The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching 1,200 kilometres across eight Alpine countries: France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, at 4,810 m is the highest mountain in the Alps; the Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres. The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m, plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era.
A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991. By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000; the 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks. The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity; the traditional culture of farming and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, Italian and German Alps. At present, the region has 120 million annual visitors; the English word Alps derives from the Latin Alpes.
Maurus Servius Honoratus, an ancient commentator of Virgil, says in his commentary that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts. The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp; this may be consistent with the theory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the Latin Alpes might derive from a pre-Indo-European word *alb "hill". Albania, a name not native to the region known as the country of Albania, has been used as a name for a number of mountainous areas across Europe. In Roman times, "Albania" was a name for the eastern Caucasus, while in the English languages "Albania" was used as a name for Scotland, although it is more derived from the Latin albus, the color white; the Latin word Alpes could come from the adjective albus. In modern languages the term alp, albe or alpe refers to a grazing pastures in the alpine regions below the glaciers, not the peaks. An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer.
The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kopf, Spitze and Berg are used in German speaking regions. The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km arc from east to west and is 200 km in width; the mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km. The range stretches from the Mediterranean Sea north above the Po basin, extending through France from Grenoble, stretching eastward through mid and southern Switzerland; the range continues onward toward Vienna and east to the Adriatic Sea and Slovenia. To the south it dips into northern Italy and to the north extends to the southern border of Bavaria in Germany. In areas like Chiasso and Allgäu, the demarcation between the mountain range and the flatlands are clear; the countries with the greatest alpine territory are Austria, Italy and Switzerland. The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhône valley, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, the Bernese Alps on the northern.
The peaks in the easterly portion of the range, in Austria and Slovenia, are smaller than those in the central and western portions. The variances in nomenclature in the region spanned by the Alps makes classification of the mountains and subregions difficult, but a general classification is that of the Eastern Alps and Western Alps with the divide between the two occurring in eastern Switzerland according to geologist Stefan Schmid, near the Splügen Pass; the highest peaks of the Western Alps and Eastern Alps are Mont Blanc, at 4,810 m and Piz Bernina at 4,049 metres. The second-highest major
Sack of Rome (410)
The Sack of Rome occurred on 24 August 410 AD. The city was attacked by the Visigoths led by King Alaric. At that time, Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, having been replaced in that position first by Mediolanum in 286 and by Ravenna in 402; the city of Rome retained a paramount position as "the eternal city" and a spiritual center of the Empire. The sack was a major shock to contemporaries and foes of the Empire alike; this was the first time in 800 years that Rome had fallen to a foreign enemy. The previous sack of Rome had been accomplished by the Gauls under their leader Brennus in 390 or 387/6 BC; the sacking of 410 is seen as a major landmark in the fall of the Western Roman Empire. St. Jerome, living in Bethlehem at the time, wrote; the Germanic tribes had undergone massive technological and economic changes after four centuries of contact with the Roman Empire. From the first to fourth centuries, Germanic populations, economic production, tribal confederations grew, their ability to conduct warfare increased to the point of challenging Rome.
The Goths, one of the Germanic tribes, had invaded the Roman empire on and off since 238. But in the late 4th century, the Huns began to invade the lands of the Germanic tribes, pushed many of them into the Roman Empire with greater fervor. In 376, the Huns forced many Therving Goths led by Fritigern and Alavivus to seek refuge in the Eastern Roman empire. Soon after, high taxes, hatred from the Roman population, governmental corruption turned the Goths against the Empire; the Goths began looting and pillaging throughout the eastern Balkans. A Roman army, led by the Eastern Roman emperor Valens, marched to put them down. At the Battle of Adrianople in 378, Fritigern decisively defeated emperor Valens, killed in battle. Peace was established in 382 when the new eastern emperor, Theodosius I, signed a treaty with the Thervings, who would become known as the Visigoths; the treaty made the Visigoths subjects of the empire as foederati. They were allotted the northern part of the dioceses of Dacia and Thrace, while the land remained under Roman sovereignty and the Visigoths were expected to provide military service, they were considered autonomous.
Fritigern died around 382. In 391, a Gothic chieftain named Alaric was declared king by a group of Visigoths, though the exact time this happened and nature of this position are debated, he led an invasion into Eastern Roman territory outside of the Goths' designated lands. Alaric was defeated by Theodosius and his general Flavius Stilicho in 392, who forced Alaric back into Roman vassalage. In 394, Alaric led a force of Visigoths as part of Theodosius' army to invade the Western Roman Empire. At the Battle of the Frigidus, around half the Visigoths present died fighting the Western Roman army led by the usurper Eugenius and his general Arbogast. Theodosius won the battle, although Alaric was given the title comes for his bravery, tensions between the Goths and Romans grew as it seemed the Roman generals had sought to weaken the Goths by making them bear the brunt of the fighting. Alaric was enraged he had not been granted a higher office in the Imperial administration; when Theodosius died on January 17, 395, the Visigoths considered their 382 treaty with Rome to have ended.
Alaric led his warriors back to their lands in Moesia, gathered most of the federated Goths in the Danubian provinces under his leadership, rebelled, invading Thrace and approaching the Eastern Roman capital of Constantinople. The Huns, at the same moment, invaded Asia Minor; the death of Theodosius had wracked the political structure of the Empire: Theodosius' sons and Arcadius, were given the Western and Eastern empires but they were young and needed guidance. A power struggle emerged between Stilicho, who claimed guardianship over both emperors but was still in the West with the army that had defeated Eugenius, Rufinus, the praetorian prefect of the East, who took the guardianship of Arcadius in the Eastern capital of Constantinople. Theodosius had left power to both men, but Stilicho claimed that Theodosius had awarded him with sole guardianship on the emperor's deathbed. Rufinus negotiated with Alaric to get him to withdraw from Constantinople by promising him lands in Thessaly. Whatever the case, Alaric marched away from Constantinople to Greece, looting the diocese of Macedonia.
Magister utriusque militiae Stilicho marched east at the head of a combined Western and Eastern Roman army out of Italy. Alaric fortified himself behind a circle of wagons on the plain of Larissa, in Thessaly, where Stilicho besieged him for several months, unwilling to seek battle. Arcadius, under the apparent influence of those hostile to Stilicho, commanded him to leave Thessaly. Stilicho obeyed the orders of his emperor by sending his Eastern troops to Constantinople and leading his Western ones back to Italy; the Eastern troops Stilicho had sent to Constantinople were led by a Goth named Gainas. When Rufinus met the soldiers, he was hacked to death in November 395. Whether, done on the orders of Stilicho, or on those of Rufinus' replacement Eutropius, is unknown; the withdrawal of Stilicho freed Alaric to pillage much of Greece, including Piraeus, Corinth and Sparta. Athens was able to pay a ransom to avoid being sacked, it was only in 397 that Stilicho returned to Greece, having rebuilt his army with barbarian allies and believing the eastern Roman government would now welcome his arrival.
After some fighting, Stilicho besieged Alaric at Pholoe. On
Battle of the Nervasos Mountains
The Battle of the Nervasos Mountains occurred in the year 419 and was fought between a coalition of Suebi, led by King Hermeric together with allied Roman Imperial forces stationed in the Province of Hispania, against the combined forces of the Vandals and Alans who were led by their King Gunderic. This battle occurred in the context of a contemporary Germanic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula; the battle took place in what is today the Province of León, resulted in a Roman/Suebian Victory. Between the years 409 and 411, the Germanic peoples of the Vandals and the Suebi like the Iranian Alans, migrated into the Iberian Peninsula via the Pyrenees Mountains after having conquered the Gallo-Roman province of Gaul and subjected it to a three-year system of plunder and pillage. Seeing that the forces of the Western Roman Empire were unable to respond to new threats due to local uprisings led by Maximus of Hispania and Gerontius, the Germanic tribes saw an opportunity to invade the peninsula and carve out territory for themselves, starting the period of the Germanic Invasion of Iberia.
The invaders divided amongst themselves, the territories of Hispania, taking the whole of Hispania Tarraconensis from the Romans without encountering any significant opposition. The Silingi Vandals gained control over the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, the Alans took over administration of Lusitania and Hispania Carthaginensis, whilst the Suebi and the Hasdingi Vandals took over Gallaecia; the Suebi continued on with the original Roman Conventus iuridicus Lucense, maintaining a capital in Lucus Augusti, with the Bracarense with its capital at Bracara Augusta. The Hasdingi Vandals maintained the Roman structure dating back from the Augustan and Claudian emperors, their Roman Conventus Asturicensus maintained its capital at Asturica Augusta. In 416, King of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse, entered the Iberian Peninsula as a Roman general to fight the invading barbarian tribes; the Germanic tribes were unable to unite against their common enemy and by 418, the Silingi Vandals had been completely annihilated and the Alans were dispersed after the fighting death of their king, Attaces.
The survivors of these groups sheltered themselves with the Hasdingi Vandals. The King of the Suebi, for his part, was able to sign a treaty with the Emperor Honorius, gaining his tribe the legal status of Foederati, for which the Hispano-Romans were obliged to cede them land, they established a garrison at Braga. The disgrace felt by the Hispano-Romans at having to cede their lands to the Suebi would be felt painfully in the future during the conflicts between the natives and the colonizers; the following periods would be marked with failed peace treaties and the sending of a native embassy to solicit the help of the Gallo-Roman general Flavius Aetius by Bishop Hydatius that would end in failure. In his alliance with the Romans, Hermeric was swayed by the expansionist desires of his kingdom and would enter into conflict with his neighboring Vandals, the closest other German tribe occupying Hispania; the details of the confrontation between the two tribes are not clear, but it is possible to deduce that it was the Suebi who took the initiative in commencing hostilities seeing as the Nervasos Mountains, due to their imprecise location, could have been situated in the region of El Bierzo in today's Province of Leon the conventus iuridicus asturicensis, which under the pact of 409-411, belonged to the Hasdingi Vandals under Gunderic.
During the invasion of the Vandal lands and his army are surrounded in the Nervasos Mountains by the forces of Gunderic, only being saved from a disastrous defeat by timely Roman intervention. The Roman comes Hispanorum, Asterius, at the head of a powerful Roman army, lifted the Suebi siege and obliged the Vandals to retreat; the Roman campaign continued and Asterius obliged the Vandals to retreat south to Bracara Augusta, where he had pre-arranged a pincer movement together with his vicarius, who commanded another sizable Roman force. They routed them. Having been defeated, the king Gunderic guided his tribe in search of new settlement in Hispania Baetica. Between 421 and 422, they routed the imperial army of General Castinus, sent to reconquer former Roman lands in that area; the Vandals built a grand fleet which they used to gain naval dominance in the region and were able to conquer a large portion of southeastern Spain, sacking the cities of Carthago Nova and Hispalis amongst others. In 428, Gunderic dies and is succeeded to the throne by his half brother Genseric, who decides that best place for his people to settle would be North Africa, being ravaged by internal disputes which would nullify the Roman resistance.
Genseric began preparations to cross the Straits of Gibraltar with over 80,000 people, 15,000 of whom were soldiers, however he was attacked from the rear by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania. This Suebi army was defeated near Mérida and its leader Hermigario drowns in the Guadiana River while trying to flee; the following year, the Vandals disembarked in Ceuta, from which in a few years they would control all of Roman North Africa before being swept from history by Belisarius, a general of Justinian I. The Suebi would remain in Gallaecia until their conquest by the Visigoths under Liuvigild in the year 585 sharing the same fate
Sack of Rome (455)
The sack of 455 was the third of four ancient sacks of Rome. In the 440s, the Vandal king Genseric and the Roman Emperor Valentinian III had betrothed their children and Eudocia, to strengthen their alliance, reached in 442 with a peace treaty. In 455 Valentinian was killed, Petronius Maximus rose to the throne. Petronius married Valentinian's widow, Licinia Eudoxia, had his son Palladius marry Eudocia. Unhappy, with her husband's murder and the usurpation of Maximus, Eudoxia turned to aid from the Vandals to remove Maximus from his undeserved throne; the overture was favorably met. The king of the Vandals claimed that the broken betrothal between Huneric and Eudocia invalidated his peace treaty with Valentinian, set sail to attack Rome, landing at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber. Before approaching the city, the Vandals knocked down all of the city's aqueducts. At the sight of the approaching Vandals and his soldiers tried to flee the city but he was spotted and killed by a Roman mob outside the city together with his son Palladius.
Upon the Vandal arrival, according to the chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine, Pope Leo I requested that Genseric not destroy the ancient city nor murder its inhabitants. Genseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men. While Genseric kept his promise not to burn the city and slaughter its inhabitants, he did carry off some to be slaves, during that time Genseric managed to capture Empress Licinia Eudoxia, Valentinian's widow, her daughters and Placidia as they tried to escape. Eudoxia and her children were the last of Rome's imperial family. Eudocia would marry Huneric, it is accepted that Genseric looted great amounts of treasure from the city, damaging objects of cultural significance such as the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus by stripping away the gilt bronze roof tiles. There is, some debate over the severity of the Vandal sack; the sack of 455 is seen as being more thorough than the Visigothic sack of 410 because the Vandals plundered Rome for fourteen days whereas the Visigoths spent only three days in the city.
A cause of significant controversy is the claim that the sack was "clean", in that there was little murder and violence, the Vandals did not burn the buildings of the city. This interpretation seems to stem from Prosper's claim that Pope Leo I managed to persuade Genseric to refrain from violence. However, Victor of Vita records that a number of shiploads of captives arrived in Africa from Rome, with the purpose of being sold into slavery; the Byzantine historian Procopius reports that a church was burnt down. Some modern historians like John Henry Haaren stated that temples, public buildings, private houses and the emperor's palace were sacked. Besides taking many Romans as slaves, the Vandals committed other depredations like taking immense quantities of gold, silver and furniture, destroying works of art, killing a number of citizens. Sack of Constantinople Procopius,'The Vandalic War' in The History of the Wars, Books III & IV, trans. H. B Dewing Muhlberger, S; the Fifth Century Chroniclers: Prosper and the Gallic Chronicler of 452 — for Prosper's hagiographic portrayal of Leo.
Victor of Vita, History of the Vandal Persecution, trans. J. Moorhead. Ward-Perkins, B; the Fall of Rome and the End of Civilisation pp. 17 & 189
Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains called the Battle of the Campus Mauriacus, Battle of Châlons, Battle of Troyes or the Battle of Maurica, took place on June 20, 451 AD, between a coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aetius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I against the Huns and their vassals commanded by their king Attila. It was one of the last major military operations of the Western Roman Empire, although Germanic foederati composed the majority of the coalition army. Whether the battle was strategically conclusive is disputed: the Romans stopped the Huns' attempt to establish vassals in Roman Gaul. However, the Huns looted and pillaged much of Gaul and crippled the military capacity of the Romans and Visigoths; the Hunnic Empire was dismantled by a coalition of their Germanic vassals at the Battle of Nedao in 454. By 450, Roman authority over Gaul had been restored in much of the province, although control over all of the provinces beyond Italy was continuing to diminish. Armorica was only nominally part of the empire, Germanic tribes occupying Roman territory had been forcibly settled and bound by treaty as Foederati under their own leaders.
Northern Gaul between the Rhine north of Xanten and the Lys had unofficially been abandoned to the Salian Franks. The Visigoths on the Garonne were growing restive; the Burgundians in Sapaudia were more submissive, but awaiting an opening for revolt. The Alans on the Loire and in Valentinois were more loyal, having served the Romans since the defeat of Jovinus in 411 and the siege of Bazas in 414; the parts of Gaul still securely in Roman control were the Mediterranean coastline. The historian Jordanes states that Attila was enticed by the Vandal king Genseric to wage war on the Visigoths. At the same time, Genseric would attempt to sow strife between the Visigoths and the Western Roman Empire. However, Jordanes' account of Gothic history is notoriously biased and unreliable, much of it is omitted or garbled. Other contemporary writers offer different motivations: Justa Grata Honoria, the sister of the emperor Valentinian III, had been betrothed to the former consul Herculanus the year before.
In 450, she sent the eunuch Hyacinthus to the Hunnic king asking for Attila's help in escaping her confinement, with her ring as proof of the letter's legitimacy. Attila interpreted it as offering her hand in marriage, he had claimed half of the empire as a dowry, he demanded Honoria to be delivered along with the dowry. Valentinian rejected these demands, Attila used it as an excuse to launch a destructive campaign through Gaul. Hughes suggests that the reality of this interpretation should be that Honoria was using Attila's status as honorary Magister Militum for political leverage. Another possible explanation is that in 449, the King of the Franks, died. Aetius had adopted the younger son of Chlodio to secure the Rhine Frontier, the elder son had fled to the court of Attila, it is thought that Childeric I was a vassal of Attila, the founders of the Merovingian dynasty and Merovech, are the two claimants to the Frankish throne. In the somewhat garbled story of the Chronicle of Fredegar, Childeric was expelled by the Franks and exiled for eight years to Thuringia, a Hunnic vassal at the time.
Kim concludes that the character of Wiomad represents the Huns who helped Childeric fight the Romans and engineered his return from exile, stating that the main objective of Attila at Chalons was conquest of the Franks and establishment of vassal states on the Rhine. Attila crossed the Rhine early in 451 with his followers and a large number of allies, sacking Divodurum on April 7. Other cities attacked can be determined by the hagiographies written to commemorate their bishops: Nicasius of Rheims was slaughtered before the altar of his church in Reims. Lupus, bishop of Troyes, is credited with saving his city by meeting Attila in person. Many other cities claim to have been attacked in these accounts, although archaeological evidence shows no destruction layer dating to the timeframe of the invasion; the most explanation for Attila's widespread devastation of Gaul is that Attila's main column crossed the Rhine at Worms or Mainz and marched to Trier, Metz and Orleans, while sending a small detachment north into Frankish territory to plunder the countryside.
This explanation would support the literary evidence claiming North Gaul was attacked, the archaeological evidence showing major population centers were not sacked. Attila's army had reached Aurelianum before June. According to Jordanes, the Alan king Sangiban, whose Foederati realm included Aurelianum, had promised to open the city gates; this siege is confirmed by the account of the Vita S. Aniani and in the account of Gregory of Tours, although Sangiban's name does not appear in their accounts. However, the inhabitants of Aurelianum shut their gates against the advancing invaders, Attila began to besiege the city, while he waited for Sangiban to deliver on his promise. There are two different accounts of the siege of Aurelianum, Hughes suggests that combining them provides a better understanding of what happened. After four days of heavy rain, Attila began his final assault on June 14, broken due to the approach of the Roman coalition. Modern scholars tend to agree that the siege of Aurelianum was the high point of Atti
Battle of Orleans (463)
The Battle of Orléans took place in the year 463 pitting the forces of the Kingdom of Soissons, under the command of the magister militum Aegidius, against those of the Visigoths who were commanded by the Visigoth King Theodoric II and his brother Federico. Aegidius, who had proclaimed the secession of the northern part of Gaul in 461 after the assassination of Emperor Majorian by Ricimer, a magister militum of Germanic origin who wanted greater control over the Western Empire. Ricimer installed what he hoped would be a more controllable emperor, Flavius Libius Severus Serpentius, a move that backfired as he was not recognized by a few of the provinces or by the eastern half of the empire. Aegidius, having been stripped of his title by Ricimer, threatened to attack the Italian Peninsula with his considerable army; the Visigoths, sensing an opportunity to extend the frontier of their northern kingdom past the Loire River, the contemporary boundary of their empire, having been encouraged by Ricimer to attack the Alans allied to the Romans, to deflect their attention away from Italy, mobilized their army for an attack.
The two armies met at Orléans in 463. The conflict ended in a costly defeat and rout of the Visigothic army and the death of their commander, the brother of Theodoric II; this defeat halted for some time the ambitions of the Visigoths with respect to this northern region of Gaul. This was fortunate for Aegidius and the Roman rump state as they were being harassed by the Saxons under Odoacer; this Visigoth timidity ended with the Roman provocation at Battle of Déols where a Romano-British invasion army under Riothamus was defeated by the Visigoths from 470-71. The existence of this battle is referred to in various texts throughout the ages: Hydatius: Adversus Aegidium comitem utriusque militiae, virum, ut fama commendat, Deo bonis operibus complacentem, in Armoricana provincia Fretiricus frater Theuderici regis insurgens, cum his cum quibus fuerat, superatus occiditur.. Of note, Hydatius places this battle in the year 461, missing from his account any data for the years ranging from 462 to 464.
The Chronica Gallica of 511: In the fifth year of the reign of Leo I the Thracian Fredericus frater Theuderici regis pugnans cum Francis occiditur iuxta Ligerim. Marius Aventicensis: His consulibus pugna facta est inter Aegidium et Gothos inter Ligerum et Ligericinum iuxta Aurelianis ibique interfectus est Fredericus rex Gothorum. Gregory of Tours refers to the fighting in which the king of the Salian Franks, Childeric I had participated in during those years. Most modern historians have come to the conclusion that Aegidius had Frankish troops in his service and that Childeric was either a Roman ally or client during this time; that being stated, there is no concrete proof to affirm that there Childeric had been present, nor of the alliance between the two groups. List of Roman battles Decline of the Western Roman Empire Western Roman Empire
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history; when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title used was imperator a military honorific. Early Emperors used the title princeps. Emperors amassed republican titles, notably princeps senatus and pontifex maximus; the legitimacy of an emperor's rule depended on his control of the army and recognition by the Senate. The first emperors reigned alone; the Romans considered the office of emperor to be distinct from that of a king. The first emperor, resolutely refused recognition as a monarch. Although Augustus could claim that his power was authentically republican, his successor, could not convincingly make the same claim. Nonetheless, for the first three hundred years of Roman emperors, from Augustus until Diocletian, efforts were made to portray the emperors as leaders of a republic.
From Diocletian, whose tetrarchic reforms divided the position into one emperor in the West and one in the East, until the end of the Empire, emperors ruled in an monarchic style and did not preserve the nominal principle of a republic, but the contrast with "kings" was maintained: although the imperial succession was hereditary, it was only hereditary if there was a suitable candidate acceptable to the army and the bureaucracy, so the principle of automatic inheritance was not adopted. Elements of the republican institutional framework were preserved after the end of the Western Empire; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century after multiple invasions of imperial territory by Germanic barbarian tribes. Romulus Augustulus is considered to be the last emperor of the West after his forced abdication in 476, although Julius Nepos maintained a claim recognized by the Eastern Empire to the title until his death in 480. Following Nepos' death, the Eastern Emperor Zeno abolished the division of the position and proclaimed himself as the sole Emperor of a reunited Roman Empire.
The Eastern imperial lineage continued to rule from Constantinople. Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Roman emperor in Constantinople, dying in the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453; the "Byzantine" emperors from Heraclius in 629 and onwards adopted the title of basileus, which had meant king in Greek but became a title reserved for the Roman emperor and the ruler of the Sasanian Empire. Other kings were referred to as rēgas. In addition to their pontifical office, some emperors were given divine status after death. With the eventual hegemony of Christianity, the emperor came to be seen as God's chosen ruler, as well as a special protector and leader of the Christian Church on Earth, although in practice an emperor's authority on Church matters was subject to challenge. Due to the cultural rupture of the Turkish conquest, most western historians treat Constantine XI as the last meaningful claimant to the title Roman Emperor. From 1453, one of the titles used by the Ottoman Sultans was "Caesar of Rome", part of their titles until the Ottoman Empire ended in 1922.
A Byzantine group of claimant Roman emperors existed in the Empire of Trebizond until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1461, though they had used a modified title since 1282. Eastern emperors in Constantinople had been recognized and accepted as Roman emperors both in the East, which they ruled, by the Papacy and Germanic kingdoms of the West until the deposition of Constantine VI and accession of Irene of Athens as Empress regnant in 797. Objecting to a woman ruling the Roman Empire in her own right and issues with the eastern clergy, the Papacy would create a rival lineage of Roman emperors in western Europe, the Holy Roman Emperors, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire for most of the period between 800 and 1806; these Emperors were never recognized as Roman emperors by the court in Constantinople. Modern historians conventionally regard Augustus as the first Emperor whereas Julius Caesar is considered the last dictator of the Roman Republic, a view having its origins in the Roman writers Plutarch and Cassius Dio.
However, the majority of Roman writers, including Josephus, Pliny the Younger and Appian, as well as most of the ordinary people of the Empire, thought of Julius Caesar as the first Emperor. At the end of the Roman Republic no new, no single, title indicated the individual who held supreme power. Insofar as emperor could be seen as the English translation of imperator Julius Caesar had been an emperor, like several Roman generals before him. Instead, by the end of the civil wars in which Julius Caesar had led his armies, it became clear that there was no consensus to return to the old-style monarchy, but that the period when several officials, bestowed with equal power by the senate, would fight one another had come to an end. Julius Caesar, Augustus after him, accumulated offices and titles of the highest importance in the Republic, making the power attached to those offices permanent, preventing anyone with similar aspirations from accumulating or maintaining power for themselves. However, Julius Caesar, unlike those after