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FLAVIUS ODOACER (c. 433 – 493 AD), also known as FLAVIUS ODOVACER or ODOVACAR (Italian : _Odoacre_, Latin : _Odoacer, Odoacar, Odovacar, Odovacris_ ), was a soldier who in 476 became the first King of Italy
Italy
(476–493). His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
. Though the real power in Italy
Italy
was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of the Emperor in Constantinople
Constantinople
. Odoacer
Odoacer
generally used the Roman honorific _patrician,_ granted by the Emperor Zeno , but is referred to as a king (Latin : _rex_) in many documents and he himself used it in the only surviving official document emanated from his chancery; also it was used by the consul Basilius . Odoacer
Odoacer
introduced few important changes into the administrative system of Italy. He had the support of the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
and was able to distribute land to his followers without much opposition. Unrest among his warriors led to violence in 477–478, but no such disturbances occurred during the later period of his reign. Although Odoacer
Odoacer
was an Arian Christian , he rarely intervened in the affairs of the orthodox and trinitarian state church of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
.

Probably of Scirian descent, Odoacer
Odoacer
was a military leader in Italy who led the revolt of Herulian , Rugian , and Scirian soldiers that deposed Romulus Augustulus
Romulus Augustulus
on 4 September AD 476. Augustulus had been declared Western Roman Emperor by his father, the rebellious general of the army in Italy, less than a year before, but had been unable to gain allegiance or recognition beyond central Italy. With the backing of the Roman Senate, Odoacer
Odoacer
thenceforth ruled Italy
Italy
autonomously, paying lip service to the authority of Julius Nepos , the last Western emperor, and Zeno, the emperor of the East. Upon Nepos's murder in 480 Odoacer
Odoacer
invaded Dalmatia , to punish the murderers. He did so, executing the conspirators, but within two years also conquered the region and incorporated it into his domain.

When Illus , master of soldiers of the Eastern Empire, asked for Odoacer’s help in 484 in his struggle to depose Zeno, Odoacer invaded Zeno’s westernmost provinces. The emperor responded first by inciting the Rugi of present-day Austria
Austria
to attack Italy
Italy
. During the winter of 487–488 Odoacer
Odoacer
crossed the Danube
Danube
and defeated the Rugi in their own territory. Zeno also appointed the Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great who was menacing the borders of the Eastern Empire, to be king of Italy, turning one troublesome, nominal vassal against another. Theoderic invaded Italy
Italy
in 489 and by August 490 had captured almost the entire peninsula, forcing Odoacer
Odoacer
to take refuge in Ravenna . The city surrendered on 5 March 493; Theoderic invited Odoacer
Odoacer
to a banquet of reconciliation and there killed him.

Odoacer
Odoacer
is the earliest ruler of Italy
Italy
for whom an autograph of any of his legal acts has survived to the current day. The larger portion of a record of Odoacer
Odoacer
granting properties in Sicily
Sicily
and the island of Melita on the Adriatic coast to Pierius and issued in 488, was written in his reign.

CONTENTS

* 1 Ethnic affiliation * 2 Before Italy
Italy
* 3 Leader of the _foederati_ * 4 King of Italy
King of Italy
* 5 Fall and death * 6 Odoacer\'s donation to Pierius * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 Further reading * 10 Other resources * 11 External links

ETHNIC AFFILIATION

Except for the fact that he was not considered _Roman_, Odoacer's ethnic origins are not completely known. Both the _Anonymus Valesianus _ and John of Antioch state his father's name was Edeko . However, it is unclear whether this Edeko is identical to one—or both—men of the same name who lived at this time: one was an ambassador of Attila
Attila
to the court in Constantinople
Constantinople
, and escorted Priscus and other Imperial dignitaries back to Attila's camp; the other, according to Jordanes , is mentioned with Hunulfus as chieftains of the Scirii , who were soundly defeated by the Ostrogoths at the river Bolia in Pannonia sometime in the late 460s. Since Sebastian Tillemont in the 17th century, all three have been considered to be the same person. In his _ Getica
Getica
_, Jordanes describes Odoacer
Odoacer
as king of the Turcilingi (_Turc-ilingi or Torcilingorum rex_). However, in his _Romana _, the same author defines him as a member of the Rugii (_ Odoacer
Odoacer
genere Rogus_). The _Consularia Italica _ calls him king of the Heruli , while Theophanes appears to be guessing when he calls him a Goth . Marcellinus Comes calls him "the king of the Goths" (_ Odoacer
Odoacer
rex Gothorum_).

Reynolds and Lopez explored the possibility that Odoacer
Odoacer
was not Germanic in their 1946 paper published by _The American Historical Review _, making several arguments that his ethnic background might lie elsewhere. One of these is that his name, "Odoacer", for which an etymology in Germanic languages
Germanic languages
had not been convincingly found, could be a form of the Turkish "Ot-toghar" ("grass-born" or "fire-born"), or the shorter form "Ot-ghar" ("herder"). Other sources believe the name Odoacer
Odoacer
is derived from the Germanic _ Audawakrs _, from _aud-_ "wealth" and _wakr-_ "vigilant". This form finds a cognate in another Germanic language, the titular _Eadwacer_ of the Old English poem _Wulf and Eadwacer_ (where Old English renders the earlier Germanic sound _au-_ as _ea-_).

Odoacer's identity as a Hun was then accepted by a number of authorities, such as E. A. Thompson and J. M. Wallace-Hadrill —despite Otto J. Maenchen-Helfen 's objection that personal names were not an infallible guide to ethnicity. Subsequently, while reviewing the primary sources in 1983, Bruce Macbain proposed that while his mother might have been Scirian and his father Thuringian , in any case he was not a Hun.

BEFORE ITALY

Possibly the earliest recorded incident involving Odoacer
Odoacer
is from a fragment of a chronicle preserved in the _Decem Libri Historiarum_ of Gregory of Tours . Two chapters of his work recount, in a confused or confusing manner, a number of battles fought by King Childeric I of the Franks, Aegidius
Aegidius
, Count Paul, and one "Adovacrius" or "Odovacrius". If this is an account of Aegidius' victory over the Visigoths , otherwise known from the _Chronicle_ of Hydatius , then this occurred in 463. Reynolds and Lopez in their article mentioned above, suggested that this "Adovacrius" or "Odovacrius" may be the same person as the future king of Italy. This suggestion has been accepted by some scholars; it appears to explain why Lewis Thorpe named this person "Odoacer" in his translation of Gregory's work.

The first certain act recorded for Odoacer
Odoacer
was shortly before he arrived in Italy. Eugippius , in his _Life of Saint Severinus_, records how a group of barbarians on their way to Italy
Italy
had stopped to pay their respect to the holy man. Odoacer, at the time "a young man, of tall figure, clad in poor clothes", learned from Severinus that he would one day become famous. When Odoacer
Odoacer
took his leave, Severinus made one final comment which proved prophetic: "Go to Italy, go, now covered with mean hides; soon you will make rich gifts to many."

LEADER OF THE _FOEDERATI_

By 470, Odoacer
Odoacer
had become an officer in what remained of the Roman Army. Although Jordanes writes of Odoacer
Odoacer
as invading Italy
Italy
"as leader of the Sciri, the Heruli and allies of various races", modern writers describe him as being part of the Roman military establishment, based on John of Antioch 's statement that Odoacer
Odoacer
was on the side of Ricimer at the beginning of his battle with the emperor Anthemius
Anthemius
in 472. Procopius goes as far as describing him as one of the Emperor's bodyguards. Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
resigns the Crown (from a 19th-century illustration).

When Orestes was in 475 appointed _ Magister militum
Magister militum
_ and patrician by the Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos , he became head of the Germanic _foederati _ of Italy
Italy
(the Scirian—Herulic _foederati_). However, Orestes proved to be ambitious, and before the end of that year Orestes had driven Nepos from Italy. Orestes then proclaimed his young son Romulus the new emperor as Romulus Augustus, called "Augustulus" (31 October). However, Nepos reorganized his court in Salona , Dalmatia and received homage and affirmation from the remaining fragments of the Western Empire beyond Italy
Italy
and, most importantly, from Constantinople, which refused to accept Augustulus and branded him and his father as traitors and usurpers.

About this time the _foederati_, who had been quartered on the Italians all of these years, had grown weary of this arrangement. In the words of J. B. Bury , "They desired to have roof-trees and lands of their own, and they petitioned Orestes to reward them for their services, by granting them lands and settling them permanently in Italy". Orestes refused their petition, and they turned to Odoacer
Odoacer
to lead their revolt against Orestes. Orestes was killed at Placentia and his brother Paulus outside Ravenna
Ravenna
. The Germanic _foederati,_ the Scirians and the Heruli, as well as a large segment of the Italic Roman army, then proclaimed Odoacer
Odoacer
_rex Italiae_ ("king of Italy"). In 476 Odoacer
Odoacer
advanced to Ravenna
Ravenna
and captured the city, compelling the young emperor Romulus to abdicate on September 4. According to the _Anonymus Valesianus_, Odoacer
Odoacer
was moved by Romulus's youth and his beauty to not only spare his life but give him a pension of 6,000 _solidii _ and sent him to Campania
Campania
to live with his relatives. Odoacer
Odoacer
solidus struck in the name of Emperor Zeno , testifying to the formal submission of Odoacer
Odoacer
to Zeno.

Following Romulus Augustus's deposition, according to the historian Malchus , upon hearing of the accession of Zeno to throne, the Senate in Rome sent an embassy to the Eastern Emperor and bestowed upon him the Western imperial insignia. The message was clear: the West no longer required a separate Emperor, for "one monarch sufficed the world". In response, Zeno accepted their gifts observing "the Western Romans had received two men from the Eastern Empire and had driven out one and killed the other, Anthemius." The Eastern Emperor conferred upon Odoacer
Odoacer
the title of Patrician and granted him legal authority to govern Italy
Italy
in the name of Rome. Zeno also suggested that Odoacer should receive Nepos back as Emperor in the West "if he truly wished to act with justice." Although he accepted the title of Patrician, Odoacer
Odoacer
did not invite Julius Nepos to return to Rome, and the latter remained in Dalmatia until his death. Odoacer
Odoacer
was careful to observe form, however, and made a pretence of acting on Nepos's authority, even issuing coins with his image. Following Nepos's murder in 480, Zeno legally abolished the co-emperorship and ruled as sole Emperor.

Bury, however, disagrees that Odoacer's assumption of power marked the fall of the Roman Empire:

It stands out prominently as an important stage in the process of the dismemberment of the Empire. It belongs to the same catalogue of chronological dates which includes A.D. 418, when Honorius settled the Goths in Aquitaine , and A.D. 435, when Valentinian ceded African lands to the Vandals
Vandals
. In A.D. 476 the same principle of disintegration was first applied to Italy. The settlement of Odovacar's East Germans, with Zeno's acquiescence, began the process by which Italian soil was to pass into the hands of Ostrogoths and Lombards
Lombards
, Franks
Franks
and Normans . And Odovacar's title of king emphasised the significance of the change.

KING OF ITALY

"Kingdom of Italy
Italy
(476–493)" redirects here. For other uses, see Kingdom of Italy
Italy
(other) .

Kingdom of Italy

_Regnum Italicum_

Vassal state of the Eastern Roman Empire

476–493

The Kingdom of Italy
Italy
(Odoacer) in 480 AD.

CAPITAL Ravenna
Ravenna

LANGUAGES Latin Vulgar Latin Gothic

RELIGION Arianism Chalcedonian Christianity

GOVERNMENT Monarchy
Monarchy

REX

• 476–493 AD Odoacer

LEGISLATURE Senate

HISTORICAL ERA Late Antiquity

• Battle of Ravenna
Ravenna
2 September 476

Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
abdicates 4 September 476

Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great
assassinates Odoacer 2 February 493

CURRENCY Solidus

PRECEDED BY SUCCEEDED BY

_ Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire

Ostrogothic Kingdom

TODAY PART OF Various countries

* Italy
Italy
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France
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Germany
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Switzerland
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Slovenia
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Serbia
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Hungary
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Czech Republic
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Slovakia
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Croatia
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Montenegro
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Austria
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San Marino
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Vatican City
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Liechtenstein
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Monaco

PART OF A SERIES ON THE

HISTORY OF ITALY

Ancient

* Prehistoric Italy
Italy
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Ancient Rome
(753 BC–476 AD)

Medieval

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Italy
in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages

* Kingdom

* Odoacer\'s * Ostrogothic * Vandal * Lombard

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Italy
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Italy
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Italian Wars
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Italy
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Timeline Italy
Italy
portal

* v * t * e

In 476, Odoacer
Odoacer
became the first barbarian King of Italy
King of Italy
, initiating a new era. Unlike most of the last emperors, he acted decisively. According to Jordanes, at the beginning of his reign he "slew Count Bracila at Ravenna
Ravenna
that he might inspire a fear of himself among the Romans." He took many military actions to strengthen his control over Italy
Italy
and its neighboring areas. He achieved a solid diplomatic coup by inducing the Vandal king Gaiseric
Gaiseric
to cede to him Sicily. Noting that "Odovacar seized power in August of 476, Gaiseric
Gaiseric
died in January 477, and the sea usually became closed to navigation around the beginning of November", F.M. Clover dates this cession to September or October 476. When Julius Nepos was murdered by two of his retainers in his country house near Salona (May 480), Odoacer
Odoacer
assumed the duty of pursuing and executing the assassins, and at the same time established his own rule in Dalmatia.

As Bury points out, "It is highly important to observe that Odovacar established his political power with the co-operation of the Roman Senate, and this body seems to have given him their loyal support throughout his reign, so far as our meagre sources permit us to draw inferences." He regularly nominated members of the Senate to the Consulate and other prestigious offices: "Basilius , Decius , Venantius , and Manlius Boethius held the consulship and were either Prefects of Rome or Praetorian Prefects; Symmachus and Sividius were consuls and Prefects of Rome; another senator of old family, Cassiodorus, was appointed a minister of finance." A. H. M. Jones also notes that under Odoacer
Odoacer
the Senate acquired "enhanced prestige and influence" in order to counter any desires for restoration of Imperial rule. As the most tangible example of this renewed prestige, for the first time since the mid-3rd century copper coins were issues with the legend _S(enatus) C(onsulto)_. Jones describes these coins as "fine big copper pieces", which were "a great improvement on the miserable little _nummi _ hitherto current", and not only were they copied by the Vandals
Vandals
in Africa, but they formed the basis of the currency reform by Anastasius in the Eastern Empire.

Although Odoacer
Odoacer
was an Arian Christian , his relations with the Chalcedonian church hierarchy were remarkably good. As G.M. Cook notes in her introduction to Magnus Felix Ennodius ' _Life of Saint Epiphanius_, he showed great esteem for Bishop Epiphanius : in response to the bishop's petition, Odoacer
Odoacer
granted the inhabitants of Liguria
Liguria
a five-year immunity from taxes, and again granted his requests for relief from abuses by the praetorian prefect . "One wonders at brevity," observes Cook. "To the thirteen years of Odovacar's mastery of Italy... a period which embraced nearly half the episcopate of Epiphanius—Ennodius devotes but eight sections of the _vita_ (101–107), five of which are taken up with the restoration of the churches." Cook uses Ennodius' brevity as an _argumentum ex silentio _ to prove that Odoacer
Odoacer
was very supportive of the Church. "Ennodius was a loyal supporter of Theoderic . Any oppression, therefore, on the part of Odovacar would not be passed over in silence." She concludes that Ennodius' silence "may be construed as an unintentional tribute to the moderation and tolerance of the barbarian king." The biography of Pope Felix III in the _ Liber Pontificalis _ openly states that the pontiff's tenure fell during Odoacer's reign without any complaints about the king.

In 487, Odoacer
Odoacer
led his army to victory against the Rugians in Noricum
Noricum
, taking their king Feletheus into captivity; when word that Feletheus' son, Fredericus, had returned to his people, Odoacer
Odoacer
sent his brother Onoulphus with an army back to Noricum
Noricum
against him. Onoulphus found it necessary to evacuate the remaining Romans and resettled them in Italy. The remaining Rugians fled and took refuge with the Ostrogoths; the abandoned province was settled by the Lombards
Lombards
by 493.

* v * t * e

Kingdoms established after Migration Period
Migration Period

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Great Bulgaria
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Cornouaille
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Italy
* Gaelic Ireland * Khazar Khaganate * Lombard Kingdom * Petty kingdoms of Norway * Suevian Kingdom * Ostrogothic Kingdom * Rugian Kingdom * Saxonian Duchy * Thuringii Kingdom * Vandal Kingdom * Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom

* v * t * e

Former states of the Italian Peninsula, Savoy, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily
Sicily
and Malta

Ancient History and early Middle Ages
Middle Ages

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Roman Kingdom
(753 BC–509 BC)

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Roman Republic
(509 BC–27 BC)

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Italy
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Roman Empire
(27 BC–395 AD)

* Praetorian prefecture of Italy
Italy
(337 AD–584 AD) * Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
(285 AD–476 AD)

Post-Roman states

ITALIAN KINGDOM

* Odoacer\'s rule (476–493) * Ostrogothic rule (493–553) * Vandal rule (435–534)

* Lombard rule (568–774)

* Duchy of Benevento
Duchy of Benevento
* Duchy of Friuli * Duchy of Ivrea * Duchy of Spoleto * Duchy of Tridentum

Holy Roman rule (800/962–1806), Papal States
Papal States
and other independent states

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Marquisate of Finale
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Duchy of Massa and Carrara
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County of Savoy
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Republic of Siena
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Trento
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Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
(395–1453)

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Ravenna
(584–751)

* Duchy of Rome (533–751) * Duchy of Perugia (554–752) * Duchy of the Pentapolis (554–752)

* Exarchate of Africa
Exarchate of Africa
(585–698)

REPUBLIC OF VENICE (697–1797)

* Dogado * Stato da Màr * Domini di Terraferma

Southern Italy (774–1139)

BYZANTINE

* Duchy of Amalfi * Duchy of Gaeta * Catepanate of Italy
Italy
* Longobardia * Theme of Lucania * Duchy of Naples
Duchy of Naples
* Sicily
Sicily
(theme) and Byzantine Sicily
Sicily
* Duchy of Sorrento

ARAB

* Emirate of Bari * Emirate of Sicily
Sicily

LOMBARD

* Principality of Benevento * Principality of Salerno * Principality of Capua

NORMAN

* County of Apulia and Calabria * County of Aversa * County of Sicily
Sicily
* Principality of Taranto

Sardinia and Corsica (9th century–1420)

* Giudicati

* Giudicato of Agugliastra * Giudicato of Arborea * Giudicato of Cagliari * Giudicato of Gallura * Giudicato of Logudoro

* Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica * Corsican Republic (1755–1769)

Kingdom of Sicily
Sicily
(1130–1816) and Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
(1282–1816)

* State of the Presidi
State of the Presidi
* Duke of San Donato * Duchy of Sora * Principality of Taranto * Neapolitan Republic (1647–1648) * Malta under the Order * Gozo * Malta Protectorate * Crown Colony of Malta

French Revolutionary and Napoleonic era (1792–1815)

REPUBLICS

* Alba * Ancona * Bergamo * Bologna * Brescia * Cisalpinia * Cispadania * Crema * Italy
Italy
* Liguria
Liguria
* Lucca * Parthenopea * Piedmont * Rome * Subalpinia * Tiberinia * Transpadania

MONARCHIES

* Benevento * Etruria * Guastalla * Italy
Italy
* Lucca and Piombino * Massa and Carrara * Naples
Naples
* Pontecorvo * Tuscany * Elba * Corsica

POST-NAPOLEONIC STATES

* Duchy of Genoa (1815–1848) * Duchy of Lucca (1815–1847) * Duchy of Massa and Carrara
Duchy of Massa and Carrara
(1814–1829) * Duchy of Modena and Reggio (1814–1859) * Duchy of Parma (1814–1859) * Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1815–1859) * Italian United Provinces (1831) * Provisional Government of Milan (1848) * Republic of San Marco
Republic of San Marco
(1848–1849) * Roman Republic
Roman Republic
(1849) * United Provinces of Central Italy
Italy
(1859–1860) * Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
(1814–1860) * Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
(1816–1861) * Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia (1815–1866) * Papal States
Papal States
(1814–1870)

* Kingdom of Italy
Italy
(1861–1946)

* Italian Empire (1869–1946)

* Free State of Fiume (1920–1924) * Italian Social Republic (1943–1945) * Free Territory of Trieste (1947–1954)

FALL AND DEATH

As Odoacer's position improved, Zeno , the Eastern Emperor, increasingly saw him as a rival. According to John of Antioch, Odoacer exchanged messages with Illus , who had been in revolt against Zeno since 484. Thus Zeno sought to destroy Odoacer
Odoacer
and promised Theoderic the Great and his Ostrogoths the Italian peninsula if they were to defeat and remove Odoacer. As both Herwig Wolfram and Peter Heather point out, Theoderic had his own reasons to agree to this offer: "Theoderic had enough experience to know (or at least suspect) that Zeno would not, in the long term, tolerate his independent power. When Theoderic rebelled in 485, we are told, he had in mind Zeno's treatment of Armatus
Armatus
. Armatus
Armatus
defected from Basilicus to Zeno in 476, and was made senior imperial general for life. Within a year, Zeno had him assassinated."

In 489, Theoderic led the Ostrogoths across the Julian Alps
Julian Alps
and into Italy. On 28 August, Odoacer
Odoacer
met him at the Isonzo
Isonzo
, only to be defeated. He withdrew to Verona
Verona
, reaching its outskirts on 27 September, where he immediately set up a fortified camp. Theoderic followed him and three days later defeated him again. While Odoacer took refuge in Ravenna
Ravenna
, Theoderic continued across Italy
Italy
to Mediolanum , where the majority of Odoacer's army, including his chief general Tufa, surrendered to the Ostrogothic king. Theoderic had no reason to doubt Tufa's loyalty and dispatched his new general to Ravenna
Ravenna
with a band of elite soldiers. Herwig Wolfram observes, "ut Tufa changed sides, the Gothic elite force entrusted to his command was destroyed, and Theoderic suffered his first serious defeat on Italian soil." Theoderic recoiled by seeking safety in Ticinum . Odoacer
Odoacer
emerged from Ravenna
Ravenna
and started to besiege his rival. While both were fully engaged, the Burgundians seized the opportunity to plunder and devastated Liguria
Liguria
. Many Romans were taken into captivity, and did not regain their freedom until Theoderic ransomed them three years later.

The following summer, the Visigothic king Alaric II demonstrated what Wolfram calls "one of the rare displays of Gothic solidarity" and sent military aid to help his kinsman, forcing Odoacer
Odoacer
to raise his siege. Theoderic emerged from Ticinum, and on 11 August 490, the armies of the two kings clashed on the Adda River . Odoacer
Odoacer
again was defeated and forced back into Ravenna, where Theoderic besieged him. Ravenna proved to be invulnerable, surrounded by marshes and estuaries and easily supplied by small boats from its hinterlands, as Procopius later pointed out in his _History_. Further, Tufa remained at large in the strategic valley of the Adige near Trent , and received unexpected reinforcements when dissent amongst Theoderic's ranks led to sizable desertions. That same year, the Vandals
Vandals
took their turn to strike while both sides were fully engaged and invaded Sicily. While Theoderic was engaged with them, his ally Fredericus, king of the Rugians, began to oppress the inhabitants of Pavia
Pavia
, whom the latter's forces had been garrisoned to protect. Once Theoderic intervened in person in late August, 491, his punitive acts drove Fredericus to desert with his followers to Tufa. Eventually the two quarreled and fought a battle which led to both being killed.

By this time, however, Odoacer
Odoacer
had to have lost all hope of victory. A large-scale sortie out of Ravenna
Ravenna
on the night of 9/10 July 491 ended in failure with the death of his commander-in-chief Livilia along with the best of his Herulian soldiers. On 29 August 492, the Goths were about to assemble enough ships at Rimini
Rimini
to set up an effective blockade of Ravenna. Despite these decisive losses, the war dragged on until 25 February 493 when John, bishop of Ravenna, was able to negotiate a treaty between Theoderic and Odoacer
Odoacer
to occupy Ravenna
Ravenna
together and share joint rule. After a three-year siege, Theoderic entered the city on 5 March; Odoacer
Odoacer
was dead ten days later, slain by Theoderic while they shared a meal. Theoderic had plotted to have a group of his followers kill him while the two kings were feasting together in the imperial palace of Honorius "Ad Laurentum" ("At the Laurel Grove"); when this plan went astray, Theoderic drew his sword and struck him on the collarbone. In response to Odoacer's dying question, "Where is God?" Theoderic cried, "This is what you did to my friends." Theoderic was said to have stood over the body of his dead rival and exclaimed, "There certainly wasn't a bone in this wretched fellow."

According to one account, "That same day, all of Odoacer's army who could be found anywhere were killed by order of Theoderic, as well as all of his family." Odoacer's wife Sunigilda was stoned to death, and his brother Onoulphus was killed by archers while seeking refuge in a church. Theoderic exiled Odoacer's son Thela to Gaul
Gaul
, but when he attempted to return to Italy
Italy
Theoderic had him killed.

The events around the Battle of Ravenna
Ravenna
were used in the Germanic heroic saga of Dietrich von Bern (Theoderic of Verona). The event in which Theoderic kills Odoacer
Odoacer
with his own hands is mirrored in the saga in the episode in which Dietrich kills the Dwarf King Laurin.

ODOACER\'S DONATION TO PIERIUS

Odoacer
Odoacer
is the first ruler of Italy
Italy
for whom the original text of any of his legal acts has survived. This is a grant by Odoacer
Odoacer
to Pierius of properties in Sicily
Sicily
near Syracuse and on the island of Melita in Dalmatia, worth in total 690 solidi. The grant itself was made on 18 March 488, but this document, which is on papyrus , was written shortly afterwards. The opening section is missing and the text is in two parts, one now in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples
Naples
and the other in the Austrian National Library in Vienna
Vienna
, but the bulk of the act itself and the subscriptions by witnesses and officials survive.

Pierius, _comes domesticorum_, was given these properties as a reward for his achievements in the war against Theoderic. None of the parties involved in this transaction—not Pierius, Odoacer, nor the witnesses—could foresee that the recipient would die the following year in the battle of the Adda River.

Pierius' grant is the lone surviving document which has survived from the civic scriptorium of Syracuse prior to the Byzantine reconquest. Scipione Maffei made the unconfirmed assertion that both pieces were owned by the poet Giovanni Gioviano Pontano ; it had already lost the beginning by then. The second part is known to have been in the possession of Cardinal Pasquale de Aragon during the 1660s, but Tjäder notes the two parts were reunited at the library of the Monastery of San Paolo in Naples
Naples
in 1702. In 1718, the second part was presented to Emperor Charles VI through whom that fragment found its way to Vienna.

SEE ALSO

* Ancient Germanic culture portal

* Germanic peoples * Barbarian invasions

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire
Roman Empire
_, Vol. 2, _s.v. Odovacer_, pp. 791–793 * ^ Campbell, Mike. "Meaning, origin and history of the name Odovacar". _Behind the Name_. Retrieved 2017-04-10. * ^ " Odoacer
Odoacer
was the first barbarian who reigned over Italy, over a people who had once asserted their just superiority above the rest of mankind." Edward Gibbon , _The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_, Chapter XXXVI * ^ Marcellinus , Cassiodorus , and some Papal
Papal
documents, which come the closest to implying official use of the title, all refer to him as _rex_ (or one of its declensions). Jordanes at one point refers to him as _Gothorum Romanorumque regnator_: ruler of the Goths and the Romans. He is called an _autokrator_ (autocrat) and a _tyrannos_ (usurper, tyrant) in Procopius ' _Bellum Gothicum_. The only reference to Odoacer
Odoacer
as "King of Italy" is in Victor Vitensis : _Odouacro Italiae regi_. * ^ A more recent discussion of this question is part of Stefan Krautschick, "Zwei Aspekte des Jahres 476", _Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte_, 35 (1986), pp. 344–371 * ^ Priscus, fragments 7 and 8, translated by C.D. Gordon, _The Age of Attila: Fifth Century Byzantium and the Barbarians_ (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1966), pp. 70–93. Jordanes, _Getica_, ch. 277 * ^ _A_ _B_ Jordanes, _Getica_ 242 * ^ Jordanes, _Romana_ 344 * ^ McGeorge, Penny (2002). _Late Roman warlords_. Oxford University Press. p. 284. ISBN 978-0-19-925244-2 . * ^ Marcellinus Comes, _Chronicon_, s. a. 476 * ^ _A_ _B_ Robert L. Reynolds and Robert S. Lopez, "Odoacer: German or Hun?" _American Historical Review_, 52 (1946), p. 45 * ^ _Encyclopedia of European Peoples – Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason – Google Břger_. Books.google.dk. Retrieved 2012-06-12. * ^ Voyles, Joseph (1992). _Early Germanic Grammar: pre-, proto-, and post-Germanic Languages_. Academic Press. p. 141. ISBN 0-12-728270-X . * ^ "Communications", _American Historical Review_, 53 (1947), p. 836. Reynolds and Lopez in the same issue point out Maenchen-Helfen restated "so patently the position of the unflinching Germanizer, to whom it appears self-evident that every barbarian who distinguished himself must have been a German in his inner being, no matter how deeply influenced by Huns
Huns
or Alans as to children's heads and weapon" (p. 841), then carefully respond to his other objections. * ^ Bruce Macbain, "Odovacer the Hun?," _Classical Philology_, 78 (1983), pp. 323–327 * ^ Gregory of Tours, _The History of the Franks_, translated by Lewis Thorpe (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974), p. 174 * ^ Eugippius, _Commemoratorium Severinus_, chapter 6. Translated by Ludwig Bieler, _Eugippius, The Life of Saint Severin_ (Washington: Catholic University, 1965), pp. 64f. Bieler explains in a footnote that "make rich gifts to many" refers to the custom of Germanic war leaders giving lavishly to their followers, because "generosity was one of the virtues which a king was supposed to have." * ^ John of Antioch, fragment 209; translated by C. D. Gordon, _Age of Attila_, p. 122 * ^ _History of the Wars_, 5.1.6. Text and translation in H.B. Dewing, _Procopius_ (London: Heinemann, 1968), vol. 3 p. 5. * ^ J.B. Bury, _History of the Later Roman Empire_ (New York: Macmillan, 1923), vol. 1 p. 405 * ^ _A_ _B_ Bury, _History_, vol. 1 p. 406 * ^ _Anonymus Valesianus_, 8.38. Text and English translation of this document is in J.C. Rolfe (trans.), _Ammianus Marcellinus_ (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972), vol. 3 pp. 531ff * ^ Malchus, fragment 10, translated in C. D. Gordon, _The Age of Attila_, pp. 127–129 * ^ _A_ _B_ Bury, _History_, vol. 1 p. 409f * ^ Jordanes, _Getica_ 243 * ^ Clover, "A Game of Bluff: The Fate of Sicily
Sicily
after A.D. 476", _Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte_ 48 (1999), p. 237 * ^ Bury, _History_, vol. 1 p. 410 * ^ Jones, _The Later Roman Empire: 284–602_ (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1986), pp. 254f * ^ Sr. Genevieve Marie Cook, _The Life of Saint Epiphanius by Ennodius: A translation with an introduction and commentary_ (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1942), pp. 12f * ^ Translated in Raymond Davis, _The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis)_ (Liverpool: University Press, 1989), pp. 41f * ^ Eugippius, _Commemoratorium Severinus_, chapter 44 * ^ Paul the Deacon, _ Historia Langobardorum _, 1.19. Translated by William Dudley Foulke, _History of the Lombards_, 1904 (Philadelphia: University Press, 1974), p. 31-33 * ^ John of Antioch, fragment 214; translated by C. D. Gordon, _Age of Attila_, p. 152 * ^ Peter Heather, _The Goths_ (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 217 * ^ _Anonymus Valesianus_, 11.50f. This follows how Thomas Hodgkins explains this confusing chronology of the _Anonymus Valesianus_; _ Italy
Italy
and her Invaders_ (Oxford, 1885), vol. 4 p. 214 * ^ _Anonymus Valesianus_, 11.52 * ^ _A_ _B_ Wolfram, _History of the Goths_, translated by Thomas J. Dunlap (Berkeley: University of California, 1988), p. 281 * ^ _History of the Wars_, 5.1.18–23 * ^ Heather, _The Goths_, p. 219 * ^ Wolfram, _History of the Goths_, p. 282 * ^ Wolfram, _History of the Goths_, p. 283 * ^ John of Antioch, fragment 214a; translated by C. D. Gordon, _Age of Attila_, pp. 182f. Both the _Anonymus Valesianus_ (11.55) and Andreas Agnellus (_Liber pontificalis ecclesiae Ravennatis_, ch. 39) place the murder in Ad Laurentum. Herwig Wolfram explains Theoderic's claim of avenging his "friends" as revenge for the death of the Rugian royal couple—"it apparently did not matter that their son was at that very moment in open rebellion against Theoderic" (Wolfram, _History of the Goths_, p. 283) * ^ _Anonymus Valesianus_ 11.56 * ^ John of Antioch, fragment 214a. However Wolfram writes that Sunigilda was starved to death. (_History of the Goths_, p. 283) * ^ Unless otherwise stated, this section is based on Jan-Olof Tjäder, _Die Nichtliterarischen Lateinischen Papyri Italiens aus der Zeit_ (Lund: Gleerup, 1955), vol. 1 pp. 279–293. An English translation of this document is in Thomas Hodgkin , _ Italy
Italy
and her Invaders_ (Oxford, 1880–1899), vol. 3 pp. 150–154. * ^ _Anonymus Valesianus_, 11.53 * ^ Tjäder, _Nichtliterarischen Lateinischen Papyri_, vol. 1 p. 35

FURTHER READING

* Thompson, E. A. _Romans and Barbarians: The Decline of the Western Empire_. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982. ISBN 0-299-08700-X .

OTHER RESOURCES

* The movie "476 A.D. Chapter One: The Last Light of Aries", about Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
's deposition by Odoacer, the Chieftain of the Ostrogoths, and the End of the Roman Empire, was released in 2013, by Ivan Pavletić.

EXTERNAL LINKS

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to ODOACER _.

* _ "Odoacer".