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September 4 - End of the West-Roman Empire

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: September 4 - End of the West-Roman Empire
    Posted: 04-Sep-2005 at 03:05
On September 4, 476 the West-Roman Empire came to an end, when its Emperor Romulus Augustulus abdicated.
Unlike the East-Roman Empire that lasted for another thousand turbulent years and went out with a bang in 1453, the Western just faded away, slowly and quietly; and its last Emperor didnt die the heroic death of the last Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Dragases who died on the walls of Constantinople defending his city against the Ottomans, Romulus just retired to his estates near Naples to dedicate the rest of his life to the breeding of chicken. His nickname, Romulus the tiny Augustus already suggests that the last West-Roman Emperor was not a towering giant in Roman history. Throughout his undistinguished twelve month rule, he had been nothing more than a puppet of his father, Orestes, who had pushed his fourteen year old son onto the throne.
Orestes was the half Germanic magister militum of the Empire, and thus in command of the barbarian mercenaries that in the 5th century not only were the sole military force, but also most significant political power in Italy.
His predecessors , men like Stilicho, Ricimer or Gundobad, had virtually ruled the West-Roman Empire, and in rapid succession gone through a whole number of stooges on the throne, appointed and dismissed by whim, that only bore the title emperor in name, in practice however wielded no Imperial power whatsoever.
Orestes had filled the vacuum that Gundobad had left who had returned home to rule his Burgundians, when in 475 he was appointed leader of the Imperial forces by the reigning Emperor Julius Nepus, who graced the throne courtesy to an intervention by the East-Romans. Julius Nepos came to regret his choice almost immediately when Orestes mercenaries rose in a revolt and forced the Emperor to flee Italy to seek safety in his native Dalmatia where he stayed put and ruled, still the de facto West-Roman Emperor till 480.
Orestes, possibly due to his half-barbarian origins wasnt deemed suitable for the throne, and so his son Romulus was chosen to head the family enterprise. Unfortunately, Orestes own troops now wanted a greater share of Italys riches and they demanded not only land, but also to be given Foederati status in Italy. Orestes refused and his troops acclaimed Odoacer as their new leader. Odoacers forces captured and murdered Orestes near Piacenza on August 28 took the capital Ravenna a few days later, and on September 4 Odoacer forced Romulus Augustulus to abdicate.



The Abdication of Romulus Agustulus, as seen in a German 19th century lithography.No guarantee of authenticity.


Odoacer was acclaimed King of Italy by his men and thus didnt think it necessary to appoint a new Emperor. It says a lot about Romulus status, that Orestes didnt even deem him important enough to have him killed, and though the last West-Roman Emperor left historys stage quietly through a back door, much like the whole Empire itself. It must be doubted than anyone in Italy or in the old Roman provinces in Western-Europe noticed this historical event, or indeed mourned the Empires demise. Augustulus abdication just ended the farce that the West-Roman Empire had been in its last century, and finally acknowledged the fact that in the West the Roman world was now ruled by barbarian chieftains. The East-Romans continued as normal, in their self-understanding Constantinople, the New Rome, was the only worthy and legitimate heir of the Roman Empire anyway, and when they briefly regained the sovereignty over Italy fifty years later, Italy just became a province of their Empire.



The Roman world in 476 AD


What else happened on this day?


1886 The Apache leader Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles at Skeleton Canyon, Ariz. This ended the last major US-Indian war.

1870 During the Franco-German War of 1870/71 Emperor Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, is deposed after been captured by German troops and the Third Republic declared by France.


Full list:

Wikipedia
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Constantine XI View Drop Down
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Sep-2005 at 22:01
That is one reason I cannot accept the Roman Empire as ending in 476, 1453 was that dramatic and defining moment in history which properly befits such a nation as the Roman Empire.
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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2005 at 01:06
What happened to the Western Roman Empire just does not seem fair for all those who came before Romulus Augustus. It made the accomplishments of people like Julius Ceasar, Aetius, and Hadrian seem like they were not worth fighting for. 
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  Quote Nagyfejedelem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2005 at 12:30
Orestes was the secretary of Attila. Edika-father of Odoacer-was a vasall of Attila. It's interesting that under the Huns borned the Germanic dinasties. But Germanic tribes survived more ages than the Huns.
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  Quote Heraclius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Sep-2005 at 19:39

 It is difficult to feel sad when the western empire finally expired a complete contrast to when the eastern empire is destroyed.

 Its hard to see how the empire survived aslong as it did, enfeebled for decades im suprised the Germanics who had infiltrated deep throughout Roman society didnt just end this farce earlier.

 I dont see much point in propping up a decaying state that was doomed anyway, why not just depose the Emperor earlier and put a German on the throne? they were infinitely more worthy to imperial power than their Roman counterparts by now anyway I doubt the Italian populace had much love for the empire anyway so I dont see why theyd of objected to a *barbarian* emperor.

A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough.
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Sep-2005 at 21:11

I see only a few reasons why the Germans didn't do it earlier. Basically before the Byzantine expedition under Basilacius the German clique of military men in Italy would always have the Byzantine army to fear if they upset the window dressing of the situation.

It was refreshing that he chose to take the title rex rather than imperator. Shows he just understood the realities of his power in the world.

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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Sep-2012 at 20:15

1957: Ford Edsel introduced. Even when it was fitted with a new grill, it was a fugly car
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