The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night. Revelation 8:12
After the death of Attila the Huns ceased menacing Italy. In 456, a powerful commander of the Roman army, a barbarian of Gothic descent, defeated the Vandals in a great sea battle, and rose to such popularity that he became in essence the kingmaker, putting his puppets on the throne of the West and ruling through them for nearly the next 20 years. When his ambition was thwarted by the emperor of the East, he marched on Rome himself at the head of a (German) army, and put his own choice on the throne yet again (in 472), while the Eternal City suffered another sacking at the hands of Germans.
This barbarian kingmaker died that same year, but the Germans continued the kingmaking. In 475, Romulus Augustulus was invested with the imperial purple. The Germans then demanded one- third of the lands of Italy for themselves, and were refused. This seems to be the last straw. The Germans finally became exasperated at the weak and ineffectual “emperors” thus put on the throne one after the other. So in 476, the Germans took up arms under their commander, Odoacer, who entered Rome, slew the emperor’s father, and deposed Romulus. Odoacer sent the imperial purple and sceptor to the emperor of the East, stating that one emperor was enough. He thus abolished the Western Roman empire, and ascended the throne himself, an unlettered barbarian, as the first king of the Romans.
This event marks the Fall of the Roman empire of the West. It also opens the next period of history labeled in the history books as The Dark Ages. Why? Because the light of civilization, the light of religion, the light of learning had been extinguished in the West. The Romans had been utterly defeated, and pagan German barbarians ruled in every province of the former Western Empire: the Angles and Saxons in Britain, the Franks in northern Gaul, the Burgundians in southeastern Gaul, the Visigoths (West Goths) in southwestern Gaul and Spain, the Vandals in Africa, and Odoacer in Italy as the king of the Romans.
The light had been extinguished, and the Dark Ages begun. The fourth trumpet judgment had come to pass, and truly the light of the sun, moon, and stars were darkened for one- third of the Roman Empire. (A discussion on the division of the Empire into thirds is coming.)
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 8: the woes to come