Orestes

(d. 476)
   Roman military commander and father of Romulus Augustulus, who is traditionally recognized as the last western Roman emperor. Orestes, whose son was still a boy when he was promoted to the imperial dignity, was the real power behind the throne, as Ricimer had been before him. His efforts to seize power failed, however, because of the unwillingness of Zeno, the emperor in Constantinople, to recognize Romulus, and because of the opposition of Odovacar.
   Orestes, a Roman but a subject of the Huns, rose to prominence in the service of the greatest Hunnish king, Attila. He was the Latin secretary of Attila, and sometime rival of another of Attila's aides, Edica-Edikon, the father of Odovacar. According to some accounts, the rivalry between the two nearly brought about Edica-Edikon's demise, and surely created tensions between Orestes and Odovacar. After the collapse of the empire of Attila, Orestes offered his services elsewhere and was raised to the rank of master of soldiers and given the rank of patrician by the emperor Julius Nepos. The emperor saw in Orestes a Roman with connections with leading aristocratic families and also with important experience and contacts with the barbarians, who served in Rome's army in great numbers or settled along Rome's frontiers as friend or foe.
   The emperor ordered Orestes to Gaul to protect the province from the threat of various German tribes, but the new master of soldiers had other plans. Instead of going to Gaul, Orestes marched on the capital of the Western Empire at Ravenna. In the face of the advance, Julius Nepos fled to Dalmatia on August 28, 475. In control of Italy and the capital, Orestes chose not to assume the imperial dignity himself, but instead conferred it on his young son Romulus Augustulus on October 31, 475. Orestes, however, remained the real power in Italy, ruling through his son.
   Although he successfully seized control, Orestes's usurpation was not recognized by the emperor Zeno in Constantinople, who maintained that the legitimate emperor of the Western Empire was the exile Julius Nepos and not Romulus Augustulus. Despite this lack of recognition, Orestes kept control of Italy for a year after his rebellion against Julius Nepos. His downfall was the result, not of the refusal of Zeno to recognize Romulus but of Orestes's inability to preserve the loyalty of his troops. The vast majority of his army was made up of German soldiers of various tribes. They demanded grants of land in Italy as reward for their service in the Roman army. Grants of land had been a traditional reward for military service, and other barbarian peoples had received these grants, but never in Italy. True to his Roman roots, Orestes refused to grant his Germanic soldiers land in Italy, and as a consequence, he faced a revolt led by Odovacar, who declared that he would make this concession if he ever obtained power. Orestes was quickly overwhelmed by Odovacar and the Germans in the imperial army. Orestes was executed on Odovacar's orders on August 28, 476, and shortly thereafter Odovacar forced Romulus Augustulus to abdicate, but allowed him to retire and did not kill him. Odovacar did not resurrect the system established by Orestes; instead he refused to establish a new puppet emperor in the west and ruled over Italy under the sovereignty of the emperor in Constantinople. The death of Orestes and deposition of his son Romulus is thus traditionally seen as the end of the Roman Empire in the west, even though much that was Roman survived long after their deaths.
   See also
   Bibliography
 ♦ Bury, John B. History of the Later Roman Empire: From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian. 2 vols. 1923. Reprint, New York: Dover, 1959.
 ♦ ---. The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967.
 ♦ Lot, Ferdinand. The End of the Ancient World and the Beginning of the Middle Ages. 1931. Reprint, New York: Harper and Row, 1961.
 ♦ Randers-Pehrson, Justine Davis. Barbarians and Romans: The Birth Struggle of Europe, a.d. 400-700. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1983.
 ♦ Wolfram, Herwig. The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples. Trans. Thomas J. Dunlap. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe. 2014.

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  • Orestes — und die Erinyen (Rachegöttinnen) Orestes (griechisch Ὀρέστης; deutsch auch Orest) ist in der griechischen Mythologie der Sohn des Agamemnon und der Klytaimnestra und der Bruder der Iph …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Orestes — ORESTES, æ & is, Gr. Ὀρέστης, ου, (⇒ Tab. XXX.) 1 §. Aeltern. Sein Vater war Agamemnon, König zu Mycene, und oberster Feldherr der Griechen vor Troja, seine Mutter aber Klytämnestra, des Tyndareus, Königs zu Sparta, Tochter. Hygin. Fab. 119. &… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Orestes — {{Orestes}} Sohn des Agamemnon** und der Klytaimestra*, die er auf Geheiß des Apollon* zusammen mit ihrem Liebhaber Aigisthos* wegen des Mords an seinem Vater tötete. Seine Schwester Elektra* und sein Freund Pylades* halfen ihm dabei. Nach dem… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

  • Orestes — Orestes, 1) Sohn des Agamemnon u. der Klytämnestra. Nach der Ermordung des Agamemnon durch Klytämnestra u. Ägisthos ließ ihn seine Schwester Elektra zu Strophios, König in Phokis, welcher mit ihrer Tante Anaxibia vermählt war, in Sicherheit… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Orestes — in ancient Greek stories, the son of ↑Agamemnon, King of ↑Mycenae, and Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus kill Agamemnon when Orestes is a child. When he becomes an adult, Orestes kills his mother and Aegisthus …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Orestes — Orestes, IN U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 334 Housing Units (2000): 147 Land area (2000): 0.393621 sq. miles (1.019474 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.393621 sq. miles (1.019474 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Orestes, IN — U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 334 Housing Units (2000): 147 Land area (2000): 0.393621 sq. miles (1.019474 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.393621 sq. miles (1.019474 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Orestes — son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, from Gk. Orestes, lit. mountaineer, from oros mountain (see OREAD (Cf. oread)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Orestes — [ō res′tēz΄] n. [L < Gr Orestēs < oros, mountain: see ORIENT] Gr. Myth. son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who, with the aid of his sister Electra, avenges the murder of his father by killing his mother and her lover Aegisthus …   English World dictionary

  • Oréstes — Oréstes, 1) im griech. Mythus Sohn des Agamemnon und der Klytämnestra, war bei der Ermordung des Vaters durch Ägisthos (s. d.) dem gleichen Schicksal bestimmt; aber seine Schwester Elektra (s. d. 3) rettete ihn zu dem Phokerkönig Strophios, bei… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Orestes — Orestes, Sohn des Agamemnon und der Klytaimnestra, rächte den ermordeten Vater an seiner Mutter und deren Buhlen Aigisthos, versöhnte die ihn deswegen verfolgenden rächenden Erinnyen, indem er auf Rat des Apollon mit seinem Freunde Pylades (s.d.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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