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The Story of the Romans by  H. A. Guerber


 

 

END OF THE EMPIRE OF THE WEST

A FEW years after the death of the terrible Attila, Valentinian was murdered; and during the next twenty years nine emperors reigned, and there were troubles and wars without end.

The people were very superstitious in those times; and, as their troubles increased, some one suddenly remembered that Romulus, the founder of Rome, had seen twelve vultures. The report was soon spread all over the country that these twelve vultures represented as many centuries, and that, as Rome had been founded about twelve hundred years before, its rule would soon be at an end.

In the course of these twenty years, Genseric, King of the Vandals, came over from Africa, captured Rome, [278] and allowed his soldiers to sack it for fourteen days. As his men were very rough indeed, they destroyed many things which they could not carry away; and when they departed they took with them the widow of Valentinian, and her daughters, and reduced many noble Romans to slavery.

Romulus Augustulus was the last of these nine emperors. Soon after his election, Odoacer, the leader of a tribe of Germans, made himself king of Italy, deposed Romulus Augustulus, and began to rule in his stead.

The empire of the West then came to an end (A.D. 476), and Rome, which had been founded by one Romulus, was shorn of its glory under another emperor of the same name, after having ruled nearly all the known world for many a year.

The Roman senate, seeing that the Western empire was ended, now sent the tiara and purple robes to Constantinople, where the Eastern empire continued until the city fell into the hands of the Turks in 1453.


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