The Empire

Most sub-continent sized regions have seen persistent empires as a unifying theme. Although often undergoing periods of fragmentation and disunity, these multi-national states seem to reappear in centuries-long cycles of consolidation and decay. In the West, the Roman Empire, either as a fact or as an idea, has exerted an appeal for better than 2000 years. Here are lists associated with the Empire and its immediate descendents.

This covers the various phases of the Roman Empire: the original, the Western, the Eastern (Byzantine), and the Holy Roman Empire. There are also notes on provincial contenders and the office of Magister Militum.

EASTERN ROMAN (BYZANTINE) EMPIRE It is often forgotten, especially by those living in or cultural heirs to western Europe, that the Eastern Roman Empire existed for almost a thousand years beyond the end of the original Western Empire. The fact remains that there was someone who could legitimately claim an unbroken line of succession to Augustus, and could legally call himself Caesar and Imperator at exactly the same time that Gutenberg was developing the printing press, and within 30 years of Columbus' discovery of the Americas. It is also worth noting, for it is a fact neglected even by some professional historians, that the Byzantine Empire retook the City of Rome from the Ostrogoths in 553, and held it for the next 200 years. For a view of the ecclesiastic authorities in the City, go to the Patriarchs page. For any visiting this section from other pages in this archive, here is an express back to where you were before...

Achaea, Aegina, Aegion, Aetolia, Agrigento, Albania, Algeria, Amida, Anatolia, Andros, Antioch, Arcadia, Argos, Armenia, Athens, Azerbaijan, Benevento, Bulgaria, Cappadocia, Catania, Cephalonia, Cilicia, Corfu, Corinth, Cos, Crete, Crimea, Crotone, Cyprus, Dalmatia, Delphi, Durres, Elea, Epirus, Euboea, Genoa, Greece, Ipati, Israel, Italy, Lemnos, Lentini, Lesbos, Libya, Malta, Macedonia, Maina, Marida, Megalopolis, Megara, Messinia, Milan, Morea, Morocco, Mycenae, Naxos, Naples, Papal States, Patras, Pheres, Phokis, Phthia, Pylos, Ragusa, Rhodes, Salamis, Samos, Sardinia, Segesta, Serbia, Sicily, Sparta, The Sporades, Sybaris, Syracuse, Syria, Taranto, Thebes, Thera, Thessalonika, Thessaly, Tinos, Trabizond, Tunisia, Vaspurakan, Venice, Vodonitsa, Zante.

MAGISTER MILITUM The Magister Militum was the supreme military commander of the Western Roman Empire from the late 300's onward. The position was usually held by Germano-Roman mercenary commanders who were the true power behind the numerous short-reigned emperors of the 5th century.

PROVINCIAL CONTENDERS Following the fall of the Antonines, and running up until the the era of Diocletian reforms and beyond, the Empire was often beset by dissident generals reaching for Imperium, usually from a base in one or another province. The core of this period was the era of the Barracks Emperors, when all candidates came out of such a background. Here is a listing of other contenders, arranged by region, unsuccessful as to achieving the summit of ambition but nevertheless providing governance for their areas, sometimes for several years.

ACHAIA (Southern Greece)

ADRIANOPLE The ∆GEAN ISLANDS AFRICA (Algeria and Tunisia) ASIA MINOR (Turkey) BRITANNIA (Great Britain) (Magnus Maximus is Macsen Wledig in Welsh folklore.) CONSTANTINOPLE DYRRHACHIUM (Albania) EGYPT GAUL (France) GERMANIA (Germany west of the Rhine) IBERIA (Spain and Portugal) ILLYRIA (Albania / Bosnia / Croatia) ISAURIA (Southern Turkey, opposite Cyprus) LUSITANIA (Portugal) LYDIA (Southwestern Turkey) MOESIA (Northern Bulgaria) NEAPOLIS (Southern Italy) ORIENT (The Levant; Syria, Lebanon, Israel) PALMYRA (South-Central Syria) PANNONIA (Western Hungary) ROME and CENTRAL ITALY SICILY SYRIA THESSALIA (Northern Greece) THRACE

ROMAN EMPIRE Bear carefully in mind: the following list presents the appearance of a monarchic succession, and to modern ears "Emperor" is a kind of monarchic sovereign. But it was not thus to the people living within this state, at least not at first. To them, the Roman state was the "Principate" - rule by the first, primary, or chief leader. That such a ruler held imperium was a natural thing, but not necessarily signifying hereditary monarchy at all. Imperium was a condition or status held by many in Republican times. An Imperator (one who requires, or demands) was simply a supreme military commander, equivalent to a modern Field Marshal or Fleet Admiral. The only thing setting Octavian Caesar apart from his predecessors was that he had been granted imperium for life, and that he had been styled "Augustus" (revered one). Even his use of Caesar was merely a clan name, although it became imbedded as an imperial title later on.

WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE The Western division of the Empire, encompassing Rome itself together with Italy, Gaul, Britain, Iberia, and northwestern Africa, was utterly unable to maintain itself in the face of  overwhelming barbarian invasion/migration. Provinces rapidly fell away, and the Imperium itself increasingly came into the hands of puppets sponsored by Teutonic generalissimos. Finally, all that remained was an enclave in coastal Croatia, a besieged district in Normandy, a Chieftain of a coalition of German troops in Italy with the title of Patrician who acknowledged a vague seniority of Constantinople, and a lot of neglected buildings and roads peopled largely by fading memories and ghosts... For any visiting this section from other pages in this archive, here is an express back to where you were before...

Achaea, Aegina, Aegion, Aetolia, Agrigento, Albania, Algeria, Amida, Anatolia, Andros, Antioch, Aquitaine, Arcadia, Argos, Armenia, Athens, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Cappadocia, Catania, Cephalonia, Corfu, Corinth, Corsica, Cos, Crete, Crimea, Croatia, Crotone, Cyprus, Dalmatia, Delphi, Durres, Elea, Epirus, Euboea, France, Genoa, Greece, Ipati, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lemnos, Lentini, Lesbos, Libya, Maina, Marida, Macedonia, Malta, Megalopolis, Megara, Messinia, Mesopotamia, Milan, Modena, Morea, Morocco, Mycenae, Naples, Naxos, The Netherlands, Normandy, Padua, Papal States, Patras, Pheres, Phokis, Phthia, Pylos, Portugal, Rhodes, Salamis, Samos, Sardinia, Segesta, Serbia, Sicily, Slovenia, Spain, Sparta, The Sporades, Switzerland, Sybaris, Syracuse, Syria, Taranto, Thebes, Thera, Thessaly, Tinos, Transylvania, Tunisia, Tuscany, Wallachia, Zante.

HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE Here is a complete sequence of the mediaeval and renaissance Holy Roman Emperors. Apparent gaps in the sequence simply indicate periods of time when no-one was acknowledged or crowned as Western Emperor. See also, Germany.