The Pontifex Maximus or pontifex maximus was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office, its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian who, however decided to omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his title. Although in fact the most powerful office of Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests, behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores; the word "pontifex" and its derivative "pontiff" became terms used for Catholic bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, the title of "Pontifex Maximus" was applied within the Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times.
The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes "Supreme Pontiff" as the fourth title, the first being "Bishop of Rome".. The etymology of "pontifex" is uncertain, has been since Roman times; the word appears to consist of the Latin word for "bridge" and the suffix for "maker". However, there is a possibility that this definition is a folk etymology for an Etruscan term, since Roman religion was influenced by Etruscan religion, little is known about the Etruscan language, not Indo-European. According to the common interpretation, the term pontifex means "bridge-builder"; this was originally meant in a literal sense: the position of bridge-builder was indeed an important one in Rome, where the major bridges were over the Tiber, the sacred river: only prestigious authorities with sacral functions could be allowed to "disturb" it with mechanical additions. However, it was always understood in its symbolic sense as well: the pontifices were the ones who smoothed the "bridge" between gods and men.
The interpretation of the word pontifex as "bridge-builder" was that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Marcus Terentius Varro. Plutarch pointed out that the term existed before there were any bridges in Rome and derived the word from Old Latin pontis meaning a powerful or absolute master, while others derived it from potis facere in the sense of "able to sacrifice"; the last derivation is mentioned by Varro, who rejected it, but it was the view of Pontifex Maximus Quintus Scaevola. Others have held that the word was pompifex; the word pons meant "way" and pontifex would thus mean "maker of roads and bridges". Another opinion is that the word is a corruption of a similar-sounding but etymologically unrelated Etruscan word, yet another hypothesis considers the word as a loan from the Sabine language, in which it would mean a member of a college of five, from Osco-Umbrian ponte, five. This explanation takes into account the fact that the college was established by Sabine king Numa Pompilius and the institution is Italic: the expressions pontis and pomperias found in the Iguvine Tablets may denote a group or division of five or by five.
The pontifex would thence be a member of a sacrificial college known as pomperia. The Roman title "Pontifex Maximus" was rendered in Greek inscriptions and literature of the time as "ἀρχιερεύς" or by a more literal translation and order of words as "ἀρχιερεὺς μέγιστος" (literally, "greatest high priest"; the term "ἀρχιερεύς" is used in the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and in the New Testament to refer to the Jewish high priest in 2Mac 4, 7. The Collegium Pontificum was the most important priesthood of ancient Rome; the foundation of this sacred college and the office of Pontifex Maximus is attributed to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius. Much of what is known about the Regal period in Roman history is mythical; the Collegium acted as advisers to the rex in religious matters. The collegium was headed by the pontifex maximus, all the pontifices held their office for life, but the pontifical records of early Rome were most destroyed when the city was sacked by the Gauls in 387 BCE, the earliest accounts of Archaic Rome come from the literature of the Republic, most of it from the 1st century BC and later.
According to the Augustan-era historian Livy, Numa Pompilius, a Sabine, devised Rome's system of religious rites, including the manner and timing of sacrifices, the supervision of religious funds, authority over all public and private religious institutions, instruction of the populace in the celestial and funerary rites including appeasing the dead, expiation of prodigies. Numa is said to have founded Roman religion after dedicating an altar on the Aventine Hill to Jupiter Elicius and consulting the gods by means of augury. Numa wrote down and sealed these religious instructions, gave them to the first Pontifex Maximus, Numa Marcius. In the Roman Republic, the Pontifex Maximus was the highest office in the state religion of ancient Rome and directed the College of Pontiffs. According to Livy, after the overthrow of the monarchy, the Romans created the priesthood of the rex sacrorum, or "king of sacred rites," to carry out certain religious duties and rituals performed by the king; the rex sacrorum was explicitly deprived of military and political power, but the pontifices were permi
Western Roman Empire
In historiography, the Western Roman Empire refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are modern descriptions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453. Though the Empire had seen periods with more than one Emperor ruling jointly before, the view that it was impossible for a single emperor to govern the entire Empire was institutionalised to reforms to Roman law by emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the Third Century, he introduced the system of the tetrarchy in 286, with two separate senior emperors titled Augustus, one in the East and one in the West, each with an appointed Caesar. Though the tetrarchic system would collapse in a matter of years, the East–West administrative division would endure in one form or another over the coming centuries.
As such, the Western Roman Empire would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Some emperors, such as Constantine I and Theodosius I, governed as the sole Augustus across the Roman Empire. On the death of Theodosius I in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, with Honorius as his successor in the West, governing from Mediolanum, Arcadius as his successor in the East, governing from Constantinople. In 476, after the Battle of Ravenna, the Roman Army in the West suffered defeat at the hands of Odoacer and his Germanic foederati. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. In 480, following the assassination of the previous Western emperor Julius Nepos, the Eastern emperor Zeno dissolved the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire; the date of 476 was popularized by the 18th century British historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Odoacer's Italy, other barbarian kingdoms, would maintain a pretence of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court. In the 6th century, emperor Justinian I re-imposed direct Imperial rule on large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, including the prosperous regions of North Africa, the ancient Roman heartland of Italy and parts of Hispania. Political instability in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious differences, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were lost for good. Though the Eastern Empire retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire had over Western Europe had diminished significantly; the papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions.
The Great Schism of 1054 between the churches of Rome and Constantinople further diminished any authority the Emperor in Constantinople could hope to exert in the west. As the Roman Republic expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome could not rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, natural disasters, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service requiring much time to reach Rome and for Rome's orders to be returned and acted upon. Therefore, provincial governors had de facto autonomy in the name of the Roman Republic. Governors had several duties, including the command of armies, handling the taxes of the province and serving as the province's chief judges. Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided in 43 BC among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea and Epirus, Bithynia and Asia, Syria and Cyrenaica.
These lands had been conquered by Alexander the Great. The whole region the major cities, had been assimilated into Greek culture, Greek serving as the lingua franca. Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia, Gallia Belgica, Hispania; these lands included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls and Celtiberians were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa. Octavian soon took Africa while adding Sicilia to his holdings. Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Em
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
Ius or Jus in ancient Rome was a right to which a citizen was entitled by virtue of his citizenship. The iura were specified by laws, so ius sometimes meant law; as one went to the law courts to sue for one's rights, ius meant justice and the place where justice was sought. On the whole, the Romans valued their rights as the greatest good of Roman citizenship, as opposed to citizenship in other city-states under the jurisdiction of Rome but without Roman rights. Outsiders and freedmen perforce used Roman lawyers to represent them in actions undertaken under the jurisdiction of Roman law. Representation was one of the civic obligations owed to the state by citizens; these munera included military service as well as paying taxes, but specialized obligations might be associated with functions of elected offices or assigned by the government, such as paying the cost of road or aqueduct maintenance. Some of these functions were lucrative, such as tax collecting, since the collector collected much more than he owed the government, but for the most part functionaries were appointed for their wealth and were expected to assume the costs as their munus.
If they did not, they were sometimes executed. Violation of the iura of other citizens, whether in office or out, was a serious matter, for which the punishment might be death. Ius in ancient Roman law had two principal meanings, which are still reflected in French droit, German Recht, English right and Castilian derecho. Ferdinand Mackeldy, 19th-century jurist, analyzed them into two principles: ius is the law, a set of compulsory rules, which he called objective or positive law, a set of possibilities to act, which he called subjective law, or duties. Ius was defined by the jurists Publius Juventius Celsus and Julius Paulus Prudentissimus as the aequum et bonum, "the just and the fair", or justice. Jurisprudence was the art of bringing it about through application of the laws. Iura were "the whole of laws", not a list of all the laws, but the principle of legality, which might be applied through this law or by the magistrates and lawyers of Rome through disputation in the law courts. Ius might be something less than the whole body of law when special fields were designated by an adjective, such as ius publicum, "public law," as opposed to private law.
The actual laws, or written statutes, were only the specific tools. Ius was the law in its broadest sense or its ideal state and unaffected by the contingent decrees that the state happened to enact—hence the distinction between the English terms justice and legislation. Ius as the law was the domain of Roman aristocrats, from whose ranks the magistrates were chosen and who defended clients in court. On a more practical basis, the populace of Rome daily encountered the primary meaning of ius, they understood. Furthermore, these rights could be named and enumerated in formulae beginning with the word ius followed by a descriptive phrase, most in the genitive case: "the right of...." Black defines ius in the sense of a right as "a power, faculty, or demand inherent in one person and incident upon another." This power, or potestas, was a license governing behavior between persons granted by the constitution. It determined what group of citizens could or could not do regarding another. One might act sui iuris, on one's own authority, asserting one's own right, or on behalf of another, alieni iuris, in response to a demand to serve his right by being under his authority.
This was the principle binding soldiers in the army: the consul, or a commander of some other rank, had a right to demand public service of citizens in the army, who were under his authority. The magistrates thus had the right and power to draft men into the army at any time, but this demand was never a private affair; the right to raise a legion from a given populace for a specified purpose under the Roman Republic had to be granted by a senatus consultum, a decree of the Senate. Under the Roman Empire the imperator was from a legal point of view the chief magistrate whose major ius was the ordering of all public affairs, for which he could demand assistance from anyone at any time; the cynical demands of the bad emperors and the beneficial ones of the good emperors are described at great length by the historians of the empire, such as Tacitus. The list below contains iura from different branches of Roman civilization. A ius of ancient Rome, marked by the imperial eagle begins in the Roman Republic and continues through the Roman Empire.
A ius of the Holy Roman Empire is marked with the double-headed eagle. The term is used in this article in the general sense to mean the Carolingian Empire, named after Charlemagne, who had the title Holy Roman Emperor, his domain included what is now France. Its iura reflect early Germanic laws, they are more to be found as legal principles in modern European countries. Iura that originated and remained as canon law are marked with the coat of arms of the Holy See. Ius albanagii; the right of confiscation of property of an alien, cf. droit d'aubaine. Ius Albinatus. In old French law; the droit d'aubaine in France, whereby the king
The Principate or early Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus in 27 BC to the end of the Crisis of the Third Century in 284 AD, after which it evolved into the so-called Dominate. The Principate is characterised by the reign of a single emperor and an effort on the part of the early emperors, at least, to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance, in some aspects, of the Roman Republic, it is etymologically derived from the Latin word princeps, meaning chief or first, the political regime dominated by such a political leader, whether or not he is formally head of state and/or head of government. This reflects the principate emperors' assertion that they were "first among equals" among the citizens of Rome; the title, in full, of princeps senatus / princeps civitatis was first adopted by Octavian Caesar Augustus, the first Roman'emperor' who chose, like the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar, not to reintroduce a legal monarchy.
Augustus's purpose was to establish the political stability needed after the exhausting civil wars by a de facto dictatorial regime within the constitutional framework of the Roman Republic as a more acceptable alternative to, for example, the early Roman Kingdom. The title itself derived from the position of the princeps senatus, traditionally the oldest member of the Senate who had the right to be heard first on any debate. Although dynastic pretenses crept in from the start, formalizing this in a monarchic style remained politically unthinkable. In a more limited and precise chronological sense, the term is applied either to the Empire or the earlier of the two phases of'Imperial' government in the ancient Roman Empire, extending from when Augustus claimed auctoritas for himself as princeps until Rome's military collapse in the West in 476, leaving the Byzantine Empire sole heir, or, depending on the source, up to the rule of Commodus, of Maximinus Thrax or of Diocletian. Afterwards, Imperial rule in the Empire is designated as the dominate, subjectively more like an monarchy while the earlier Principate is still more'Republican'.
Under this'Principate stricto sensu', the political reality of autocratic rule by the Emperor was still scrupulously masked by forms and conventions of oligarchic self-rule inherited from the political period of the'uncrowned' Roman Republic under the motto Senatus Populusque Romanus or SPQR. The theory implied the'first citizen' had to earn his extraordinary position by merit in the style that Augustus himself had gained the position of auctoritas. Imperial propaganda developed a'paternalistic' ideology, presenting the princeps as the incarnation of all virtues attributed to the ideal ruler, such as clemency and justice, in turn placing the onus on the princeps to play this designated role within Roman society, as his political insurance as well as a moral duty. What was expected of the princeps seems to have varied according to the times. Speaking, it was expected of the Emperor to be generous but not frivolous, not just as a good ruler but with his personal fortune providing occasional public games, horse races and artistic shows.
Large distributions of food for the public and charitable institutions were means that served as popularity boosters while the construction of public works provided paid employment for the poor. With the fall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in 68 CE, the principate was redefined in formal terms under the Emperor Vespasian in 69 CE; the position of princeps became a distinct entity within the broader – formally still republican – Roman constitution. While many of the cultural and political expectations remained, the princeps was no longer a position extended on the basis of merit, or auctoritas, but on a firmer basis, allowing Vespasian and future emperors to designate their own heir without those heirs having to earn the position through years of success and public favor. Under the Antonine dynasty, it was the norm for the Emperor to appoint a successful and politically promising individual as his successor. In modern historical analysis, this is treated by many authors as an "ideal" situation: the individual, most capable was promoted to the position of princeps.
Of the Antonine dynasty, Edward Gibbon famously wrote that this was the happiest and most productive period in human history, credited the system of succession as the key factor. This first phase was to be followed by, or rather evolved into, the so-called dominate. Starting with the Emperor Diocletian, oriental type of styles like dominus became current, though not legal, but there could by definition never be a clear, constitutional turning point, so this appreciation remains subjective; the reality is gradual development. This process is said to be established by the Emperor Septimius Severus. After the Crisis of the Third Century resulted in the Roman Empire's political collap
The Roman Kingdom referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's history, as no records and few inscriptions from the time of the kings survive, the accounts of this period written during the Republic and Empire are thought to be based on oral tradition. According to these legends, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding circa 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic circa 509 BC; the site of the founding of the Roman Kingdom had a ford where one could cross the river Tiber in central Italy. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it provided defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them; each of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional version of Roman history, which has come down to us principally through Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, recounts that a series of seven kings ruled the settlement in Rome's first centuries.
The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allows 243 years for their combined reigns, an average of 35 years. Since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, modern scholarship has discounted this schema; the Gauls destroyed many of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, what remained fell prey to time or to theft. With no contemporary records of the kingdom surviving, all accounts of the Roman kings must be questioned; the kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga; the king was invested with supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium, formally granted to the king by the Comitia Curiata with the passing of the Lex curiata de imperio at the beginning of each king's reign.
The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions; the laws that kept citizens safe from magistrates' misuse of imperium did not exist during the monarchical period. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate. What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right to the auspice on behalf of Rome as its chief augur, no public business could be performed without the will of the gods made known through auspices; the people knew the king as a mediator between them and the gods and thus viewed the king with religious awe. This made the king the head of its chief executive. Having the power to control the Roman calendar, he conducted all religious ceremonies and appointed lower religious offices and officers, it is said that Romulus himself instituted the augurs and was believed to have been the best augur of all. King Numa Pompilius instituted the pontiffs and through them developed the foundations of the religious dogma of Rome. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them.
While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorary council. It by no means could prevent him from acting; the only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could
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