Romanus (usurper)

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Usurper of the Western Roman Empire
Reign 470
Predecessor Anthemius
Successor Anthemius
Died 470
Rome, Italia

Romanus was a Roman usurper in the West Roman Empire who unsuccessfully rebelled against the Emperor Anthemius in 470 before being executed at Rome.


Romanus was a Roman Senator[1] and a Patrician[2] who had achieved the rank of Magister officiorum during the final decades of the Western Roman Empire.[3] A known supporter of Ricimer, the Magister militum,[4] this brought him into conflict with the Emperor Anthemius, who both distrusted and disliked Ricimer.[5]

In 470, Anthemius fell seriously ill, and it was rumored that sorcery had been used to afflict the emperor.[6] Ricimer saw an opportunity to install a new puppet emperor, and began to lay the groundwork for the accession of Romanus to the imperial throne.[7] However, Anthemius eventually recovered, and accused a number of Ricimer’s supporters of using sorcery to try to bring about his death, including Romanus, whom he also accused of seeking to usurp his throne.[8] He had the senator beheaded in 470, an act which he hoped would secure his throne.[9]

In fact, it did the opposite. Ricimer became furious about the death of Romanus, and was the trigger which he used to move against Anthemius, whom he deposed in 472.[10]



  1. ^ Mathisen, Anthemius; Canduci, pg.168
  2. ^ Mathisen, Anthemius; Jones, pg. 947
  3. ^ Jones, pg. 947
  4. ^ Mathisen, Anthemius
  5. ^ MacGeorge, pg. 246; Canduci, pg. 168
  6. ^ MacGeorge, pg. 246; Mathisen, Anthemius
  7. ^ MacGeorge, pg. 246
  8. ^ Canduci, pg. 168; Mathisen, Anthemius
  9. ^ Jones, pg. 947; Canduci, pg. 168
  10. ^ Mathisen, Anthemius; MacGeorge, pgs. 246-247