It is the same empire until the tetrarchy of Dioclesian in 284 or at the latest the division of Theodosius in 395…the Romans are the Western Romans (395-476) which would later be the kingdom of Italy (476-554)… The Byzantines are the Eastern Romans (395-1453)… you have a single Roman Empire (27 BCE-395 CE) and after the Theodosian division you have two Roman empires with two distinct emperors…
The term Western Roman Empire is used in modern historiography to refer to the western provinces of the Roman Empire, collectively, during any period in which they were administered separately from the eastern provinces by a separate, independent Imperial court—-and particularly during the period from 395 to 476, in which there were separate, coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western provinces from that of the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire were coined in modern times to describe political entities that were de facto independent; contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two imperial courts as an administrative expediency. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, and the Western imperial court in Ravenna was formally dissolved by Justinian in 554. The Eastern imperial court lasted until 1453.
Though the 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 was institutionalised with reforms to Roman law by emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the Third Century. He introduced the system of the tetrarchy in 286, with two senior emperors titled Augustus, 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 administrative division would endure in one form or another over the coming centuries. As such, the Western Roman Empire would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Some emperors, such as Constantine I and Theodosius I, governed as the sole Augustus across the Roman Empire. On the death of Theodosius I in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, with Honorius as his successor in the West, governing briefly from Mediolanum and then from Ravenna, and Arcadius as his successor in the East, governing from Constantinople.
In 476, after the Battle of Ravenna, the Roman Army in the West suffered defeat at the hands of Odoacer and his Germanic foederati. Odoacer forced the deposition of emperor Romulus Augustulus and became the first King of Italy. In 480, following the assassination of the previous Western emperor Julius Nepos, the Eastern emperor Zeno dissolved the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. The date of 476 was popularized by the 18th-century British historian Edward Gibbon as a pivotal event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Odoacer’s Italy, and other barbarian kingdoms, many of them representing former Western Roman allies that had been granted lands in return for military assistance, would maintain a pretense of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court.
In the 6th century, emperor Justinian I re-imposed direct Imperial rule on large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, including the prosperous regions of North Africa, the ancient Roman heartland of Italy and parts of Hispania. Political instability in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious differences, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were gradually lost for good. Though the Eastern Empire retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire had over Western Europe had diminished significantly. The papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions. The Great Schism of 1054 between the churches of Rome and Constantinople further diminished any authority the emperor in Constantinople could hope to exert in the west.
By convention, the Western Roman Empire is deemed to have ended on 4 September 476, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus, but the historical record calls this determination into question. Indeed, the deposition of Romulus Augustus received very little attention in contemporary times. Romulus was a usurper in the eyes of the Eastern Roman Empire and the remaining territories of Western Roman control outside of Italy, with the previous emperor Julius Nepos still being alive and claiming to rule the Western Empire in Dalmatia. Furthermore, the Western court had lacked true power and had been subject ## Germanic aristocrats for decades, with most of its legal territory being under control of various barbarian kingdoms. With Odoacer recognising Julius Nepos, and later the Eastern emperor Zeno, as his sovereign, nominal Roman control continued with Syagrius, who had managed to preserve Roman sovereignty in an exclave in northern Gaul (a realm today known as the Domain of Soissons) also recognized Nepos as his sovereign and the legitimate Western emperor.
The authority of Julius Nepos as emperor was accepted not only by Odoacer in Italy, but by the Eastern Empire and Syagrius in Gaul (who had not recognized Romulus Augustulus). Nepos was murdered by his own soldiers in 480, a plot some attribute to Odoacer or the previous, deposed emperor Glycerius, and the Eastern emperor Zeno chose not to appoint a new Western emperor. Zeno, recognizing that no true Roman control remained over the territories legally governed by the Western court, instead chose to abolish the ######### division of the position of emperor and declared himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire. Zeno became the first sole Roman emperor since the division after Theodosius I, 85 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 ######### sense. These emperors would continue to rule the Roman Empire until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, nearly a thousand years later. As 480 marks the end of the ######### division of the empire into two imperial courts, some historians refer to the death of Nepos and abolition of the Western Empire by Zeno as the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the fall, or abolition, of the Western Empire, many of the new kings of western 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 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 were recognized as ruling the Roman population, though the Goths were ruled by their own traditional laws. 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 and abolition of the old and separate Western Roman administrative units, such as the Praetorian prefecture of Italy, during the sixth century as the “true” fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Roman cultural traditions continued throughout the territory of the Western 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.
As the Western Roman Empire crumbled, the new Germanic rulers who conquered its constituent provinces maintained most Roman laws and traditions. Many of the invading Germanic tribes were already Christianized, although most were followers of Arianism. They quickly changed their adherence to the state church of the Roman Empire. This helped cement the loyalty of the local Roman populations, as well as the support of the powerful Bishop of Rome. Although they initially continued to recognize indigenous tribal laws, they were more influenced by Roman law and gradually incorporated it. Roman law, particularly the Corpus Juris Civilis collected on the orders of Justinian I, is the basis of modern civil law. In contrast, common law is based on 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.
Latin as a language did not disappear. Vulgar Latin combined with neighboring Germanic and Celtic languages, giving rise to modern 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 of Romance languages worldwide. In addition, many Romance languages are used as lingua francas by non-native speakers.
Latin also influenced Germanic languages such as English and German. It survives in a “purer” form as the language of the Catholic Church; the Catholic Mass was spoken exclusively in Latin until ########################################################### As such it was also used as a lingua franca by ################ It remained the language of medicine, law, and diplomacy (most treaties were written in Latin), as well as of intellectuals and scholarship, well into the 18th century. Since then the use of Latin has declined with the growth of other lingua francas, especially English and French. The Latin alphabet was expanded due to the split 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 continue to be used in some fields and situations, though they have largely been replaced by Arabic numerals.
A very visible legacy of the Western Roman Empire is the Catholic Church. Church institutions slowly began to replace Roman ones in the West, even helping to negotiate the safety of Rome during the late 5th century. As 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 had been largely converted to Roman Catholicism and acknowledged the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. The first of the Barbarian kings to convert to the Church of Rome was Clovis I of the Franks; other kingdoms, such as the Visigoths, later followed suit to garner favor with the papacy.
When Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as “Roman Emperor” in 800, he both severed ties with the outraged Eastern Empire and established the precedent that no man in Western Europe would be emperor without a papal coronation. Although the power the Pope wielded changed significantly throughout the subsequent periods, the office itself has remained as the head of the Catholic Church and the head of state of the Vatican City. The Pope has consistently held the title of “Pontifex Maximus” since before the fall of the Western Roman Empire and retains it to this day; this title formerly used by the high priest of the Roman polytheistic religion, one of whom was Julius Caesar.
The Roman Senate survived the initial collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Its authority increased under the rule of Odoacer and later the Ostrogoths, evident by the Senate in 498 managing to install Symmachus as pope despite both Theodoric of Italy and Emperor Anastasius supporting another candidate, Laurentius. Exactly when the senate disappeared is unclear, but the institution is known to have survived at least into the 6th century, inasmuch as gifts from the senate were received by Emperor Tiberius II in 578 and 580. The traditional senate building, Curia Julia, was rebuilt into a church under Pope Honorius I in 630, probably with permission from the Eastern emperor, Heraclius.