Odoacer a Gothic chief who, according to: some authorities, was of the tribe of the Heruli, originally served as a mercenary in the barbarian auxiliary force which the later emperors of the West had taken into their pay for the defense of Italy. After the two rival emperors, Glycerius and Julius Nepos, were both driven from the throne, Orestes, a soldier from Pannonia, clothed his own son Romulus, yet a minor, with the imperial purple, but retained all the substantial authority in his own hands. The barbarian troops now asked for one third of the lands of Italy to be distributed among them as a reward for their services. Orestes having rejected their demand, they chose Odoacer for their leader, and he immediately marched against Orestes, who had shut himself up in Pavia. Odoacer took the city by storm, and gave it up to be plundered by his soldiers. Orestes was taken prisoner and led to Placentia, where he was publicly executed, in August, A.D. 475, exactly a twelvemonth after he had driven Nepos out of Italy. Romulus, who was called Augustulus by way of derision, was in Ravenna, where he was seized by Odoacer, who stripped him of his imperial ornaments and banished him to a castle of Campania, but allowed him an honorable maintenance. Odoacer now proclaimed himself king of Italy, rejecting the imperial titles of Caesar and Augustus. For this reason the Western empire is considered as having ended with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, the son of Orestes. Odoacer's authority did not extend beyond the boundaries of Italy. Little is known of the events of his reign until the invasion of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, who, at the instigation, as some historians assert, of Zeno, emperor of the East, marched from the banks of the Danube to dispossess Odoacer of his kingdom. Theodoric, at the head of a large army defeated Odoacer near Aquileia, and entered Verona without opposition. Odoacer shut himself up in Ravenna in 489. The war, however, lasted several years. Odoacer made a brave resistance; but was compelled by famine to surrender Ravenna (March, 493). Theodoric at first spared his life, but in a short time caused him to he killed, and proclaimed himself king of Italy. English Cyclop. s.v. See Jornandes, De Regnorum success. p. 59, 60; De Rebus Gothicis, p. 128- 141; Paul Diacre, De. Gestis Longobard. 1:19; Gregory of Tours, Hist. Franc. 2:118 sq.; Procopius, Bell. Goth. 1:1; 2:6; Ennodius, Vita Epiphanii; Cassiodorus, Chron. ad an. 376; Epist. 1:18; Evagrius,:ii. 16; Le Beau, Hist. du Bas. Empire, vol. 35; Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch. 36; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 38:481.

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