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
The lictors was a Roman civil servant, a bodyguard to magistrates who held imperium. Lictors were used since the Roman Kingdom, according to Roman historian Livy, the custom may have originated earlier, in the Etruscan civilization. Rome's first king, who appointed 12 lictors to attend him. Livy refers to two competing traditions for the reason; the first version is that 12 was the number of birds that appeared in the augury, which had portended the kingdom to Romulus. The second version, favoured by Livy, is that the number of lictors was borrowed from the Etruscan kings, who had one lictor appointed from each of their 12 states. Lictors were chosen from the plebs, but through most of Roman history, they seemed to have been freedmen. Centurions from the legions were automatically eligible to become lictors on retirement from the army, they were, however Roman citizens, since they wore togas inside Rome. A lictor had to be a built man, capable of physical work. Lictors were exempted from military service, received a fixed salary, were organized in a corporation.
They were chosen by the magistrate they were supposed to serve, but it is possible that they were drawn by lots. Lictors were associated with Comitia Curiata and one was selected from each curia, since there were 30 curiae and 30 lictors; the lictor's main task was to attend as bodyguards to magistrates. They carried rods decorated with fasces and, outside the pomerium, with axes that symbolized the power to carry out capital punishment. Dictatorial lictors had axes within the pomerium, they followed the magistrate wherever he went, including the Forum, his house and the baths. Lictors were organized in an ordered line before him, with the primus lictor directly in front of him, waiting for orders. If there was a crowd, the lictors opened the way and kept their master safe, pushing all aside except for Roman matrons, who were accorded special honor, they had to stand beside the magistrate whenever he addressed the crowd. Magistrates could only dispense with their lictors if they were visiting a free city or addressing a higher status magistrate.
Lictors had legal and penal duties. A Vestal Virgin was accorded a lictor; the degree of magistrate's imperium was symbolised by the number of lictors escorting him: Dictator: 24 lictors outside the pomerium, 12 inside. The latter rule was ignored beginning with the dictatorship of Sulla Emperor: 12 lictors, after Domitian 24 lictors Rex and Consul: 12 lictors Proconsul: 11 lictors Magister equitum: 6 lictors Praetor: 6 lictors, 2 within the pomerium Propraetor and Legatus: 5 lictors Curule aediles: 2 lictors Quaestor: 0 lictors in the city of Rome, but quaestors were permitted to have fasces in the provinces. Sometimes, lictors were ascribed to private citizens on special occasions, such as funerals or political reunions, as a show of respect by the city; the lictor curiatus was a special kind of lictor who did not carry rods or fasces and whose main tasks were religious. There were 30 of them, serving at the command of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, they were present at sacrifices where they guided sacrificial animals to the altars.
Vestal Virgins and other high-ranking priests were entitled to be escorted and protected by lictores curiati. In the Empire, women of the royal family were followed by two of this kind of lictor; the lictores curiati were responsible to summon the Comitia Curiata and to maintain order during its procedures. Cursus honorum Praetorian Guard Livius.org: Lictor
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws and governance. A male Roman citizen enjoyed a wide range of privileges and protections defined in detail by the Roman state. A citizen could, under certain exceptional circumstances, be deprived of his citizenship. Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. Though held in high regard they were not allowed to stand for civil or public office; the rich might participate in public life by funding building projects or sponsoring religious ceremonies and other events. Women had the right to own property, to engage in business, to obtain a divorce, but their legal rights varied over time. Marriages were an important form of political alliance during the Republic. Client state citizens and allies of Rome could receive a limited form of Roman citizenship such as the Latin Right; such citizens could not be elected in Roman elections. Slaves lacked legal personhood. Over time, they acquired a few protections under Roman law.
Some slaves were freed by manumission for services rendered, or through a testamentary provision when their master died. Once free, they faced few barriers, beyond normal social snobbery, to participating in Roman society; the principle that a person could become a citizen by law rather than birth was enshrined in Roman mythology. Freedmen were former slaves, they were not automatically given citizenship and lacked some privileges such as running for executive magistracies. The children of freedmen and women were born as free citizens. Ius suffragiorum: The right to vote in the Roman assemblies. Ius honorum: The right to stand for civil or public office. Ius commercii: The right to make legal contracts and to hold property as a Roman citizen. Ius gentium: The legal recognition, developed in the 3rd century BC, of the growing international scope of Roman affairs, the need for Roman law to deal with situations between Roman citizens and foreign persons; the ius gentium was therefore a Roman legal codification of the accepted international law of the time, was based on the developed commercial law of the Greek city-states and of other maritime powers.
The rights afforded by the ius gentium were considered to be held by all persons. Ius conubii: The right to have a lawful marriage with a Roman citizen according to Roman principles, to have the legal rights of the paterfamilias over the family, for the children of any such marriage to be counted as Roman citizens. Ius migrationis: The right to preserve one's level of citizenship upon relocation to a polis of comparable status. For example, members of the cives Romani maintained their full civitas when they migrated to a Roman colony with full rights under the law: a colonia civium Romanorum. Latins had this right, maintained their ius Latii if they relocated to a different Latin state or Latin colony; this right did not preserve one's level of citizenship should one relocate to a colony of lesser legal status. The right of immunity from some taxes and other legal obligations local rules and regulations; the right to sue in the right to be sued. The right to have a legal trial; the right to appeal the lower court decisions.
Following the early 2nd-century BC Porcian Laws, a Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped and could commute sentences of death to voluntary exile, unless he was found guilty of treason. If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross. Roman citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. Citizen soldiers could be beaten by the centurions and senior officers for reasons related to discipline. Non-citizens gained citizenship through service; the legal classes varied over time, however the following classes of legal status existed at various times within the Roman state: The cives Romani were full Roman citizens, who enjoyed full legal protection under Roman law. Cives Romani were sub-divided into two classes: The non optimo iure who held the ius commercii and ius conubii The optimo iure, who held these rights as well as the ius suffragiorum and ius honorum.
The Latini were a class of citizens who held the Latin Right, or the rights of ius commercii and ius migrationis, but not the ius conubii. The term Latini referred to the Latins, citizens of the Latin League who came under Roman control at the close of the Latin War, but became a legal description rather than a national or ethnic one. Freedmen slaves, those of the cives Romani convicted of crimes, or citizens settling Latin colonies could be given this status under the law. Socii or foederati were citizens of states which had treaty obligations with Rome, under which certain legal rights of the state's citizens under Roman law were exchanged for agreed levels of military service, i.e. the Roman magistrates had the right to levy soldiers for the Roman legions from those states. However, foederat
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
Constitution of the Late Roman Empire
The constitution of the late Roman Empire was an unwritten set of guidelines and principles passed down through precedent, which defined the manner in which the late Roman Empire was governed. As a matter of historical convention, the late Roman Empire emerged from the Roman Principate, with the accession of Diocletian in AD 284, his reign marking the beginning of the Dominate; the constitution of the Dominate recognized monarchy as the true source of power, thus ended the fiction of dyarchy, in which emperor and Senate governed the empire together. Diocletian's reforms to the imperial government ended the ruse that the old republican magistracies were anything more than municipal officials with powers beyond Rome itself. By the late Empire, the consuls had no real duties beyond that of presiding at Senate meetings and the duties of the lesser magistrates were just the organisation of various games. Most other magistracies disappeared. Diocletian attempted to reform the imperial system itself into a structure in which four emperors, consisting of two Augusti and two Caesares, each governed one fourth of the Empire.
Known as the Tetrarchy, this constitutional structure, failed to outlast Diocletian, who lived to see the collapse of his system and the civil wars that followed in his retirement after abdication in AD 305. He enacted major administrative reforms to the Empire, his division of the Empire into east and west, with each half under the command of a separate emperor, remained with brief interruptions of political unity. Although it remained the sole capital until Constantinople was elevated to that status in 359, the city of Rome ceased to the seat of the imperial government: it was by the Urban Prefect. A vicar of the Prefect of Italy headed the imperial administration of Italy south of the Apennines and the Islands; the Senate and executive magistrates continued to function as Diocletian's constitution had specified. Diocletian's civil and military divisions of the empire remained in effect with little change though Upper Egypt from the mid-fifth was governed by a general, the dux, who exercised civilian authority over the population.
Emperors Constantine would modify Diocletian's constitution by changing the roles of officials somewhat but not the administrative framework. It was not until Justinian I 527-565 that major changes that saw the near abolition of the regional tier of officials, severe weakening of the Treasury and Crown Estates. Under Diocletian's new constitution, power was shared between two emperors called Augusti; the establishment of two co-equal Augusti marked a rebirth of the old republican principle of collegiality, as all laws and appointments that came from one of the Augusti, were to be recognized as coming from both conjointly. One Augustus was to rule the western half of the Empire, the other Augustus was to rule the eastern half of the Empire. Diocletian made Maximian his co-Augustus, gave him the Western Empire, while Diocletian took the Eastern Empire. Diocletian made Nicomedia his capital, Maximian made Milan his capital. To make the two halves symbolically appear to be one, Diocletian called his territory patres Orientis, while Maximian called his territory patres Occidentis.
The Augusti were distinct from the old Princeps, because under the Principate, the Princeps took the place of the old republican magistrates. When a Princeps issued a decree, that decree was only valid so long as that Princeps was Emperor, whereas in contrast, under the Republic, any decree issued by a magistrate was only good so long as that magistrate was in office. Under the Republic and the Principate, only the Senate and legislative assemblies were continuous institutions, thus only they could pass laws that remained in effect indefinitely. Under Diocletian's new Dominate, the Augusti took the place of the Senate and the assemblies, thus any decree of an Augustus remained in force after that particular emperor left office; such an act could only be invalidated by a future Emperor. The logical extension of this concept meant that neither a magistrate, the assemblies, nor the senate, could restrain the Emperor; the old republican magistrates, as well as the Princeps, both had legal status.
Under the Republic, the state gave the magistrates the authorization to hold their office, while under the Principate, the state gave the Princeps the legal authorization to be emperor. Any Augusti, in contrast, did not need authorization from the state to be emperor, because the Augusti became the state; the higher authority of the Augusti was illustrated by their robes and the imperial diadem, as well as the elaborate ceremony required of anyone who approached them. Unlike the old Princeps, the Augusti were viewed as being more than mortal, illustrated by the honors that they received; these honors had, in the past, been reserved only for the Gods. While emperors had received such honors in the past, they only received these honors after their death, yet, the Augusti could receive such honors while they were still alive. In 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed two Caesares, which resulted in an arrangement known as the "Tetrarchy"; the Caesares were subordinate to their Augusti, the only authority that they had was that, given to them by their Augusti.
Their status was so inferior to the Augusti. The powers that were delegated to them included the right to hear appeals, a set of provinces were assigned to them so that they could supervise the governors of those provinces; the reason why Diocle
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 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