Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Emperor Marjorian

Today is the anniversary of the violent death of the Emperor Marjorian in 461. 

To my regret I know relatively little of late Roman imperial history, so researching his short but spectacular career was an interesting learning curve for me. Marjorian is usually seen as the last real hope of the Western Empire, and Gibbon, usually abstemious with praise, lauded him as an heroic figure.

There are online lives of him at Majorian from Wikipedia, and a more detailed, academic one, at Majorian

There is an interpretive essay about his life at The Magnificence of Majorian, Conquests and Conspiracies and there is a short YouTube video about him at Majorian: The Last Great Emperor

I was particularly struck by his legislation to protect public and historic monuments in Rome - although he was based as Emperor in Ravenna - and his must surely be one of the first governments to do so. The legislation is set out in the Wikipedia article, and its draconian sanctions and its requirements for the return of purloined property make him a man after my own heart. Not just a heroic Roman Emperor but a hero for conservationists...

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