A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause. Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. Martyrs have had notable effects in secular life, including such figures as Socrates, among other political and cultural examples. In its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible; the process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers and from the New Testament that witnesses died for their testimonies.
During the early Christian centuries, the term acquired the extended meaning of believers who are called to witness for their religious belief, on account of this witness, endures suffering or death. The term, in this sense, entered the English language as a loanword; the death of a martyr or the value attributed. The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion; the early Christians appear to have seen Jesus as the archetypal martyr. The word martyr is used in English to describe a wide variety of people. However, the following table presents a general outline of common features present in stereotypical martyrdoms. In the Bahá'í Faith, martyrs are those who sacrifice their lives serving humanity in the name of God. However, Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, discouraged the literal meaning of sacrificing one's life. Instead, he explained. Martyrdom was extensively promoted by the Kuomintang party in modern China.
Revolutionaries who died fighting against the Qing dynasty in the Xinhai Revolution and throughout the Republic of China period, furthering the cause of the revolution, were recognized as martyrs. In Christianity, a martyr, in accordance with the meaning of the original Greek martys in the New Testament, is one who brings a testimony written or verbal. In particular, the testimony is that of the Christian Gospel, or more the Word of God. A Christian witness is a biblical witness. However, over time many Christian testimonies were rejected, the witnesses put to death, the word martyr developed its present sense. Where death ensues, the witnesses follow the example of Jesus in offering up their lives for truth; the concept of Jesus as a martyr has received greater attention. Analyses of the Gospel passion narratives have led many scholars to conclude that they are martyrdom accounts in terms of genre and style. Several scholars have concluded that Paul the Apostle understood Jesus' death as a martyrdom.
In light of such conclusions, some have argued that the Christians of the first few centuries would have interpreted the crucifixion of Jesus as a martyrdom. In the context of church history, from the time of the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire, it developed that a martyr was one, killed for maintaining a religious belief, knowing that this will certainly result in imminent death; this definition of martyr is not restricted to the Christian faith. Though Christianity recognizes certain Old Testament Jewish figures, like Abel and the Maccabees, as holy, the New Testament mentions the imprisonment and beheading of John the Baptist, Jesus's possible cousin and his prophet and forerunner, the first Christian witness, after the establishment of the Christian faith, to be killed for his testimony was Saint Stephen, those who suffer martyrdom are said to have been "crowned." From the time of Constantine, Christianity was decriminalized, under Theodosius I, became the state religion, which diminished persecution.
As some wondered how they could most follow Christ there was a development of desert spirituality, desert monks, self-mortification, following Christ by separation from the world. This was a kind of white martyrdom, dying to oneself every day, as opposed to a red martyrdom, the giving of one's life in a violent death. In Christianity, death in sectarian persecution can be viewed as martyrdom. For example, there were martyrs recognised on both sides of the schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England after 1534, with two hundred and eighty Christians martyred for their faith by public burning between 1553 and 1558 by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I in England leading to the reversion to the Church of England under Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 and three hundred Roman Catholics martyred by the Church authorities in England over the following hundred and fifty years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. More modern day accounts of martyrdom for Christ exist, depicted in books such as Jesus Freaks though the numbers are disputed.
There are claims that the numbers of Christians killed for their faith annually are exaggerated. Despite the promotion of ahimsa within Sanatana Dharma
Pope Victor I
Pope Victor I was Bishop of Rome and hence a pope, in the late second century. He was of Berber origin; the dates of his tenure are uncertain, but one source states he became pope in 189 and gives the year of his death as 199. He was the first bishop of Rome born in the Roman Province of Africa—probably in Leptis Magna, he was considered a saint. His feast day was celebrated on 28 July as "St Victor I, Pope and Martyr"; the primary sources vary over the dates assigned to Victor’s episcopate, but indicate it included the last decade of the second century. Eusebius puts his accession in the tenth year of Commodus, accepted by Lipsius as the correct date. Jerome’s version of the Chronicle puts his accession in the reign of Pertinax, or the first year of Septimius Severus, while the Armenian version puts it in the seventh year of Commodus; the Liber Pontificalis dates his accession to the consulate of Commodus and Glabrio, while the Liberian Catalogue, a surviving copy of the source the Liber Pontificalis drew upon for its chronology, is damaged at this point Concerning the duration of his episcopate, Eusebius, in his History, does not state directly the duration of his episcopate, but the Armenian version of Eusebius' Chronicle gives it as twelve years.
The Liberian Catalogue gives his episcopate a length of nine years two months and ten days, while the Liber Pontificalis states it was ten years and the same number of months and days. Eusebius in his History states Zephyrinus succeeded him "about the ninth year of Severus", while the Liber Pontificalis dates it to the consulate of Laternus and Rufinus. Lipsius, considering Victor in connection with his successors, concludes that he held office between nine and ten years, therefore gives as his dates 189–198 or 199. According to an anonymous writer quoted by Eusebius, Victor excommunicated Theodotus of Byzantium for teaching that Christ was a mere man. However, he is best known for his role in the Quartodeciman controversy. Prior to his elevation, a difference in dating the celebration of the Christian Passover/Easter between Rome and the bishops of Asia Minor had been tolerated by both the Roman and Eastern churches; the churches in Asia Minor celebrated it on the 14th of the Jewish month of Nisan, the day before Jewish Passover, regardless of what day of the week it fell on, as the Crucifixion had occurred on the Friday before Passover, justifying this as the custom they had learned from the apostles.
Synods were held on the subject in various parts—in Judea under Theophilus of Caesarea and Narcissus of Jerusalem, in Pontus under Palmas, in Gaul under Irenaeus, in Corinth under its bishop, Bachillus, at Osrhoene in Mesopotamia, elsewhere—all of which disapproved of this practice and issued by synodical letters declaring that "on the Lord's Day only the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord from the dead was accomplished, that on that day only we keep the close of the paschal fast". Despite this disapproval, the general feeling was that this divergent tradition was not sufficient grounds for excommunication. Victor alone was intolerant of this difference, severed ties with these ancient churches, whose bishops included such luminaries as Polycrates of Ephesus. List of Catholic saints List of popes Josef Rist. "VICTOR I.". In Bautz, Traugott. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon. 12. Herzberg: Bautz. Cols. 1334–1337. ISBN 3-88309-068-9. Pope St. Victor I Handl A.. Viktor I. von Rom und die Etablierung des “monarchischen” Episkopats in Rom.
Sacris Erudiri: a Journal on the Inheritance of Early and Medieval Christianity, 55, 7-56. "Pope St. Victor I". Catholic Encyclopedia. 1913. San Vittore I Papa e martire - 28 luglio Victor I. in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Collected works of Migne Patrologia Latina Victor I. in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints Complete works by Migne Patrologia Latina
Severus Alexander was Roman Emperor from 222 to 235 and the last emperor of the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his cousin Elagabalus upon the latter's assassination in 222, his own assassination marked the epoch event for the Crisis of the Third Century—nearly 50 years of civil wars, foreign invasion, collapse of the monetary economy, though this last part is now disputed. Alexander was the heir to his cousin, the 18-year-old Emperor, murdered along with his mother Julia Soaemias, by his own guards, who, as a mark of contempt, had their remains cast into the Tiber river, he and his cousin were both grandsons of the influential and powerful Julia Maesa, who had arranged for Elagabalus' acclamation as emperor by the famous Third Gallic Legion. It was the rumor of Alexander's death that triggered the assassination of his mother, his 13-year reign was the longest reign of a sole emperor since Antoninus Pius. He was the second-youngest sole legal Roman Emperor during the existence of the united empire, the youngest being Gordian III.
As emperor, Alexander's peacetime reign was prosperous. However, Rome was militarily confronted with the rising Sassanid Empire and growing incursions from the tribes of Germania, he managed to check the threat of the Sassanids. But when campaigning against Germanic tribes, Alexander attempted to bring peace by engaging in diplomacy and bribery; this led to a conspiracy to assassinate and replace him. Born between around 207 or 208 Severus Alexander became emperor when he was around 14 years old, making him the youngest emperor in Rome's history, until the ascension of Gordian III. Alexander's grandmother believed that he had more potential to rule than her other grandson, the unpopular emperor Elagabalus. Thus, to preserve her own position, she had Elagabalus adopt the young Alexander and arranged for Elagabalus' assassination, securing the throne for Alexander; the Roman army hailed Alexander as emperor on 13 March 222 conferring on him the titles of Augustus, pater patriae and pontifex maximus.
Throughout his life, Alexander relied on guidance from his grandmother and mother, Julia Mamaea. Maesa died in 223; as a young and inexperienced adolescent, Alexander knew little about government, warcraft, or the role of ruling over an empire. Because of this, throughout his entire reign he was a puppet of his mother's advice and under her jurisdiction, a state of affairs, not popular with the soldiers. Under the influence of his mother, Alexander did much to improve the morals and condition of the people, to enhance the dignity of the state, he employed noted jurists to oversee the administration of justice, such as the famous jurist Ulpian. His advisers were men like the senator and historian Cassius Dio, it is claimed that he created a select board of 16 senators, although this claim is disputed, he created a municipal council of 14 who assisted the urban prefect in administering the affairs of the 14 districts of Rome. Excessive luxury and extravagance at the imperial court were diminished, he restored the Baths of Nero in 227 or 229.
Upon his accession he reduced the silver purity of the denarius from 46.5% to 43%—the actual silver weight dropped from 1.41 grams to 1.30 grams. The following year he decreased the amount of base metal in the denarius while adding more silver, raising the silver purity and weight again to 50.5% and 1.50 grams. Additionally, during his reign taxes were lightened. In religious matters, Alexander preserved an open mind. According to the Historia Augusta, he wished to erect a temple to Jesus but was dissuaded by the pagan priests. In legal matters, Alexander did much to aid the rights of his soldiers, he confirmed that soldiers could name anyone as heirs in their will, whereas civilians had strict restrictions over who could become heirs or receive a legacy. He confirmed that soldiers could free their slaves in their wills, protected the rights of soldiers to their property when they were on campaign, reasserted that a soldier's property acquired in or because of military service could be claimed by no-one else, not the soldier's father.
On the whole, Alexander's reign was prosperous until the rise, in the east, of the Sassanids under Ardashir I. In 231 AD, Ardeshir invaded the Roman provinces of the east, overrunning Mesopotamia and penetrating as far as Syria and Cappadocia, forcing from the young Alexander a vigorous response. Of the war that followed. According to the most detailed authority, the Roman armies suffered a number of humiliating setbacks and defeats, while according to the Historia Augusta as well as Alexander's own dispatch to the Roman Senate, he gained great victories. Making Antioch his base, he organized in 233 a three-fold invasion of the Sassanian Empire.
Eusebius of Caesarea known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an learned Christian of his time, he wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. During the Council of Antiochia he was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius, thus withdrawn during the First Council of Nicaea where he accepted that the Homoousion referred to the Logos. Never recognized as a saint, he became counselor of Constantine the Great, with the bishop of Nicomedia he continued to polemicize against Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, Church Fathers, since he was condemned in the First Council of Tyre in 335. Little is known about the life of Eusebius.
His successor at the See of Caesarea, wrote a Life of Eusebius, a work that has since been lost. Eusebius' own surviving works only represent a small portion of his total output. Beyond notices in his extant writings, the major sources are the 5th-century ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Theodoret, the 4th-century Christian author Jerome. There are assorted notices of his activities in the writings of his contemporaries Athanasius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius' pupil, Eusebius of Emesa, provides some incidental information. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius writes of Dionysius of Alexandria as his contemporary. If this is true, Eusebius' birth must have been before Dionysius' death in autumn 264, he was born in the town in which he lived for most of his adult life, Caesarea Maritima. He was baptized and instructed in the city, lived in Syria Palaestina in 296, when Diocletian's army passed through the region. Eusebius was made presbyter by Agapius of Caesarea.
Some, like theologian and ecclesiastical historian John Henry Newman, understand Eusebius' statement that he had heard Dorotheus of Tyre "expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church" to indicate that Eusebius was Dorotheus' pupil while the priest was resident in Antioch. By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000, it had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city for the three centuries to follow, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Gentile government was strengthened by the city's refoundation under Herod the Great, when it had taken on the name of Augustus Caesar. In addition to the gentile settlers, Caesarea had large Samaritan minorities. Eusebius was born into the Christian contingent of the city. Caesarea's Christian community had a history reaching back to apostolic times, but it is a common claim that no bishops are attested for the town before about 190 though the Apostolic Constitutions 7.46 states that Zacchaeus was the first bishop.
Through the activities of the theologian Origen and the school of his follower Pamphilus, Caesarea became a center of Christian learning. Origen was responsible for the collection of usage information, or which churches were using which gospels, regarding the texts which became the New Testament; the information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was based on the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen's list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen. On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Together with the books of his patron Ambrosius, Origen's library formed the core of the collection that Pamphilus established.
Pamphilus managed a school, similar to that of Origen. Pamphilus was compared to Demetrius of Phalerum and Pisistratus, for he had gathered Bibles "from all parts of the world". Like his model Origen, Pamphilus maintained close contact with his students. Eusebius, in his history of the persecutions, alludes to the fact that many of the Caesarean martyrs lived together under Pamphilus. Soon after Pamphilus settled in Caesarea, he began teaching Eusebius, somewhere between twenty and twenty-five; because of his close relationship with his schoolmaster, Eusebius was sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili: "Eusebius, son of Pamphilus". The name may indicate that Eusebius was made Pamphilus' heir. Pamphilus gave Eusebius a strong admiration for the thought of Origen. Neither Pamphilus nor Eusebius knew Origen personally.
The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. The word was used to refer to an ancient Roman public building, where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions, it had the door at one end and a raised platform and an apse at the other, where the magistrate or other officials were seated. The basilica was centrally located in every Roman town adjacent to the main forum. Subsequently, the basilica was not built near a forum but adjacent to a palace and was known as a "palace basilica"; as the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, the major church buildings were constructed with this basic architectural plan and thus it became popular throughout Europe. It continues to be used in an architectural sense to describe rectangular buildings with a central nave and aisles, a raised platform at the opposite end from the door. In Europe and the Americas the basilica remained the most common architectural style for churches of all Christian denominations, though this building plan has become less dominant in new buildings since the latter 20th century.
Thirdly, the term refers to an official designation: a large and important Catholic church, given special ceremonial rights by the Pope, whatever its architectural plan. These are divided into four major basilicas, all of which are ancient churches located within Rome, and, as of 2017, 1,757 minor basilicas around the world; some Catholic basilicas are Catholic pilgrimage sites, receiving tens of millions of visitors per year. In December 2009 the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe set a new record with 6.1 million pilgrims during Friday and Saturday for the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Latin word basilica lit. "royal stoa" referring to the tribunal chamber of a king. In Rome the word was at first used to describe an ancient Roman public building where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions. To a large extent these were the town halls of ancient Roman life; the basilica was centrally located in every Roman town adjacent to the main forum. These buildings, an example of, the Basilica Ulpia, were rectangular, had a central nave and aisles with a raised platform and an apse at each of the two ends, adorned with a statue of the emperor, while the entrances were from the long sides.
By extension the name was applied to Christian churches which adopted the same basic plan and it continues to be used as an architectural term to describe such buildings, which form the majority of church buildings in Western Christianity, though the basilican building plan became less dominant in new buildings from the 20th century. The Roman basilica was a large public building; the first basilicas had no religious function at all. As early as the time of Augustus, a public basilica for transacting business had been part of any settlement that considered itself a city, used in the same way as the covered market houses of late medieval northern Europe, where the meeting room, for lack of urban space, was set above the arcades, however. Although their form was variable, basilicas contained interior colonnades that divided the space, giving aisles or arcaded spaces on one or both sides, with an apse at one end, where the magistrates sat on a raised dais; the central aisle tended to be wide and was higher than the flanking aisles, so that light could penetrate through the clerestory windows.
The oldest known basilica, the Basilica Porcia, was built in Rome in 184 BC by Cato the Elder during the time he was Censor. Other early examples include the basilica at Pompeii; the most splendid Roman basilica is the one begun for traditional purposes during the reign of the pagan emperor Maxentius and finished by Constantine I after 313 AD. Basilica Porcia: first basilica built in Rome, erected on the personal initiative and financing of the censor Marcus Porcius Cato as an official building for the tribunes of the plebs Aemilian Basilica, built by the censor Aemilius Lepidus in 179 BC Basilica Sempronia, built by the censor Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus in 169 BC Basilica Opimia, erected by the consul Lucius Opimius in 121 BC, at the same time that he restored the temple of Concord Julian Basilica dedicated in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and completed by Augustus 27 BC to 14 AD Basilica Argentaria, erected under Trajan, emperor from 98 AD to 117AD Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine In the Roman Imperial period, a basilica for large audiences became a feature in palaces.
In the 3rd century AD, the governing elite appeared less in the forums. They now tended to dominate their cities from opulent palaces and country villas, set a little apart from traditional centers of public life. Rather than retreats from public life, these residences were the forum made private. Seated in the tribune of his basilica, the great man would meet his dependent clientes early every morning. Constantine's basilica at Trier, the Aula Palatina, is still standing. A private basilica excavated at Bulla Regia, in the "House of the Hunt", dates from the first half of the 5th century, its reception or audience hall is a long rectangular nave-like space, flanked by dependent rooms that also open into one another, ending in a semi-circular apse, with matching transept spaces. Cluster
Hippolytus of Rome
Hippolytus was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians, whose provenance and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. Suggested communities include Palestine, Anatolia and regions of the mideast; the best historians of literature in the ancient church, including Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome confess they cannot name where Hippolytus the biblical commentator and theologian served in leadership. They did not possess evidence of his community. Photios I of Constantinople describes him in his Bibliotheca as a disciple of Irenaeus, said to be a disciple of Polycarp, from the context of this passage it is supposed that he suggested that Hippolytus so styled himself; this assertion is doubtful. One older theory asserts he came into conflict with the popes of his time and seems to have headed a schismatic group as a rival to the Bishop of Rome, thus becoming an Antipope. In this view, he opposed the Roman Popes who softened the penitential system to accommodate the large number of new pagan converts.
However, he was reconciled to the Church. Starting in the fourth century, various legends arose about him, identifying him as a priest of the Novatianist schism or as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence, he has been confused with another martyr of the same name. Pope Pius IV identifies him as "Saint Hippolytus, Bishop of Pontus", martyred in the reign of Severus Alexander through his inscription on a statue found at the Church of Saint Lawrence in Rome and kept at the Vatican as photographed and published in Brunsen. Little is known for certain about his community of origin. One Victorian theory suggested that as a presbyter of the church at Rome under Pope Zephyrinus, Hippolytus was distinguished for his learning and eloquence, it was at this time that Origen a young man, heard him preach. In this view, Hippolytus accused Pope Zephyrinus of modalism, the heresy which held that the names Father and Son are different names for the same subject. Hippolytus championed the Logos doctrine of the Greek apologists, most notably Justin Martyr, which distinguished the Father from the Logos.
An ethical conservative, he was scandalized when Pope Callixtus I extended absolution to Christians who had committed grave sins, such as adultery. Some suggest Hippolytus. At this time, he seems to have allowed himself to be elected as a rival Bishop of Rome, continued to attack Pope Urban I and Pope Pontian. G. Salmon suggests. Allen Brent sees the development of Roman house-churches into something akin to Greek philosophical schools gathered around a compelling teacher. Under this view: during the persecution at the time of Emperor Maximinus Thrax and Pontian were exiled together in 235 to Sardinia dying in the mines, it is quite probable that, before his death there, he was reconciled to the other party at Rome, under Pope Fabian, his body and that of Pontian were brought to Rome. The so-called Chronography of 354 reports that on August 13 in 236, the two bodies were interred in Rome, that of Hippolytus in a cemetery on the Via Tiburtina, his funeral being conducted by Justin the Confessor.
This document indicates that, by about 255, Hippolytus was considered a martyr and gives him the rank of a priest, not of a bishop, an indication that before his death the schismatic was received again into the Church. The name Hippolytus appears in various hagiographical and martyrological sources of the early churches; the facts about the life of the writer Hippolytus, as opposed to other celebrated Christians who bore the name Hippolytus, were lost in the West partly because he wrote in Hellenic Greek. Pope Damasus I dedicated to a Hippolytus one of his famous epigrams, referring to a priest of the Novatianist schism, a view forwarded by Prudentius in the 5th century in his "Passion of St Hippolytus". In the Passionals of the 7th and 8th centuries he is represented as a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence, a legend that long survived in the Roman Breviary, he was confused with a martyr of the same name, buried in Portus, of which city he was believed to have been a bishop, put to death by drowning in a deep well.
According to Prudentius' account, a martyr Hippolytus was dragged to death by wild horses, a striking parallel to the story of the mythological Hippolytus, dragged to death by wild horses at Athens. He described the subterranean tomb of the saint and states that he saw there a picture representing Hippolytus' execution, he confirms August 13 as the date on which a Hippolytus was celebrated but this again refers to the convert of Lawrence, as preserved in the Menaion of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The latter account led to a Hippolytus being considered the patron saint of horses. During the Middle Ages, sick horses were brought to St Ippolyts, England, where a church is dedicated to him. Controversy surrounds the corpus of the writer Hippolytus. In the Victorian Era, scholars claimed his principal work to be the Refutation of all Heresies. Of its ten books, Book I was the most important, it was printed among the works of Origen. Books II and III are lost, Books IV–X were found, without the name of the author, in a monastery of Mount Athos in 1842.
E. Miller published them in 1851 under the title Philosophumena, attributing them to Origen of Alexandria. Recent scholarship prefers to treat the text as the work of an unknown author of Roman o
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