Extension of Rome?

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
#11
Why does everyone care so much about who claims to be Rome?
An interesting question. I'm not sure anyone claims to be the 'new' Rome as such, although clerarly the ideas of empire, unified culture, power, and glory do resonate in the human psyche - and political ambition too. For instance, the Third Reich makes no pretence of attempting to emulate Roman success but it did so on its own unpleasant terms. Italy called upon the same classical ideals in its fascist era but could not match German power. Nor does modern America, even though it was based on classical ideas and now represents one of the most powerful nation states on the planet, refer to itself as 'Rome'.

However, the comparisons are made by observers. One thing I've said often on history forums is how easily we human beings 'join up the dots' and equate ancient and modern all too readily. Spotting the similarities teaches you nothing. Learning to spot the differences helps you understand the past.
 
#13
Legally speaking, the Western Roman Empire began with Diocletian, not Augustus. Its establishment as a bit of an independent administration from the East came during the control of Flavius Stilicho during the era of Honorius beginning in 395 AD.
The history of collegiality among Roman emperors is a bit more complicated. Diocletian's Augustus in the west, Maximian, could make political decisions separate from Diocletian, and their two Caesars, Constantius and Galerius, likewise could make independent political decisions in their quandrants of the empire, albeit of generally lesser importance than the Augusti, but it is questionable whether there were official divisions between the territories of the four Tetrarchs. Diocletian made the most important decisions in the empire on behalf of his colleagues (e.g. the prices edict, the persecution of the Christians, and actually every known imperial edict [as opposed to legal letter or rescript] except one [a possibly local edict from the court of Galerius] stemmed from the court of Diocletian). Two different people in the west are known to have petitioned Diocletian instead of Maximian, including the proconsul of Africa (on what to do with the Manicheans). If there was no official division, it would mean that imperial rule was based on proximity and other factors; that is, a Gaul would petition Constantius since he was the nearest Tetrarch. Bill Leadbetter (Galerius and the Will of Diocletian) and David Potter (Constantine the Emperor) have argued that the first time there were hard divisions between emperors' spheres of control was actually after Diocletian's abdication, when Constantius was the first-ranking Augustus and the powers of the junior Augustus (Galerius) and the two Caesars (Severus and Maximinus) appear to have increased, creating a harder fourfold division of the empire.

But before the First and Second Tetrarchies, the concept of having two Augusti had existed before (Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, Severus and Caracalla, Caracalla and Geta, Gordian I and II, Pupienus and Balbinus, Philip I and II, Decius and Herennius, Gallus and Volusian, Valerian and Gallienus, Macrianus and Quietus, Tetricus I and II, Carus and Carinus, Carinus and Numerian). Various Augusti had ruled with Caesars (e.g. Decius & Herennius had Hostilian, Valerian & Gallienus had Valerian II and later Saloninus, Marcus and Verus had actually ruled for three years with two of Marcus' sons as Caesars, thus establishing an earlier 'Tetrachy' of sorts). Between 209 and 211 there were actually three Augusti: Severus, Caracalla and Geta. A system of two or more emperors, using various combinations of Augustus and Caesar, became the norm after Diocletian, but the number of emperors varied. After the Tetrarchy, Constantine ruled with multiple Caesars, and for much of his reign ruled alongside the Augustus Licinius (and for a couple of years Maximinus as well). The succession to Constantine entailed four Augusti, which quickly became three, and after three years became two. After the death of Constans, Constantius II officially ruled as the sole emperor, but after four years appointed a Caesar as a junior colleague (Gallus and then Julian). Julian and Jovian were the last emperors to rule as sole Augusti. Valentinian and Valens ruled as a duo (albeit with a Caesar as well), but with Valentinian's death the imperial college became a triarchy of three Augusti again (Valens, Gratian, Valentinian II - Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I - Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Arcadius - Theodosius I, Arcadius, Honorius). In 395, with the death of Theodosius I, the arrangement whereby there was officially one emperor in the west and one in the east became the norm.

Whether east or west had the senior emperor was a matter of chance. For instance, Marcus was senior in the west, Valerian was senior in the east, and Carinus went from being junior in the west to senior in the west. Diocletian was senior in the east, Constantius I was senior in the west, Galerius was senior in the east, Constantine I (during his joint rule with Licinius) was senior in the west, Constantine II was senior in the west, Constantius II was senior in the east, Valentinian I was senior in the west, Valens was senior in the east, Gratian and then (officially) Valentinian II were senior in the west, and Theodosius I were senior in the east.
 
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Likes: Theodoric
Mar 2016
1,199
Australia
#14
Imagine 500 years from now a parliamentary democracy arises in Mexico and claims to be the successor to the United States of America. That's how I feel when people consider the Holy Roman Empire or any other state to be the legitimate successor to the Western Roman Empire that was ruled by Latins under Latin law and tradition.
Roman law - the term generally used for the law-code that the Romans used - spread all over Western and Central Europe, and was practised in some countries until the late 18th century, and many countries/states belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, so I'd say these are two valid reasons to argue for continuity from the Roman Empire. I don't necessarily agree that any one country is the true successor of Rome, since Rome was a singular and unique entity in history, but some countries do have a more valid claim than others.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#15
We had a similar thread quite recently:

What is the true third Rome ?

Anyway, I will repeat myself from that thread and say that Napoleon's France kind of came the closest as they were a proper Empire ruled by an Emperor, had the possession of the city of Rome and had most of the historical territory of the Western Empire as well as more territory outside of it.
To be a proper empire it is necessary to be a Roman empire. Since the french Empire didn't even claim to be a Roman Empire, there is no sense in discussing whether it was an Roman. Therefore it was not a Roman empire and thus not a proper empire. Furthermore, it never include Spain, Portugal, Britain, or most of italy, Austria, Slovenia, and other parts of the Western Roman Empire.

Indeed, the Napoleonic Empire was probably the closet that the (Western) Roman Empire ever came to being restored - it consisted of most of the same territory, was ruled by an emperor, had a lingua franca (French), had a universal set of laws, had the city of Rome and the Pope under its jurisdiction, etc, and additionally Napoleon saw himself as a modern-day Roman Emperor, from giving his armies golden eagles, to his naming conventions (senate, consuls, etc)., and even to his buildings (e.g. the triumphal arches).
I would say that the Carolingian Empire and the realm of Emperor Charles V were closer to being restorations of the (Western) Roman Empire. The rulers of those realms at least made a claim to be considered Roman Emperors, which Napoleon never did. Napoleon may have copied elements of the Roman style, but his government was not Roman.
 
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Mar 2016
1,199
Australia
#16
To be a proper empire it is necessary to be a Roman empire. Since the french Empire didn't even claim to be a Roman Empire, there is no sense in discussing whether it was an Roman. Therefore it was not a Roman empire and thus not a proper empire. Furthermore, it never include Spain, Portugal, Britain, or most of italy, Austria, Slovenia, and other parts of the Western Roman Empire.
At the empire's height in 1807-1812, it did indeed include Spain and Portugal (albeit quite briefly and with much of dispute over it), as well as most of Italy, either directly part of France (in the north and centre) or through client states like Eugene's Kingdom of Italy or Murat's Kingdom of Naples. And there's more to emulating the Roman Empire than having all of its territory - the presence of a lingua franca and common legal system are also highly important, in which both Rome and Napoleonic France shared those similarities.
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,296
#18
Just to add some detail to a previous answer, Diocletian was the dominant personality of the four leaders and the main instigator of political direction. Whilst he may have shared status with another and effectively had tetrarchial deputies with their own territories, it was unlikely that he would defer to another leader without good reason and as we observe, once he retired the empire collapses into civil war. No real surprise there, as the Tetrarchy fostered considerable political paranoia about potential takeovers and an arms race had built up forces to a quite ridiculous level.

The concept of sharing power was not unique to certain caesars - it was a fundamental tradition of Roman politics since the birth of the Republic although the idea was less well suited to the maxxed-out status of imperial era Caesars. In fact, even in the late empire, the duality of Roman politics was not usually antagonistic and both east and west considered themelves part of the Roman empire, separated for administration purposes (and practicality, as Diocletian had already noted that the empire was too large for one person to rule. Whereas the Principate had begun with established government with Augustan oversight, the transfer of ruling power from Senate to Caesar was completed by Diocletian's reign which marks the start of the period we call the Dominate. In other words, they had become monarchical, and Roman administration was no longer bound by the civic duty of old - it had become another arena for personal profit).
 
Likes: Theodoric
Feb 2019
686
Serbia
#19
To be a proper empire it is necessary to be a Roman empire.
What? I don't understand this, are the Macedonian Empire, Achamenid Persia, Assyria and literally every other Empire other than Rome and Byzantium not proper empires?

Furthermore, it never include Spain, Portugal, Britain, or most of italy, Austria, Slovenia, and other parts of the Western Roman Empire.
This is painfully untrue. It didn't control them all directly as part of the French realm but it had Spain as a puppet in 1807 and occupied Portugal, though it quickly lost it with the outbreak of the Peninsular War, still all of Spain was claimed and most controlled by Joseph's Kingdom until mid-late 1812. It included all of mainland Italy, France had the direct control over Piedmont, Latium and some parts of Northern Italy with Eugene's Kingdom of Italy in the North and Murat's Naples in the South, France controlled all of mainland Italy this way but never had Sicily and Sardinia. Austria was integrated into the Continental System from 1809 to 1812 and was effectively subjugated, not Austria mind you but all of the Austrian Empire. As for Slovenia: They controlled it directly as part of the Illyrian Provinces, it was part of France from 1809 to 1814.
 
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MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,842
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#20
What? I don't understand this, are the Macedonian Empire, Achamenid Persia, Assyria and literally every other Empire other than Rome and Byzantium not proper empires?
In European civilization there can be only one empire, THE EMPIRE, the Roman Empire including its various forms such as the 'Byzantine" and Holy Roman Empires.

In European civilization other states which called themselves empires were not empires but "empires" in quotes, inferiums instead of imperiums. States which never officially called themselves empires but which were or are informally called empires are even more "empires" and even less empires. Groups of colonial possessions were not empires but should be called by other terms such as "colonialisms", "thallassocracies", etc.

In Non European cultures there were many states which are often described as empires, and a few, a very few, of those alleged "empires", could count as non European "Empire equivalents". Such states would include the Persian realm under the Achaemenid Dynasty, and to a lesser degree under the Arsacid and Sassanid Dynasties, and to a lesser degree under the Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi Dynasties; various, though probably not all, Islamic Caliphates; the Maryan realm, the Mughal realm, and other, though not all, of the Indian states that have been called "empires"; and the Chinese "empire", or various "empires" of various separate Chinese dynasties; and the Inca "empire". And possibly there were a few other nonEuropean "empires" that count as "Empire equivalents".

This is painfully untrue. It didn't control them all directly as part of the French realm but it had Spain as a puppet in 1807 and occupied Portugal, though it quickly lost it with the outbreak of the Peninsular War, still all of Spain was claimed and most controlled by Joseph's Kingdom until mid-late 1812. It included all of mainland Italy, France had the direct control over Piedmont, Latium and some parts of Northern Italy with Eugene's Kingdom of Italy in the North and Murat's Naples in the South, France controlled all of mainland Italy this way but never had Sicily and Sardinia. Austria was integrated into the Continental System from 1809 to 1812 and was effectively subjugated, not Austria mind you but all of the Austrian Empire. As for Slovenia: They controlled it directly as part of the Illyrian Provinces, it was part of France from 1809 to 1814.
And I say that either direct control or legally subordinate status as vassals, tributaries, client states, etc. is necessary to make such states part of a larger state, whether that larger state is an empire or not.

The other members of the NATO Alliance are not part of any hypothetical "American Empire", no matter how useful their NATO membership may be to the USA.

The other members of the Warsaw Pact were not part of any hypothetical "Soviet Empire", no matter how useful their Warsaw Pact membership may have been to the USSR.

The other members of the German Confederation were never part of the Empire of Austria, no matter how useful being the president of it was to the Austrian Emperor.

The members of the Confederation of the Rhine were not part of the "French Empire", however useful being the Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine was to Napoleon.

Independent states which Napoleon persuaded and pressured to follow his continental System for a while were not part of the "French Empire".

You are correct that Slovenia was part of the "French empire" from 1809-1814. I was wrong about that.

But it is incorrect to describe Prussia or Austria as ever being part of the "French Empire". Even when they were allies of Napoleon they were rebuilding their forces, planning for possible future wars against Napoleon when and if the situation seemed favorable.

The Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Italy were never part of the "French Empire", even though their president and later king was Napoleon I, the same man who ruled the so called "French Empire". If two independent states have the same sovereign in a personal union, that does not make one of the states a part of the other.

By the same logic that claims that the Kingdom of Italy was part of the the so called "French Empire", all of the Spanish Kingdoms would have been part of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 to 1556. And all of the Spanish kings includes the gigantic ""Kingdom of the Indias, the Islands and Mainland in the Ocean sea", which certainly vastly increased the size of the Holy Roman Empire.

And of course Napoleon was never the monarch of the allied Kingdom of Naples, that ruled half of the Italian Peninsula, making the Kingdom of Naples even less, if that was possible, part of the so called "French Empire". So a rather minor part of Italy was part of the so called "French Empire".
 

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