Western Roman Empire

The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Republic before the conquests of Octavian
The Western Roman Empire in 418 AD, following the abandonment of Britannia and the settlement of the Visigoths, Burgundians and Suebi within imperial territory as foederati
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)
The Roman, Gallic and Palmyrene Empires in 271 AD
The organization of the Empire under the Tetrarchy
Division of the Roman Empire among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from west to east, the territories of Constantine II, Constans I, Dalmatius and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I (May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.
The division of the Empire after the death of Theodosius I, c. undefined 395 AD, superimposed on modern borders
Solidus of Emperor Honorius
Barbarian invasions and the invasion of usurper Constantine III in the Western Roman Empire during the reign of Honorius, 407–409
Germanic and Hunnic invasions of the Roman Empire, 100–500 AD
Boxwood 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 during the reign of Majorian in 460 AD. During his four-year-long reign from 457 to 461, Majorian restored Western Roman authority in Hispania and most of Gaul. Despite his accomplishments, Roman rule in the west would last less than two more decades.
The Western and Eastern Roman Empire by 476
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
Map of the Barbarian kingdoms (major kingdoms and the Roman Empire labelled below) of the western Mediterranean in 526, seven years before the campaigns of reconquest under Eastern emperor Justinian I
6th-century Visigothic coin, struck in the name of Emperor Justinian I
Odoacer's Italy in 480 AD, following the annexation of Dalmatia
Solidus minted under Odoacer with the name and portrait of the Eastern emperor Zeno
Map of the realm of Theodoric 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 and Vandals.
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).
Map of the Eastern 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 was controlled by the Lombards.
Romance languages, languages that developed from Latin following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, are spoken in Western Europe to this day, with the exception of Romanian, which developed from the Latin spoken in the eastern provinces and the early Eastern Empire. Their extent in Western Europe almost reflects the continental borders of the old Empire.
Bust of Emperor Maximian, the first Western Roman emperor
Bust of Emperor Constantine I, the founder of the Constantinian dynasty
Bust of Emperor Valentinian II, a member of the Valentinianic dynasty's second generation of emperors
Emperor Honorius, as depicted by Jean-Paul Laurens in 1880

Used in historiography to describe the period from 286 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts.

- Western Roman Empire

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Theodosius I

Roman emperor from 379 to 395.

Solidus depicting Theodosius, with the legend:

("Our Lord Theodosius, pious, fortunate, august")
Theodosius was commander of the army in Moesia I in 374. His dismissal may have been connected to the accession of the emperor Valentinian II, which took place at Aquincum (Budapest) in nearby Pannonia Valeria, in 375.
The administrative divisions of the Roman Empire in 395, under Theodosius I.
Solidus of Valentinian II showing Valentinian II and Theodosius I on the reverse, each holding a mappa
Head found near statue base dedicated to Theodosius, in the ancient city of Aphrodisias (Aydın, Turkey)
Roman provinces along the Ister (Danube), showing the Roman dioceses of Thrace, Dacia, Pannonia and Italia Annonaria on the empire's northern frontier
Solidus of Theodosius, showing both him and his co-emperor Valentinian II ((r. 375 – 392)) enthroned on the reverse, each crowned by Victory and together holding an orb ("the Victory of the Augusti")
Massacre in the Hippodrome of Thessaloniki in 390, 16th-century wood engraving
Anthonis Van Dyke's 1619 painting of St. Ambrose blocking the cathedral door, refusing Theodosius' admittance, a "pious fiction" invented by Theodoret.
Missorium of Theodosius, found in 1847 in Almendralejo, Spain
View of the Hippodrome of Constantinople with the surviving Obelisk of Theodosius
The Obelisk of Theodosius, details of the base of the Obelisk of Thutmose III, Hippodrome, Istanbul (8370192180)
Theodosius offers a laurel wreath to the victor, on the marble base of the Obelisk of Thutmosis III at the Hippodrome of Constantinople.

Theodosius was the last emperor to rule the entire Roman Empire before its administration was permanently split between two separate courts (one western, the other eastern).

Honorius (emperor)

Roman emperor from 393 to 423.

Solidus of Honorius
Honorius on the consular diptych of Anicius Petronius Probus (406)
Christian pendant of Empress Maria, daughter of Stilicho, and wife of Honorius. The pendant reads, around a central cross (clockwise): 
Latin and Greek characters were intermingled in this one. The letters form a Christogram. Louvre, Paris.
The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883

In 410, during Honorius's reign over the Western Roman Empire, Rome was sacked for the first time in almost 800 years.


Roman emperor from 284 to 305.

Laureate head of Diocletian
Panorama of amphitheatre in Salona
Head of Carinus at the Centrale Montemartini
Antoninianus of Diocletian
Head of Diocletian at the National Museum of Serbia
Diocletian and Maximian on a aureus (287 AD)
Carausius, rebel emperor of Roman Britain. Most of the evidence for Carausius's reign comes from his coinage, which was of generally fine quality.
Map of the Roman Empire under the Tetrarchy, showing the dioceses and the four tetrarchs' zones of influence post-299, after Diocletian and Galerius had exchanged their allocated provinces.
Triumphal arch of the Tetrarchy, Sbeitla, Tunisia
A Trajanic temple on the island of Philae, the newly established border between the Nobatae and Blemmyes and Roman Egypt
Military issue coin of Diocletian
Detail of Galerius attacking Narseh on the Arch of Galerius at Thessaloniki, Greece, the city where Galerius carried out most of his administrative actions
Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Labicana. Christ between Peter and Paul. To the sides are the martyrs Gorgonius, Peter, Marcellinus, Tiburtius
Modern view of the Peristyle in Diocletian's Palace (Split, Croatia)
A 1581 reprint of the Digestorum from Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis (527–534). The Corpus drew on the codices of Gregorius and Hermogenian, drafted and published under Diocletian's reign.
A fragment of the Edict on Maximum Prices (301), on display in Berlin
Part of the prices edict in Greek in its original area built into a medieval church, Geraki, Greece
The monolithic granite column shaft of the Diocletianic honorific column in the Serapeum of Alexandria called "Pompey's Pillar" is 20.75 metre tall. Built 298–303.

Diocletian reigned in the Eastern Empire, and Maximian reigned in the Western Empire.


Originally an Insubrian city, but afterwards became an important Roman city in northern Italy.

A section of Roman wall (11 m high) with a 24-sided tower
Ruins of the Emperor's palace 45.46512°N, 9.1806°W in Milan. Here Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan.
Arcadius solidus, from the Mediolanum mint, c 395-408.
Arena games: ivory cup depicting staged hunts and chariot races, found in Milan, 4th-5th century.
Roman columns in front of basilica di San Lorenzo

The city was settled by the Insubres around 600 BC, conquered by the Romans in 222 BC, and developed into a key centre of Western Christianity and informal capital of the Western Roman Empire.

King of Italy

Iron Crown of Lombardy

King of Italy (Re d'Italia; Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Zeno (emperor)

Eastern Roman emperor from 474 to 475 and again from 476 to 491.

Semissis of Zeno, issued during his second reign
A detail of the Missorium of Aspar, depicting the powerful magister militum Aspar and his elder son Ardabur (434 circa). Zeno caused Ardabur's fall, producing treacherous letters that linked him to the Sassanid King; Ardabur later bribed some of Zeno's soldiers into trying to kill him.
Relief of Ariadne, elder daughter of Emperor Leo I and wife of Zeno.
Leo I, father-in-law of Zeno, Eastern Roman Emperor from 457 to 474.
Coin of Leo II, minted in the name of "Leo and Zeno perpetual Augusti"; it belongs to the period when both Zeno and his son were joint emperors, between January and November 474.
Coin of Basiliscus, who revolted against Zeno in January 475 and held power until Zeno's return in August 476. Basiliscus was Verina's brother; he took power after having Zeno flee from Constantinople, but alienated the people of Constantinople and was captured and put to death by Zeno.
This solidus was minted by Odoacer in the name of Zeno. Odoacer ruled Italy under the formal patronage of the Eastern Emperor.
Europe and the Mediterranean Basin at the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476
Bronze weight with the name of Theoderic the Great, King of the Ostrogoths and ruler of Italy. Theoderic served under Zeno, fighting against his opponent Theodoric Strabo (476–481), and then was the leader of the army that besieged the fort of Papurius and captured and killed Illus' brother, Trocundes (484).
Mount Gerizim, where Samaritan sources have Zeno buried.
A game of τάβλη (tabula) played by Zeno in 480 and recorded by Agathias in circa 530 because of a very unlucky dice result for Zeno. The game is similar to backgammon; Zeno (red) threw 2, 5 and 6 and was forced to leave eight pieces alone and thus exposed to capture.

His reign saw the end of the Western Roman Empire following the deposition of Romulus Augustus and the death of Julius Nepos, but he was credited with contributing much to stabilising the Eastern Empire.

Romulus Augustulus

Romulus Augustus (c.

Solidus of Romulus Augustus, marked:
The Eastern (orange) and Western (green) Roman Empires in 476
Romulus Augustus' family originated in Pannonia
19th-century illustration of Romulus Augustus surrendering his crown in front of Odoacer
Castel dell'Ovo, or castellum Lucullanum, where Romulus Augustus lived following his deposition in 476
Another solidus of Romulus Augustus
Tremissis of Julius Nepos ((r. undefined – undefined)474–475/480), Romulus Augustus' predecessor

undefined 465 – after 511?), nicknamed Augustulus, was Roman emperor of the West from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476.

List of Frankish kings

Map of the Frankish kingdom (481-814)

The Franks, Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, were first led by individuals called dukes and reguli.

Western Europe

Western region of Europe.

Schism of 1054 (East–West Schism) in Christianity, the predominant religion in Europe at the time
Political spheres of influence in Europe during the Cold War; neutral countries (shaded gray or light blue) considered informally Western-oriented but not formally aligned to the West
Former Western European Union – its members and associates
WEOG member and observer states
European climate. The Köppen-Geiger climates map is presented by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and the Global Precipitation Climatology Center of the Deutscher Wetterdienst.

The Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire controlled the two divergent regions between the 3rd and the 5th centuries.

Holy Roman Empire

Political entity in Western, Central and Southern Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars.

The change of territory of the Holy Roman Empire superimposed on present-day state borders
The double-headed eagle with coats of arms of individual states, the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire (painting from 1510)
The change of territory of the Holy Roman Empire superimposed on present-day state borders
A map of the Carolingian Empire (a.k.a. Francia, the Frankish Empire) within Europe circa 814 CE.
The Holy Roman Empire during the Ottonian Dynasty
The Holy Roman Empire between 972 and 1032
The Hohenstaufen-ruled Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Sicily. Imperial and directly held Hohenstaufen lands in the Empire are shown in bright yellow.
The Reichssturmfahne, a military banner during the 13th and early 14th centuries
Lands of the Bohemian Crown since the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV
An illustration from Schedelsche Weltchronik depicting the structure of the Reich: The Holy Roman Emperor is sitting; on his right are three ecclesiastics; on his left are four secular electors.
The Holy Roman Empire when the Golden Bull of 1356 was signed
Innsbruck, most important political centre under Maximilian, seat of the Hofkammer (Court Treasury) and the Court Chancery, which functioned as "the most influential body in Maximilian's government". Painting of Albrecht Dürer (1496)
Maximilian I paying attention to an execution instead of watching the betrothal of his son Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile. The top right corner shows Cain and Abel. Satire against Maximilian's legal reform, associated with imperial tyranny. Created on behalf of the councilors of Augsburg. Plate 89 of Von der Arztney bayder Glück by the Petrarcameister.
Personification of the Reich as Germania by Jörg Kölderer, 1512. The "German woman", wearing her hair loose and a crown, sitting on the Imperial throne, corresponds both to the self-image of Maximilian I as King of Germany and the formula Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (omitting other nations). While usually depicted during the Middle Age as subordinate to both imperial power and Italia or Gallia, she now takes central stage in Maximilian's Triumphal Procession, being carried in front of Roma.
The Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century
Carta itineraria europae by Waldseemüller, 1520 (dedicated to Emperor Charles V)
The Holy Roman Empire around 1600, superimposed over current state borders
Religion in the Holy Roman Empire on the eve of the Thirty Years' War
The Empire after the Peace of Westphalia, 1648
The Empire on the eve of the French Revolution, 1789
The crown of the Holy Roman Empire (2nd half of the 10th century), now held in the Schatzkammer (Vienna)
The Seven Prince-electors (Codex Balduini Trevirorum, c. 1340)
A map of the Empire showing division into Circles in 1512
Vienna, circa 1580 by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg
Front page of the Peace of Augsburg, which laid the legal groundwork for two co-existing religious confessions (Roman Catholicism and Lutheranism) in the German-speaking states of the Holy Roman Empire

On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476.