He had distinguished himself as a general by victories over the Franks and Alemanni, and six months after the deposition of Avitus he was declared emperor by the regent Ricimer, which created problems with Emperor Leo in Constantinople who declared Majorian a usurper. Problems arising from this would last for the better part of Majorian's short reign.
Having during his stay in Gaul defeated Theodoric the Visigoth and then concluded an alliance with him, at the beginning of 461 he crossed the Pyrenees with the purpose of joining the powerful fleet which he had collected at Cartagena. The Vandal king Geiseric, however, after all overtures of peace had been rejected, succeeded through the treachery of certain officers in surprising the Roman fleet, most of the ships being either taken or destroyed.
Majorian thereupon made peace with Geiseric. But his ill-success had destroyed his military reputation; his efforts to put down abuses and improve the condition of the people had roused the hatred of the officials; and Ricimer, jealous of his fame and influence, stirred up the foreign troops against him.
Majorian was the author of a number of remarkable laws, contained in the Codex Theodosianus. He remitted all areas of taxes, the collection of which was for the future placed in the hands of the local officials. He revived the institution of defensores or administrators of cities, whose duty it was to protect the poor and inform the emperor of abuses committed in his name. The practice of pulling down the ancient monuments to be used as building material, which was connived at by venal officials, was strictly prohibited. He also passed laws against compulsory ordination and premature vows of celibacy.
Low roads lead to Rome: the most exalted of all Roman politicians was a master of dirty politics.('Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician')
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