Anthemius was killed. However, Ricimer died less than two months later of malignant fever. His title of Patrician was assumed by his nephew Gundobad.

Ricimer defended the provinces against the Ostrogoths and the Alani, and decorated the Arian church of Sant'Agata in Rome, later known as "Sant'Agata of the Goths".


Ricimer married Alypia, a daughter of Anthemius and Marcia Euphemia. They had no known children. [ [http://www.roman-emperors.org/anthemiu.htm Ralph W. Mathisen, "Anthemius (12 April 467 - 11 July 472 A.D.)"] ]



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  • Ricimer — Ricimer,   Rikimer, Flavius, weströmischer Heerführer, ✝ 18. 8. 472; Sohn eines Swebenfürsten und einer westgotischen Prinzessin; war seit 456 Magister militum, seit 457 Patricius; stürzte 456 den weströmischen Kaiser Avitus und 461 dessen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ricĭmer — Ricĭmer, 1) Sohn eines suevischen Häuptlings; diente unter dem römischen Kaiser Avitus gegen die Vandalen, deren Flotte er an der korsischen Küste vernichtete, setzte 456 n. Chr. den Kaiser ab u. 457 Majorian u. 461 Severus ein; er riß unter… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ricĭmer — Ricĭmer, weström Heerführer, Sohn eines suevischen Häuptlings u. einer Tochter des Westgotenkönigs Wallia, 16 Jahre lang der Leiter der Geschicke Italiens, hauptsächlich durch die Mittel der Intrige. R, vernichtete als Feldherr des römischen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ricimer — Ricĭmer, weström. Heerführer, beherrschte seit 454 tatsächlich das Weström. Reich, gest. 472 …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ricimer — Ricimer, Sohn eines suevischen Anführers, wurde nach des Aëtius Ermordung röm. Oberfeldherr, nöthigte 456 den Kaiser Avitus zur Abdankung, ermordete 461 den Kaiser Majorian und setzte den Severus ein, der schon 463 st., wurde dann Schwiegersohn… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Ricimer — Libius Severus auf einem As. Auf der Rückseite ist das Ricimer Monogram eingeprägt. Ricimer oder Rikimer (* um 405; † 18. August 472) war Magister militum (Heermeister) des weströmischen Reichs im 5. Jahrhundert …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ricimer — orig. Flavius Ricimer died Aug. 18, 472 Roman general. The son of a Visigothic princess and a Germanic chieftain, he rose high in the Roman army, but he was barred from the imperial throne as a barbarian and instead became a kingmaker in the… …   Universalium

  • Ricimer — (d. 472)    Roman military leader of Germanic descent, Ricimer (in full, Flavius Ricimer) was the power behind the throne in the Western Empire from 456 until his death in 472. Although an Arian Christian and a barbarian and therefore… …   Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

  • Ricimer —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Richomer.  Flavius Ricimerus Pays Empire Romain d Occident Titre Patrice des Romains (456 472) Grade militaire Général …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ricimer — orig. Flavius Ricimer (m. 18 ago. 472). General romano. Hijo de una princesa visigoda y de un caudillo germano, ascendió a posiciones de alto rango en el ejército romano, pero se le impidió llegar al trono imperial por ser bárbaro, a cambio de lo …   Enciclopedia Universal

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