The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
Hadrian's Wall called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, was the northern limit of the Roman Empire north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts, it had a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds, it is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts. A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path; the largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles in northern England.
Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall, was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008, it is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles away. Hadrian's Wall was 117.5 km long. East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres wide and 5 to 6 metres high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres wide and 3.5 metres high. These dimensions do not include the wall's ditches and forts; the central section measured eight Roman feet wide on a 3 m base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 3 m.
South of the wall, a large ditch was dug, with adjoining parallel mounds, one on either side. This is known today as the Vallum though the word vallum in Latin is the origin of the English word wall, does not refer to a ditch. In many places – for example Limestone Corner – the Vallum is better preserved than the wall, robbed of much of its stone. Hadrian's Wall extended west from Segedunum at Wallsend on the River Tyne, via Carlisle and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, to the shore of the Solway Firth, ending a short but unknown distance west of the village of Bowness-on-Solway; the A69 and B6318 roads follow the course of the wall from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle along the northern coast of Cumbria. Although the curtain wall ends near Bowness-on-Solway, this does not mark the end of the line of defensive structures; the system of milecastles and turrets is known to have continued along the Cumbria coast as far as Risehow, south of Maryport. For classification purposes, the milecastles west of Bowness-on-Solway are referred to as Milefortlets.
Hadrian's Wall was planned before Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122. According to restored sandstone fragments found in Jarrow which date from 118 or 119, it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire", imposed on him via "divine instruction". Although Hadrian's biographer wrote " was the first to build a wall 80 miles long to separate the Romans from the barbarians", reasons for the construction of the wall vary, no recording of an exact explanation survives. Theories have been presented by historians of an expression of Roman power and Hadrian's policy of defence before expansion. On his accession to the throne in 117, there was unrest and rebellion in Roman Britain and from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire, including Egypt, Judea and Mauritania; these troubles may have influenced Hadrian's plan to construct the wall as well as his construction of limites in other areas of the Empire, but to what extent is unknown. Scholars disagree over how much of a threat the inhabitants of northern Britain presented and whether there was any economic advantage in defending and garrisoning a fixed line of defences like the Wall, rather than conquering and annexing what has become the Scottish Lowlands and defending the territory with a loose arrangement of forts.
The limites of Rome were never expected to stop tribes from migrating or armies from invading, while a frontier protected by a palisade or stone wall would help curb cattle-raiders and the incursions of other small groups, the economic viability of constructing and keeping guarded a wall 72 miles long along a sparsely populated border to stop small-scale raiding is dubious. Another possible explanation for the wall is the degree of control it would have provided over immigration and customs. Limites did not mark the boundaries of the empire: Roman power and influence extended beyond the walls. People within and beyond the limites travelled through it each day when conducting business, organised check-points like those offered by Hadrian's Wall provided good opportunities for taxation. With watch towers only a short distance from gateways in the limites, patrolling legionaries could have kept track of
Trajan's Wall is the name used for several linear earthen fortifications found across Eastern Europe, in Moldova and Ukraine. Contrary to the name and popular belief, the ramparts were not built by Romans during Trajan's reign, but during other imperial periods. Furthermore, the association with the Roman Emperor may be a recent scholarly invention, only entering the imagination of the locals with the national awakening of the 19th century. Medieval Moldavian documents referred to the earthworks as Troian in reference to a mythological hero in the Romanian and Slavic folklore; the other major earthen fortification in Romania, Brazda lui Novac, is named after a mythological hero. There are three valla in Romania, in south-central Dobruja, extending from the Danube to the Black Sea coast. While the relative chronology of the complex is accepted, the exact dating of each fortification is under dispute. Scholars place their erection at different dates in the Early Mediaeval period, in the second half of the first millennium.
In what regards the builders, two theories have gained acceptance, with supporters split, to a large degree, along national lines. Thus, Bulgarian historiography considers the fortifications were built by the First Bulgarian Empire as a defence against the various nomad groups roaming the North-Pontic steppes. On the other hand, several Romanian historians have tried to attribute at least part of the walls to the Byzantine Empire under emperors John I Tzimisces and Basil II, which controlled the region in the second part of the 10th century and throughout the 11th; the oldest and smallest vallum, the Small Earthen Dyke, is 61 km in length, extending from Cetatea Pătulului on the Danube to Constanţa on the sea coast. Made of earth, it has no defensive constructions built on it, but has a moat on its southern side; this feature has been interpreted as indicating construction by a population living to the north of the earthwork, in order to protect itself from an enemy in the South. The second vallum, the Large Earthen Dyke, 54 km in length, overlaps the smaller one on some sections.
It follows the Carasu Valley and ends at Palas, west of Constanţa. Its average height is 3.5 m, it has moats on both sides. On it are built 63 fortifications: 35 larger, 28 smaller; the average distance between fortifications is 1 km. The vallum shows signs of reconstruction; the last vallum to be built, the Stone Dyke, is made of earth, but has a stone wall on its crest. It is 59 km in length, extending from south of Axiopolis to the Black Sea coast, at a point 75 m south of the little earth wall; the agger is about 1.5 m in height. It has a moat on its northern side and 26 fortifications, the distance between them varying from 1 to 4 km; the commune Valu lui Traian is named after the vallum. In the Northern part of Dobrogea, on South bank of Danube there was a wall built by Trajan; the wall was constructed between today ancient town of Halmyris on the East. The wall was discovered by means of aerial photographs The remnants in Moldova comprise earthen walls and palisades. There are two major fragments preserved in Moldova: Southern Trajan's Wall.
The Southern Trajan's Wall in Moldova is thought to be dated by the 3rd century, built by Athanaric and stretches from Romania: Buciumeni-Tiganesti-Tapu-Stoicani and in after that another 126 km from the village of Vadul in Cahul district by the Prut River stretches into Ukraine and ends at Lake Sasyk by Tatarbunar. The Coat of Arms of Cahul district of Bessarabia, Russian Empire, incorporated Trajan's Wall; some academics like Dorel Bondoc and Costin Croitoru think that it was done by the Romans, because -to be done- it required plenty of knowledge and workforce that barbarians like Athanaric did not have. The Upper Trajan's Wall is thought to be constructed in the 4th century by Greuthungi Goths in order to defend the border against the Huns, it stretches 120 km from Dniester River by Chiţcani in Teleneşti district to Prut River and exetend till Tiganesti Sendreni in Romania. Fragments of Trajan's Wall are found by Leova; the rampart known as Trajan's Wall in Podolia and stretches through the modern districts of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia and Khmelnytskyi.
A part of the Moldavian Lower Trojan's Wall ends in Ukraine. See Serpent's Wall; the historian Alexandru V. Boldur regards this "Trajan's Wall" as the western limit of the territories of the 13th-century Bolokhoveni. Upper Trajan's Wall Southern Trajan's Wall Limes Moesiae Limes Romanus Limes Transalutanus Pietroasele Rădulescu Adrian, Bitoleanu Ion, Istoria românilor dintre Dunăre şi Mare: Dobrogea, Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1979
The Auxilia constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era, alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided all of the Roman army's cavalry and more specialised troops; the auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were volunteers, not conscripts; the Auxilia were recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries. In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control. Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC; the Julio-Claudian period saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure and conditions of service.
By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, thus, combat capability. Auxiliary regiments were stationed in provinces other than that in which they were raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces; the regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by the units in question were different in size and quality from their predecessors. The mainstay of the Roman republic's war machine was the manipular legion, a heavy infantry unit suitable for close-quarter engagements on more or less any terrain, adopted sometime during the Samnite Wars. Despite its formidable strength, the legion had a number of deficiencies a lack of cavalry. Around 200 BC, a legion of 4,200 infantry had a cavalry arm of only 300 horse; this was because the class of citizens who could afford to pay for their own horse and equipment – the equestrian order, the second rank in Roman society, after the senatorial order – was small.
In addition, the legion lacked missile forces such as archers. Until 200 BC, the bulk of a Roman army's cavalry was provided by Rome's regular Italian allies known as the "Latin" allies, which made up the Roman military confederation; this was Rome's defence system until the Social War of 91–88 BC. The Italian forces were organised into alae. An allied ala, commanded by 3 Roman praefecti sociorum, was similar or larger in infantry size to a legion, but contained a more substantial cavalry contingent: 900 horse, three times the legionary contingent. Since a pre-Social War consular army always contained an equal number of legions and alae, 75% of its cavalry was provided by the Latin allies; the overall cavalry element, c. 12% of the total force, was greater than in most peninsular Italian forces, but well below the overall 21% cavalry component, typical of the Principate army. The Roman/Latin cavalry was sufficient while Rome was in conflict with other states in the mountainous Italian peninsula, which disposed of limited cavalry resources.
But, as Rome was confronted by external enemies that deployed far more powerful cavalry elements, such as the Gauls and the Carthaginians, the Roman deficiency in cavalry numbers could be a serious liability, which in the Second Punic War resulted in crushing defeats. Hannibal's major victories at the Trebia and at Cannae, were owed to his Spanish and Gallic heavy cavalry, which far outnumbered the Roman and Latin levies, to his Numidians, fast cavalry which the Romans wholly lacked; the decisive Roman victory at Zama in 202 BC, which ended the war, owed much to the Numidian cavalry provided by king Massinissa, which outnumbered the Roman/Latin cavalry fielded by 2 to 1. From Roman armies were always accompanied by large numbers of non-Italian cavalry: Numidian light cavalry and Gallic heavy cavalry. For example, Caesar relied on Gallic and German cavalry for his Conquest of Gaul; as the role of native cavalry grew, that of Roman/Latin cavalry diminished. In the early 1st century BC, Roman cavalry was phased out altogether.
After the Social War, the socii were all granted Roman citizenship, the Latin alae abolished, the socii recruited into the legions. Furthermore, Roman equestrians were no longer required to perform cavalry service after this time; the late Republican legion was thus bereft of cavalry. By the outbreak of the Second Punic War, the Romans were remedying the legions' other deficiencies by using non-Italian specialised troops. Livy reports Hiero of Syracuse offering to supply Rome with archers and slingers in 217 BC. From 200 BC onwards, specialist troops were hired as mercenaries on a regular basis: sagittarii from Crete, funditores from the Balearic Isles always accompanied Roman legions in campaigns all over the Mediterranean; the other main sources of non-Italian troops in the late Republic were subject provincials, allied cities and Rome's amici. During the
The Latin noun līmes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any distinction or difference. The term was commonly used after the 3rd century AD to denote a military district under the command of a dux limitis. Limes has sometimes been adopted in modern times for a border defence or delimiting system of Ancient Rome marking the boundaries and provinces of the Roman Empire, but it was not used by the Romans for the imperial frontier, fortified or not; some experts suggested that the so-called limes may have been called Munimentum Traiani, Trajan's Bulwark, referring to a passage by Ammianus Marcellinus, according to which emperor Julian had reoccupied this fortification in 360 AD. The limites represented the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, it stretched more than 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
The remains of the limites today consist of vestiges of walls, forts and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed, a few destroyed; the two sections of the limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. The 118 km long Hadrian's Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia, it is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 60 km-long fortification in Scotland, was started by Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the "Barbarians" of the north, it constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes. The most notable examples of Roman limites are: Hadrian's Wall – Limes Britannicus Antonine Wall – in Scotland Saxon Shore, late Roman limes in South-East England Limes Germanicus, with the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes Limes Arabicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea facing the desert Limes Tripolitanus, the frontier in modern Libya facing the Sahara Limes Alutanus, the eastern border of the Roman province of Dacia Limes Transalutanus, the frontier in the lower Danube Limes Moesiae, the frontier of the Roman province Moesia, from Singidunum Serbia along the Danube to Moldavia.
Limes Norici, the frontier of the Roman province Noricum, from the River Inn along the Danube to Cannabiaca in Austria. Limes Pannonicus, the frontier of the Roman province Pannonia, along the Danube from Klosterneuburg Austria to Taurunum in Serbia. Fossatum Africae, the southern frontier of the Roman Empire, extending south of the Roman province of Africa in North-Africa. A mediaeval limes is the Limes Saxoniae in Holstein; the stem of limes, limit-, which can be seen in the genitive case, marks it as the ancestor of an entire group of important words in many languages, for example, English limit. Modern languages have multiplied its abstract formulations. For example, from limit comes the abbreviation lim, used in mathematics to designate the limit of a sequence or a function: see limit. In metaphysics, material objects are limited by matter and therefore are delimited from each other. In ethics, men are wise if they do. An etymology was given in some detail by Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.
According to him, it comes from Indo-European el-, elei-, lei-, "to bow", "to bend", "elbow". The Latin meaning was discussed in detail by W. Gebert; the sense is. The limes was a cross-path or a cross-wall, which the Romans meant to throw across the path of invaders to hinder them, it is a defensive strategy. The Romans never built limites; as the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites, except for punitive expeditions, these were as much a mental barrier as material. The groups of Germanic warriors harrying the limes during summer used the concept to full advantage, knowing that they could concentrate and supply themselves outside the limes without fear of preemptive strikes. In a few cases, they were wrong; the limit concept engendered a sentiment among the soldiers that they were being provoked by the Germanic raiders and were held back from just retaliation by a weak and incompetent administration: they were being sold out. So they mutinied; the best remedy for a mutiny was an expedition across the limes against the enemy.
Toward the empire, the soldiers assassinated emperors who preferred diplomacy and put their own most popular officers into the vacant office. Roman writers and subsequent authors who depended on them presented the limes as some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage, they wrote of the Alemanni failing to respect the limes as if they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition. The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place, they viewed the Romans as foreigners, who changed native place names and intruded on native homes and families. They were only to be tolerated because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life. According to Pokorny, Latin limen, "threshold"
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture contributed to the collapse; the reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure. Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others. In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons. Further barbarian groups crossed the Rhine and other frontiers, like the Goths were not exterminated, expelled or subjugated.
The armed forces of the Western Empire became few and ineffective, despite brief recoveries under able leaders, central rule was never consolidated. By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman. Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again; the Eastern Empire survived, though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean. While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Fall has been the theme around which much of the history of the Roman Empire has been structured.
"From the eighteenth century onward," historian Glen Bowersock wrote, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process; the loss of centralized political control over the West, the lessened power of the East, are universally agreed, but the theme of decline has been taken to cover a much wider time span than the hundred years from 376. For Cassius Dio, the accession of the emperor Commodus in 180 CE marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron", while Gibbon began his narrative of decline from the reign of Commodus, after a number of introductory chapters. Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times, while Theodor Mommsen excluded the imperial period from his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome.
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Julius Nepos in 480. Gibbon gave a classic formulation of reasons, he began an ongoing controversy by attributing a significant role to Christianity in the Western Roman Empire's fall, no longer accepted by modern Roman historians. However, he did give great weight to other causes of internal decline as well and to the attacks from outside the Empire; the story of its ruin is obvious. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, afterwards violated the majesty of the purple; the emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy.
Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome fell, new ideas have emerged since. Historians still try to analyze the reasons for loss of political control over a vast territory. Comparison has been made with China after the end of the Han dynasty, which re-established unity under the Sui dynasty while the Mediterranean world remained politically disunited. From at least the time of Henri Pirenne scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long aft