Onoulphus

Onoulphus

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Onoulphus, also Onoulf, Unulf and Hunulf (floruit
Floruit
Floruit , abbreviated fl. , is a Latin verb meaning "flourished", denoting the period of time during which something was active...

c. 453
453
Year 453 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Opilio and Vincomalus...

-479
479
Year 479 was a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Zeno without colleague...

) was a Roman general of Scirian
Scirii
The Scirii were an East Germanic tribe of Eastern Europe, attested in historical works between the 2nd century BC and 5th century AD.The etymology of their name is unclear...

 origin, magister militum per Illyricum from 477 to 479.

Biography


Onoulphus was a Scirian
Scirii
The Scirii were an East Germanic tribe of Eastern Europe, attested in historical works between the 2nd century BC and 5th century AD.The etymology of their name is unclear...

; his brother, Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

, and he were raised at the court of Attila, King of the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

.

Onoulphus entered in the Roman army and rose through its ranks in the 470s. He found a protector in the general Armatus
Armatus
Flavius Armatus was a Byzantine military commander, magister militum under Emperors Leo I, Basiliscus and Zeno, and consul. He was instrumental in the rebellion of Basiliscus against Zeno, and in his subsequent fall.- Origin and early career :...

, who had him appointed first comes
Comes
Comes , plural comites , is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus, especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. The word comes derives from com- "with" +...

and later, in 477, magister militum per Illyricum, commander in chief of the Balkan army. In that same 477, by order of the Emperor Zeno
Zeno (emperor)
Zeno , originally named Tarasis, was Byzantine Emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491. Domestic revolts and religious dissension plagued his reign, which nevertheless succeeded to some extent in foreign issues...

, Onoulphus killed Armatus, even if he had greatly benefited by his protection (sources states that Armatus lent him a huge sum to pay a banquet).

Onoulphus kept his office until 479, when he fell out of favour.

Connection between Onounulphus and Odoacer


A recent publication by Stephan Krautschick advanced the hypothesis that Armatus and his cousin and emperor Basiliscus
Basiliscus
Basiliscus was Eastern Roman Emperor from 475 to 476. A member of the House of Leo, he came to power when Emperor Zeno had been forced out of Constantinople by a revolt....

 were related by blood with the chieftain of the Heruli
Heruli
The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe who are famous for their naval exploits. Migrating from Northern Europe to the Black Sea in the third century They were part of the...

 and later King of Italy Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

. According to this hypothesis, supported by several scholars, Armatus was the brother of Onoulphus and Odoacer, who, therefore, was the nephew of Emperor Basiliscus and of his sister, the Empress Verina
Verina
Aelia Verina was the Empress consort of Leo I of the Byzantine Empire. She was a sister of Basiliscus. Her daughter Ariadne was Empress consort of first Zeno and then Anastasius I. Verina was the maternal grandmother of Leo II.-Family:...

, wife of Emperor Leo I
Leo I (emperor)
Leo I was Byzantine Emperor from 457 to 474. A native of Dacia Aureliana near historic Thrace, he was known as Leo the Thracian ....

. This hypothesis explains why Armatus generously helped Onoulphus in his career, and states that he was killed by his own brother.

The connection between Armatus, Odoacer and Onoulphus is given by a fragment in the chronicle of John of Antioch
John of Antioch (chronicler)
John of Antioch was chronicler in the 7th century. He was a monk, apparently contemporary with Emperor Heraclius . Gelzer identifies the author with the Monophysite Patriarch John of Antioch, who ruled from 630 to 648.John of Antioch's chronicle, Historia chronike, is a universal history...

, in which Onoulphus is said to be the killer and the brother of Armatus. Before Krautschick's hypothesis, and still today for scholars who reject this identification, John's passage was corrected to read "Odoacer was the brother of that Onoulphus who killed Armatus": this correction makes the statement compatible with those of the contemporary historians, as neither John Malalas
John Malalas
John Malalas or Ioannes Malalas was a Greek chronicler from Antioch. Malalas is probably a Syriac word for "rhetor", "orator"; it is first applied to him by John of Damascus .-Life:Malalas was educated in Antioch, and probably was a jurist there, but moved to...

 nor Malchus
Malchus (historian)
Malchus was a Byzantine historian. According to Suda Malchus was a Byzantine; but Photius states that he was a native of Philadelphia; and his Syriac name makes it probable that Philadelphia was the ancient Rabbah in the country of Ammonitis, east of the River Jordan.Malchus probably followed his...

tell about the relationship between Odoacer and Basiliscus or the killing of Armatus by his own brother.