Romulus Augustulus


Romulus Augustulus, the diminutive of his name Romulus Augustus, is significant in Roman history only because he was the last Roman emperor of the West. He has crowned at Ravenna, which, along with Milan, had for a time replaced Rome as the western Roman emperor's city, on perhaps, May 31, A.D. 475. Romulus Augustulus was about 10-14 at the time. Providing Gibbon's date of A.D. 476 for the Fall of Rome, Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus the following year, but didn't even bother to assassinate him. Instead, Romulus Augustulus was probably sent to live in Campania, perhaps with a stipend.

When Romulus assumed the purple, he took the name Romulus Augustus, but was called (using the diminutive form) Romulus Augustulus because he was little. There were coins minted using this name. Romulus Augustulus had been installed on the throne by his father Orestes, who was Magister Militum 'Master of the Soldiers'. Odoacer killed Orestes on August 28, 476. Romulus Augustulus was deposed around September 4, 476. We don't know when Romulus Augustulus died. A communication made to the Ostrogothic king in the 6th century may have been made by Romulus Augustulus, so he may have lived until after 511.

The principle source for Romulus Augustulus is Anonymous Valesianus.

DIR: Romulus Augustulus

Also see: "Rome, Ravenna and the Last Western Emperors," by Andrew Gillett; Papers of the British School at Rome, Vol. 69, Centenary Volume (2001), pp. 131-167

Also Known As: Romulus Augustus


Romulus Augustulus bore the names of the first king and first emperor of Rome. His name makes his identification as the last emperor of Rome seem fitting, even more than the events.

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz