Odoacer *King of Italy 476 – 493

Introduction

Odoacer, also known as Flavius Odoacer was the king of Italy from 476 to 493. He became an officer of the Roman army in 470. His ethnic origins were unknown but various scholars considered him from one of the East Germanic tribes like Scirii, Heruli, Rugii, and Gothi. Various researches showed that he was with Ricimer at the battle against Emperor Anthemius in 472. He was a soldier in the Roman army who ascended in the ranks and took part in a revolt against Orestes by leading his tribesmen. The revolt was against Orestes who didn’t keep his promise to give tribal lands in Italy.

Who was Odoacer?

He was the barbarian statesman who came into power by deposing Romulus Augustus. Various records showed how various groups of barbarians stopped on their way to Italy to pay respect to a holy man, Odoacer. According to Severinus, he was a young man with poor clothes. His reign was seen as the end of the Western Roman Empire. He was a German warrior and most probably part of the Sciri tribe. Later, he entered Italy and became a part of the Roman army.

Romulus Augustus

Romulus Augustus

Romulus Augustulus Crowned as Emperor

In 475, Orestes was appointed Magister Militum and patrician by the Roman emperor Julius Nepos. He was appointed as the head of the Germanic Foederati of Italy. At the end of this year, Orestes had rebelled against Nepos and was ready to appoint his young son Romulus the new emperor as Romulus Augustulus. Nepos received humiliation from Western Europe and particularly from Constantinople which refused to accept Augustulus. Zeno declared him and his father traitors. Later, Orestes was killed along with his brother Paulus and the majority of the Roman army proclaimed Odoacer as king of Italy.

Roman emperor Julius Nepos

Roman emperor Julius Nepos

The Revolt of Odoacer

Odoacer was a soldier in the Roman army when Orestes appointed his son as the new emperor. He revolted against Orestes and deposed Romulus Augustulus which resulted in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Odoacer was the first Germanic and non-Roman ruler of Italy. He was proclaimed king by his troops in 476. Orestes was captured and killed and Odoacer became the first barbaric king of Italy. He remained the king of Italy until his death in 493. As Odoacer became the emperor, he was seen as a rival by the Eastern Emperor Zeno.

Odoacer *King of Italy 476 - 493

Odoacer *King of Italy 476 – 493

Deposition of Augustulus

Odoacer was the first barbarian king of Italy which started a new era over Roman lands. He became the king of Italy by capturing and killing Orestes and deposing Augustulus. The deposition occurred in 476 AD which marked the end of the period of Western Roman sovereignty. In 476, Odoacer captured Italy and forced the new emperor Romulus to abdicate who was just 16 years old at that time.

Odoacer was moved by the youth and beauty of young Romulus and spared his life. He also granted him a pension and sent him to Campania to live with his relatives. The Eastern Emperor gave Odoacer the title of Patrician and granted him authority over Italy.