Last of the Romans

Last of the Romans

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The description Last of the Romans (Ultimus Romanorum) has historically been given to any man thought to embody the values of Ancient Roman civilization
Culture of ancient Rome
Ancient Roman culture existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which, at its peak, covered an area from Lowland Scotland and Morocco to the Euphrates.Life in ancient Rome...

 - values which, by implication, became extinct on his death.

It has been used to describe a number of individuals. The first recorded instance was Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

's description of Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus
Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

 as the one with whom the old Roman spirit would become extinct.

Many people have been called "Last of the Romans":
  • Gaius Asinius Pollio
    Gaius Asinius Pollio (consul 40 BC)
    Gaius Asinius Pollio was a Roman soldier, politician, orator, poet, playwright, literary critic and historian, whose lost contemporary history, provided much of the material for the historians Appian and Plutarch...

     (BC 75–AD 4), one of the last great orators and writers of the Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

    .
  • Valens
    Valens
    Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

     (328–78), the Emperor who led his army to a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Adrianople
    Battle of Adrianople
    The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

    .
  • Ambrosius Aurelianus
    Ambrosius Aurelianus
    Ambrosius Aurelianus, ; called Aurelius Ambrosius in the Historia Regum Britanniae and elsewhere, was a war leader of the Romano-British who won an important battle against the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century, according to Gildas...

     (5th c.), a Romano-British
    Romano-British
    Romano-British culture describes the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest of AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and...

     military commander against the Anglo-Saxon
    Anglo-Saxons
    Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

     invasion.
  • Flavius Aëtius
    Flavius Aëtius
    Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

     (396?–454), a general in the late Western Roman Empire
    Western Roman Empire
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

     who defended the Gauls against the Franks and other barbarians, and defeated Attila in the Catalaunian Fields  near Châlons, in 451. So called by Procopius
    Procopius
    Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

    .
  • Bonifacius
    Bonifacius
    Comes Bonifacius was a Roman general and governor of the Diocese of Africa. Along with his rival, Flavius Aëtius, he is sometimes termed "the last of the Romans."...

     (died 432), a general in the late Western Roman Empire
    Western Roman Empire
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

    . Rival of Flavius Aëtius.
  • Ovida
    Ovida
    Ovida was a general during the late Western Roman Empire and the last Roman ruler of Dalmatia.Following Flavius Orestes's coup against the Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos on August 28, 475, Ovida remained loyal to the Emperor and accompanied him on his escape to Dalmatia...

     (?–480) the last Roman commander in Illyricum
    Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum
    The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was one of four praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided.The administrative centre of the prefecture was Sirmium , and, after 379, Thessalonica...

    , defeated and killed by Odoacer
    Odoacer
    Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

    .
  • Syagrius
    Syagrius
    Syagrius was the last Roman official in Gaul, whose defeat by king Clovis I of the Franks is considered the end of Roman rule outside of Italy. He came to this position through inheritance, for his father was Aegidius, the last Roman magister militum per Gallias...

     (430–?487), the last Roman commander in Gaul
    Gaul
    Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

     before the invasion of the Franks
    Franks
    The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

    .
  • Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
    Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius
    Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius was a philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. His father, Flavius Manlius Boethius, was consul in 487 after...

     (480–?525), one of the last great philosophers of Rome.
  • Justinian I
    Justinian I
    Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

     "the Great" (?482–565), second of the Justinian Dynasty
    Justinian Dynasty
    The Justinian Dynasty is a family who ruled over the Byzantine Empire from 518 to 602. It originated with Justin I and ended with Maurice. Patriarch Germanus I of Constantinople , whose father was named Justinian, might have been a descendant of the dynasty...

    , and probably the last Byzantine emperor to speak Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     as a first language,.
  • Flavius Belisarius (505?–565), one of the greatest generals of the Byzantine Empire
    Byzantine Empire
    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

     and one of the most acclaimed generals in history. He was also the only Byzantine general to be granted a Roman Triumph
    Roman triumph
    The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

    .
  • Gregory the Great (540?–604), an influential Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

     and native to Rome.


In a more literal sense, it could also refer to:
  • Romulus Augustus
    Romulus Augustus
    Romulus Augustus , was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476...

    , the last de facto Western Roman Emperor.
  • Julius Nepos
    Julius Nepos
    Julius Nepos was Western Roman Emperor de facto from 474 to 475 and de jure until 480. Some historians consider him to be the last Western Roman Emperor, while others consider the western line to have ended with Romulus Augustulus in 476...

    , the last de jure Western Roman Emperor.
  • Charlemagne
    Charlemagne
    Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

    , the last emperor to win control of Rome.
  • Constantine XI Paleologus, the last de facto Eastern Roman Emperor.
  • David of Trebizond
    David of Trebizond
    David Megas Komnenos was the last Emperor of Trebizond from 1459 to 1461. He was the third son of Emperor Alexios IV of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene....

    , the last of the "Great Komnenoi"
  • Andreas Palaiologos
    Andreas Palaiologos
    Andreas Palaiologos titular Byzantine emperor and Despot of Morea from 1465 until his death in 1502.-Biography:He was the nephew of Constantine XI Palaiologos, the last Byzantine Emperor of Constantinople...

    , the last de jure Eastern Roman Emperor.
  • Francis II
    Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
    Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor, ruling from 1792 until 6 August 1806, when he dissolved the Empire after the disastrous defeat of the Third Coalition by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz...

    , the last Holy Roman Emperor
    Holy Roman Emperor
    The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

    .


A different list, "Last of the Romans," was offered in E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898):
  • Marcus Junius Brutus
    Marcus Junius Brutus
    Marcus Junius Brutus , often referred to as Brutus, was a politician of the late Roman Republic. After being adopted by his uncle he used the name Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus, but eventually returned to using his original name...

    , one of the murderers of Caesar.
  • Gaius Cassius Longinus
    Gaius Cassius Longinus
    Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

    , so called by Brutus and by the ancient historian Aulus Cremutius Cordus
    Aulus Cremutius Cordus
    Aulus Cremutius Cordus was a Roman historian. There are very few remaining fragments of his work, that covered the civil war and the reign of Augustus Caesar. In 25 AD he was forced by Sejanus who was praetorian prefect under Tiberius to take his life after being accused of maiestas...

    .
  • Stilicho
    Stilicho
    Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

    , a powerful Roman general in the early 5th century.
  • Flavius Aëtius
    Flavius Aëtius
    Flavius Aëtius , dux et patricius, was a Roman general of the closing period of the Western Roman Empire. He was an able military commander and the most influential man in the Western Roman Empire for two decades . He managed policy in regard to the attacks of barbarian peoples pressing on the Empire...

    .
  • François Joseph Terasse Desbillons; so called from the elegance and purity of his Latin (1751-1789).
  • Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson...

     called William Congreve Ultimus Romanorum. (1670-1729.)
  • Thomas Carlyle
    Thomas Carlyle
    Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era.He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator.Coming from a strict Calvinist family, Carlyle was...

     called Samuel Johnson
    Samuel Johnson
    Samuel Johnson , often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer...

     "Ultimus Romanorum".


In the United States, the "last of the Romans" may mean the last of the Founding Fathers
Founding Fathers of the United States
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were political leaders and statesmen who participated in the American Revolution by signing the United States Declaration of Independence, taking part in the American Revolutionary War, establishing the United States Constitution, or by some...

.