the last Roman emperor of the West, was the son of Orestes, who seized the government of the empire after having driven out the emperor Julius Nepos. Orestes, probably of Gothic origin, married a daughter of the comes Romulus at Petovio or Petavio, in the south-western part of Pannonia; their son was called Romulus Augustus, but the Greeks altered Romulus into Μωμῦλλος
, and the Romans, despising the youth of the emperor, changed Augustus into Augustulus. Orestes, who declined assuming the purple, had his youthful son proclaimed emperor in A. D. 475, but still retained the real sovereignty in his own hands.
As early as 476, the power of Orestes was overthrown by Odoacer, who defeated his rival at Pavia and put him to death; Paulus, the brother of Orestes, was slain at Ravenna. Romulus Augustulus was allowed to live on account of his youth, beauty, and innocence, but was exiled by the victor to the villa of Lucullus, on the promontory of Misenum in Campania, which was then a fortified castle.
There he lived upon a yearly allowance of six thousand pieces of gold: his ultimate fate is unknown.
The series of Roman emperors who had governed the state from the battle of Actium, B. C. 31. during a period of five hundred and seven years, closes with the deposition of the son of Orestes ; and, strangely enough, the last emperor combined the names of the first king and the first emperor of Rome. [ORESTES, ODOACER.] (Amm. Marc. Excerpta,
pp. 662, 663, ed. Paris, 1681; Cassiod. Chronicon,
ad Zenonem; Jornand. de Regnorum Successione,
p. 59, de Reb. Goth..
pp. 128, 129, ed. Lindenbrog; Procop. de Bell. Goth.
1.1, 2.6 ; Cedrenus, p. 350, ed. Paris; Theophanes, p. 102, ed. Paris; Evagrius, 2.16.)