Romulus agustus Essay

This essay has a total of 935 words and 4 pages.

romulus agustus



Romulus Augustus was the son of the emperor Julius Nepos' Pannonian master general
Orestes. He is perhaps better known by his diminutive nickname, Romulus Augustulus, which
means, Little Augustus". It is one of the odd coincidences of history that Rome's first
and last emperor, in the West at least, should be named Augustus. Earlier in the year 475,
Orestes revolted against Nepos, who fled to Salona. Orestes put his son on the throne
instead of claiming it himself because he had no Roman blood but, having married a Roman
noblewoman, had a son in whose veins flowed at least some Roman blood. The boy, Romulus,
became the Roman emperor Romulus Augustus. Orestes was in turn betrayed by his master
general Odovacer, a barbarian of German descent. Orestes fled to Placentia but Odovacer
caught up with him and had him beheaded. The boy Romulus was allowed to live because he
was an inoffensive and good looking youth. Odovacer sent hi into comfortable retirement at
a Campanian villa and even provided him with a pension of 6,000 gold solidi a year. The
boy lived to see the next century, and died in 507. Such was not the case with the Roman
Empire of the West. Odovacer politely informed the Eastern emperor Zeno that the West had
no need of a separate emperor, and shipped the diadem, sceptre, and the rest of the
imperial regalia off to Constantinople. Zeno didn't do anything to stop Odovacer from
becoming in reality the first German king in Italy. It is doubtful that Zeno could have
done anything even if he had wanted to, since he would have to send an army over hundreds
of miles through hostile territory or risk the perils of a massive invasion by sea.
Instead, he very congenially bestowed the title of Patrician on the barbarian king and
went back to governing the East. During the first few hundred years of its existence, Rome
defended herself against neighboring tribes and barbarians from Gaul who wanted to overrun
and plunder the small Italian town built on seven hills along the River Tiber. That little
city grew to control a vast empire, first in Italy and Gaul, later encompassing most of
Europe, Asia Minor, and parts of Africa and the Middle East. During the last fifty years
of its existence, Rome dwindled to become once again a small Italian city surrounded by
hostile neighboring kingdoms. The population of the city had been steadily dwindling since
the first decade of the Fifth Century. Alaric the Visigoth had taken the city by force and
stayed for three days to plunder her wealth. Forty - five years later, Gaiseric the Vandal
again took the city and the cowardly emperor Petronius Maximus chose to flee instead of
defending the city. The invaders entered the gates unopposed, and stayed for two weeks
this time raping, plundering, and wreaking massive destruction. After the Vandals left,
the impoverished people that remained were only a fraction of the city’s former
population. In 457, the Western emperor Majorian looked out over his city, saddened by the
fact that the populace were stripping the magnificent buildings that remained of marble
and limestone for building materials. Even though he passed a law providing severe
penalties for this activity, people continued to mine the ruins of the city even through
the Eighteenth Century. Sheep and cows grazed in the forum where Cato the Elder, Cicero,
Julius Caesar Mark Antony, and Octavian once stood to deliver their speeches. Rome still
retained much of her splendor, though, up until the Byzantine emperor Justinian sent
Belisarius at the head of an army to retake the West. The destructive fighting between
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