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Syagrius – king of Romans

  • History

Syagrius (430-486 or 487 CE) was a Roman commander and the last governor (dux) of Gaul – called by the surrounding barbarian tribes “king of the Romans1” (rex Romanorum). He was the son of the Roman governor Egidius.

Egidius, after the overthrow of Emperor Majorian by the all-powerful Ricimer – as magister militum per Gallias – established separate governments in Gaul and formed his own country with capital in Soissons.

After his death, in about 464 CE, the inheritance was taken over by a certain Paulus, and then by the aforementioned son, Syagarius. He had northern Gaul (the area between the Somme and the Loire) under his rule, and Soissons was the main seat. His rule was referred to as the “District of Syagrius” (Italian: Dominio di Siagrio) and constituted the continuity of the Galician diocese of the Roman Empire after the fall of the power of Romulus Augustulus in the year 476 CE.

He was defeated by Chlodwig in the Battle of Soissons in 486 CE, and the territories he controlled were incorporated into the Frankish state. It was the end of the Romans outside of Italy.

After the battle of Soissons, he took refuge in Toulouse, at the court of the Visigoth king Alaric II. Chlodwig demanded Alaric II hand him over, threatening war if he refused. Alaric gave in to the threat; Syagrius was handed over to the Franks and assassinated soon afterwards (according to Gregory of Tours). Remarkably, the line of Syagrius prospered under the Franks, with the last known descendant of the “King of the Romans” dating back to 757.