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On this page: Ricimer – Robigus – Roma



ad Horn. p. 237). A second mythical personage of this name is mentioned by Pausanias (ii. 6. § 4.) [L. S.]

RICIMER, one of the most extraordinary characters in later Roman history, and worthy of being called the Roman " King-Maker," was the son of a Suevian chief who had married the daughter of Wallia, king of the West Goths. He spent his youth at the court of the emperor Valen-tinian, served with distinction under Aetius, and was raised to the dignity of comes. His rare talents, boundless ambition, and daring courage urged him on to still higher eminence, and his treacherous disposition and systematic selfishness assisted him greatly in attaining his object. In a. d. 456, Ricimer gained a decisive naval victory off Corsica over a fleet of the Vandals, then at war with Avitus, and he defeated the land-forces of the Vandals near Agrigentum in Sicily, These victories made his name so popular that he resolved upon carrying out a scheme which he seems to have formed some time previously, namely, to de­pose Avitus, who had, ever since his accession, ceased to display his former great qualities, and had incurred the hatred and contempt of his sub­jects. After his return to Italy, Ricimer kindled a rebellion at Ravenna, gained the assistance of the Roman senate, and then set out to encounter Avitus, who approached from Gaul. A bloody battle was fought at Placentia, on the 16th (17th) October, 456, in which Avitus lost his crown and liberty. Ricimer made him bishop of Placentia, but soon afterwards contrived his death. Marcian, and after him Leo, emperors of the East, now as­sumed the title of Western emperors also ; but the power was with Ricimer, who might have seized the diadem, in spite of the law that no barbarian should be Roman emperor, but preferred to give it to Majorian. He had previously obtained the title of patrician from Leo, who also gave consent to the nomination of Majorian (475). A proof that the real power remained in Ricimer is given by Majorian himself, who in a letter to the senate, pre­served in the Codex Theodosianus, says that he and " his father Ricimer " would take proper care of military affairs. Majorian having displayed uncommon energy, and, to Ricimer, most unex­pected wisdom, the latter was filled with jealousy, and contrived the sudden and famous plot, in con­sequence of which Majorian lost his life by Rici-mer's order (461). Ricimer put Vibius Severus Serpentinus on the throne in his stead. The ac­cession of the new emperor was not approved of by Leo, and was contested by Aegidius, in Gaul, a province where Ricimer had not succeeded in obtaining more than nominal power. The revolt of Aegidius, however, was absorbed by other in­testine troubles in Gaul, and caused no danger to Italy. Severus died in 465, perhaps poisoned by Ricimer, and during eighteen months the empire was without an emperor, though not without a head, for that was always Ricimer's. The Ro­mans, however, were displeased with his despotism, and requested Leo to give them an emperor. An-themius was accordingly proposed and accepted, not only by the people, but also by Ricimer, wjio showed great diplomatic skill in this transaction: he made a sort of bargain with the successful can­didate, and promised to lend him his assistance on condition that Anthemius should give him his daughter in marriage. This was accordingly com-


plied with, and for some time the two supreme chiefs ruled peacefully together. Soon, however, their harmony was disturbed by jealousy, and Ricimer withdrew to Milan, ready to declare war against his father-in-law. St. Epiphanius reconciled them, and matters went on to their mutual satis­ faction till 472, when Leo got rid of his overbear­ ing minister, Aspar. This event made Ricimer reflect upon his own safety, for he justly appre­ hended that the western emperor would follow the example set by his colleague in the East. He therefore forthwith sallied out from Milan with a picked and devoted army, and laid siege to Rome. Even before the city was taken, Ricimer offered the diadem to Oiybrius, whom Leo had sent thither to negotiate a peace between the rivals. Anthemius was massacred some days after Rome had been taken by Ricimer and plundered by his warriors. Oiybrius now reigned as emperor as far as was possible under the over-hanging sword of the King-Maker ; but only forty days after the sack of Rome, Ricimer died of a malignant fever (18th August 472), after having made and unmade five Roman emperors. (The authorities quoted in the lives of anthemius, avitus, majorian us, olybrius, and severus.) [W. P.]

ROBIGUS (or fern. ROBPGO) is described by some Latin writers as a divinity worshipped for the purpose of averting blight or too great heat from the young cornfields. The festival of the Robigalia was celebrated on the 25th of April, and was said to have been instituted by Numa (Varro, de Ling. Lat. vi. 16 ; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. i. 151 ; Gellius, v. 12 ; Ov. Fast. iv. 907, 911). But considering the uncertainty of the ancients themselves as to whether the divinity was masculine or feminine, and that the Romans did not pay divine honours to any evil demon, it is highly probable that the divinity Robigus, or Robigo, is only an abstraction of the later Romans from the festival of the Robigalia. (Comp. Varro, de Re Rust. i. 2.) [L. S.] ROCUS, Q. CREPEREIUS. [crepereius.] ROCUS, ROMFLIUS. [romilius.j ROLES, a king of some tribes of the Getae, fought under Crassus, the proconsul of Macedonia, b. c. 29, against the neighbouring barbarians, and was recognised by Augustus as a friend and ally. According to Leunclavius, the name is the same as the Norman JRollo, and the German Rodolph. (Dion Cass. li. 24, 26.)

ROMA ('Po^r?). 1. The personification of the city of Rome, and as such called Dea Roma. Temples were erected to her, not only at Rome, but in other cities of the empire, such as Smyrna (Tac. Ann. iv. 56 ; Spartian. Hadr. 19). She was represented clad in a long robe, and with a helmet, in a sitting posture, strongly resembling the figures of the Greek Athena, She was in reality the genius of the city of Rome, and was worshipped as such from early times ; but it seems that previous to the time of Augustus, there was no temple de­dicated to her in the city ; but afterwards their number increased in all parts of the empire (Liv. xliii. 5 ; Tac. Ann. iv. 37; Dion Cass. li. p. 458 ; P. Vict. Reg. Urb. iv.). As Roma (pcS^io?) also sig­nified " strength," it is not impossible that the ode of Erinna, addressed to Roma, may be an ode to the personification of strength.

2. A Trojan captive, who advised her fellow-captives on the coast of Italy to set fire to the fleet

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