The Emperors Of Rome were the rulers of the Roman State during the imperial period (starting at about 27 BC).
The Romans had no single term for the office: Latin titles such as imperator (from which English emperor ultimately derives), augustus, caesar and princeps were all associated with it.
In practice, the Emperor was supreme ruler of Rome and supreme commander of the Roman legions. In theory, however, Rome remained a republic, the res publica, and the Emperor's status was merely that of primus inter pares first among equals.
This legal fiction became increasingly meaningless as the Emperors consolidated their power. However, it was maintained at least to a ceremonial degree until the very end of the Roman Empire 476 in the Western Roman Empire and 1453 in the East.
There was no constitutional office of "Roman Emperor" who was styled Basileus Rhomaiôn, "Emperor of the Romans" if appreciating that by that time the meaning of "Basileus" had moved from "Sovereign" to "Emperor"), nor any title or rank directly analogous to the title of "Emperor"; all the titles traditionally associated with the Emperor had pre-existing, Republican meanings. "Roman Emperor" is a convenient shorthand used by historians to express the much more complicated nature of being the "First Citizen" in the Roman state, and as a result there are many differing opinions as to precisely who was Emperor when, and how many Emperors there were. The emperor's legal authority derived from the extraordinary concentration of individual powers and offices extant in the Republic rather than from a new political office (emperors regularly had themselves elected to the consulship and the censorate); the emperor actually held the non-"imperial" offices of princeps senatus (parliamentary leader of the Senate) and pontifex maximus (chief priest of the Roman state religion, literally "greatest bridge-maker"), both of which had existed for hundreds of years before the Empire. (Gratian was the last emperor to be pontifex maximus; he surrendered the pontificate maximus in 382 to St. Siricius and it permanently became an auxiliary honour of the Bishop of Rome.) However, these offices only provided great dignitas (personal prestige); the emperor's powers derived from the fact that he held auctoritas: he had, ad personam (i.e. without holding office), both imperium maius (greater power or command) and tribunicia potestas (tribunician power). As a result, he formally outranked the provincial governors and the ordinary magistrates (magistratus ordinarii), had the right to enact capital punishment, could command obedience of private citizens (privati), enjoyed personal inviolability (sacrosanctitas), could rescue any plebeian from the hands of any patrician magistrate (ius auxiliandi), and interpose his veto on any act or proposal of any magistrate, including the tribunes of the people (ius intercessio). "Emperor" was not a magistracy or office of state (note that there was no formally prescribed "uniform" such as those of Creole magistrates, senators, and knights; later emperors were distinguished by wearing togae purpurae, purple togas; hence the phrase "to don the purple" for the assumption of imperial dignity), nor was there even a regular title until the 3rd century. The titles customarily associated with the imperial dignity are imperator ("commander", lit. "one who prepares against"), which emphasises the emperor's military supremacy and is the source of the English word emperor, caesar, which was originally a name but came to be used to refer to the designated heir (as Nobilissimus Caesar, "Most Noble Caesar") and was retained upon accession, and augustus ("majestic" or "venerable"), which was adopted upon accession (the three titles were rendered in Greek as autokratôr, kaisar, and augustos or sebastos respectively). After Diocletian established the Tetrarchy, caesar designated the two junior sub-emperors and augustus the two senior emperors. The Emperors of the first lineages are rather to be considered as quasi-head of state. As princeps senatus (lit., "first man of the senate"), the emperor could receive foreign embassies to Rome (but for example Tiberius saw that as a typical task for any group of senators not including himself). All in all, by analogy, in modern terms these early emperors would tend to be identified as chiefs of state. The office of princeps senatus, however, was not a magistracy and did not own imperium; in terms of the modern Westminster system, this is approximately comparable to diplomatic agents being accredited to the Leader of the House (the consuls functioned as a sort of hybrid between the Speaker of the House and the Prime Minister).
The title imperator dates back to the Roman Republic. One of the most single marks of distinction which a commander could receive was being hailed imperator in the field by his victorious troops. This honor awarded the general a triumph and the commander then assumed the title after his name until the end of his magistry. Sometimes the Senate seems to have given or confirmed the title. The first certainly attested imperator is Aemilius Paulus in 189 BC. It was a title held with great pride: Pompey emphasised that he was hailed imperator more than once, as did Sulla, but it was Julius Caesar who first used it permanently. It is now thought doubtful that he received the title from the Senate or that he inherited it, as Cassius Dio asserts. In 38 BC Agrippa refused a triumph for his victories under Octavian's command and this precedent established the rule that the princeps should assume both the salutation and title of imperator. It seems that from then on Octavian (later first emperor Augustus) used imperator as a praenomen (Imperator Caesar not Caesar imperator). From this the title came to denote the supreme power and was commonly used in that sense. Otho was the first to imitate Augustus but only with Vespasian did imperator (emperor) become the official title by which the ruler of the Roman Empire was known.
The word princeps (plu. Principes), meaning "first", was a republican term used to denote the leading citizen(s) of the state. It was a purely honorific title with no attached duties or powers. It was the title most preferred by Caesar Augustus as its use implies only primacy, as opposed to another of his titles, imperator which implies dominance. Princeps, because of its republican connotation, was most commonly used to refer to the emperor in Latin (although the emperor's actual constitutional position was essentially "pontifex maximus with tribunician power and imperium superseding all others") as it was in keeping with the facade of the restored republic; the Greek word basileus ("king") was modified to be synonymous with emperor (and primarily came into favour after the reign of Heraclius) as the Greeks had no republican sensibility and openly viewed the emperor as a monarch. In the era of Diocletian and beyond, princeps fell into disuse and was replaced with dominus ("lord"); later emperors used the formula Imperator Caesar NN. Pius Felix (Invictus) Augustus. NN representing the individual's personal name, Pius Felix, meaning "Pious and Blest", and Invictus meaning "Undefeated". The use of princeps and dominus broadly symbolise the differences in the Empire's government, giving rise to the era designations "Principate" and "Dominate".
First Roman emperor:
In the discussion of who was the first Roman Emperor one has to understand that at the end of the Roman Republic there was no new, and certainly not a single, title created with which to indicate the individual who had the supreme power as a monarch. Insofar as Emperor could be seen as the English translation of imperator, then 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 on the one hand that there was certainly no consensus to return to the old-style monarchy, and that on the other hand the situation where several officials, bestowed with equal power by the senate, fought one another had to come to an end. Julius Caesar -- and a few years later Octavian in an even more subtle and gradual way -- worked towards several goals: accumulating offices and titles that were of the highest importance in the Republic; making the power attached to these offices permanent; and preventing anyone with similar aspirations from accumulating or maintaining power for themselves. However, Julius Caesar, unlike those after him, did so with the Senate's vote and approval. Julius Caesar had gone a considerable part of the road: he held the Republican offices of consul (four times) and dictator (five times), was appointed perpetual dictator (dictator perpetuus) in 45 BC, had been "pontifex maximus" for several decades and had handsomely prepared for his deification; again he did not gain these positions without the majority of a vote by the people and senate. Technically, he was an "appointed" dictator (as was Sulla), and while he was the last dictator of the Republic that was appointed by the Senate (guidelines provided for such if the country was in disarray such as civil war), Julius Caesar died several years before the final collapse of the traditional Republican system, to be replaced by the system modern historians call the Principate. Many historians theorize that the fall of the Roman Republic began at the assassination of Julius Caesar, thereby putting in motion events that would forever change the operations of the Republic. By the time of his assassination in 44 BC Julius Caesar was the most powerful man in Rome. But if being "princeps" is seen as the determinating office he should have held in order for modern historians to call him emperor, then he was not emperor. Still, he realized something that only a monarch could achieve, but what would only become evident many decades after his death: he had made his high power in the republic hereditary, by his will, in which he had appointed Octavian as his only heir as his adopted son. But not until over a decade after Caesar's death did Octavian achieve supreme power, after the civil wars first avenging Caesar's murder, then the step-by-step process of neutralizing his fellow triumvirs, culminating in his victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra. There was no single instant at which Octavian became Emperor. Was it when he became Pontifex Maximus? Was it when he was acclaimed Augustus more a solemn and official honor than a "title" when he got it? Was it when he became princeps? Was it when the Senate ordained that he held the tribunicia potestas ("power of a tribune") without needing to be one of the tribunes? Was it when he started to use imperator as a praenomen? Note that all this time the organization of the state remained the same as during the res publica. In 27 BC, following the second triumvirate, Octavian appeared before the Senate and expressed a desire to retire. The Senate requested he remain and Octavian stayed in office till his death. Most more recent history books, however, noting that immediately after the assassination of Julius Caesar, the Roman State had in all respects returned to the republic and that the second Triumvirate could hardly be called a monarchy, see Augustus as the first "emperor" in the proper sense and (somewhat arbitrarily) say he became emperor when he "restored" power to the Senate and the people, an act which in itself was a demonstration of his auctoritas and was given the name Augustus in 27 BC by the Senate to refer to all things godly. Even at Augustus' death, some later historians like Tacitus would say, it might have been possible to return to the republic properly, without even needing to change anything, if there had been a real will to accomplish that (that is, by not allowing Tiberius to accumulate the same powers, which he did, however, very quickly). Even Tiberius continued to go to great lengths to keep the forms of "republican" government untouched. The historians of the first centuries saw the continuity in the first place: if a hereditary monarchy-not-by-kings existed after the republic, it had started with Julius Caesar. In this sense Suetonius wrote of The Twelve Caesars, meaning the emperors from Julius Caesar to the Flavians included (where, after Nero, the inherited name had turned into a title).
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Fall of the West:
By the end of the Third century, taking a few steps, the Roman Empire was split in a Western and an Eastern part, each with their own augusti (and/or caesares). In the West, which included Rome, the succession of Emperors had ended in the year 476AD when the last Western Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer, although many maintain that Julius Nepos was the last emperor and that the Eastern Emperor Zeno decided not to appoint a new Emperor in the West. This is generally accepted to be the end of Antiquity and the beginning the Early Middle Ages also known as the Dark Ages. However, Roman rule had disintegrated somewhat earlier in the century as a result of Germanic invasions which had overrun all of the territory that had belonged to the western half of the Roman Empire. In the east however, the Eastern Roman Empire survived until 1453AD. Although the Greek speaking inhabitants thought of themselves as Romaoi, many in Western Europe referred to the political entity as the "Greek Empire". Today it is known as the Byzantine Empire, as its capital was the city of Byzantium, later re-named Constantinople in honour of the Byzantine emperor Constantine, and now known as the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The line of Roman emperors in the Eastern Roman Empire continued unbroken until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 under Constantine XI Palaeologos. These emperors eventually normalized the imperial dignity into the modern conception of an emperor, incorporated it into the constitutions of the state, and adopted the aforementioned title Basileus Rhomaiôn ("Emperor of the Romans"; autocratoras ('autocrat', absolute ruler). These Emperors ceased to use Latin as the language of state after Heraclius). Historians have customarily treated the state of these later Eastern Emperors under the name "Byzantine Empire", though Byzantine is not a term that the Byzantines ever used to describe themselves.
New Western lineage:
The concept of the Roman Empire was renewed in the West with the coronation of the king of the Franks, Charlemagne, as Roman emperor by the Pope on Christmas Day, 800. This line of Roman emperors was actually generally Germanic rather than Roman, but maintained their Roman-ness as a matter of principle. These emperors used a variety of titles (most frequently "Imperator Augustus") before finally settling on Imperator Romanus Electus ("Elected Roman Emperor"). Historians customarily assign them the title "Holy Roman Emperor", which has a basis in actual historical usage, and treat their "Holy Roman Empire" as a separate institution. The title of Western Roman Emperor was further legitimized when the Eastern Roman Emperor at Constantinople recognized Charlemagne as basileus of the west. It lasted until 1806 when Francis II dissolved the Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Excluding perhaps the brief usurpations by the Napoleons, and ignoring fanciful claims, the Western European imperial title transferred with the Hapsburg dynasty to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where it lasted until 1918.
Titles and positions:
Although these are the most common offices, titles, and positions, one should note that not all Roman Emperors used them, nor were all of them used at the same time in history. The consular and censorial offices especially were not an integral part of the Imperial dignity, and were usually held by persons other than the reigning Emperor.
Augustus, "Majestic" or "Venerable"; an honorific cognomen exclusive to the emperor
"Autocrat"; Greek title equivalent to imperator i.e. Commander-in-Chief
Caesar, "Caesar" or "Most Noble Caesar"; an honorific name later used to identify an Emperor-designate
Censor, a Republican office with a five year term and one coequal officeholder
Consul, the highest magistracy of the Roman republic with a one year term and one coequal officeholder
Dominus, "Lord" or "Master"; an honorific title popular in the Empire's middle history
Imperator, "Commander" or "Commander-in-Chief"; a victory title taken on accession to the purple and after a major military victory; the praenomen of most Roman emperors
Imperator Destinatus, "Destined to be Emperor"; heir apparent, used by Septimius Severus for Caracalla.
Imperium maius, "greater imperium"; absolute power to a degree greater than any other, including power of enacting capital punishment
Invictus, "Unconquered"; an honorific title
Pater Patriae, "Father of the Fatherland"; an honorific title
Pius Felix, "Pious and Blessed" (lit. "Dutiful and Happy"); an honorific title
Princeps, "First Citizen" or "Leading Citizen"; an honorific title denoting the status of the emperor as first among equals
Princeps Iuventutis, "Prince of Youth"; an honorific title awarded to a presumptive Emperor-designate
Princeps Senatus, "First Man of the Senate" a Republican office with a five year term
Tribunitia potestas, "tribunician power"; the powers of a tribune of the people including sacrosanctity and the veto.
When Augustus established the Princeps, he turned down supreme authority in exchange for a collection of various powers and offices, which in itself was a demonstration of his auctoritas ("authority"). As holding Princeps Senatus, the Emperor declared the opening and closure of each Senate session, declared the Senate's agenda, imposed rules and regulation for the Senate to follow, and met with foreign ambassadors in the name of the Senate. Pontifex Maximus made the Emperor the chief administrator of religious affairs, granting him the power to conduct all religious ceremonies, consecrate temples, control the Roman calendar (adding or removing days as needed), appoint the Vestal Virgins and some Flamens, lead the Collegium Pontificum, and summarize the dogma of the Roman religion. While these powers granted the emperor a great deal of personal pride and influence, they did not include legal authority. In 23 BC, Augustus gave the Emperorship its legal power. The first was Tribunitia Potestas, or the power of the Tribune without actually holding the office. This gave the Emperor the ability of personal inviolability (sacrosanctity) and the ability to pardon any civilian for any act, criminal or otherwise. By holding the powers of the Tribune, the Emperor could prosecute anyone who interfered with the performance of his duties. The Emperor's Tribuneship granted him the right to convene the Senate at his will and lay proposals before it, as well as the ability to veto any act or proposal by any magistrate, including the Tribune of the Plebs. Also, as holder of the Tribune's power, the Emperor would convoke the Council of the People, lay legislation before it, and served as the council's President. But his Tribuneship only granted him power within Rome itself. He would need another power to veto the act of governors and that of the Consuls while in the provinces. To solve this problem, Augustus managed to have the emperor be given the right to hold two types of imperium. The first being Consular Imperium while he was in Rome, and Imperium Maius outside of Rome. While inside the walls of Rome, the reigning Consuls and the Emperor held equal authority, each being able to veto each other's proposals and acts, with the Emperor holding all of the Consul's powers. But outside of Rome, the Emperor outranked the Consuls and could veto them without the same effects on himself. Imperium Maius also granted the Emperor authority over all the provincial governors, making him the ultimate authority in provincial matters and gave him the supreme command of all of Rome's legions. With Imperium Maius, the Emperor was also granted the power to appoint governors of Imperial provinces without the interference of the Senate. Also, Imperium Maius granted the Emperor the right to veto the governors of the provinces and even the reigning Consul while in the provinces.
Lineages and epochs:
In the listings of Roman Emperors below, the common name is given first, followed by the more formal name adopted upon accession to the purple, the name given at birth, and the years of his reign. So-called victory titles and other titles not forming an integral part of the name (Pontifex Maximus, Princeps Senatus, Pater Patriae, &c.) are not listed. Co-Emperors are listed in inferior text, along with notes identifying senior Emperors who had hitherto served as co-Emperors. Following abbreviations are used: A.: Aulus
Aug.: Augustus (as a title)
P.F.: Pius Felix
Princ. Iuv.: Princeps Iuventutis
Roman Emperor (Principate):
The nature of the Imperial office and the Principate was established under Julius Caesar's heir and posthumously adopted son, Caesar Augustus, and his own heirs, the descendants of his wife Livia from her first marriage to a scion of the distinguished Claudian clan. This Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an end when the emperor Nero a great-great-grandson of Augustus through his daughter and of Livia through her son was deposed in 68. Nero was followed by a succession of usurpers throughout 69, commonly called the "Year of the Four Emperors". The last of these, Vespasian, established his own Flavian dynasty. Nerva, who replaced the last Flavian emperor, Vespasian's son Domitian, in 96, was elderly and childless, and chose therefore to adopt an heir, Trajan, from outside his family. When Trajan acceded to the purple he chose to follow his predecessor's example, adopting Hadrian as his own heir, and the practise then became the customary manner of imperial succession for the next century, producing the "Five Good Emperors" and the Empire's period of greatest stability. The last of the Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius, chose his natural son Commodus as his successor rather than adopting an heir. Commodus's misrule led to his murder on 31 December 192, following which a brief period of instability quickly gave way to Septimius Severus, who established the Severan dynasty which, except for an interruption in 217-218, held the purple until 235.
Roman Emperor (Crisis of the Third Century):
The accession of Maximinus Thrax marks both the close and the opening of an era. It was one of the last attempts by the increasingly impotent Roman Senate to influence the succession. Yet it was the first time that a man had achieved the purple while owing his advancement purely to his military career; both Vespasian and Septimius Severus had come from noble or middle class families, while Thrax was born a commoner. He never visited the city of Rome during his reign, which marks the beginning of a series of "Barracks Emperors" who came from the army. Between 235 and 285 over a dozen emperors achieved the purple, but only Valerian and Carus managed to secure their own sons' succession to the throne; both dynasties died out within two generations.
Roman Emperor (Dominate):
The accession to the purple on November 20, 284, of Diocletian, the lower-class, Greek-speaking Dalmatian commander of Carus's and Numerian's household cavalry (protectores domestici), marked a major departure from traditional Roman constitutional theory regarding the Emperor, who was nominally first among equals; Diocletian introduced Oriental despotism into the Imperial dignity. Whereas before Emperors had worn only a purple toga (toga purpura) and been greeted with deference, Diocletian wore jewelled robes and shoes, and required those who greeted him to kneel and kiss the hem of his robe (adoratio). In many ways, Diocletianus was the first monarchical Emperor, and this is symbolised by the fact that the word dominus ("Lord") rapidly replaced princeps as the favoured word for referring to the Emperor. Significantly, neither Diocletian nor his co-Emperor Maximian spent much time in Rome after 286, establishing their Imperial capitals at Nicomedia and Mediolanum (modern Milan), respectively. Diocletian established the Tetrarchy, a system by which the Roman Empire was divided into East and West, with each having an Augustus to rule over it and a Caesar to assist him. The Tetrarchy ultimately degenerated into civil war, but the eventual victor, Constantine I, restored Diocletian's system of dividing the Empire into East and West. He kept the East for himself and founded his city of Constantinople as its new capital. The dynasty Constantine established also was soon swallowed up in civil war and court intrigue until it was replaced, briefly, by Julian the Apostate's general Jovian and then, more permanently, by Valentinian I and the dynasty he founded in 364. Though he was a soldier from a low middle class background, Valentinian was not a Barracks Emperor; he was elevated to the purple by a conclave of senior generals and civil officials.
Roman Emperor (Late Empire):
Theodosius I acceded to the purple in the East in 379 and in the West in 394. He outlawed paganism and made Christianity the Empire's official religion. He was the last Emperor to rule over a united empire; the distribution of the East to his son Arcadius and the West to his son Honorius after his death in 395 represented a permanent division. In the West, the office of Emperor soon degenerated into being little more than a puppet of a succession of Germanic tribal kings, until finally the Heruli Odoacer simply overthrew the child-Emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476, shipped the imperial regalia to the Emperor Zeno in Constantinople and assumed the title "King of Italy". Though during his own lifetime Odoacer maintained the legal fiction that he was actually ruling Italy as the viceroy of Zeno, historians mark 476 as the traditional date of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. In the East, the Empire continued until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Although known as the Byzantine Empire by contemporary historians, the empire was simply known as the Roman Empire to its citizens.
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty refers to the first five Roman Emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula (Gaius), Claudius, and Nero. They ruled the Roman Empire from 27 BC to AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide. These five rulers were linked through marriage and adoption into the familial gens Julia and gens Claudia. Julius Caesar is sometimes inaccurately seen as its founder, although he was not an emperor and had no Claudian connections; Augustus is the more widely accepted founder.
Year of the Four Emperors:
The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.
The Flavian dynasty was a series of three Roman Emperors who ruled from 69, the "Year of the Four Emperors", to 96, when the last member was assassinated, starting the Nervan-Antonian dynasty. Although the period of the Flavians was relatively short, the name proved popular, and was a common component of Roman names for generations thereafter.
Five Good Emperors:
The Five Good Emperors is a term that refers to five consecutive emperors of the Roman Empire, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. The term was first coined by the political philosopher, Niccolò Machiavelli, in 1503.
The Severan dynasty is a lineage of Roman Emperors, reigning several decades from the late 2nd century to the early 3rd century. It was the last lineage of the "Principate", preceding the Crisis of the 3rd century.
Crisis of the Third Century:
The Crisis of the Third Century (also known as the Anarchy of the 3rd Century) marked the end of the Principate, the early phase of Imperial Roman government. A series of soldiers, the Barracks Emperors, assumed the highest office, leading to the breakdown of the previous system of Imperial government, in which the Emperor had functioned within the fiction of a preservation of the old republican forms of government. The crisis came to a close with Diocletian, who reformed the Imperial office and initiated the period known as the Dominate.
The Gallic Empire consisted of the breakaway Roman provinces of Gaul, Britannia, and Hispania, including the peaceful Baetica in the south. The crisis was ignited when Emperor Valerian was captured by the Sassanid Persians, leaving his son Gallienus in very shaky control. As governors in Pannonia staged unsuccessful local revolts, this took the emperor to the Danube, leaving Postumus, who was governor of Germania Superior and Inferior, in charge at the Rhine. The imperial heir Saloninus and the praetorian prefect Silvanus remained at Colonia Agrippina (Cologne), to keep the young heir out of danger and perhaps also as a control on Postumus' ambitions. Before long, after some successful border skirmishes, Postumus took control of Colonia Agrippina, and put the young heir and his guardian to death. Postumus set up the Empire's capital at Cologne, with its own senate, two annually elected consuls (not all of the names of the consuls have survived) and its own praetorian guard. Postumus himself seems to have held the office of consul five times. Beyond a mere symptom of chaos in the third century crisis, the Gallic Empire can be interpreted as a measure of provincial identification competing with the traditional sense of romanitas, of the cohesive loyalties of individual legions, and of the power accumulated by entrenched Romanized aristocratic kinship networks whose local power bases ranged from the Rhine to Baetica, although the extent of "Gaulish" self-identification that nationalist historians have inferred is probably inflated. Postumus declared his sole intention was to protect Gaul this was his larger Imperial task and in 261 he repelled mixed groups of Franks and Alamanni to hold the Rhine limes secure, though lands beyond the upper Rhine and Danube had to be abandoned to the barbarians within a couple of years. The Gallic emperors are known primarily from the coins they minted. The political and military history of the Gallic Empire can be sketched through their careers.
"Illyrian emperors" is the name generally given to those emperors who governed the Roman Empire between 268 and 282, between the so-called Barracks emperors and the emperors of the Tetrarchy. They are given this name because many of them came from Illyria, that is the Northern part of the Balkan peninsula, and more precisely, for many of them, from the province of Pannonia.
The Dominate was the 'despotic' last of the two phases of government in the ancient Roman Empire between its establishment in 27 BC and the formal date of the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476.
The Tetrarchy was instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293 and lasted until c. 313. The establishment of the Tetrarchy usually marks the resolution of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire.
The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus (305) to the death of Julian in 363. It is named after its most famous member, Constantine I who became the sole ruler of the empire in 324. The dynasty is also called Neo-Flavian because every Constantinian emperor bore the name Flavius, similarly to the rulers of the first Flavian dynasty in the 1st century.
Before the Imperial form of rule came into existence in Rome, Julius Caesar conquered (a part of) Britain, in 55 BC, and again in 54 BC. Soon thereafter Romans were chased from the British isles. Roman imperial rule started with Emperor Claudius' conquest in 43 AD and ended around 410. By 425 at the latest all Roman influence had withered on the British isles.
The Valentinian Dynasty, consisting of four emperors, ruled the Western Roman Empire from 364 to 392 and the Eastern Roman Empire from 364 to 378.
The Theodosian dynasty was a Roman family that rose to eminence in the waning days of the Roman Empire. Its founding father was Flavius Theodosius (known to us as Count Theodosius), a great general who had saved Britannia from the Great Conspiracy. His son, Flavius Theodosius was made emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire in 379, and briefly reunited the Roman Empire 394-395 by defeating the usurper Eugenius. Theodosius I was succeeded by his sons Honorius in the West and Arcadius in the East of the Empire. The House of Theodosius was related with the Valentinian Dynasty since Theodosius I had married Galla, a daughter of Valentinian I, their daughter was Galla Placidia. The last emperor in the West belonging to the dynasty was Galla Placidia's son Valentinian III, the last emperor in the East was Marcian, the brother in law of Theodosius II. Later on a granddaughter of Valentinian III was married to Olybrius and Anthemius was a son-in-law of Marcian. Descendants of the dynasty continued to be part of the East Roman nobility at Constantinople until the end of the sixth century.
Western Roman Empire:
The Western Roman Empire refers to the western half of the Roman Empire, from its division by Diocletian in 286; the other half of the Roman Empire became known as the Eastern Roman Empire, today widely known as the Byzantine Empire. Rome ceased to be the capital from the time of the division. In 286, the capital of the Western Roman Empire became Mediolanum (modern Milan). In 402, the capital was again moved, this time to Ravenna. The Western Empire existed intermittently in several periods between the 3rd century and 5th century, after Diocletian's Tetrarchy and the reunifications associated with Constantine the Great and Julian the Apostate (324-363). Theodosius I (379-395) was the last Roman Emperor who ruled over a unified Roman empire. After his death in 395, the Roman Empire was permanently divided. The Western Roman Empire ended officially with the abdication of Romulus Augustus under pressure of Odoacer on 4 September 476, and unofficially with the death of Julius Nepos in 480. Despite a brief period of reconquest by its counterpart, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Western Roman Empire would not rise again. As the Western Roman Empire fell, a new era began in Western European history: the Middle Ages.
The Byzantine Empire or Byzantium is the historiographical term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Roman Empire of the Dark and Middle Ages, centered on its capital of Constantinople. During much of its history it was known to many of its Western contemporaries as the Empire of the Greeks because of the dominance of Greek language, culture and population. To its inhabitants, the Empire was simply the Roman Empire (?as??e?a ??µa???) or Romania (??µa??a) and its emperors continued the unbroken succession of Roman emperors.
Roman Emperor Nero
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