Talk:Romulus Augustulus

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Good articleRomulus Augustulus has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Romulus Augustulus History Honestly, it seems that people just don't believe historians. His official name was not Augustulus. Please don't move this entry to yet another new Augustulus entry without doing some research. --MichaelTinkler

Well, since Romulus Augustulus redirects here, I don't have a huge objection to the current location. But since this is an encyclopedia, isn't it better to have the familiar name to English speakers than the historically accurate name? After all, I don't see you moving Caligula to Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus . . . --UnDeadGoat

Later Emperors?![edit]

If Romulus Augustus was the last emeror of the roman empire, how could there be later emperors like the article talks about. "Unlike many of the later western Roman Emperors, Romulus' life after abdication seems to have been a good one." Reub2000 22:47, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

By "later Western Roman Emperors," it refers to all the emperors in the last portion of the Empire's history. Romulus was indeed the last of them. John
No, there were other emperors after Romulus Augustus. I have found such references to further emperors during the deputation of St. Augustine to England by Pope Gregory somewhere in the eight century. They were also based in Ravenna. However, they would have been only nominal rulers. WikiSceptic 08:18, 16 October 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are referring to the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire. At the end of the reign of Theodosius I, the Roman Empire was partitioned into 2 independent countries, and the Emperors of both countries separately continued the successional of those of the already-dissolved classical Roman Empire. The last Emperors of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires as they were called were Romulus Augustus and Constantine XI, respectively. -The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 01:54, 19 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Argh! "States," or "empires," not "countries." Ye gods.

Ravenna was the capital of Byzantine authority in the Italian peninsula from 540 to 751 with few small breaks. The Exarch of Ravenna answered directly to the Eastern Roman Emperor in Constantinople. References to further emperors consider the Eastern line rather a nominal Western one. The conquests of Justinian were not uniformly lost after his death as some historians claim. User: Dimadick

I am really tired about persons which think to know history and then write that last West Roman emperor has been Romulus Augustus. He has been last crowned emperor and last emperor which has under his direct control ( he has been child ) city of Rome, nothing else! Last de facto and de jure West Roman emperor has been Julius Nepos!! He has been last de facto emperor because after loosing war in Italy he has still ruled roman province of Dalmatia. He has been last de jure emperor because Odoacer has accepted to be his viceroy of Italy. Like good viceroy ( and wise politician ) he has after death of Julius Nepos started war against his killers.User: rjecina
No. No, no, no. It is you who apparently does not understand how scholars have assigned who is who in Roman imperial history. (I see a note on this editor's page: 'This user is banned from editing the English Wikipedia.') (talk) 10:42, 31 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romulus' later life[edit]

Has it been definitely confirmed that Romulus was alive in 511? I know the evidence is two letters from 507 and 511 confirming a pension, but they are addressed to a "Romulus" whose imperial pedigree is at best uncertain. Romulus (like Augustus) was a fairly common name toward the end of the Empire. Additionally, one historian of the time (can't remember who) claimed that Odoacer threw Romulus in jail. And the monastery the last Emperor supposedly endowed, according to Gibbon, was the old villa where Romulus lived -- suggesting that he was dead when it was taken over. Gibbon dates that to about 496 AD or so.

Sorry to be nitpicky. :) I think a death date of after 476 would be more accurate than after 511.-- 01:13, 9 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romulus' final fate[edit]

I changed Romulus' date of death and added a section on his later life. Very little is known about the last emperor's later life, if in fact he had one. The new section discusses this uncertainty.--Idols of Mud 13:49, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The letters about Romulus' pension are preserved in the Variae of Cassiodorus -- probably the best primary source for this period -- & I believe that Cassiodorus' translator Thomas Hodgkin makes the identification. (AFAICR the identification of this Romulus with the deposed Emperor has never been seriously questioned, but the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire article would settle the matter.) -- llywrch 20:12, 26 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Very interesting. I ended up looking up the Variae, and found Hodgkin's note:
It is surely possible that this is the dethroned Emperor. The name Romulus, which, as we know, he derived from his maternal grandfather,was not a very common one in Rome (it must be admitted there is another Romulus, ii. 14). And is there not something rather peculiar in the entire absence of all titles of honour, the superscription being simply "Romulo Theodoricus Rex," as if neither King nor scribe quite knew how to address an ex-Emperor?[1]
Hodgkin says "surely possible," but the evidence from the letter is, at best, uncertain. There is no mention of the size of pension or the reason it was granted, and what's strangest to me is that Cassiodorus does not refer to this Romulus by his full name. The "absence of all titles of honor" makes Hodgkin think that Cassiodorus was dealing with a deposed emperor, but Occam's Razor would suggest that this Romulus never possessed those titles, and that he is not the same person as the last emperor. Add Jordanes' firm statement that Augustus was exiled (without a pension), and the distance between this Romulus and the last western emperor grows. Of course, he could be -- there is some circumstantial evidence -- but it doesn't establish a strong link. At least to me.--Idols of Mud 22:07, 26 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, in response the above, I sifted thru a number of my books that cover the last quarter of the 5th century in Italy, & managed to find out the following:
  • Romulus Augustus is called "Augustulus" by several near-contemporary authors: Jordanes (Gothica 242), Candidus (frag. 1), & the Anonymous Valesani Pars posterior (8.37) -- so it would be accurate to refer to him as "Augustulus"
  • Romulus Augustus' power base was actually at Ravenna (Anon. Val. 8.37-38), which is where he, his father Orestes, & Orestes' brother Paulus were captured. -- so he wasn't the figurehead of a small corner of Italy.
  • Jordanes, for better or worse, was the one who referred to Romulus Augustus as the last Emperor of the Western Empire (Goth 243) -- which he may have taken from Cassidorus, on whom his work depends in many parts. His statement appears to be widely accepted -- although my copy of the Oxford Classical Dictionary states that he is "commonly known as the last Emperor of the West". (Whether or not anyone considered Nepos was Emperor would lead into the realm of original research, & I don't want to go there -- although I have my suspicions.) -- which means this claim is an old one, & not the creation of some ill-informed 20th century pop writer.
  • As for the Romulus of the Variae being the same person as the deposed Emperor, from what I was able to find, most of the authors appear to carefully side-step the question: for example, C.D. Gordon in The Age of Attila writes that "it is speculated" that the two are the same person. About the only author I could find who accepts this identification is Michael A. Babcock (The Night Attila Died, p.308) -- but I don't trust anything blindly from that book. -- this appears to be a problem that the authorities would prefer to ignore -- compared to the ample evidence on other issues in this article that have been discussed.
I'd be quite willing to let this issue go, except that I feel that the absense of a title shouldn't be as much of a barrier as it appears to be. The reason is simple: in Cassiodorus' time, there weren't too many precedents for addressing an ex-Emperor, because with one exception (Diocletian), the only way to stop being an Emperor was to die or be killed. Based on the other existing letters of the period, one would address the Emperor as "to my master, Emperor X"; I'm not certain that "to my onetime master, the former Emperor Romulus" solves the problem as much as it creates certain ettiquette problems.
But I wrote that last paragraph more to express what I think than to convince you otherwise. The point of Wikipedia is to report the opinions of experts, not to offer an opinion; so until someone (which includes me) has a chance to consult PLRE, I'm leaving the matter where it is. -- llywrch 06:11, 28 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't mean to imply that you were arguing for the identity of the author; I should have made that clearer in my post. You bring up a lot of good points; I'm sure addressing any former emperor would be awkward. And I think it's worth keep the issue open. I just wish there were more internal evidence in the letter to make a suggestion, one way or the other.--Idols of Mud 14:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't think you were implying that. This happens to be a subject where it's very tempting to resort to original research in one form or another, & so far you've helped to keep this article from falling into that trap. And that is why I've been harping on using the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire to help us here. Another authority for this & other ancient topics would be Pauly's Reallexikon.) -- llywrch 15:55, 28 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not a bad addition on the Collins' book, though the conclusion was POV and had to be removed. Can we provide more from the text, as well as in-line citations?--Idols of Mud 03:57, 11 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've added footnotes to the article, and moved some things around as a result. Can someone find a citation on Orestes' "Germanic" origins? It would make sense, considering he was in the army and refused the Imperial throne (which Germans could not accept) but I've never read anything that says that conclusively.--Idols of Mud 16:01, 9 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I seem to recall from reading something many years ago that Orestes was an officer in (or perhaps even commander of) Attila's German bodyguard. It may even come from Gibbon, come to think of it. --Michael K. Smith (talk) 20:41, 10 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New Julius Nepos section[edit]

I don't want to get into a revert war here, so I'll just ask: Can someone explain the reason for the new section on Nepos? I understand that he was legally the last Roman emperor, but I think this is all address in the Western Empire after Romulus Augustus, which states the controversy concisely. But I'm willing to hear althernative viewpoints.  :)--Idols of Mud 16:01, 9 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've decided to rewrite the section. I think the legal question of Nepos as the last western emperor is interesting, but most of the stuff here repeats earlier sections, and the histories of the Roman Empire -- then and now -- have acknowledged that Augustus was the last western emperor. He was the last to hold authority in Italy, and once he fled Ravenna, Nepos had absolutely no support in the elite classes (even Zeno abandoned him quickly). For all intents and purposes, Nepos was the penultimate emperor. Of course, I'll listen to anyone with an opposing argument.--Idols of Mud 00:34, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have passed the article through to GA. It is well written, has no obvious POV problems, covers the subject fully, and cites reliable sources. Great work! Eluchil404 21:14, 24 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks!--Idols of Mud 13:53, 25 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I double checked the image licencing and found that Image:Romul Avgustul.gif didn't have adequate source information of a proper fairuse rationale. It looks like a 19th centurey engraving that should be PD but without a source we just can't know. I have commented it out of th article pending poper sourcing. Eluchil404 01:45, 26 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Sorry but this article i POV when it is declaring that Romulus Augustus is last West Roman emperor. He has not been ruling after 476 but Julius Nepos has been ruling (de facto and de jure) until 480. Reality is that Romulus Augustus is last western roman emperor which is ruling from Italy and nothing else. Even in VI century whan historian has been writing that Romulus Augustus has not been last emperor but his name is so good that he will become that in history books. Rjecina 21:48, 30 march 2006 (CET)

Nepos fled Italy in 475 in the face of Orestes' revolt, and was saved in Dalmatia only by the good graces of the eastern emperor Zeno. Zeno did not lift a finger to restore Nepos after Odoacer overthrew Augustulus. The most ancient historians viewed Augustulus as the last emperor, and to call him such is not POV.--Idols of Mud 14:48, 1 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is 2 problems with Romulus Augustus.
  • Is he emperor ?

Somebody will ask why this question ? Answer is emperor/usurper Joannes. He has ruled 423-425 but on English wikipedia he is usurper because eastern emperor has not accepted his rule. Romulus Augustus has not been accepted like emperor from eastern emperor so in this logic (english wikipedia logic) he is usurper. Sorry but it is not possible to write of Joannes that he is usurper and that Augustus is true emperor.

  • Last Emperor ?

Odoacer has accepted ruling of Zeno in which Nepos is western emperor and he is his viceroy. After killing of Nepos like "loyal servant" has attacked Dalmatia to kill person which has killed his emperor. In the end this all is not important but only 1 fact: Has crowned emperor (which has never abdicated) Nepos ruled with minimal 1 roman province after abdication of Augustus ?

Answer is Yes.

Rjecina 22:00, 2 april 2006 (CET)

Every book I have about the Roman Empire presents Romulus Augustus as the last emperor. Some of them say that he is the last emperor of the WRE, while others even go further and say that he is the last emperor of the old Roman Empire. Any account of history is POV. History is always a humane sience and is always imperfect (unlike mathematics, and supposedly chemistry and physics). History is always debated and only slowly agreed upon, as a consensus emerges. That consensus is that Romulus is the last emperor, if we like it or not. I understand the point that Nepos also has a good claim as the last emperor, but his claim has been declared null and void by historians and his rule of the crumbling empire is considered to have ended as he fled towards Dalmatia. Terms like: "Ursurper", "lawful ruler", "Rebel", "Loyalist" are mostly dependant from one POV. Wikipedia has to follow commonly accepted scolarship. We can present the issue in a precise, fair, and clear fashion, but that is it. If someone does not agree with this then he can debate the issue with Roman scholars of the entire world. Who knows? If he manages to convince the overwhelming majority of them, that Julius Nepos whole reign should be considered as the end of the WRE, then history will be re-written. Flamarande 19:19, 7 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romulus Augustus is last emperor of nothing. If we look Roman law in V century we will find that nobody can become emperor of East or West if he is not confirmed from living emperor. Maybe I make mistake but he has not been confirmed. Yes Flamarande historian say that he is last roman emperor but Napoleon has say 1 very wise thing about historians. I will now delete POV because if nothing else Odoacer has been deleted like heir of West Roman Empire. Small but important victory. Rjecina 23:55, 7 april 2006 (CET)
Augustulus took power at a time when the Eastern Empire was in the middle of a civil war, and if we pursue the legal argument, no emperor could confirm him. The argument also assumes the rule of law precluded the rule of man in the Roman Empire -- which, unfortunately, was not the case when the purple was involved. I haven't seen any compelling arguments to rewrite the article.--Idols of Mud 17:37, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My last argument. In 475 Western Roman Empire is having under "control" 3 provinces. This are Italy, Gaul and Dalmatia. Of this 3 provinces only Italy has accepted rule of Augustus. Dalmatia and Gaul has been loyal to Nepos. Now my question is how anybody can say that he is deposed. ? Simple it is civil war situation like in Eastern Roman EmpireRjecina 20:23, 8 april 2006 (CET)
You are avoiding the true issue: Historians have determined that Romulus is the last emperor FULLSTOP. Go debate with profesional historians if you are so keen to re-write Roman history. Present your arguments to them and try to get to change their opinion. If you succeed then this article will be re-written (but not before). Wikipedia is not an instrument to correct - improve the oficial account of History. Flamarande 20:10, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Question of successor is simple. We can write tittle extinct or we can write all successors which control roman provinces with roman army. They are:

If Romulus Augustus has been king of Italy then you can write Odoacer like successor, but he has been "emperor" of all western roman provinces not only of Italy ! Rjecina 15:15, 14 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No! No! Romulus Augustus was a usurper. Julius Nepos remained Emperor until he died! Don't take my word for it, just ask his imperial colleague, Zeno! For the question of Zeno's "successor", leave it blank or else write "Zeno"! ~ Unsigned User

Regardless of who the final emperor was, I think it would be appropriate to list Odoacer under the Regnal Titles table at the bottom of the page. Obviously not as the successor to the entirety of the Western Roman Emperor, but only "as King of Italy" (which is done in done in other lineages). Romulus Augustus is listed as Odoacer's predecessor, so why not Odoacer as Romulus Augustus' successor? Although I'm sure there were multiple successors to power in various areas, from what I've read, Odoacer obtained/controlled the majority of Italy, and therefore would be appropriately titled king. (talk) 21:04, 2 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Who was the last Western Roman Emperor? Romulus Augustulus or Julius Nepos? Obvious answer: the latter.[edit]

The accumulation of evidence is pretty clear, isn't it?

(1) The Eastern Emperor Zeno never recognized either the elevation of Romulus Ausgustus nor the deposition of Julius Nepos.

(2) Odoacer, while acting as Zeno's de jure deputy in the West, continued to mint coins in JN's name until the latter died in 480. Ergo, JN was de jure emperor in the West until his death, his deposition was illegitimate, the investigure of RA was a usurpation, and Orestes was in contempt of imperial authority.

(3) After the death of JN, Odoacer conveyed an opinion to his de jure overlord Zeno, to the effect that one emperor (meaning Zeno and his successors in East) was sufficient, and that no emperor in the West was necessary, and that he, Odoacer, would henceforth owe his full allegiance to the one emperor in the East. Zeno agreed. Of course, this means that there were no more Western emperors following the reign of JN, which ended in 480.

Ergo, by the legal standards of the time, JN was Western emperor from his elevation until his death. The fact that his jurisdiction fell into the hands of a usurper doesn't mean that the usurper replaced the legitimate ruler, any more than the Italian invasion of Ethiopia means that Mussolini or the King of Italy ever replaced Haile Selassie as that country's legitimate ruler. The last Western emperor in the West was JN.

Am I missing something? Tom129.93.17.135 19:45, 12 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The argument assumes that the imperial succession was a clearly defined legal process. But Roman history shows that power rarely changed hands peacefully. If we want to accept Nepos as the last emperor because he lawfully held the title when he died, then we would have to regard Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Nerva, Septimius Severus, Aurelian, Diocletian and Constantine (and others) as unlawful usurpers who never held the throne. Legally, that might be correct; historically, it's inaccurate. Nepos was regarded by ancient historians as an exile when he fled to Dalmatia and he had absolutely no support in Italy after fleeing. While they had little good to say about Augustulus, the chroniclers of the time accepted him as the emperor. Moreover, Zeno's acceptance of the imperial insignia, and the Senate's message proclaiming Zeno the only emperor of the Roman Empire, suggests how little people cared for Nepos' cause after Augustulus' fall.--Idols of Mud 16:20, 16 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
When we speak about legal arguments I must say that for me is very hard to understand English-USA history looking on Augustulus. Can somebody please explain me why Joannes is usurper and Romul Augustulus legal ruler ? For me there is no difference between this 2 because both has become emperors with coup. .--Rjecina 17:20, 16 August 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Nepos was an unpopular ruler in Italy, and what little support he had disappeared after he fled. Augustulus is the last emperor because Odoacer was careful to ensure that no other emperors were appointed in his domain. He never accepted Nepos as anything more than a nominal emperor, and refused to accept any appointments from the eastern emperor after his death. Nepos and Augustulus may have gotten to the throne through illegitimate means, but what matters is who was on the throne when a German took power and decided he would no longer submit to emperors.--Idols of Mud 14:34, 3 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
OK I am accepting your arguments but I really like to hear your position about Joannes !? --Rjecina 16:23, 5 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First Line Naming[edit]

I rewrote the first line to demonstrate that F. Romulus Augustus was also called Romulus Augustulus and that he was not referred to as "Little Augustus" outside of academia. If it still seems unclear, perhaps explaining that Augustulus is a Latin diminutive name form? I did my best here to make it less confusing. (talk) 22:10, 23 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


While Zeno told the Senate that Nepos was their lawful sovereign, he did not press the point, and accepted the imperial insignia brought to him by the senate - not correct. Zeno accepted the insignia only after Nepos' death.--Dojarca (talk) 09:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The point is not when the insignia were accepted. The point is that the Eastern Emperor accepted them, meaning he saw no need for a Western Emperor. But I've never seen anything to suggest the insignia were accepted after Nepos' death. Do you have a source?--Idols of Mud (talk) 18:48, 28 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GA Sweeps[edit]

This article has been reviewed as part of Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles/Project quality task force in an effort to ensure all listed Good articles continue to meet the Good article criteria. In reviewing the article, I performed a basic copyedit, but I have also found there are some issues that may need to be addressed.

  • My biggest problem here, and the one which must be sorted out if the article is to remain a GA is the "Romulus in popular culture" section. This is nothing more than an unsourced list of things this charater has appeared in. I'm not convinced of its benefit to the article at all, but if it is to stay it has to be presented in a much more encyclopaedic manner, i.e. in coherent text with reliable references.
  • The prose needs some work to remove colloquial English. I have given some examples below although these are not the only phrases with problems.
  • "The empire they ruled was a shadow of its former self."
  • "Constantinople viewed Orestes' coup d'etat coolly."
  • "The last emperor: Romulus Augustus or Julius Nepos?" (I know its a title, but it is also another example).

Other than these two issues, the article seems OK, although it could always do with expanding or extra sourcing where possible. I will check back in no less than seven days. If progress is being made and issues are being addressed, the article will remain listed as a Good article. Otherwise, it may be delisted (such a decision may be challenged through WP:GAR). If improved after it has been delisted, it may be nominated at WP:GAN. Feel free to drop a message on my talk page if you have any questions, and many thanks for all the hard work that has gone into this article thus far. Regards, Jackyd101 (talk) 00:19, 21 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Made changes per request.--Idols of Mud (talk) 20:38, 23 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thankyou, it passes GA, although please make sure that if the popular culture section comes back it is presented in the correct fashion.--Jackyd101 (talk) 16:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Flavius" Romulus and "Flavius" Orestes[edit]

Although a common nomen at the tiem, there's no evidence that Romulus and Orestes bore the name "Flavius". See PLRE II "Orestes 2" (pp. 811-2) and "Romulus 4" (pp. 949-5) for full references. (talk) 18:18, 15 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's true there's no direct evidence that they bore this name, but they probably did, because Flavius (the gentilicium of the Emperor Constantine I), had ceased to function strictly as a nomen and was, rather, used extremely widely as a 'status marker' and not a very high one either. There's a big discussion of its occurence and usage in the fifth & sixth centuries AD in Consuls of the Later Roman Empire by Bagnall, Cameron, Schwartz and Worp (Atlanta, Georgia: American Philological Association, 1987), pages 36-40. They say (p. 37) that the name, at least in the shortened form Fl., had become so widespread that in many cases "Flavius is little more than a courtesy title functioning something like Mr in modern English usage". On that basis it's quite likely that Romulus and Orestes did have 'Fl.' in their titles. Cenedi (talk) 19:25, 15 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Age at accession[edit]

We say nothing about how a boy of 14 (or even maybe as young as 12) got to become Emperor of Rome. -- JackofOz (talk) 03:17, 27 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says his dad made him emperor and ruled through him. Child emperors were not unheard of in Roman history -- Alexander Severus was 12 when he took the purple.--Idols of Mud (talk) 14:57, 28 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romulus Augustus or Augustulus?[edit]

I must concur with the conversation at the head of the page; we should call Augustulus what everybody calls him. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:13, 15 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And, seeing no objection, have restored the traditional name; I note that it is not a modern invention, but comes from Jordanes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:56, 18 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So you simply decided to move the article unilaterally? Flamarande (talk) 23:32, 18 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Flamande moved this page from the title at which it was created, and by which its subject is customarily known, despite objection (see the top of this page); I have restored it. Let him go to WP:RM if he wants more.
"The title at which it was created" is Romulus Augustus. Would it really kill you to sign all your posts? If it does then please do so :) Flamarande (talk) 21:49, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I took a look in some of my books:

  • "The complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy, ISBN 0-500-05124-0 page 11 (big chronological list of battles, campaigns, etc) "476 The last Emperor of the west, Romulus Augustus, is deposed by Odovacer..."
  • "1066 The Year of the Three Battles" by Frank McLynn (it's a book about the battle of Hastings) ISBN 0-7126-6672-9 (introduction chapter) "When the empire fell apart (the last Roman emperor who could trace continuity from Augustus was Romulus Augustus, deposed in 476)...."
  • "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Michael Grant ISBN 1-89880-048-0 page 22 "..Orestes gave the vacant Imperial throne at Ravenna to his own young son Romulus Augustus, known by the diminutive form Augustulus..." You may wish to argue that the part "know by the diminutive form" in fact argues for your POV but the book uses Augustus consistently, including a chronological list at page 206 "475-6 Romulus Augustus (Augustulus).

I know that are also plenty of books that use the diminutive but as far I can judge this matter the trend is to use Romulus Augustus. Notice that Augustulus is merely a nickname (and that the article about Richard Nixon doesn't use "Tricky Dix") Flamarande (talk) 12:40, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Will you be moving Caligula, which is unquestionably a nickname, next? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:01, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No I will not, because the use of "Caligula" is beyond any question whatsoever. "Romulus" seems one of the unclear cases. Flamarande (talk) 21:49, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've done a lot of work on this article, and I'd prefer to see him listed as Romulus Augustus. PMAnderson is correct that other emperors are listed by their nicknames; personally, though, I think that's best when the emperor is known solely by that nickname, or when their full names would lead to confusion with other emperors. Romulus Augustus is relatively obscure compared to Claudius or Nero, and listing his life under his birth name makes more sense to me.--Idols of Mud (talk) 16:06, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find it extremely unlikely that Augustus is his birthname; it's a title. Naming your son Augustus was volunteering to be executed, almost as certainly as consulting an oracle (like the unfortunate Theodorus, under Valens) on who was to succeed the Emperor. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 18:52, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In fact, (according to Gibbon), Augustus was a very common cognomen at the time, akin to naming a kid John or Bill.--Idols of Mud (talk) 19:42, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please double-check; he says that (quite correctly) of Antoninus (three centuries earlier). If you have some other passage in mind, please copy it ov provide a citation, preferably including the Chapter. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:46, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think he was baptized Augustus. The 6th-century Excerpta Valesiana have: "Augustulus, qui ante regnum Romulus a parentibus vocabatur, a patre Oreste patricio factus est imperator." "Augustulus, who before his reign was called Romulus by his parents, is made emperor by his father, the patrician Orestes." No hint at a pre-existing Augustus as part of his name. Iblardi (talk) 20:04, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll get the proper citation when I get my hands on my copy of Decline and Fall, PMAnderson, but here's the relevant passage from Gutenberg (bold emphasis mine):

In the space of twenty years since the death of Valentinian, nine

emperors had successively disappeared; and the son of Orestes, a youth recommended only by his beauty, would be the least entitled to the notice of posterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Roman empire in the West, did not leave a memorable era in the history of mankind. The patrician Orestes had married the daughter of Count _Romulus_, of Petovio in Noricum:the name of _Augustus_, notwithstanding the jealousy of power, was known at Aquileia as a familiar surname; and the appellations of the two great founders, of the city and of the monarchy, were thus strangely united in the last of their successors. The son of Orestes assumed and disgraced the names of Romulus Augustus; but the first was corrupted into Momyllus, by the Greeks, and the second has been changed by the Latins into the

contemptible diminutive Augustulus.

It was a given, not an adopted name.--Idols of Mud (talk) 20:35, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

He adopted it upon his ascension to the throne. See The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, pp. 949-50. [2] Iblardi (talk) 20:50, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So I see. Fair enough.--Idols of Mud (talk) 20:57, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note the phrasing was generally referred to as Augustulus (because of his youth). That's talking about the fifth century; and he still is. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:59, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What truly matters is which of the two names is currently used by English-speaking historians and academia (ie.: which name is taught in school). I provided some credible sources. To be fair I also checked Encyclopedia Britannica and they use "Romulus Augustulus". I can live with that, but let me comment that you Septentrionalis/PMAnderson are way too aggressive. There is no need for that kind of behaviour with serious users (which I believe that I am - self-delusion? :). Leave that for the ardent nationalists which fiercely defend the greatness of their nation/country against everything and anyone. Flamarande (talk) 21:49, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You moved it once despite objection; you reverted with no more esplanation than an edit summary. On the other hand, you are now discussing the issue, which is what I hoped to achieve. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 22:11, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AFAIK I moved once after you moved it towards 'Romulus Augustulus' (I think I moved only on the 12 Aug 2008). As far I have been able to follow (the history shows several moves by several users) the original title of this article was "Romulus Augustus" which was moved towards Romulus Augustulus by Lacrimosus on the 15 May 2007 (first move of this article).
I guess that we truly should move the article towards its original title as you so clearly argue: "Flamande moved this page from the title at which it was created, and by which its subject is customarily known, despite objection (see the top of this page); I have restored it. Let him go to WP:RM if he wants more."
You see Pmanderson|Septentrionalis the danger of such powerful sentences is that they must be true to be really effective. It doesn't seem to be this case Flamarande (talk) 23:02, 19 March 2009 (UTC) PS: I truly hope that I'm not mistaken with this; that would be truly embarrassing. :)Reply[reply]
I trust Flamarande has forgotten this move of last August; I do not intend to embarrass him, but that's what I meant. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:07, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't forgotten it all ("I think I moved only on the 12 Aug 2008"). You seem to be making several simple mistakes. Flamarande (talk) 23:25, 19 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As to the naming issue, judging from the sources I have at my disposal at this moment (a rather limited assortment), "Romulus Augustulus" does appear to be the more commonly used form in index entries (thus appearing in Bury, History of the later Roman Empire, Starr, The Roman Empire, 27 B.C.-A.D. 476, Sinnigen & Boak, A history of Rome to A.D. 565, Geary, Before France and Germany). I have trouble finding instances of the other form. The lemma in Lexikon des Mittelalters is called "Romulus Augustulus", and a query for "Romulus Augustulus" in the International Medieval Bibliography renders five results, against zero for "Romulus Augustus". Iblardi (talk) 22:27, 20 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also Brill's New Pauly, which lists him as "Romulus [2]" and heads the section "Romulus 'Augustulus'". If inserting quotemarks will make anybody happier, I could be persuaded to compromise, to make clear that this is a nickname, even though our naming conventions deplore the use of excess punctuation in titles. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:49, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's either one or the other, and no quotation marks in title. I honestly don't know much about the Brill's New Pauly but it seems to be a German source (English translation of original German material ?). Flamarande (talk) 21:25, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See Pauly-Wissowa; this is the edition currently in publication, and the English text is generally careful to follow English usage; I believe our article is overly optimistic in asserting the publication is finished, but it's out through Sa, at least. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 21:57, 21 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In case anyone cares, the materials we used in school called him "Romulus Augustulus". (talk) 05:50, 31 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When it comes to his name his coins show that he was known as Romulus Augustus, the Augustus. More precisely DN ROMVLVS AVGVSTVS PF AVG (Our Lord Romulus Augustus Pius Felix Augustus). Never seen a mention, so far, of the title-name Flavius, nor Imperator Caesar. E.g. Not in favour of the article title using Augustulus rather than Augustus, feels mocking rather than formal and correct educationally. Middle More Rider (talk) 11:38, 13 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Infobox Changes[edit]

Change the infobox to match the other Emperors. The color is wrong.

Done. Flamarande (talk) 15:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Misleading table at the bottom[edit]

I think that the table is far too going along the road of common misconception, which is completely not present in expert literature.

It erroneously presents the Western Roman Empire as if an independent faction, separate from the Eastern Roman Empire, when there was in fact no such thing and it was one whole Empire, just as the Holy Roman Empire was, centuries afterward. The presence of more Emperors does not change that, recall the tetrarchy or other temporary resolutions of having a number of rulers in the Empire.

Romulus Augustulus can't be the last Roman Emperor at the West, since, simply, Julius Nepos had, legally, indeed reigned until 480 AD. --SavoRastko (talk) 00:37, 11 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fine, you can take your arguments to English-writing historians and scholars and debate this interesting issue. When they change their mind we will change this article, but not before. Flamarande (talk) 00:54, 11 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Western and Eastern Empires had two separate rulers, and they operated more independently than cooperatively, with the East especially looking after their own interests to the detriment of the West's. The split was final after the death of Theodosius, and that's how historian's treat the matter. (talk) 10:56, 31 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do I? One of their greatest representatives, J. B. Bury, discusses at length about this illusion which was present in literature until his works were published.
And information about Julius Nepos can be read with, I believe, every English historian (there's even an article on him). — Preceding unsigned comment added by SavoRastko (talkcontribs) 21:41, 12 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the end Julius Nepos ruled in Dalmatia while Romulus Augustus ruled in Ravenna and over Italy (and whatever else was left). Like it or not, but Romulus Augustus entered historiography as the last emperor of the (Western) Roman Empire, while Julius Nepos is but a footnote in the pages of the books. Don't blame me.
It was one whole empire with two emperors, imperial courts and armies. These two emperors, imperial courts and armies played the barbarians against each other and even fought against each other on several occasions. That's quite an illusion. Flamarande (talk) 00:59, 13 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not blaming you, I just think you don't know about this. Let me give you some quotes from Bury's The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians:

What say you now? --SavoRastko (talk) 19:50, 6 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bury was speaking "constitutionally" - the vast majority of ancient historian experts conclude the two parts of the Roman Empire acted independently of each other after the death of Theodosius the Great. (talk) 01:17, 31 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Momylos - little disgrace[edit]

Can someone please provide a source for this second "nickname"? On the web I couldn`t find other proof, all results i managed to gather were websites citing Wikipedia. (talk) 17:31, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not sure. Some 18th- and 19th-century sources at Google Books suggest that 'Momylus' might have been his real name, while others consider it a sarcastic nickname (μῶμος does mean 'disgrace'[3]). According to this comment in an edition of Gibbon’s work, the form never appears on coins. This source states that Momylus is an unintentional corruption that is found in certain (unspecified, but presumably Greek) manuscripts : "Die Namen des Romulus sind nicht »Momylus« oder »Momyllus«, was nur fehlerhafte Handschriftenform statt Romulus ist; er heisst auch nicht »Augustulus«, wie er scherzhaft genannt wird, sondern führt den Namen: »Augustus«)". Iblardi (talk) 18:43, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(It`s me again) Thanks, great research! That Momylos didn`t appear on coins is a known fact and quite obvious. I strongly support the corruption thesis, because the two words are similar and unintentional corruption can happen easily. Maybe I`ll be able to look up the title from Google Books in my university library to gain more knowledge. So, is it legit to keep Momylos in the article? I`d guess not, if we can`t manage to find the greek source. But I have no experiences in the community here. However, keep up the good work, greets from Germany. (talk) 22:00, 1 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First of all, all the other Latin and English sources I can find give it as "Momillus"; Gibbon seems to be the only one spelling it "Momyllus" in English. Gibbon claims that it is a corruption, via Greek, of "Romulus", but I find this unlikely. It is probably a diminutive of "Momus". We already have an alternate source in Swedish that seems to state this; I will try to find one in English.Jpbrenna (talk) 16:17, 25 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bogus map ?[edit]

"The empire Augustulus ruled was a shadow of its former self and had shrunk significantly over the previous 80 years. Imperial authority had retreated to the Italian borders and parts of southern Gaul: Italia and Gallia Narbonensis, respectively"

This statement appears to be very inconsistent with the map right next to it.Tallewang (talk) 23:36, 31 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a quite different map in The Last Legion; it would make more sense if one was selected for both, or differences clarified. Also, The Last Legion claims (uncitedly) that the nowadays ubiquent designation of RA as The Last Emperor originated in Gibbon. If it's true, I'd think it relevant for this article, too. And if it's not, it should be purged from the other one. --Ehitaja (talk) 12:35, 20 March 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Romulus' true age of accession[edit]

The DIR article gives two different versions. Nathan states he was crowned "possibly at the age of ten" while Mathisen states that he was "perhaps fourteen years of age". Does anybody knows what source gives Romulus' age? The Anonymus Valesianus states that Odoacer felt "pity on his youth", but that doesn't tell us much. Neither the PLRE nor ODB give any date of birth. Tintero21 (talk) 04:12, 24 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've always assumed the ages are all modern estimates/suggestions but I could be wrong. Ichthyovenator (talk) 08:42, 24 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]