Last of the Romans

The term Last of the Romans (Latin: Ultimus Romanorum) has historically been used to describe a person 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.

Valens, 66th Roman emperor
Justinian the Great, Byzantine Emperor
Pope Gregory I, Saint and Pope

List of people described as the "Last of the Romans"

In Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean

In England

In the United States

In the United States, "last of the Romans" was used on numerous occasions during the early 19th century as an epithet for the 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, or established the United States Constitution.[18]

List of rulers who, in a more literal sense, also could be described as "Last of the Romans"


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  12. Hughes, Ian (2009). Belisarius: The Last Roman General. South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 9781844158331.
  13. "The Last of the Romans: Cassiodorus between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople - Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies". Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  14. "Message for the 14th centenary of the death of Pope St Gregory the Great". The Vatican. 22 October 2003.
  15. Mathisen, Ralph W. (2013). Desiderius of Cahors: Last of the Romans (part of "Gallien in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter" conference proceedings). De Gruyter. p. 455. ISBN 3110260778.
  16. Carlyle, Thomas (1840). On Heroes, Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History.
  17. Blake, Robert (2013). The Decline of Power, 1915-1964. Faber Finds. p. 132. ISBN 9780571296262.
  18. 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.
  19. Pocock, J.G.A. (2015). Barbarism and Religion: Volume 6, Barbarism: Triumph in the West. Cambridge University Press. p. 461. ISBN 1316300307.
  20. Ward-Perkins, Bryan (2000). Why Did the Anglo-Saxons Not Become More British. Oxford: Trinity College.