Last of the Romans
The description Last of the Romans (Ultimus Romanorum) has historically been given to any man thought to embody the values of Ancient Roman civilization—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's description of Marcus Junius Brutus as the one with whom the old Roman spirit would become extinct.
Many people have been called "Last of the Romans":
- Gaius Asinius Pollio (BC 75–AD 4), one of the last great orators and writers of the Roman Republic.
- Valens (328–378), the Emperor who led his army to a catastrophic defeat in the Battle of Adrianople.
- Ambrosius Aurelianus (5th century), a Romano-British military commander against the Anglo-Saxon invasion.
- Flavius Aëtius (396?–454), a general in the late Western Roman 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.
- Bonifacius (died 432), a general in the late Western Roman Empire. Rival of Flavius Aëtius.
- Ovida (?–480) the last Roman commander in Illyricum, defeated and killed by Odoacer.
- Syagrius (430–?487), the last Roman commander in Gaul before the invasion of the Franks.
- Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480–?525), one of the last great philosophers of Rome.
- Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator (c 485 - c 580), Roman statesman and writer.
- Justinian I "the Great" (?482–565), second of the Justinian Dynasty, and probably the last Byzantine emperor to speak Latin as a first language.
- Flavius Belisarius (505?–565), one of the greatest generals of the Byzantine Empire and one of the most acclaimed generals in history. He was also the only Byzantine general to be granted a Roman Triumph.
- Gregory the Great (540?–604), an influential Pope and native to Rome.
In a more literal sense, it could also refer to:
- Romulus Augustulus, the last de facto Western Roman Emperor.
- Julius Nepos, the last de jure Western Roman Emperor.
- Constantine XI Paleologus, the last de facto Eastern Roman Emperor.
- David of Trebizond, the last of the "Great Komnenoi"
- Andreas Palaiologos, the last de jure Eastern Roman Emperor.
- Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor.
- Nicholas II, the last emperor of the Russian Empire
A different list, "Last of the Romans," was offered in E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898):
- Marcus Junius Brutus, one of the murderers of Caesar.
- Gaius Cassius Longinus, so called by Brutus and by the ancient historian Aulus Cremutius Cordus.
- Stilicho, a powerful Roman general in the early 5th century.
- Flavius Aëtius.
- François Joseph Terasse Desbillons; so called from the elegance and purity of his Latin (1751-1789).
- Alexander Pope called William Congreve "Ultimus Romanorum" (1670-1729).
- Thomas Carlyle called Samuel Johnson "Ultimus Romanorum".
- Wickham, Chris (2009). The Inheritance of Rome. Penguin Books. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-670-02098-0.
- "Message for the 14th centenary of the death of Pope St Gregory the Great". The Vatican. 22 October 2003.
- "Larry Dugan's Eye-water to Laugh in One's Sleeve". Bibliomania.
- Carlyle, Thomas (1840). On Heroes, Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History.
- Elizabeth Fox-Genovese; Eugene D. Genovese (2005). The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview. Cambridge University Press. p. 278.