Roman Empire

Romulus Augustus, Western Roman Emperor AD 475-476

RIC 3404; Lacam 9; Money of the World 57 (this coin); Depeyrot 84/2, Superb Extremely Fine

Rome. D N ROMVLVS A-VGVSTVS P F AVG, diademed, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Romulus Augustus facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder and shield with horseman spearing fallen enemy motif. Reverse: VICTORI-A AVGGG:, Victory standing facing, head left, holding long jewelled cross; R-M//COIIOB.

Ex NGSA VIII (24 November 2014), 211; Millenia Collection (Goldberg, 26 May 2008), 152; Rauch 71 (28 April 2003), 1146

When Orestes deposed Julius Nepos in AD 475, he proclaimed his young son, Romulus, as the new Western Emperor. Due to the youth of Romulus and the completely ineffectual character of his reign he is often known by the derisive title Augustulus (“Little Augustus”) rather than Augustus. Romulus served as a puppet of his father. In AD 476, Orestes made a fatal mistake when he refused to grant one third of Italy to a powerful coalition of Herulian, Scirian and Turcilingi mercenaries under the leadership of Odoacer. Orestes was executed and Romulus deposed after a brief battle near Ravenna. At the request of Odoacer, the Roman Senate wrote to the Eastern Emperor Zeno to formally request that he formally abolish the position of Western Roman Emperor, arguing that, “one monarch sufficed for the world.”