Abt 461 - Aft 507 (~ 47 years)
Has more than 250 ancestors and more than 250 descendants in this family tree.
||Romulus Augustus |
||Geneagraphie | Ahnen BvS
||19 Mar 2010 |
- letzter Ks. im Westen 475-576 (abgesetzt von Odoaker), dann Privatmann auf seinem Landgut bei Neapel mit einer Jahresrente von 6000 Solidi, lebte noch 507/11
Western Roman Emperor reigning from the 31 October 475 until his deposition on the 4 September 476. His deposition is used to mark the end of the Western Roman Empire , the fall of ancient Rome , and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.
The historical record contains few details of Romulus' life. He was installed as emperor by his father Orestes , the Magister militum (master of soldiers) of the Roman army after deposing the previous emperor Julius Nepos . Romulus, little more than a child, acted as a figurehead for his father's rule. Reigning for only ten months, Romulus was then deposed by the Germanic chieftain Odoacer and sent to live in the Castellum Lucullanum in Campania ; afterwards he disappears from the historical record.
Romulus' father Orestes was a Roman citizen, originally from Pannonia , who had served as a secretary and diplomat for Attila the Hun and later rose through the ranks of the Roman army. The future emperor was named Romulus after his maternal grandfather, a nobleman from Poetovio in Noricum . Many historians have noted the coincidence that the last western emperor bore the names of both Romulus , the legendary founder of Rome , and Augustus , its first emperor.
He is also known by his nickname "Romulus Augustulus", though he ruled officially as Romulus Augustus. The Latin suffix -ulus is a diminutive ; hence, Augustulus effectively means "Little Augustus". Some Greek writers even went so far as to corrupt his name sarcastically into "Momylos", or "little disgrace".
Orestes was appointed Magister militum by Julius Nepos in 475. Shortly after his appointment, Orestes launched a rebellion and captured Ravenna , the capital of the Western Roman Empire since 402, on 28 August 475. Nepos fled to Dalmatia , where his uncle had ruled a semi-autonomous state in the 460s. Orestes, however, refused to become emperor, "from some secret motive", according to historian Edward Gibbon . Instead, he installed his son on the throne on 31 October 475.
The empire they ruled had shrunk significantly over the previous 80 years. Imperial authority had retreated to the Italian borders and parts of southern Gaul , Italia and Gallia Narbonensis , respectivelly. The Eastern Empire treated its western counterpart as a client state . The Eastern Emperor Leo , who died in 474, had appointed the western emperors Anthemius and Julius Nepos , and Constantinople never recognized the new government. Neither Zeno nor Basiliscus , the two generals fighting for the eastern throne at the time of Romulus' accession, accepted him as ruler.
As a proxy for his father, Romulus made no decisions and left no monuments, though coins bearing his name were minted in Rome, Milan , Ravenna , and Gaul . Several months after Orestes took power, a coalition of Heruli , Scirian and Turcilingi mercenaries demanded that he give them a third of the land in Italy. When Orestes refused, the tribes revolted under the leadership of the Scirian chieftain Odoacer . Orestes was captured near Piacenza on 28 August 476 and swiftly executed .
Odoacer advanced to Ravenna, capturing the city and the youthful Emperor. Romulus was compelled to abdicate the throne on 4 September 476. This act has been used to mark the end of the Western Roman Empire, although Romulus' deposition did not cause any significant disruption at the time. Rome had already lost its hegemony over the provinces, Germans dominated the Roman army and Germanic generals like Odoacer had long been the real powers behind the throne . Italy would suffer far greater devastation in the next century when Emperor Justinian I re-conquered it.
After Romulus' abdication, the Roman Senate , on behalf of Odoacer, sent representatives to the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno. Zeno was asked by the senate to formally reunite the two halves of the Empire: "the west… no longer required an emperor of its own: one monarch sufficed for the world". He was also asked to make Odoacer a Patrician, and administrator of Italy in Zeno's name. Zeno pointed out that Senate should rightfully have first requested that Julius Nepos take the throne once more; but he nonetheless agreed to their requests. Odoacer then ruled Italy in Zeno's name.
Romulus' ultimate fate is unknown. The Anonymus Valesianus wrote that Odoacer, "taking pity on his youth", spared Romulus' life and granted him an annual pension of 6,000 solidi before sending him to live with relatives in Campania . Jordanes and Count Marcellinus , however, say Odoacer exiled Romulus to Campania, and do not mention any reward from the German king.
Cassiodorus , then a secretary to Theodoric the Great , wrote a letter to a "Romulus" in 507 confirming a pension. Thomas Hodgkin , a translator of Cassiodorus' works, wrote in 1886 that it was "surely possible" that the Romulus in the letter was the same person as the last western emperor. The letter would match the description of Odoacer's coup in the Anonymus Valesianus, and Romulus could have been alive in the early sixth century. But Cassiodorus does not supply any details about his correspondent or the size and nature of his pension, and Jordanes, whose history of the period abridges an earlier work by Cassiodorus, makes no mention of a pension. The connection between the last western emperor and the "Romulus" in this letter is, at best, uncertain.
As Romulus was an usurper, Julius Nepos was claimed to legally hold the title of emperor when Odoacer took power. However few of Nepos' contemporaries were willing to support his cause after he fled Italy . Some historians regard Julius Nepos, who ruled in Dalmatia until being murdered in 480, as the last lawful Western Roman Emperor.
Following Odoacer's coup, the Roman Senate sent a letter to Zeno , saying that "the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pervade and protect, at the same time, both the East and the West". While Zeno told the Senate that Nepos was their lawful sovereign, he did not press the point, and accepted the imperial insignia brought to him by the senate!