one of the phantom emperors of the latest period of the western empire.
Before his accession he held the office of Comes domesticorum, and is described by Theophanes as ἀνὴρ οὐκ ἀδόκιμος
("a man of good reputation").
After the death of the emperor Olybrius and the patrician Ricimer, Glycerius was instigated to assume the empire by Gundibatus or Gundobald the Burgundian, Ricimer's nephew. His elevation took place at Ravenna in March, A. D. 473. His reign was too short, and the records of it are too obscure, for us to form any trustworthy judgment of his character.
He showed great respect for Epiphanius, bishop of Ticinum or Pavia, at whose intercession he pardoned some individuals who had incurred his displeasure by some injury or insult offered to his mother. When Widemir, the Ostro-Goth, invaded Italy, Glycerius sent him several presents, and induced him to quit Italy and to march into Gaul, and incorporate his army with the Visi-Goths, who were already settled in that province.
This event, which is recorded by Jornandes, is, by Tillemont, but without any apparent reason, placed before the accession of Glycerius.
The eastern emperor Leo I., the Thracian, does not appear to have acknowledged Glycerius; and, by his direction, Julius Nepos was proclaimed emperor at Ravenna, either in the latter part of 473 or the beginning of 474. Nepos marched against Glycerius, and took him prisoner at Portus (the harbour of Rome at the mouth of the Tiber), and compelled him to become a priest.
He was appointed then, or soon afterward, to the bishoprick of Salona in Dalmatia.
The subsequent history of Glycerius is involved in some doubt. The Chronicon
of Marcellinus comprehends the notice of his deposition, ordination to the priesthood, and death in one paragraph, as if they had all happened in the same year.
But according to Malchus, he was concerned in the death of the emperor Nepos, who, after being driven from Italy by the patrician Orestes, preserved the imperial title, and apparently a fragment of the empire, at Salona, and was killed (A. D. 480) by his own followers, Viator and Ovida or Odiva, of whom the second was conquered and killed the year after by Odoacer. A Glycerius appears among the archbishops of Milan mentioned by Ennodius, and Gibbon, though with some hesitation, identities the archbishop with the ex-emperor, and suggests that his promotion to Milan was the reward of his participation in the death of Nepos; but we much doubt whether the two were identical. (Marcellinus, Marius Aventicensis and Cassiodorus, Chron.;
Jornand. de Reb. Get. 100.56, de Regn. Succ.
p. 58, ed. Lindenbregii, Hamb. 1611; Malchus and Candidus, apud Phot. Bibl.
codd. 78, 79; Evagr. H. E.
2.16; Ennod. Epiphan. Ticin. Vita
apud Sirmond. Opera Varia,
vol. i.; Excerpta Ignoti Auctoris,
subjoined to Amm. Marc., by Valesius and other editors; Eckhel; Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.
vol. vi.; Gibbon, 100.36.)