II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > E. Rome > 5. The Later Empire, 284–527 C.E. > e. The Later Fifth Century
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
e. The Later Fifth Century
A succession of puppet rulers in the west. In 455 Eudoxia, widow of Valentinian, set up Petronius Maximus at Rome. On his murder, in the same year, she called the Vandals from Africa.  1
455, June 2–16
Gaiseric and the Vandals sacked Rome.  2
Avitus advanced from southern Gaul to Rome but was deposed by his able general, the Suevian Ricimer. Ricimer retained power by securing the consent of the eastern emperors to his nominees, who were Majorianus (457–461), Severus (461–465), and, after a two-year interregnum, Anthemius (467–472) and Olybrius (472). When in 472 both Ricimer and Olybrius died, the eastern emperor, Leo I, appointed Glycerius (473) and Julius Nepos (473–475).  3
LEO I (b. ?), a Thracian (?), succeeded Marcian as emperor of the east. To offset his master of the troops, the Alan Aspar, he married his daughter Ariadne to Zeno, an Isaurian from the mountains of southern Asia Minor (467) and made Zeno's son, Leo, his colleague (473).  4
Leo II succeeded on the death of Leo I. His father, Zeno, made himself his colleague. Leo died the same year.  5
ZENO (b. 426) disposed of the pretender Basiliscus, brother-in-law of Leo I (475).  6
The master of the troops, Orestes, removed Nepos in favor of his own son, whose name combined those of the founder of Rome and of the Empire.  7
ROMULUS AUGUSTUS (nicknamed Augustulus).  8
476, Sept. 4
After defeating and killing Orestes at Pavia, the Herulian Odovacar (Odoacer) deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the west, at Ravenna. Traditional end of the Roman Empire. (See Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages, 461–1000)  9
The eastern emperor Zeno apparently recognized Odovacar as “patrician” (patricius had become the title of honor for barbarian commanders). Nepos retained titular claim as emperor until his death in 480, and after that date the Empire was theoretically reunited under the eastern emperors, but actually Odovacar ruled as an independent king in Italy.  10
On the death of Theodoric, the son of Strabo, Zeno recognized his rival as patrician and master of the troops. His people were established in Moesia as foederati.  11
Theodoric, ostensibly as Zeno's agent, invaded Italy.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.