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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

August 28th, 489 - The Battle of Sontius

Conflict: Barbarian Kingdoms

Combatants: Ostrogoths vs. Romans

Location: Italy

Outcome: Ostrogoth victory


After the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, the barbarian soldier Odoacer became the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy, though still nominally attached to the Eastern Roman Empire.


In 488, the Ostrogoth Theodoric Amal invaded Italy with an army of 50,000-75,000 warriors. In August of 489, Theodoric crossed the Julian Alps with his army and Odoacer met the invaders near the Sontius (or Isonzo) River. Odoacer was defeated by Theodoric and withdrew, but was defeated at Verona the following month.

Coin of Odoacer at the British Museum


Theodoric the Great on a coin


Points of Interest:

  • Odoacer would defeat Theodoric at Faenza in 490, but then had to divide his army due an invasion of Burgundians and Visigoths in Liguria.

  • In 493, Odoacer agreed to share rule of Italy with Theodoric, but the Ostrogoth murdered Odoacer shortly thereafter.

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