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In historiography, the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at any one time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court, coequal with that administering the eastern half, then referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire. The terms "Western Roman Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are modern inventions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; however, at no point did the Romans themselves consider the Empire
Empire
to have been split into two separate Empires, but rather continued to consider it a single state but governed by two separate Imperial courts of administrative expediency. A system of government of this kind is known as a diarchy. Though the Empire
Empire
had seen periods with more than one Emperor ruling jointly before, the view that it was impossible for a single emperor to govern the entire Empire
Empire
was established by Emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the 3rd century. His ideas were instituted in Roman law
Roman law
by the introduction of the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
in AD 285, which divided the position of Augustus
Augustus
(Emperor) into two; one in the East and one in the West, each with an appointed Caesar (junior Emperor and designated successor). Though the tetrarchic system would collapse in a matter of years, the East-West geographical administrative division would endure in one form or another for centuries to come. As such, the Western Roman Empire
Empire
would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Though some emperors, such as Constantine I
Constantine I
and Theodosius I, would manage to rise to the position of Augustus
Augustus
in both halves and as such reunify the Empire, it would often divide again upon their deaths. After the death of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
in AD 395, the Empire
Empire
was divided between his sons after which it would never again be unified. Eighty-five years later, in 480, following various invasions and the collapse of central control in the West, Zeno of the Eastern Empire
Empire
recognized the reality of the Western Empire's reduced domain—effective central control had ceased to exist even in the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
after the depositions of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
and Romulus Augustulus—and therefore abolished the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. The rise of Odoacer
Odoacer
and his germanic foederati to rule over Italy
Italy
in 476 was popularized by the eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire
Empire
and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Odoacer's Italy, and other Barbarian kingdoms, would maintain a pretence of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court. Direct Imperial rule would be reimposed in large parts of the West, including the prosperous regions of North Africa
North Africa
and the ancient Roman heartland of Italy
Italy
as well as parts of Hispania, in the sixth century by the armies of the Eastern Empire
Empire
under Emperor Justinian
Justinian
I. Political upheaval in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious issues, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were gradually lost, this time for good. Though the Eastern Empire
Empire
retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire
Empire
had over Western Europe
Europe
had diminished significantly with the papal coronation of the Frankish king Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as "Roman Emperor" in AD 800. His imperial line would come to evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe
Europe
but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions. The Great Schism of 1054
Great Schism of 1054
between the churches of Rome
Rome
and Constantinople
Constantinople
further diminished the authority the Emperor in Constantinople
Constantinople
could hope to bring forth in the west.

Contents

1 Background

1.1 Rebellions and political developments 1.2 Crisis of the Third Century

2 History

2.1 Tetrarchy 2.2 Further divisions 2.3 Reign of Honorius 2.4 Escalating barbarian conflicts 2.5 Internal unrest and Majorian 2.6 Collapse 2.7 Fall of the Empire

3 Political aftermath

3.1 Germanic Italy 3.2 Barbarian Kingdoms 3.3 Imperial reconquest

4 Economical decline 5 Legacy

5.1 Nomenclature 5.2 Attempted restorations of a Western court 5.3 Later claims to the Imperial title in the West

6 List of Western Roman Emperors

6.1 Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
(286–313) 6.2 Constantinian dynasty (313–363) 6.3 Non-dynastic (363–364) 6.4 Valentinian dynasty (364–392) 6.5 Theodosian dynasty (392–455) 6.6 Non-dynastic (455–480)

7 See also 8 References

8.1 Citations 8.2 Bibliography

8.2.1 Websites

9 Further reading 10 External links

Background[edit] Further information: History
History
of the Roman Empire As the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome
Rome
could not effectively rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were especially problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, revolt, natural disasters, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service, often requiring much time to reach Rome
Rome
and for Rome's orders to be realized in the province of origin. For this reason, provincial governors had de facto rule in the name of the Roman Republic. Governors had several duties, including the command of armies, handling the taxes of the province and serving as a local chief judges.[2] Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided in 43 BC among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony, Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea, Macedonia and Epirus (roughly modern Greece, Albania
Albania
and the coast of Croatia), Bithynia, Pontus and Asia (roughly modern Turkey), Syria, Cyprus, and Cyrenaica.[3] These lands had previously been conquered by Alexander the Great; thus, much of the aristocracy was of Greek origin. The whole region, especially the major cities, had been largely assimilated into Greek culture, Greek often serving as the lingua franca.[4]

The Roman Republic
Roman Republic
before the conquests of Octavian

Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia (modern Italy), Gaul
Gaul
(modern France), Gallia Belgica
Gallia Belgica
(parts of modern Belgium, the Netherlands
Netherlands
and Luxembourg), and Hispania
Hispania
(modern Spain
Spain
and Portugal).[3] These lands also included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls
Gauls
and Celtiberians
Celtiberians
were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa (roughly modern Tunisia). Octavian soon took Africa from Lepidus, while adding Sicilia (modern Sicily) to his holdings.[5] Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Empire. While the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
featured many distinct cultures, all were often said to experience gradual Romanization.[6] While the predominantly Greek culture of the East and the predominantly Latin
Latin
culture of the West functioned effectively as an integrated whole, political and military developments would ultimately realign the Empire
Empire
along those cultural and linguistic lines. More often than not, Greek and Latin
Latin
practices (and to some extent the languages themselves) would be combined in fields such as histories (such as those by Cato the Elder), philosophy and rhetoric.[7][8][9] Rebellions and political developments[edit] Minor rebellions and uprisings were fairly common events throughout the Empire. Conquered tribes or cities would revolt, and the legions would be detached to crush the rebellion. While this process was simple in peacetime, it could be considerably more complicated in wartime, as for example in the Great Jewish Revolt. In a full-blown military campaign, the legions, under generals such as Vespasian, were far more numerous. To ensure a commander's loyalty, a pragmatic emperor might hold some members of the general's family hostage. To this end, Nero
Nero
effectively held Domitian
Domitian
and Quintus Petillius Cerialis, governor of Ostia, who were respectively the younger son and brother-in-law of Vespasian. The rule of Nero
Nero
ended only with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard, who had been bribed in the name of Galba. The Praetorian Guard, a figurative "sword of Damocles", were often perceived as being of dubious loyalty, primarily due their roles in court intrigues and their participation in overthrowing several emperors, such as Pertinax
Pertinax
and Aurelian.[10][11] Following their example, the legions at the borders increased participation in the civil wars. For instance, legions stationed in Egypt and the eastern provinces would see significant participation in the civil war of 218 between Emperor Macrinus
Macrinus
and Elagabalus.[12] As the Empire
Empire
expanded, two key frontiers revealed themselves. In the West, particularly behind the rivers Rhine
Rhine
and Danube, Germanic tribes formed an important enemy. Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, had tried to conquer them but had pulled back after the disastrous Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.[13] Whilst the Germanic tribes presented formidable foes, the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
in the East presented the most long-standing imperial enemy by far. The Parthians were too remote and powerful to be conquered and any Parthian invasion of Rome
Rome
was confronted and defeated. Parthians repelled some attempts of Roman invasion and even after successful wars of conquest, such as those implemented by Trajan
Trajan
and Septimius Severus, conquered distant territories were forsaken to prevent unrest and also to ensure a more healthy and lasting peace with the Parthians. The Parthian Empire would be succeeded by the Sasanian Empire, which continued hostilities with the Roman Empire.[14] Controlling the western border of Rome
Rome
was reasonably easy because it was relatively close to Rome
Rome
itself and also because of the disunity between the Germanic foes, however, controlling both frontiers altogether during wartime was difficult. If the emperor was near the border in the East, chances were high that an ambitious general would rebel in the West and vice versa. This wartime opportunism plagued many ruling emperors and indeed paved the road to power for several future emperors. By the time of the Crisis of the Third Century, usurpation became a common method of succession, Philip the Arab, Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus
and Aemilianus
Aemilianus
were all usurping generals-turned-emperors whose rule would end with the usurpation by another powerful general.[15][16][17] Crisis of the Third Century[edit] Main article: Crisis of the Third Century

The Roman, Gallic and Palmyrene Empires in 271 AD.

With the assassination of the Emperor Alexander Severus
Alexander Severus
on 18 March 235, the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
sank into a 50-year period of civil war, now known as the Crisis of the Third Century. The rise of the bellicose Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
in Parthia
Parthia
posed a major threat to Rome
Rome
in the east. Demonstrating the increased danger, Emperor Valerian was captured by Shapur I in 259. His eldest son and heir-apparent, Gallienus, succeeded and took up the fight on the eastern frontier. Gallienus' son, Saloninus, and the Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian Prefect
Silvanus were residing in Colonia Agrippina
Colonia Agrippina
(modern Cologne) to solidify the loyalty of the local legions. Nevertheless, Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus
- the local governor of the German provinces — rebelled; his assault on Colonia Agrippina
Colonia Agrippina
resulted in the deaths of Saloninus and the prefect. In the confusion that followed, an independent state known in modern historiography as the Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
emerged.[18] Its capital was Augusta Treverorum (modern Trier), and it quickly expanded its control over the German and Gaulish provinces and over all of Hispania
Hispania
and Britannia. It had its own senate, and a partial list of its consuls still survives. It maintained Roman religion, language, and culture, and was far more concerned with fighting the Germanic tribes
Germanic tribes
than the Roman central government, fending off germanic incursions and restoring the security the Gallic provinces had enjoyed in the past.[19] However, in the reign of Claudius Gothicus (268 to 270), large expanses of the Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
were restored to Roman rule. At roughly the same time, several eastern provinces seceded under the Palmyrene Empire, under the rule of Queen Zenobia.[20] In 272, Emperor Aurelian
Aurelian
finally managed to reclaim Palmyra and its territory for the empire. With the East secure, his attention was turned to the West, invading the Gallic Empire
Gallic Empire
a year later. Aurelian decisively defeated Tetricus I
Tetricus I
in the Battle of Châlons, and soon captured Tetricus and his son Tetricus II. Both Zenobia
Zenobia
and the Tetricus' were pardoned, although they were first paraded in a triumph.[21][22][23] History[edit] Tetrarchy[edit] Main article: Tetrarchy

The organization of the Empire
Empire
under the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
and its collapse due to Constantine I

Diocletian
Diocletian
was the first Emperor to divide the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
into a Tetrarchy. In 285 he elevated Maximian
Maximian
to the rank of augustus (emperor) and gave him control of the Western Empire.[24][25][26] In 293, Galerius
Galerius
and Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
were appointed as their subordinates (caesars), creating the First Tetrarchy. This system effectively divided the Empire
Empire
into four major regions, as a way to avoid the civil unrest that had marked the 3rd century. In the West, Maximiam made Mediolanum
Mediolanum
(now Milan) his capital, and Constantius made Trier
Trier
his. In the East, Galerius
Galerius
made his capital Sirmium
Sirmium
and Diocletian
Diocletian
made Nicomedia
Nicomedia
his. On 1 May 305, Diocletian
Diocletian
and Maximian abdicated, replaced by Galerius
Galerius
and Constantius, who appointed Maximinus II and Valerius Severus, respectively, as their caesars, creating the Second Tetrarchy.[27] The Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
fell into collapse after the unexpected death of Constantius in 306. His son, Constantine the Great, was declared Western Emperor by the British legions,[28][29][30][31] however multiple other claimants arose and attempted to seize the Western Empire. In 308, Galerius
Galerius
held a meeting at Carnuntum, where he revived the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
by dividing the Western Empire
Empire
between Constantine and Licinius.[32] However, Constantine was more interested in conquering the whole empire than he was in the stability of the Tetrarchy, and by 314 began to compete against Licinius. Constantine defeated Licinius in 324, at the Battle of Chrysopolis, where he was taken prisoner, and later murdered.[33] After Constantine unified the empire, he founded the city of Byzantium
Byzantium
in modern-day Greece
Greece
as Nova Roma ("New Rome"), later called Constantinople, and made it the capital of the Roman Empire.[34] Because of this, the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
officially ended, although the concept of physically splitting the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
between two emperors remained. Although several powerful emperors unified both parts of the empire, this generally reverted into shared control of East and West upon their deaths, such as happened after the deaths of both Constantine and Theodosius I.[35][36] Further divisions[edit]

Division of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from west to east, the territories of Constantine II, Constans
Constans
I, Dalmatius
Dalmatius
and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I
Constantine I
(May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius
Dalmatius
was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.

Constantius was born in 317 at Sirmium, Pannonia. He was the third son of Constantine the Great, and second by his second wife Fausta, the daughter of Maximian. Constantius was made Caesar by his father on 13 November 324.[37] The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
was under the rule of a single Emperor, but, with the death of Constantine in 337, the empire was partitioned between his surviving male heirs.[35] Constantius received the eastern provinces, including Constantinople, Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Cyrenaica; Constantine II received Britannia, Gaul, Hispania, and Mauretania; and Constans, initially under the supervision of Constantine II, received Italy, Africa, Illyricum, Pannonia, Macedonia, and Achaea.[38] The provinces of Thrace, Achaea and Macedonia were shortly controlled by Dalmatius, nephew of Constantine I
Constantine I
and a caesar and not an Augustus, until his murder by his own soldiers in 337.[39] The West was unified in 340 under Constans, who was assassinated in 350 under the order of the usurper Magnentius;[40] after Magnentius
Magnentius
lost the Battle of Mursa Major and committed suicide, a complete reunification of the whole Empire occurred under Constantius in 353.[37] Constantius II
Constantius II
focused most of his power in the East. Under his rule, the city of Byzantium
Byzantium
- only recently re-founded as Constantinople
Constantinople
- was fully developed as a capital. In 361, Constantius II
Constantius II
became ill and died, and Constantius Chlorus' grandson Julian, who had served as Constantius II's Caesar, assumed power. Julian was killed in 363 in the Battle of Samarra
Battle of Samarra
against the Persian Empire
Persian Empire
and was succeeded by Jovian, who ruled only until 364.[41]

The division of the Empire
Empire
after the death of Theodosius I, ca. 395 AD superimposed on modern borders   Western Court under Honorius   Eastern Court under Arcadius

Following the death of Jovian, Valentinian I
Valentinian I
emerged as Emperor in 364. He immediately divided the Empire
Empire
once again, giving the eastern half to his brother Valens. Stability was not achieved for long in either half, as the conflicts with outside forces (tribes) intensified. In 376, the Visigoths, fleeing before the Ostrogoths, who in turn were fleeing before the Huns, were allowed to cross the river Danube
Danube
and settle into the Balkans by the Eastern government. Mistreatment caused a full-scale rebellion, and in 378 they inflicted a crippling defeat on the Eastern Roman field army in the Battle of Adrianople, in which Emperor Valens
Valens
also died. The defeat at Adrianople was shocking to the Romans, and forced them to negotiate with and settle the Visigoths
Visigoths
within the borders of the Empire, where they would become semi-independent foederati under their own leaders.[42] More than in the East, there was also opposition to the Christianizing policy of the Emperors in the western half of the Empire. In 379, Valentinian I's son and successor Gratian
Gratian
declined to wear the mantle of Pontifex Maximus, and in 382 he rescinded the rights of pagan priests and removed the Altar of Victory
Altar of Victory
from the Roman Curia, a decision which caused dissatisfaction among the traditionally pagan aristocracy of Rome.[43] Theodosius I
Theodosius I
later decreed the Edict of Thessalonica, which banned all religions except Christianity.[44] The political situation was unstable. In 383, a powerful and popular general named Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
seized power in the West and forced Gratian's half-brother Valentinian II
Valentinian II
to flee to the East for aid; in a destructive civil war, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I
Theodosius I
restored him to power.[45] In 392, the Frankish and pagan magister militum Arbogast assassinated Valentinian II
Valentinian II
and proclaimed an obscure senator named Eugenius
Eugenius
as Emperor. In 394 the forces of the two halves of the Empire again clashed with great loss of life. Again Theodosius I
Theodosius I
won, and he briefly ruled a united Empire
Empire
until his death in 395. He was the last Emperor to rule both parts of the Roman Empire.[36] Theodosius I's older son Arcadius
Arcadius
inherited the eastern half while the younger Honorius got the western half. Both were still minors and neither was capable of ruling effectively. Honorius was placed under the tutelage of the half-Roman/half-barbarian magister militum Flavius Stilicho,[46] while Rufinus became the power behind the throne in the east. Rufinus and Stilicho
Stilicho
were rivals, and their disagreements would be exploited by the Gothic leader Alaric I
Alaric I
who again rebelled in 408 following the massacre of thousands of barbarian families who were trying to assimilate into the Roman empire by Roman legions.[47] Neither half of the Empire
Empire
could raise forces sufficient even to subdue Alaric's men, and both tried to use Alaric against the other half. Alaric himself tried to establish a long-term territorial and official base, but was never able to do so. Stilicho
Stilicho
tried to defend Italy
Italy
and bring the invading Goths under control, but to do so he stripped the Rhine
Rhine
frontier of troops and the Vandals, Alans, and Suevi
Suevi
invaded Gaul
Gaul
in large numbers. Stilicho
Stilicho
became a victim of court intrigues and was killed in 408. While the East began a slow recovery and consolidation, the West began to collapse entirely. Alaric's men sacked Rome
Rome
in 410.[48] Reign of Honorius[edit] Main article: Honorius (emperor)

Solidus of Emperor Honorius

Honorius, the younger son of Theodosius I, was declared Augustus
Augustus
(and as such co-emperor with his father) on January 23rd in 393. Upon the death of Theodosius, Honorius inherited the throne of the West at the age of ten whilst his older brother Arcadius
Arcadius
inherited the East. The western capital was initially Mediolanum, as it had been during previous divisions, but it was moved to Ravenna
Ravenna
in 402 upon the entrance of the visigothic king Alaric I
Alaric I
into Italy. Ravenna, protected by abundant marshes and strong fortifications, was far easier to defend but made it more difficult for the Roman military to defend central parts of Italy
Italy
from the regular barbarian incursions.[49] Ravenna
Ravenna
would remain the western capital until the deposition of Romulus Augustus
Augustus
74 years later and would later be used as the capital for both the Ostrogothic Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
and the Exarchate of Ravenna.[50][51] The reign of Honorius was, even by Western Roman standards, chaotic and plagued by both internal and external struggles. The Visigothic foederati under Alaric, magister militum in Illyricum, rebelled as early as 395. Gildo, the Comes
Comes
Africae and Magister utriusque militiae per Africam, rebelled in 397 and initiated the Gildonic War. Stilicho managed to subdue Gildo but was away in Raetia
Raetia
when the Visigoths entered Italy
Italy
in 402.[52] Stilicho, hurrying back to aid in defending Italy, summoned legions in Gaul
Gaul
and Britain with which he managed to defeat Alaric twice before agreeing to allow him to retreat back to Illyria.[53]

Barbarian invasions and the invasion of usurper Constantine III in the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
during the reign of Honorius 407-409

The weakened frontiers in Britain and Gaul
Gaul
had dire consequences for the empire. Numerous usurpers rose from Britain, including Marcus (406–407), Gratian
Gratian
(407), and Constantine III who invaded Gaul
Gaul
in 407. Britain was effectively abandoned by the empire by 410 due to the crumbling resources and the need to look after more important frontiers. The weakened rhine frontier allowed multiple barbarian tribes, including the Vandals, Alans
Alans
and Suebi, to cross the river and enter Roman territory in 406.[54] Honorius was convinced by the minister Olympius that Stilicho
Stilicho
was conspiring to overthrow him, and thus arrested and executed Stilicho in 408.[55] Olympius headed a conspiracy that successfully orchestrated the deaths of key individuals related to the regime of Stilicho, including his son and the families of many of his federated troops. This led many of the soldiers to instead join with Alaric, who returned to Italy
Italy
in 409 and met little opposition. Despite attempts by Honorius to a settlement and six legions of Eastern Roman soldiers sent to support him,[56] the negotiations between Alaric and Honorius broke down in 410 and Alaric sacked the city of Rome. Though the sack was relatively mild and Rome
Rome
was no longer the capital of even the Western Empire, the event shocked people across both halves of the Empire
Empire
as this was the first time Rome
Rome
(viewed at least as the symbolic heart of the Empire) had fallen to a foreign enemy since the Gallic invasions of the 4th century BC. The Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II, the successor of Arcadius, declared three days of mourning in Constantinople.[57] Without Stilicho
Stilicho
and following the sack of Rome, Honorius reign grew more and more chaotic. The usurper Constantine III had stripped Roman Britain of its defenses when he crossed over to Gaul
Gaul
in 407, leaving the Romanized population subject to invasions, first by the Picts
Picts
and then by the Saxons, Angli, and the Jutes
Jutes
who began to settle permanently from about 440 onwards. After Honorius accepted Constantine as co-emperor, Constantine's general in Hispania, Gerontius, proclaimed Maximus as Emperor. With the aid of general Constantius, Honorius successfully defeated Gerontius and Maximus in 411 and shortly thereafter captured and executed Constantine III. With Constantius back in Italy, the Gallo-Roman senator Jovinus
Jovinus
revolted after proclaiming himself Emperor. With the support of the Gallic nobility and the barbarian Burgundians
Burgundians
and Alans, Honorius turned to the Visigoths
Visigoths
under King Ataulf
Ataulf
for support against Jovinus.[58] Ataulf
Ataulf
defeated and executed Jovinus
Jovinus
and his proclaimed co-emperor Sebastianus
Sebastianus
in 413, around the same time as another usurper rose in Africa, Heraclianus. Heraclianus
Heraclianus
attempted to invade Italy
Italy
but failed and retreated to Carthage, where he was killed.[59] With the Roman legions
Roman legions
withdrawn, northern Gaul
Gaul
became subject to more and more Frankish influence, the Franks
Franks
naturally adopting a somewhat leading role in the region. In 418, Honorius granted southwestern Gaul (Gallia Aquitania) to the Visigoths
Visigoths
as a vassal federation. Removing the local imperial governors, the Visigoths
Visigoths
and the provincial Roman inhabitants were left to conduct their own affairs. As such, the first of the "barbarian kingdoms", the Visigothic Kingdom, was formed.[60] Escalating barbarian conflicts[edit]

Germanic and Hunnic invasions of the Roman Empire, 100–500 AD

Honorius' death in 423 was followed by turmoil until the Eastern Roman government with the force of arms installed Valentinian III
Valentinian III
as Western Emperor in Ravenna, with Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
acting as regent during her son's minority. Theodosius II, Eastern Emperor, had hesitated to announce the death of Honorius and in the ensuing interregnum, Joannes was nominated as Western Emperor. Joannes
Joannes
"rule" was short and the forces of the East successfully defeated and executed him in 425.[61] After a violent struggle with several rivals, and against Placidia's wish, Aetius rose to the rank of magister militum. Aetius was able to stabilize the Western Empire's military situation somewhat, relying heavily on his Hunnic allies. With their help Aetius undertook extensive campaigns in Gaul, defeating the Visigoths
Visigoths
in 437 and 438 but suffering a defeat himself in 439, ending the conflicts in a status quo with a treaty.[62] Meanwhile, pressure from the Visigoths
Visigoths
and a rebellion by Bonifacius, the governor of Africa, induced the Vandals
Vandals
under their king Gaiseric to cross over from Spain
Spain
in 429. They temporarily halted in Numidia (435) before moving eastward. With Aetius occupied in Gaul, the Western Roman government could do nothing to prevent the Vandals conquering the wealthy African provinces, eventually culminating in the fall of Carthage
Carthage
on 19 October 439 and the establishment of the Vandalic
Vandalic
Kingdom. By the 400s, Italy
Italy
and Rome
Rome
itself was dependent on the taxes and foodstuffs from these provinces, leading to an economic crisis. With Vandal fleets becoming an increasingly constant danger to Roman sea trade and the coasts and islands of the western and central Mediterranean, Aetius coordinated a counterattack against the Vandals in 440, organizing a large army in Sicily.[63] However, the plans of retaking Africa had to be abandoned due to the immediate need to combat the invading Huns, who in 444 were united under their ambitious king Attila. Turning against their former ally, the Huns
Huns
became a formidable threat to the Empire. Aetius transferred his forces to the Danube,[63] though Attila
Attila
had begun to concentrate on raiding the Eastern Roman provinces in the Balkans, providing momentary relief to the Western court. In 449, Attila
Attila
received a message from Honoria, Valentinian III’s sister, offering him half the western empire if he would rescue her from an unwanted marriage that her brother was forcing her into. With a pretext to invade the West, Attila
Attila
secured peace with the Eastern court and crossed the Rhine
Rhine
in early 451.[64] With Attila
Attila
wreaking havoc in Gaul, Aetius gathered together a coalition of Roman and Germanic forces, including Visigoths
Visigoths
and Burgundians, and prevented the Huns
Huns
from taking the city Aurelianum, forcing them into retreat.[65] At the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, the Roman-Germanic coalition met and defeated the Hunnic forces, though Attila
Attila
escaped.[66] Attila
Attila
regrouped and invaded Italy
Italy
in 452. With Aetius not having enough forces to attack, the road to Rome
Rome
was open. Valentinian sent Pope
Pope
Leo I and two leading senators to negotiate with Attila. This embassy, combined with a plague among Attila's troops, the threat of famine, and news that the Eastern Emperor Marcian
Marcian
had launched an attack on Hun homelands along the Danube, forced Attila
Attila
to turn around and leave Italy. With Attila
Attila
dying unexpectedly in 453, the power struggle that erupted between his sons ended the threat posed by the Huns.[67] Internal unrest and Majorian[edit]

The Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
during the reign of Majorian
Majorian
in 460 AD. During his four-year-long reign from 457 to 461, Majorian
Majorian
successfully restored Western Roman authority in Hispania
Hispania
and most of Gaul. Despite his accomplishments, Roman rule in the west would last less than two more decades.

Valentinian III, feeling intimidated by Aetius, was enlisted by the Roman senator Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
and the chamberlain Heraclius
Heraclius
to assassinate him. When Aetius was at court in Ravenna
Ravenna
delivering a financial account, Valentinian suddenly leaped from his seat and declared that he would no longer be the victim of Aetius' drunken depravities. He held Aetius responsible for the empire's troubles and accused him of trying to steal the empire from him. Aetius attempted to defend himself from the charges, but Valentinian drew his sword and struck the weaponless Aetius on the head, killing him on the spot.[68] On March 16 the following year, Valentinian himself was killed by supporters of the dead general, possibly put up to it by Petronius Maximus. With the end of the Theodosian dynasty, Petronius
Petronius
Maximus proclaimed himself emperor during the ensuing period of unrest.[69] Petronius
Petronius
was not prepared to take control over the significantly weaken and unstable Empire. Petronius
Petronius
broke the betrothal between Huneric, son of the Vandal king Gaiseric, and Eudocia, daughter of Valentinian III. This was seen as just cause of war by King Gaiseric, who set sail to attack Rome. Petronius
Petronius
and his supporters attempted to flee the city at the sight of the approaching Vandals, only to be stoned to death by a Roman mob after a reign of only 11 weeks.[70] With the Vandals
Vandals
at the gates, Pope
Pope
Leo I requested that the king not destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants, to which Gaiseric agreed and the city gates were opened to him. Though keeping his promise, Gaiseric
Gaiseric
looted great amounts of treasure and damaged objects of cultural significance such as the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. The severity of the Vandal sack of 455 is disputed, though with the Vandals
Vandals
plundering the city for a full fourteen days as opposed to the Visigothic sack of 410, where the Visigoths
Visigoths
only spent three days in the city, it was likely more thorough.[71] Avitus, a prominent general under Petronius, was proclaimed emperor by the Visigothic king Theoderic II and accepted as such by the Roman senate. Though supported by the Gallic provinces and the Visigoths, Avitus
Avitus
was resented in Italy
Italy
due to ongoing food shortages caused by Vandal control of trade routes and for using a Visigothic imperial guard. Disbanding his guard due to popular pressure, the Suebian general Ricimer
Ricimer
used this opportunity to depose Avitus, counting on popular discontent. After the deposition of Avitus, the Eastern Emperor Leo I did not select a new western Augustus. After the prominent general Majorian
Majorian
defeated an invading force of Alemanni, he was proclaimed Western Emperor by the army and eventually accepted as such by Eastern Emperor Leo I.[72] Majorian
Majorian
was the last Western Emperor to attempt to recover the Western Empire
Empire
with his own military forces. To prepare, Majorian significantly strengthened the Western Roman army
Roman army
by recruiting large numbers of barbarian mercenaries, among them the Gepids, Ostrogoths, Rugii, Burgundians, Huns, Bastarnae, Suebi, Scythians
Scythians
and Alans, and built two fleets, one at Ravenna, to combat the strong vandalic fleet. Majorian
Majorian
personally lead the army to wage war in Gaul, leaving Ricimer in Italy. The Gallic provinces and the Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
had rebelled following the deposition of Avitus, refusing to acknowledge Majorian as lawful emperor. At the Battle of Arelate, Majorian
Majorian
decisively defeated the Visigoths
Visigoths
under Theoderic II and forced them to relinquish their great conquests in Hispania
Hispania
and return to foederati status. Majorian
Majorian
then entered the Rhone Valley, where he defeated the Burgundians
Burgundians
and reconquered the rebel city of Lugdunum. With Gaul
Gaul
back under Roman control, Majorian
Majorian
turned his eyes to the Vandals
Vandals
and Africa. Not only did the Vandals
Vandals
pose a constant danger to coastal Italy
Italy
and trade in the Mediterranean, but the province they ruled was economically vital to the survival of the West. Majorian
Majorian
began a campaign to fully reconquer Hispania
Hispania
to use it as a base of his conquest of Africa. Throughout 459, Majorian
Majorian
campaigned against the Suebi
Suebi
in northwestern Hispania.[72] The Vandals
Vandals
began to increasingly fear a Roman invasion. King Gaiseric tried to negotiate a peace with Majorian, who rejected the proposal. In the wake of this, Gaiseric
Gaiseric
devastated Mauretania, part of his own kingdom, fearing that the Roman army
Roman army
would land there. Having restored control of Hispania, Majorian
Majorian
intended to use his fleet at Carthaginiensis to attack the Vandals. Before he could, the fleet was destroyed, allegedly by traitors paid by the Vandals. Deprived of his fleet, Majorian
Majorian
had to cancel his attack on the Vandals
Vandals
and conclude a peace with Gaiseric. Disbanding his barbarian forces, Majorian intended to return to Rome
Rome
and issue reforms, stopping at Arelate
Arelate
on his way. Here, Ricimer
Ricimer
deposed and arrested him in 461, having gathered significant aristocratic opposition against Majorian. After five days of beatings and torture, Majorian
Majorian
was beheaded near the river Iria.[72] Collapse[edit] See also: Fall of the Western Roman Empire

The Western and Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
by 476

The final collapse of the Empire
Empire
in the West was marked by increasingly ineffectual puppet Emperors dominated by their Germanic masters of the soldiers. The most pointed example of this is Ricimer, who effectively became a "Shadow Emperor" following the depositions of Avitus
Avitus
and Majorian. Unable to take the throne for himself due to his barbarian heritage, Ricimer
Ricimer
appointed a series of "puppet emperors" that could do little to halt the collapse of Roman authority and the loss of the territories re-conquered by Majorian. The first of these puppet emperors, Libius Severus, had no recognition outside of Italy, with the Eastern Emperor Leo I and provincial governors in Gaul
Gaul
and Illyria all refusing to recognize him. Severus died in 465 and Leo I, with the consent of Ricimer, appointed the capable Eastern general Anthemius
Anthemius
as Western Emperor following an eighteen-month Western interregnum. The relationship between Anthemius
Anthemius
and the East was good, Anthemius
Anthemius
is the last Western Emperor recorded in an Eastern law, and the two courts conducted a joint operation to retake Africa from the Vandals, culminating in the disastrous Battle of Cap Bon in 468. Furthermore, Anthemius
Anthemius
conducted failed campaigns against the Visigoths, hoping to halt their increasing expansion.[73] The trial and subsequent execution of Romanus, an Italian senator and friend of Ricimer, on the grounds of treachery in 470 made Ricimer hostile to Anthemius. Following two years of hostilities, Ricimer successfully deposed and killed Anthemius
Anthemius
in 472, elevating Olybrius to the Western throne.[74] During the brief reign of Olybrius, Ricimer died and his nephew Gundobad succeeded him as magister militum. After only seven months of rule, Olybrius
Olybrius
died of dropsy. Gundobad elevated Glycerius
Glycerius
to Western Emperor. The Eastern Empire
Empire
had rejected Olybrius and also rejected Glycerius, instead supporting a candidate of their own, Julius Nepos, magister militum in Dalmatia. With the support of Eastern Emperors Leo II and Zeno, Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
crossed the Adriatic Sea in the spring of 474 to depose Glycerius. At the arrival of Nepos in Italy, Glycerius
Glycerius
abdicated without a fight and was allowed to live out his life as the Bishop
Bishop
of Salona.[75] The brief rule of Nepos in Italy
Italy
ended in 475 when Orestes, a former secretary of Attila
Attila
and the magister militum of Julius Nepos, took control of Ravenna
Ravenna
and forced Nepos to flee by ship to Dalmatia. Later in the same year, Orestes crowned his own young son as Western Emperor under the name Romulus Augustus. Romulus Augustus
Augustus
was not recognised as Western Emperor by the Eastern Court, who maintained that Nepos was the only legal Western Emperor, reigning in exile from Dalmatia.[76] On September 4, 476, Odoacer, leader of the Germanic foederati in Italy, captured Ravenna, killed Orestes and deposed Romulus. Though Romulus was deposed, Nepos did not return to Italy
Italy
and continued to reign as Western Emperor from Dalmatia, with support from Constantinople. Odoacer
Odoacer
proclaimed himself ruler of Italy
Italy
and began to negotiate with the Eastern Emperor Zeno. Zeno eventually granted Odoacer
Odoacer
patrician status as recognition of his authority and accepted him as his own viceroy of Italy. Zeno, however, insisted that Odoacer had to pay homage to Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
as the Emperor of the Western Empire. Odoacer
Odoacer
accepted this condition and issued coins in the name of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
throughout Italy. This, however, was mainly an empty political gesture, as Odoacer
Odoacer
never returned any real power or territories to Julius Nepos. The murder of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
in 480 prompted Odoacer
Odoacer
to invade Dalmatia, annexing it to his Kingdom of Italy.[77] Fall of the Empire[edit] See also: Historiography
Historiography
of the fall of the Western Roman Empire

The city of Ravenna, Western Roman capital, on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th-century medieval map possibly copied from a 4th or 5th century Roman original.

By convention, the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer
Odoacer
deposed Romulus Augustus, but the historical record calls this determination into question. Indeed, the deposition of Romulus Augustus
Augustus
received very little attention in contemporary times. Romulus was a usurper in the eyes of the more or less entirely intact Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and the remaining territories of Western Roman control outside of Italy, with the previous emperor Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
still being alive and claiming to rule the Western Empire
Empire
in Dalmatia. Furthermore, the Western court had lacked true power and had been subject to Germanic aristocrats for decades, with most of its legal territory being under control of various barbarian kingdoms. With Odoacer
Odoacer
recognising Julius Nepos, and later the Eastern Emperor Zeno, as his sovereign, nominal Roman control continued in Italy.[78] Syagrius, who had managed to preserve Roman sovereignty in an exclave in northern Gaul
Gaul
(a realm today known as the Domain of Soissons) also recognized Nepos as his sovereign and the legitimate Western Emperor.[79] The authority of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
as Emperor was accepted not only by Odoacer
Odoacer
in Italy, but by the Eastern Empire
Empire
and Syagrius
Syagrius
in Gaul
Gaul
(who had not recognized Romulus Augustulus). Nepos was murdered by his own soldiers in 480, a plot some attribute to Odoacer
Odoacer
himself or potentially the previous deposed emperor Glycerius,[80] and the Eastern Emperor Zeno chose not to appoint a new western emperor. Zeno, recognizing that no true direct Roman control remained over the territories legally governed by the Western court, instead chose to abolish the juridical division of the position of Emperor, declaring himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Zeno became the first sole Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
since the division after Theodosius I, 95 years prior, and the position would never again be divided. As such, the (eastern) Roman emperors after 480 are the successors of the western ones, albeit only in a juridical sense.[81] These emperors would continue to rule the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
until the Fall of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1453, nearly a thousand years later.[82] As 480 marks the end of the juridical division of the empire into two separate imperial courts, some historians refer to the death of Nepos and abolition of the Western Empire
Empire
by Zeno as the end of the Western Roman Empire.[79][83] Despite the fall, or abolition, of the Western Empire, many of the new Barbarian kings of Western Europe
Europe
continued to operate firmly within a Roman administrative framework. This is especially true in the case of the Ostrogoths, who came to rule Italy
Italy
after Odoacer. They continued to use the administrative systems of Odoacer's kingdom, essentially those of the Western Roman Empire, and administrative positions continued to be staffed exclusively by Romans. The senate continued to function as it always had and the laws of the Empire
Empire
were recognized as ruling the Roman population, though the Goths were ruled by their own traditional laws.[84] Western Roman administrative institutions, in particular those of Italy, thus continued to be used during "barbarian" rule and after the forces of the Eastern Roman empire re-conquered some of the formerly imperial territories. Some historians thus refer to the reorganizations of Italy
Italy
and abolishment of the old and separate Western Roman administrative units, such as the Praetorian prefecture
Praetorian prefecture
of Italy, during the sixth century as the "true" fall of the Western Roman Empire.[78] Roman cultural traditions continued throughout the territory of the Western Empire
Empire
for long after its disappearance, and a recent school of interpretation argues that the great political changes can more accurately be described as a complex cultural transformation, rather than a fall.[85] Political aftermath[edit]

Europe
Europe
in 477 AD. Highlighted areas are Roman lands that survived the deposition of Romulus Augustulus.

Some territories of Roman control continued to exist in the West in some form even after 480. The Domain of Soissons, a rump state in Northern Gaul
Gaul
ruled by Syagrius, survived until 486 when it was conquered by the Franks
Franks
under King Clovis I
Clovis I
after the Battle of Soissons. Syagrius
Syagrius
was known as the "King of the Romans" by the Germanic peoples of the region but continually claimed that he was merely governing a Roman province, not an independent realm.[79] Furthermore, a Roman-Moor realm survived in the province of Mauretania Caesariensis until the early 8th century. An inscription on a fortification at the ruined city of Altava from the year 508 identifies a man named Masuna
Masuna
as the king of "Regnum Maurorum et Romanarum", the Kingdom of the Moors and Romans.[86] It is possible that Masuna
Masuna
is the same man as the "Massonas" who allied himself with the forces of the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
against the Vandals
Vandals
in 535.[87] As the Mauro-Roman realm shrank it eventually became known as the "Kingdom of Altava" after its capital city and it fell during the Islamic conquests of the 700s. Alternatively, the kingdom may have been defeated by the Eastern Roman magister militum Gennadius in 578 and incorporated into the Empire
Empire
once more.[88] Germanic Italy[edit]

Odoacer's Italy
Italy
in 480 AD, following the annexation of Dalmatia

The deposition of Romulus Augustus
Augustus
and rise of Odoacer
Odoacer
as ruler of Italy
Italy
in 476 received very little attention at the time.[78] Overall, very little changed for the people; there was still a Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
in Constantinople
Constantinople
that Odoacer
Odoacer
had subordinated himself to. Throne vacancies had been experienced at many points in the West before and the deposition of Romulus Augustus
Augustus
was nothing out of the ordinary. Odoacer
Odoacer
saw his rule as entirely in the tradition of the Roman Empire, his role was not unlike that of Ricimer, and he effectively ruled as an imperial "governor" of Italy
Italy
and was even awarded the title of patricius. Odoacer
Odoacer
ruled using the Roman administrative systems already in place and continued to mint coins with the name and portrait of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
until 480 and later with the name and portrait of the Eastern Augustus, rather than in his own name.[78] When Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
was murdered in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
in 480, Odoacer
Odoacer
assumed the duty of pursuing and executing the assassins and established his own rule in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
at the same time.[89] Odoacer
Odoacer
established his power with the loyal support of the Roman Senate, a legislative body that had continued even without an emperor residing in Italy. Indeed, the Senate
Senate
seems to have increased in power under Odoacer. For the first time since the mid-3rd century, copper coins were issued with the legend S C (Senatus Consulto). These coins were copied by Vandals
Vandals
in Africa and also formed the basis of the currency reform done by Emperor Anastasius in the East.[90]

Solidus minted under Odoacer
Odoacer
with the name and portrait of the Eastern Emperor Zeno

Under Odoacer, Western consuls continued to be appointed as they had been under Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and were accepted by the Eastern Court, the first of these were Caecina Decius Maximus Basilus in 480. Basilus was later also made the Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian Prefect
of Italy
Italy
in 483, a position that continued to exist under Odoacer.[91] 11 further consuls were appointed by the Senate
Senate
under Odoacer
Odoacer
during his reign from 480 to 493 and one further Praetorian Prefect
Praetorian Prefect
of Italy
Italy
was appointed, Caecina Mavortius Basilius Decius (486-493).[92] Though Odoacer
Odoacer
ruled as a Roman governor
Roman governor
would have and maintained himself as a subordinate to the remaining Empire, the Eastern Emperor Zeno began to increasingly see him as a rival. Thus, Zeno promised Theoderic the Great
Theoderic the Great
of the Ostrogoths, foederati of the Eastern Court, control over the Italian peninsula if they were able to defeat Odoacer.[93] Theoderic led the Ostrogoths
Ostrogoths
across the Julian Alps
Julian Alps
and into Italy
Italy
in 489 and defeated Odoacer
Odoacer
in battle twice the same year. Following four years of hostilities between them, John, the Bishop
Bishop
of Ravenna, was able to negotiate a treaty in 493 between Odoacer
Odoacer
and Theodoric wherein they agreed to rule Ravenna
Ravenna
and Italy
Italy
jointly. Theoderic entered Ravenna
Ravenna
on 5 March and Odoacer
Odoacer
was dead ten days later, killed by Theodoric after sharing a meal with him.[94]

Map of the realm of Theoderic the Great
Theoderic the Great
at its height in 523, following the annexation of the southern parts of the Burgundian kingdom. Theoderic ruled both the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kingdoms and exerted hegemony over the Burgundians
Burgundians
and Vandals.

Theoderic inherited the role of Odoacer, the acting viceroy for Italy and ostensibly a patricius and subject of the emperor in Constantinople. This position was recognized by Emperor Anastasius in 497, four years after Theoderic had defeated Odoacer. Though Theodoric acted as an independent ruler, he meticulously preserved the outward appearance of his subordinate position. Theoderic continued to use the administrative systems of Odoacer's kingdom, essentially those of the Western Roman Empire, and administrative positions continued to be staffed exclusively by Romans. The senate continued to function as it always had and the laws of the Empire
Empire
were recognized as ruling the Roman population, though the Goths were ruled by their own traditional laws. As a subordinate, Theodoric did not have the right to issue his own laws, only edicts or clarifications.[95] The army and military offices were exclusively staffed by the Goths, however, largely settled in northern Italy.[96] Though acting as a subordinate in domestic affairs, Theodoric acted increasingly independent in his foreign policies. Seeking to counterbalance the influence of the Empire
Empire
in the East, Theodoric married his daughters to the Visigothic king Alaric II
Alaric II
and the Burgundian prince Sigismund, his sister Amalfrida was married to the Vandal king Thrasamund and he married Audofleda, sister of the Frankish king Clovis I, himself.[97] Through these alliances and occasional conflicts, the territory controlled by Theoderic in the early sixth century nearly constituted a restored Western Roman Empire. Ruler of Italy
Italy
since 493, Theodoric became king of the Visigoths
Visigoths
in 511 and exerted hegemony over the Vandals
Vandals
in North Africa between 521 and 523. As such, his rule extended throughout the western Mediterranean. The Western imperial regalia, housed in Constantinople since the deposition of Romulus Augustulus
Romulus Augustulus
in 476, were returned to Ravenna
Ravenna
by Emperor Anastasius in 497.[98] Theoderic, by now Western Emperor in all but name, could however not assume an imperial title not only because the notion of a separate Western court had been abolished but also due to his "barbarian" heritage, which like that of Ricimer
Ricimer
before him would have barred him from assuming the throne.[73] With the death of Theodoric in 526, his network of alliances began to collapse. The Visigoths
Visigoths
regained autonomy under king Amalaric
Amalaric
and their relations with the Vandals
Vandals
turned increasingly hostile under the reign of the new Ostrogothic king Athalaric, a child under the regency of his mother Amalasuntha. Amalasuntha intended to continue the policies of conciliation between the Goths and Romans, supporting the new Eastern Emperor Justinian
Justinian
I and allowing him to use Sicily
Sicily
as a staging point during the reconquest of Africa in the Vandalic
Vandalic
War. With the death of Athalaric
Athalaric
in 534, Amalasuntha crowned her cousin and only relative Theodahad
Theodahad
as king, hoping for his support. Instead, Amalasuntha was imprisoned and even though Theodahad
Theodahad
assured Emperor Justinian
Justinian
of her safety, she was executed shortly thereafter. This served as an ideal cause of war for Justinian, who prepared to invade and reclaim the Italian peninsula for the Roman Empire.[99] Barbarian Kingdoms[edit] Main article: Barbarian kingdoms

Map of the Barbarian Kingdoms of the western Mediterranean in 526, seven years before the campaigns of reconquest under Justinian
Justinian
I

In the context of the Western Roman Empire, the term "barbarian kingdoms" most often refers to the Germanic kingdoms that sprung from the former Western Roman territory. Their beginnings, together with the end of the Western Roman Empire, marks the transition from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The barbarian kingdoms gradually replaced the old Roman system, specifically in the praetorian prefectures of Gaul
Gaul
and Italy, during the sixth and seventh centuries.[100]

6th-century Visigothic coin, struck in the name of Emperor Justinian
Justinian
I

There were several different kingdoms of differing size, power, and origins. The Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
was the earliest one established, founded as a vassal state to the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
through the Visigoths
Visigoths
being granted land in southern Gaul
Gaul
by Emperor Honorius in 418.[60] After its establishment, relations between the Visigoths
Visigoths
and the Western court were mixed. Though federated vassals, the Visigoths remained de facto independent and began a rapid period of expansion at the expense of the Western empire. The Visigoths
Visigoths
were thus periodically enemies with the Western court, though they had allied with the Western Roman army
Roman army
against the Huns
Huns
and assisted in defeating Attila
Attila
at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
in 451. At the time of the collapse of the Western Empire
Empire
in 476/480, the Visigoths controlled large swaths of Southern Gaul
Gaul
as well as a majority of Hispania, their increased domain having been partly conquered and partly awarded to them by the Western Emperor Avitus
Avitus
in the 450s-60s.[101] Like the Germanic kingdoms of Italy, the Visigoths continued to recognise the Emperor in Constantinople
Constantinople
as somewhat of a nominal sovereign, continuing to mint coins in their names until the reign of Justinian
Justinian
I in the sixth century.[102] The Visigothic Kingdom continued to control most of the Iberian peninsula until it fell to the Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
in the 720s.[103][104] The Kingdom of Asturias was founded by a Visigoth nobleman around the same time and was the first Christian realm to be established in Iberia following the defeat of the Visigoths.[105] Asturias would be transformed into the Kingdom of León in 924,[106] which would come to develop into the predecessors of modern-day Spain.[107] The Vandal Kingdom
Vandal Kingdom
was founded through Vandalic
Vandalic
conquests in the provinces of Roman Africa, culminating in a siege and subsequent conquest of Carthage
Carthage
in 439.[108] The Vandals
Vandals
continually used an impressive fleet to loot the coasts of both the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire, becoming an increasingly strong naval power. After the death of Attila, the Romans made repeated efforts at recapturing Africa and destroying the Vandals, since they were in control of some of the richest imperial lands. With several planned campaigns never being carried out or being destroyed in naval battles, the Vandals
Vandals
remained a power and even sacked Rome
Rome
in 455.[109] Unlike the Visigoths, the Vandals
Vandals
minted their own coinage and were both de facto and de jure independent.[110] Like the Ostrogoths
Ostrogoths
of Italy, the Vandalic
Vandalic
Kingdom would come to be reconquered under the western campaigns of Emperor Justinian
Justinian
I.[111] After the collapse of Theoderic the Great's control of the western Mediterranean through alliances, the Frankish Kingdom would rise to become the most powerful of the Barbarian Kingdoms, having taken control of most of Gaul
Gaul
in the absence of Roman governance. Under Clovis I
Clovis I
from the 480s to 511, the Franks
Franks
would come to develop into a great regional power, conquering the Domain of Soissons
Domain of Soissons
in 481, defeating the Alemanni
Alemanni
in 504 and conquering all Visigothic territory north of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
other than Septimania
Septimania
in 507. Unlike with the hostile Vandals, relations between the Franks
Franks
and the Eastern Empire appear to have been rather positive, with Emperor Anastasius granting Clovis the title of consul following his victory against the Visigoths. At the time of its dissolution in the 800s, the Frankish Kingdom had lasted far longer than the other migration period barbarian kingdoms, and its divided successors would come to develop into the medieval states of France
France
(initially known as West Francia) and Germany
Germany
(initially known as East Francia).[112] Imperial reconquest[edit] Further information: Vandalic War
Vandalic War
and Gothic War (535–554)

The Eastern Roman Empire, by reoccupying some of the former Western Roman Empire's lands, enlarged its territory considerably during Justinian's reign from 527 (red) to 565 (orange).

With Emperor Zeno having juridically reunified the Empire
Empire
into one imperial court, the remaining Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
continued to lay claim to the areas previously controlled by the Western court throughout Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
and the Middle Ages. Though military campaigns had been conducted by the Western court prior to 476 with the aim of recapturing lost territory, most notably under Majorian, the reconquests, if successful at all, were only momentary. It was first under the campaigns of the generals Belisarius
Belisarius
and Narses
Narses
on behalf of the Eastern Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Justinian
Justinian
I from 533 to 554 that long-lasting reconquests of Roman lands were witnessed.[113] During the 6th century, the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
under Justinian managed to reconquer large areas of the former Western Roman Empire. With the pro-Roman Vandal king Hilderic
Hilderic
having been deposed by Gelimer in 530,[114] Justinian
Justinian
prepared an expedition lead by prominent general Belisarius
Belisarius
that swiftly retook North Africa
North Africa
from June 533 to March 534, returning the wealthy province to Roman rule. Following the reconquest, Justinian
Justinian
swiftly re-established the Roman administrations of the province, establishing a new Praetorian Prefecture of Africa and taking measures to decrease vandal influence, eventually leading to the complete disappearance of the vandalic people.[111]

Justinian
Justinian
I (left) was the first Eastern Emperor to attempt to reconquer the territories of the Western Roman Empire, undertaking successful campaigns in Africa and Italy
Italy
in the 500s. Manuel I Komnenos (right) was the last, campaigning in southern Italy
Italy
in the 1150s.

Following the execution of the pro-Roman Ostrogoth queen Amalasuntha and the refusal of Ostrogoth king Theodahad
Theodahad
to renounce his control of Italy, Justinian
Justinian
ordered the expedition to move on to reconquer Italy, ancient heartland of the Empire. From 534 to 540, the Roman forces campaigned in Italy
Italy
and captured Ravenna, the Ostrogothic and formerly Western Roman capital, in 540. The Gothic resistance revived under king Totila in 541, and they were only defeated following campaigns by the Roman general Narses, who also repelled invasions into Italy
Italy
by the Franks
Franks
and Alemanni. Justinian
Justinian
promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction to reorganize the governance of Italy
Italy
and the province was returned to Roman rule, though some cities in northern Italy
Italy
continued to hold out until the 560s. The end of the conflict saw Italy
Italy
devastated and considerably depopulated, which combined with the disastrous effects of the Plague of Justinian
Justinian
made it difficult to retain over the following centuries.[115] Justinian
Justinian
also undertook limited campaigns against the Visigoths, recovering portions of the southern coast of the Iberian peninsula. Here, the province of Spania
Spania
would last until the 620s, when the Visigoths
Visigoths
under king Suintila
Suintila
reconquered the southern coast.[116] These regions remained under Roman control throughout the reign of Justinian. Only three years after his death, the Lombards
Lombards
invaded Italy. Through conquests of the devastated peninsula, the Lombards conquered large parts of Italy
Italy
in the late 500s, establishing the Lombard Kingdom. The Lombards
Lombards
were in constant conflict with the Exarchate of Ravenna, a polity established to replace the old Praetorian Prefecture of Italy
Italy
and enforcing Roman rule in Italy. The wealthiest parts of the province, including the cities of Rome
Rome
and Ravenna, remained securely in Roman hands under the Exarchate throughout the seventh century.[117]

Map of the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 717 AD, over the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, Islamic expansion had ended Roman rule in Africa and though some bastions of Roman rule remained, most of Italy
Italy
was controlled by the Lombards.

Although some eastern emperors occasionally attempted to campaign in the West, none were as successful as Justinian. After 600, events conspired to drive the Western provinces out of Constantinople's control, with imperial attention focused on the pressing issues of war with Sasanian Persia and then the rise of Islam. For a while, the West remained important, with the Emperor Constans
Constans
II ruling from Syracuse in Sicily
Sicily
a Roman Empire
Roman Empire
that still stretched from North Africa
North Africa
to the Caucasus in the 660s, but thereafter imperial attention declined rapidly, with Constantinople
Constantinople
itself being besieged in the 670s, renewed war with the Arabs in the 680s, and then a period of chaos between 695 and 717, during which time Africa was finally lost to the Romans once and for all, being conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate. Through reforms and military campaigns, Emperor Leo III attempted to restore order in the Empire, but his doctrinal reforms, known as the Iconoclastic Controversy, were extremely unpopular in the West and were condemned by Pope
Pope
Gregory III.[118] This led to the final breakdown in imperial rule over Rome
Rome
itself, and the gradual transition of the Exarchate of Ravenna
Ravenna
into the independent Papal States, lead by the Pope. In an attempt at gaining support against the Lombards, the Pope
Pope
called for aid from the Frankish Kingdom instead of the Eastern Empire, eventually crowning the Frankish king Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as "Roman Emperor" in 800 AD. Though this coronation was strongly opposed by the Eastern Empire, there was little they could do as their influence in Western Europe
Europe
decreased. After a series of several smaller wars in the 810s, Emperor Michael I recognized Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as an "Emperor" with authority in Western Europe, but refused to recognize him as a "Roman Emperor" (a title which Michael reserved for himself and his successors), instead recognizing him as the slightly less prestigious "Emperor of the Franks".[119] Imperial rule continued in Sicily
Sicily
throughout the eighth century, with the island slowly being overrun by the Arabs over the course of the ninth century. In Italy, a few strongholds in Calabria
Calabria
ultimately provided a base for modest imperial expansion, which reached its peak in the early eleventh century, with most of southern Italy
Italy
under Roman rule of a sort. This, however, was undone by further civil wars in the empire, and the slow conquest of the region by the Empires' former mercenaries, the Normans, who finally put an end to imperial rule in Western Europe
Europe
in 1071 with the conquest of Bari.[120] The last Emperor to attempt reconquests in the West was Manuel I Komnenos, who invaded Southern Italy
Italy
during a war with the Norman Kingdom of Sicily in the 1150s. The city of Bari
Bari
willingly opened its gates to the Emperor and facing successes in the taking of other cities in the region,[121] Manuel dreamed of a restored Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and a union between the churches of Rome
Rome
and Constantinople, separated since the schism of 1054. Despite initial successes and Papal support, the campaign was unsuccessful and Manuel was forced to return East.[122] Economical decline[edit]

Stone-carved relief depicting the liberation of a besieged city by a relief force, with those defending the walls making a sortie. Western Roman Empire, early 5th century AD

The Western Roman Empire, less urbanized than the Eastern and with a more spread-out populace, may have experienced an economic decline throughout the Late Empire
Empire
in some provinces.[123] Southern Italy, northern Gaul
Gaul
(except for large towns and cities), and to some extent Spain
Spain
and the Danubian areas may have suffered. The East was not so destitute, especially as Emperors like Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great
and Constantius II
Constantius II
had invested heavily in the eastern economy. As a result, the Eastern Empire
Empire
could afford large numbers of professional soldiers and augment them with mercenaries, while the Western Roman Empire
Empire
could not afford this to the same extent. Even in major defeats, the East could, certainly not without difficulties, buy off its enemies with a ransom.[124] The political, economic and military control of the Eastern Empire's resources remained safe in Constantinople, which was well fortified and located at the crossroads of several major trade and military routes. The site of Constantinople, previously known as Byzantium, had been acknowledged for its strategic importance already decades prior by emperors Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
and Caracalla.[125] In contrast, the Western Empire
Empire
was more fragmented. Its capital was transferred to Ravenna
Ravenna
in 402 largely for defensive reasons, and it had easy access to the imperial fleet of the Eastern Empire
Empire
but was isolated in other aspects as it was surrounded by swamps and marshes. This isolation was intentional, as Ravenna
Ravenna
had been chosen as capital due to being more defensible against the increasing barbarian incursions.[49] The economic power remained focused on Rome
Rome
and its hyper-rich senatorial aristocracy which dominated much of Italy
Italy
and Africa in particular. After Gallienus
Gallienus
banned senators from army commands in the mid-3rd century, the senatorial elite lost all experience of—and interest in—military life. In the early 5th century the wealthy landowning elite of the Roman Senate
Senate
largely barred its tenants from military service, but it also refused to approve sufficient funding for maintaining a sufficiently powerful mercenary army to defend the entire Western Empire. The West's most important military area had been northern Gaul
Gaul
and the Rhine
Rhine
frontier in the 4th century, when Trier
Trier
frequently served as the capital of the Empire
Empire
and many leading Western generals were Barbarians. After the civil war in 394 between Theodosius I
Theodosius I
and the usurper Eugenius, the new Western government installed by Theodosius I
Theodosius I
increasingly had to divert military resources from Britain and the Rhine
Rhine
to protect Italy. This, in turn, led to further rebellions and civil wars because the Western imperial government was not providing the military protection the northern provinces expected and needed against the barbarians.[126] The Western Empire's resources were much limited, and the lack of available manpower forced the government to rely ever more on confederate barbarian troops operating under their own commanders, where the Western Empire
Empire
would often have difficulties paying. In certain cases, deals were struck with the leaders of barbaric mercenaries rewarding them with land, which led to the Empire's decline as less land meant there would be less tax revenue to support the military. As the central power weakened, the State gradually lost control of its borders and provinces, as well as control over the Mediterranean Sea. Roman Emperors tried to maintain control of the sea, but, once the Vandals
Vandals
conquered North Africa, imperial authorities had to cover too much ground with too few resources. The loss of the African provinces might have been the worse reversal on the West's fortunes, since they were among its wealthiest territories and supplied the essential grain imports to Italy. In many places, the Roman institutions collapsed along with the economic stability. In some regions, such as Gaul
Gaul
and Italy, the settlement of barbarians on former Roman lands seems to have caused relatively little disruption, with barbarian rulers using and modifying the Roman systems already in place.[127] Legacy[edit] Further information: Legacy of the Roman Empire, Romance languages, Corpus Juris Civilis, Civil law (legal system), Latin
Latin
alphabet, Literature, Bust (sculpture), Concrete, and Cities

On the left: Emperor Honorius on the consular diptych of Anicius Petronius
Petronius
Probus (406) On the right: Consular diptych
Consular diptych
of Constantius III
Constantius III
(a co-emperor with Honorius in 421), produced for his consulate in 413 or 417.

As the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
crumbled, the new Germanic rulers who conquered the provinces upheld many Roman laws and traditions. Many of the invading Germanic tribes
Germanic tribes
were already Christianized, although most were followers of Arianism. They quickly converted to official imperial Christianity, gaining more loyalty from the local Roman populations, as well as the recognition and support of the powerful Bishop
Bishop
of Rome. Although they initially continued to recognize indigenous tribal laws, they were more influenced by Roman Law
Roman Law
and gradually incorporated it as well.[100] Roman Law, particularly the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
collected by order of Justinian
Justinian
I, is the ancient basis on which the modern Civil law stands. In contrast, Common law
Common law
is based on the Germanic Anglo-Saxon law. Civil law is by far the most widespread system of law in the world, in force in some form in about 150 countries.[128]

Romance languages, languages that developed from Latin
Latin
following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, are spoken in Western Europe
Europe
to this day and their spread almost reflect the continental borders of the old Empire.

Latin
Latin
as a language never really disappeared. Vulgar Latin
Latin
combined with neighboring Germanic and Celtic languages, giving rise to many modern Romance languages
Romance languages
such as Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and a large number of minor languages and dialects. Today, more than 900 million people are native speakers worldwide. In addition, many Romance languages
Romance languages
are used throughout the world as lingua francas by non-native speakers.[129] Latin
Latin
also influenced Germanic languages such as English and German.[130][131] All surviving Celtic languages, Albanian, and such Slavic languages as Polish and Czech and even the non-Indo-European Hungarian. It survives in a "purer" form as the language of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church
(the Mass was spoken exclusively in Latin
Latin
until 1969), and was used as a lingua franca between many nations. It remained the language of medicine, law, diplomacy (most treaties were written in Latin), of intellectuals and scholarship, though it would see somewhat lesser usage with the growth of other lingua francas, such as English and French.[132] The Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
was expanded due to the splits of I into I and J and of V into U, V, and in places (especially Germanic languages and Polish) W; it is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. Roman numerals
Roman numerals
continue to be used in some fields and situations, though they have been mostly replaced by Arabic numerals.[133] A very visible legacy of the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
is the Roman Catholic Church. The Church slowly began to replace Roman institutions in the West, even helping to negotiate the safety of Rome
Rome
during the late 5th century.[67] In many cases, the only source of law and civil administration was the local bishop, often himself a former governor like St. Ambrose
St. Ambrose
of Milan
Milan
and St. Germanus
St. Germanus
of Auxerre. As Rome
Rome
was invaded by Germanic tribes, many assimilated, and by the middle of the medieval period (c. 9th and 10th centuries) the central, western, and northern parts of Europe
Europe
had been largely converted to Roman Catholicism and acknowledged the Pope
Pope
as the Vicar of Christ. The first of the Barbarian kings to convert to the church of Rome
Rome
was Clovis I
Clovis I
of the Franks
Franks
and other kingdoms, such as the Visigoths, later followed suit to garner favor with the papacy.[134] Following the reconquest of Italy
Italy
under Emperor Justinian
Justinian
I, the popes were largely subservient to the Exarchs of Ravenna
Ravenna
(the imperial representative in Italy). This humiliation, alongside the increasing amounts of territory lost by the Empire
Empire
to the Islamic conquests and the inability to protect Italy
Italy
against the Lombards, prompted Pope Stephen II to turn from the Eastern Emperor Constantine V. Instead, he appealed to the Frankish king Pepin, who subdued the Lombards
Lombards
and donated lands to the papacy. When Pope
Pope
Leo III crowned Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as "Roman Emperor" in 800, he both severed ties with the outraged Eastern Empire
Empire
and established the precedent that no man in Western Europe would be emperor without a papal coronation.[135] Though the power the Pope
Pope
wielded changed significantly throughout the subsequent Middle Ages and the Modern period, the office remains as the head of the Roman Catholic Church
Catholic Church
and the head of state of the Vatican City, the smallest sovereign state in the world. The Pope
Pope
has consistently held the title of "Pontifex Maximus" since before the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and retains it to this day, a title formerly used by the high priest of the old Roman polytheism.[43][136] Though gone in modern times, the Roman Senate
Senate
survived the initial collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Its authority even seems to have increased under the rule of Italy
Italy
by Odoacer
Odoacer
and later the Ostrogoths, evident by that the senate in 498 managed to install Symmachus as pope despite both Theodoric of Italy
Italy
and emperor Anastasius supporting the other candidate, Laurentius.[137] When exactly the senate disappeared is unclear, it is known that the institution remained into the sixth century as gifts from the senate were received by emperor Tiberius II in 578 and 580 in hope of aid against the invading Lombards. The traditional senate building, Curia
Curia
Julia, was rebuilt into a church under pope Honorius I in 630, probably with permission from the eastern emperor Heraclius.[138] Nomenclature[edit] Marcellinus Comes, a sixth century Eastern Roman historian and a courtier of Justinian
Justinian
I, mentions the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at some points in his Chronicle, which primarily covers the Eastern Roman Empire
Empire
from 379 to 534. In the Chronicle, it is made clear that Marcellinus made a clear divide between East and West, with both mentions of a geographical east ("Oriens") and west ("Occidens") and an imperial east ("Orientale imperium" and "Orientale respublica") and an imperial west ("Occidentalie imperium", "Occidentale regnum", "Occidentalis respublica", "Hesperium regnum", "Hesperium imperium" and "principatum Occidentis"). Furthermore, Marcellinus specifically designates some emperors and consuls as being "Eastern", "Orientalibus principibus" and "Orientalium consulum" respectively.[139] The term Hesperium Imperium, simply translating to "Western Empire", has sometimes been applied to the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
by modern historians as well.[140] Though Marcellinus does not refer to the Empire
Empire
as a whole after 395, only referring specifically to its separate halves, he clearly identifies the term "Roman" as applying to the Empire
Empire
as a whole. When using terms such as "us", "our generals" and "our emperor", Marcellinus distinguished both divisions of the Empire
Empire
from outside foes such as the Sasanian Persians and the Huns.[139] This view is consistent with the knowledge that contemporary Romans of the fourth and fifth century continued to consider the Empire
Empire
as a single unit, though more often than not with two rulers instead of one.[83] Though it was the first time the position was divided geographically, the concept of there being more than one emperor at a time was not unprecedented even before Diocletian
Diocletian
and the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
with there having been several periods where there were more than one co-emperor, such as with Caracalla
Caracalla
and Geta 210-211 AD.[141] Attempted restorations of a Western court[edit]

The Exarchate of Ravenna
Ravenna
within the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 600 AD. The Exarchates of Ravenna
Ravenna
and Africa were established by the Eastern Empire
Empire
to better administrate the reconquered Western territories.

The positions of Eastern and Western Augustus, established under Emperor Diocletian
Diocletian
in 286 as the Tetrarchy, had been abolished by Emperor Zeno in 480 following the loss of direct control over the western territories. Declaring himself the sole Augustus, Zeno only exercised true control over the largely intact Eastern Empire
Empire
and over Italy
Italy
as the nominal overlord of Odoacer.[81] The reconquests under Justinian
Justinian
I would bring back large formerly Western Roman territories into Imperial control, and with them the Empire
Empire
would begin to face the same problems it had faced under previous periods prior to the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
when there had been only one ruler. Shortly after the reconquest of North Africa
North Africa
a usurper, Stotzas, had already risen from the province (though he was quickly defeated).[142] As such, the idea of dividing the Empire
Empire
into two courts out of administrative necessity would see a limited revival during the periods of time that the Eastern Empire
Empire
still controlled large parts of the former West, both by courtiers in the East and enemies in the West.[143][144] The earliest attempt at crowning a new Western Emperor after the abolition of the title occurred already during the Gothic Wars under Justinian. Belisarius, an accomplished general that had already successfully campaigned to restore Roman control over North Africa
North Africa
and large parts of Italy
Italy
(including Rome
Rome
itself), was offered the position of Western Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
by the Ostrogoths
Ostrogoths
during his siege of Ravenna (the Ostrogothic, and previously Western Roman, capital) in 540. The Ostrogoths, desperate to avoid losing their control of Italy, offered the title and fealty to Belisarius
Belisarius
as Western Augustus. Loyal to Justinian
Justinian
(who hoped to rule over a restored Roman Empire
Roman Empire
alone, with the Codex Justinianus
Codex Justinianus
explicitly designating the new Praetorian Prefect
Prefect
of Africa as the subject of Justinian
Justinian
in Constantinople),[145] Belisarius
Belisarius
feigned to accept the title to enter the city, whereupon he immediately relinquished it. Despite Belisarius
Belisarius
relinquishing the title, the offer had made Justinian
Justinian
suspicious and Belisarius
Belisarius
was ordered to return east.[143] At the end of emperor Tiberius II's reign in 582, the Eastern Roman Empire
Empire
retained control over relatively large parts of the regions reconquered under Justinian. Tiberius chose two Caesares, the general Maurice and the governor Germanus, and married his two daughters to them. Germanus had clear connections to the western provinces, and Maurice to the eastern provinces. It is possible that Tiberius had planned to divide the empire into western and eastern administrative units once more,[144] but if those plans existed they were never realized. At the death of Tiberius, Maurice inherited the entire empire as Germanus had refused the throne. Maurice would come to establish a new type of administrative unit, the Exarchates, and organized the remaining western territories under his control into two such exarchates; the Exarchates of Ravenna
Ravenna
and Africa.[146] Later claims to the Imperial title in the West[edit]

Denarius of Frankish king Charlemagne, who was crowned as Roman Emperor Karolus Imperator
Imperator
Augustus
Augustus
in the year 800 by Pope
Pope
Leo III in opposition to the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the east at the time being ruled by Irene, a woman. His coronation was strongly opposed by the Eastern Empire.

In addition to remaining as a concept for an administrative unit in the remaining Empire, the ideal of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
as a mighty Christian Empire
Empire
with a single ruler further continued to appeal to many powerful rulers in western Europe. With the papal coronation of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as "Emperor of the Romans" in 800 AD, his realm was explicitly proclaimed as a restoration of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in Western Europe
Europe
under the concept of translatio imperii. Though the Carolingian Empire
Empire
collapsed in 888 and Berengar, the last "Emperor" claiming succession from Charlemagne, died in 924, the concept of a papacy- and Germanic-based Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the West would resurface in the form of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 962. The Holy Roman Emperors would uphold the notion that they had inherited the supreme power and prestige of the Roman Emperors of old until the downfall of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 1806.[147] Charlemagne, and the subsequent Holy Roman Emperors were not, and did not claim to be, rulers of a restored Western Roman Empire. Pope
Pope
Leo III and contemporary historians were fully aware of that the notion of a separate Western court had been abolished over three centuries prior and considered the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
to be "one and indivisible". The ruler of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at the time of Charlemagne's coronation was Irene, the mother of emperor Constantine VI
Constantine VI
who she had deposed. Leo III considered Irene to be a usurper and illegitimate to rule due to her gender and as such considered the imperial throne to be vacant. Thus, Charlemagne
Charlemagne
was not crowned as the ruler of the Western Roman Empire and successor to Romulus Augustulus, but rather as the successor of Constantine VI
Constantine VI
and as sole Roman Emperor. Irene was deposed and replaced by Emperor Nikephoros soon after, and the Eastern Empire refused to recognize the Imperial title of Charlemagne. Emperor Michael I Rangabe
Michael I Rangabe
eventually recognized Charlemagne
Charlemagne
as an "Emperor" following several wars in the 810s, but as the slightly humiliating "Emperor of the Franks" rather than "Roman Emperor", a title he reserved for himself.[119] For centuries to come, the "revived" Western court and the Eastern court, in direct succession to the Roman Emperors of old, would make competing claims to be rulers of the whole and as being the sole legitimate Roman Empire. With the Eastern Empire terming the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
as an " Empire
Empire
of the Franks", the term " Empire
Empire
of the Greeks" was popularized in the frankish court as a way to refer to the Empire
Empire
centered in Constantinople.[148] Following the final fall of the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
after the Fall of Constantinople
Constantinople
in 1453 and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in 1806, the title of "Emperor" became widespread among European monarchs. The Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
laid claim to be the heir of the Holy Roman Empire
Roman Empire
as Austria's Habsburgs attempted to unite Germany
Germany
under their rule.[149] The German Empire, established in 1871, also claimed to be a successor of Rome
Rome
through the lineage of the Holy Roman Empire.[150] Both of these empires used the imperial title Kaiser (derived from Latin
Latin
Caesar), the German word for emperor. The German Empire
Empire
and Austria-Hungary, successor of the Austrian Empire, would both fall in the aftermath of the First World War along with the Russian and Ottoman Empires who had claimed succession from the Eastern Roman Empire.[151][152][153] List of Western Roman Emperors[edit] Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
(286–313)[edit] Main article: Tetrarchy

Bust of Emperor Maximian, the first Western Roman Emperor.

Maximian: 286–305.[154]

Constantius Chlorus: 293–305.[155]

Maximian
Maximian
was elevated to caesar by Diocletian
Diocletian
in 285, after Diocletian defeated Carinus.[156] He became Western Emperor in 286, with the establishment of the Tetrarchy. On 1 May 305, both Maximian
Maximian
and Diocletian
Diocletian
abdicated, leaving Constantius and Galerius
Galerius
as emperors.[157]

Constantius I Chlorus: 305–306.[158]

Valerius Severus: 305–306.[159]

Constantius Chlorus
Constantius Chlorus
was elevated to caesar in 293, under Maximiam. Constantius became the Western Emperor in 305, after the abdication of Maximian.[157] Constantius died on 25 July 306, leaving a highly contested succession in his wake.[160]

Valerius Severus: 306–307.[159]

Constantine: 306–307.[159]

Valerius Severus
Valerius Severus
was elevated to caesar by Constantius in 305, after the abdication of Maximian
Maximian
and Diocletian. After the death of Constantius in 306, Severus became Western Emperor. Severus was forced to deal with the revolt of Maxentius, the son of Maximian. Maxentius invaded in early 307, and successfully captured the Western Empire.[161] He had Severus put to death soon after his capture.[162]

Maxentius: 307–312.[159]

Maxentius
Maxentius
was proclaimed emperor in 306, in opposition to Valerius Severus. He succeeded in capturing the Western Empire
Empire
in 307, and had Severus killed soon after.[163] The Western Empire
Empire
was invaded in 312 by Constantine, who decisively defeated Maxentius
Maxentius
on 28 October 312, who drowned when his forces were pushed back into the Tiber river.[164]

Licinius: 308–313.[159]

Licinius
Licinius
was made Emperor of the Eastern Empire, and parts of the Western Empire, all of which was actually held by Maxentius, at the Council of Carnuntum, which was held in 308 in order to try and end the civil war in the Western Empire. Constantine invaded Licinius' section of the Western Empire
Empire
in 313, and forced him to sign a treaty in which he forfeited his claim to the Western Empire, and only controlled the Eastern Empire.[165] Constantinian dynasty (313–363)[edit] Main article: Constantinian dynasty

Bust of Emperor Constantine I, the founder of the Constantinian dynasty.

Constantine I: 306–337 (Sole Emperor: 324–337).[159]

Constantine I
Constantine I
was proclaimed caesar of the Western Empire
Empire
on 25 July 306. After 309 he proclaimed himself as the Western Emperor, in opposition to Maxentius
Maxentius
and Licinius. He was the sole Western Emperor from 312–324, when he became both Western Emperor and Eastern Emperor.[166]

Constantine II 337–340 (Emperor of Gaul, Britannia and Hispania: 337–340).[159]

Constantine II was proclaimed caesar of the Eastern Empire
Empire
in late 317. In 335, Constantine I
Constantine I
allotted the inheritance his sons would receive after his death, which would take place two years later in 337, giving Constantine II control of Gaul, Britannia and Hispania. Constantine II's relationship with Constans I
Constans I
was tense, and in 340, Constantine took advantage of Constans
Constans
absence from Italy
Italy
and invaded it. However, in the same year, he was ambushed by Constans' forces in Aquilea, and was killed.[167]

Constans I
Constans I
337–350 (Emperor of Italy
Italy
and Africa: 337-340, Western Emperor: 340–350).[159]

Constans
Constans
was proclaimed emperor of Italy
Italy
and Africa in 337, after the death of Constantine I. After Constantine II was killed in 340, while attempting to invade Constans' territory in Italy, Constans
Constans
took control of the entire Western Empire. Constans
Constans
was contemptuous of his army, who as a result proclaimed Magnentius
Magnentius
as emperor in 350. Constans
Constans
fled toward Hispania, but was captured and executed by an agent of Magnentius
Magnentius
on the border.[168]

Constantius II
Constantius II
351–361 (Eastern Emperor: 337–351, Sole Emperor: 351–361).[159]

Julian: 355–361.[159]

Constantius II
Constantius II
was proclaimed caesar in 334, and became Eastern Emperor in 337, after the death of Constantine I. After Constans
Constans
was killed by the usurper Magnentius, Constantius laid claim to the Western Empire, and after defeating Magnentius
Magnentius
in 351, took possession of it, becoming sole emperor. Constantius II
Constantius II
died in 361, of a violent fever.[169]

Julian: 361–363 (Sole Emperor).[159]

Julian was proclaimed caesar in 355, before becoming emperor in 361, after Constantius II
Constantius II
died of a violent fever in 361. Julian died in March 363, of wounds sustained during the Battle of Samarra.[170] Non-dynastic (363–364)[edit]

Jovian: 363–364 (Sole Emperor).[159]

When Julian died in 363, he left no heir, causing a succession crisis. The Roman Army elected Jovian as sole emperor. Jovian reigned only seven months, in which he signed a humiliating peace treaty with the Sasanian Empire, under Shapur II. In this agreement, Rome
Rome
surrendered five provinces and 18 fortresses to the Sasanians, in exchange for a 30 year truce. Jovian died on 16 February 364, due to either indigestion or charcoal vapour inhalation.[171] Valentinian dynasty (364–392)[edit] Main article: Valentinian dynasty

Bust of Emperor Valentinian II, the last reigning member of the Valentinian dynasty.

Valentinian I: 364–375.[159]

Gratian: 367–375.[159]

After the death of Jovian, Valentinian I
Valentinian I
was elected. He divided the emperor between himself and his younger brother, Valens, giving himself the West and Valens
Valens
the East. Valentinian spent much of his reign defending Gaul
Gaul
against repeated attacks by barbarian tribes, only leaving the region in 373. In 375, while meeting with the Quadi, he suffered a stroke due to rage.[172]

Gratian: 375–383.[159]

Valentinian II: 375–383.[159]

Valentinian elevated his son, Gratian, to caesar in 367, however on his deathbed he elevated his much younger son, Valentinian II, to caesar along with Gratian, and Valens
Valens
who was emperor in the East.[173] Gratian
Gratian
showed a strong preference for the barbarian mercenaries in his army, especially his Alanic guard, which inflamed the Roman population, to the point that in 383, Roman troops in Britain declared Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
emperor, in opposition to Gratian. Maximus landed troops in Gaul, and attacked Gratian's troops near Paris. Gratian
Gratian
was defeated, and fled to Lyons, where he was murdered on 25 August 383.[174]

Valentinian II: 383–392.[159]

After the death of Gratian, Valentinian II
Valentinian II
succeeded him, although he only controlled Italy
Italy
itself, with all other Western Roman provinces recognizing Maximus. In 387 Maximus invaded Italy, to depose Valentinian. Valentinian fled to the court of Theodosius, where he succeeded in convincing Theodosius to attack Maximus, and to reinstate himself as Western Emperor, which was done after Maximus was defeated in battle near Aquileia.[174] Valentinian continued to rule the Western Empire
Empire
until 392, when he was murdered by Arbogast.[175]

Magnus Maximus: 384–388.[176][177]

Flavius Victor: 383/387–388.[176][178][179]

Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
was elected emperor by his men in 384, in opposition to Gratian, who defeated him in battle in 383. Maximus was briefly recognized as the Western Emperor by Eastern Emperor Theodosius I, however this recognition was revoked by both when Maximus invaded Italy
Italy
and deposed Valentinian II
Valentinian II
in 387. Valentinian II
Valentinian II
fled to the Eastern Roman Empire, and convinced Theodosius to invade the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and restore him to the Western Roman throne, which he did in 388. Maximus was defeated in battle near Aquileia, and executed.[174][176][178][179] Theodosian dynasty (392–455)[edit] Main article: Theodosian dynasty

Emperor Honorius, as depicted by Jean-Paul Laurens
Jean-Paul Laurens
in 1880.

Theodosius I: 394–395 (Eastern Roman Emperor: 379–394, Sole Emperor: 392–395).[159]

Theodosius was proclaimed Eastern Emperor by Gratian
Gratian
on 19 January 379, after securing victory against invading barbarians along the Danube. He became sole emperor in August 394, after defeating the usurper Eugenius. Theodosius died of edema in January 395.[180]

Honorius: 395–423.[159]

Constantine III: 409–411.[159]

Constans
Constans
II: 409–411.[159]

Constantius III: 421.[159]

Honorius became Western Emperor in 395, after the death of his father Theodosius. His reign was beset by barbarian invasions, and for much of his early reign, until 408, he was controlled by Stilicho, whose influence over Honorius would create a standard for puppet Western Emperors. Honorius died of edema in 423.[181]

Valentinian III: 425–455.[159]

Valentinian III
Valentinian III
was designated Honorius' heir in 421, although he was not proclaimed caesar, only given the title of nobilissimus puer. In 423, after the death of Honorius, a usurper named Joannes
Joannes
rose up, forcing Valentinian III
Valentinian III
to flee with his family to the court of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II. He was installed as Western Emperor in 425, after Joannes
Joannes
was defeated by Theodosius in Ravenna. Valentinian was killed on 16 March 455, by Optila, a friend of Flavius Aetius, whom Valentinian had killed.[182] Non-dynastic (455–480)[edit]

Petronius
Petronius
Maximus: 455 (Not recognized by Eastern Emperor).[159]

Palladius: 455.[183]

Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
became the Western Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
on 17 March 455, after assassinating Valentinian III.[183] During his short reign, he provoked Genseric, the Vandal king, into invading the Western Empire and sacking Rome, by way of violating a marriage agreement made between Genseric
Genseric
and Valentinian III. Maximus and his son Palladius attempted to flee on 31 May 455, however they were apprehended by a group of peasants, and either killed by them, or by palace servants wishing to curry favor with them.[184][185]

Avitus: 455–456.[159]

Avitus
Avitus
was proclaimed Western Emperor on 9 July 455, with the support of the Visigoth King Theodoric II. While he held support from the Visigoths, his rule alienated both the Roman Senate
Senate
and people. In 456 Ricimer, a senior officer had Avitus
Avitus
deposed, and ruled the Western Empire
Empire
through a series of puppet emperors until his death in 472.[186]

Majorian: 457–461.[159]

Majorian
Majorian
was proclaimed Western Emperor 1 April 456, officially by Eastern Emperor Leo I, however in reality Leo's decision was swayed by the influence of Ricimer. On 7 August 461, Majorian
Majorian
was compelled to abdicate, and reportedly died five days later of dysentery, although modern historians have asserted he was likely murdered.[187]

Libius Severus: 461–465 (Not recognized by Eastern Emperor).[159]

Libius Severus was proclaimed Western Emperor on 19 November 461. His rule, even as a puppet emperor, extended little beyond Italy, with Aegidius
Aegidius
splitting off from the Western Empire, and establishing the Kingdom of Soissons. Libius Severus incited the hostility of the Vandals, who invaded Italy
Italy
and Sicily. During these events, Libius Severus died on 14 November 465, possibly due to being poisoned by Ricimer.[188]

Anthemius: 467–472.[159]

Anthemius
Anthemius
was proclaimed Western Emperor on 12 April 467 by Leo I. Under Anthemius, the Western Empire, which had become increasingly isolated from the Eastern Empire, became closer to the Eastern Empire under Leo I, although this collaboration came too late to save the Western Empire. Anthemius' friendly attitude towards the Eastern Empire
Empire
angered Ricimer, who deposed him in March or April of 472.[189]

Olybrius: 472 (Not recognized by Eastern Emperor).[159]

Olybrius
Olybrius
was proclaimed emperor in April 472. His brief reign, lasting only five or six months, was dominated by Gundobad, who had replaced his uncle Ricimer
Ricimer
as the true power behind the throne, after the formers death. Olybrius
Olybrius
died in October or November 472, of edema.[190]

Glycerius: 473–474 (Not recognized by Eastern Emperor).[159]

After the death of both Olybrius
Olybrius
and Ricimer, Glycerius
Glycerius
was proclaimed Western Emperor by the Western Roman Army, on 3/5 May 473.[191] He was deposed by Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
in July 474, and sent to live in a monastery, where he remained until his death.[192]

Julius Nepos: 474–475 (In exile 475–480).[193]

The Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
had rejected the coronation of both Olybrius and Glycerius, instead supporting Julius Nepos, magister militum in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
as Western Roman Emperor. Nepos, with support from the East, deposed Glycerius
Glycerius
in the spring of 474.[75] Orestes, magister militum of Nepos, deposed him a year later in 475, forcing Nepos to flee Ravenna
Ravenna
to his estates in Dalmatia. Orestes crowned his son Romulus as Western Emperor, though the Eastern Empire
Empire
and Western possessions outside of Italy
Italy
maintained recognition of Nepos as the legitimate Emperor.[76] Nepos continued to rule as "Western Emperor" in exile in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
until his murder in 480 and would be the last holder of the title.[80]

Romulus Augustus: 475–476 (Not recognized by Eastern Emperor).[193]

Romulus Augustus
Augustus
was crowned as Western Emperor after his father Orestes deposed Julius Nepos.[76] The rule of Romulus would be brief, in the autumn of 476 the foederati under control by Odoacer
Odoacer
rebelled when their demands for a third of the land of Italy
Italy
were ignored.[194] Orestes was captured and executed on August 28 the same year and Romulus was deposed by Odoacer
Odoacer
a week later. Romulus was spared and allowed to live out his life in the Castellum Lucullanum
Castellum Lucullanum
in Campania, where he might have been alive as late as 507 AD.[195] With the deposition of Romulus Augustus
Augustus
by Odoacer, direct roman control ceased to exist in Italy. Odoacer
Odoacer
assumed control of the peninsula as a de jure representative of Western Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
Julius Nepos. With the death of Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
in 480, the Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno abolished the title and position of Western Roman Emperor and assumed the role of Odoacer's sovereign. The position of Roman Emperor would never again be divided, though some new candidates for the position of Western emperor were proposed during and after the Eastern Roman re-conquests of the sixth century, such as Belisarius
Belisarius
in 540 and Germanus in 582.[143][144] See also[edit]

Fall of the Western Roman Empire Historiography
Historiography
of the fall of the Western Roman Empire Byzantine Empire Legacy of the Roman Empire Carolingian Empire Holy Roman Empire

References[edit] Citations[edit]

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b Pontifex Maximus. ^ Kaylor & Phillips 2012, p. 14. ^ Bauer 2010, p. 68. ^ Vogt 1993, p. 179. ^ Frassetto 2003, pp. 214–217. ^ Burns 1994, p. 244. ^ a b Bury 2005, p. 110. ^ Deliyannis 2010, pp. 153–156. ^ Hallenbeck 1982, p. 7. ^ Bury 2005, p. 108. ^ Bury 2005, p. 109. ^ Heather 2005, p. 195. ^ Bury 2005, p. 113. ^ Norwich 1989, p. 136. ^ Cline & Graham 2011, p. 303. ^ Bury 2005, p. 145. ^ Bury 2005, p. 146. ^ a b Bury 2005, p. 154. ^ Goldsworthy 2010, p. 305. ^ Hughes 2012, pp. 102–103. ^ a b Heather 2000, p. 11. ^ Heather 2000, p. 15. ^ Bury 2005, p. 292. ^ Heather 2007, p. 339. ^ a b Heather 2000, pp. 17–18. ^ Given 2014, p. 126. ^ Given 2014, p. 128. ^ Bury 2005, pp. 324–325. ^ Heather 2000, p. 379. ^ a b c Majorian. ^ a b Anthemius. ^ Gordon 2013, p. 122f. ^ a b Glycerius. ^ a b c Bury 2005, p. 408. ^ MacGeorge 2002, p. 62. ^ a b c d Börm 2008, p. 47ff. ^ a b c Elton 1992, pp. 288–297. ^ a b Martindale 1980, p. 514. ^ a b Williams & Friell 1998, p. 187. ^ Nicol 2002, p. 9. ^ a b 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2004, p. 203. ^ Norwich 1989, pp. 112–113. ^ Norwich 1989, p. 116. ^ Gunderson, pp. 43–68. ^ Luttwak 2009, p. 512. ^ Dagron 1984, pp. 15 & 19. ^ Bury 2005, p. 138. ^ Heather 2005, p. 191. ^ Legal system. ^ Samarin 1968, p. 666. ^ Gottlieb 2006, p. 196. ^ Beveridge 2016, p. 1. ^ Satow 2011, p. 59. ^ Bulliet et al. 2010, p. 192. ^ Le Goff 1994, p. 14 & 21. ^ Durant 1950, pp. 517–551. ^ Annuario Pontificio, p. 23. ^ Levillain 2002, p. 907. ^ Kaegi 2004, p. 196. ^ a b Croke 2001, p. 78. ^ Wienand 2014, p. 260. ^ Goldsworthy 2009, pp. 68–69. ^ Martindale 1980, pp. 1199–1200. ^ a b c Moorhead 1994, pp. 84–86. ^ a b c Whitby 1988, p. 7. ^ The Code of Justinian. ^ Herrin 1987, p. 156. ^ Whaley 2012, pp. 17–20. ^ Fourace & Gerberding 1996, p. 345. ^ White 2007, p. 139. ^ Ball 2001, p. 449. ^ Watson 2014, pp. 536–540. ^ Tames 1972, p. 55. ^ Glazer 1996, pp. 54–56. ^ Potter 2008, pp. 260–261. ^ Potter 2008, p. 344. ^ Grant 1997, p. 209. ^ a b Grant 1997, p. 210. ^ Potter 2008, p. 342. ^ a b c d e 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from Severus to Constantine. Routledge. ISBN 9781317496946.  Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D". Social Science History. Duke University Press. 3 (3/4). doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.  Tames, Richard (1972). Last of the Tsars. Pan Books Ltd. ISBN 9780330029025.  Tenney, Frank (1930). Life and Literature
Literature
in the Roman Republic. Berkeley California: University of California Press. OCLC 321827.  Thomas, Hugh (2010). Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0141034485.  Thompson, E. A. (1969). The Goths in Spain. Clarendon. OCLC 186003872.  Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History
History
of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804726306.  Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1598844296. Retrieved January 16, 2015.  Vagi, David L. (2000). Coinage and History
History
of the Roman Empire, c. 82 B.C.- A.D. 480. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 9781579583163.  Vogt, Joseph (1993). The Decline of Rome: The Metamorphosis of Ancient Civilization. Weidenfeld. ISBN 978-0297813927.  Watson, Alexander (2014). Ring of Steel: Germany
Germany
and Austria-Hungary in World War I. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0465018727.  Weigel, Richard D. (1992). Lepidus: The Tarnished Triumvir. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415076807.  Whaley, Joachim (2012). Joachim Whaley, Germany
Germany
and the Holy Roman Empire: Volume I: Maximilian I to the Peace of Westphalia, 1493–1648. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199688821.  Whitby, Michael (1988). The Emperor Maurice and his historian : Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan warfare. Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-822945-3.  White, Craig (2007). The Great German Nation: Origins and Destiny. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1434325495.  Wienand, Johannes (2014). Contested Monarchy: Integrating the Roman Empire
Empire
in the Fourth Century AD. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199768994.  Williams, Stephen; Friell, Gerard (1998). The Rome
Rome
That Did Not Fall the Phoenix in the East. Routledge. ISBN 0-203-98231-2.  Wolfram, Herwig (1990). History
History
of the Goths. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520069831. 

Websites[edit]

Ralph W., Mathisen. " Anthemius
Anthemius
- De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  Ralph W., Mathisen. " Glycerius
Glycerius
- De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  Ralph W., Mathisen. " Majorian
Majorian
- De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  Michael, DiMaio. " Constantius II
Constantius II
- De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  Körner, Christian. " Aurelian
Aurelian
- De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  "Legal System - The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2018.  Lendering, Jona. "Governor (Roman) - Livius". www.livius.org. Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2018.  Lendering, Jona. " Pontifex Maximus
Pontifex Maximus
- Livius". www.livius.org. Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2018.  Polfer, Michael. "Postumus - De Imperatoribus Romanis". www.roman-emperors.org. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018.  Scott, Samuel P. "The Code of Justinian
Justinian
- Book 1". droitromain.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.  Shapur Shahbazi, A. "Sasanian Dynasty - Encyclopedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Archived from the original on 17 November 2017. Retrieved 23 February 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

Heather, Peter (2003). The Visigoths
Visigoths
from the Migration Period to the Seventh Century: An Ethnographic Perspective. Boydell & Brewer Ltd. ISBN 978-1843830337.  Kolb, von Frank (1987). Diocletian
Diocletian
und die Erste Tetrarchie : Improvisation oder Experiment in der Organisation monarchischer Herrschaft?. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-010934-4. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Western Roman Empire.

De Imperatoribus Romanis. Scholarly biographies of many Roman emperors, including those of the Western Roman Empire. Digital Map of the Roman Empire. Navigable and interactive map of the Roman Empire. The Fall of Rome
Rome
Podcast. Podcast concerning the Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Roman Empire
by PhD historian Patrick Wyman.

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