All rights reserved by the author
Homer Dewayne Shappley
FACTS and FICTIONS Regarding the
Duration of the Roman Empire
History perverted and the errors propagated by commentators, professors, preachers, teachers, editors, and other writers, both online and in print.
This document is referenced in sections of the commentary “Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment” where it is vital to correctly fix prophecies, visions, and events in their proper context on the timeline of centuries and ages to the present.
The key FACTS are: The Sixth Head-King-Mountain-Kingdom of Revelation is the Roman Empire. That Empire would continue as a powerful kingdom until 1555 CE (Common Era. Christian Age for Christians) and in a debilitated state until 1806 CE. It did not fall in 476 CE. These simple FACTS are, I am convinced, essential for an accurate interpretation of the prophecies of Revelation and Daniel on the Seven Heads-Kings-Mountains, the Ten Horns-Kings-Kingdoms, and the fearsome “little horn.”
The widespread belief, expressed as a fact, of many preachers and teachers of religion to the effect that the Roman Empire ended in 476 CE is absolutely not a fact at all. That myth, that fiction, that unfounded belief, repeated for about four centuries, or more, in books and magazines, in classrooms and pulpits, in sermons and articles, in encyclopedias and dictionaries, and documents online has had a most deleterious impact on the interpretation of Revelation and related prophecies. That “impact” is defined after evidence in support of the above statements is presented.
Corroborating Evidence for the “FACTS”
Evidence. The renowned English historian Edward Gibbon, whose history of “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” (published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788) is among the 54 volumes of “Great Books of the Western World,” set the year 1555 CE for the practical end of the Roman Empire and 1806 CE for its absolute end which took place when Napoleon Bonaparte forced Emperor Francis II, the last Holy Roman Empire emperor, to renounce his title and position, an event that took place on August 6, 1806. That “Francis II” reigned as Francis I, Emperor of Austria from 1804 to 1835, taking the title of “Emperor” in response to Napoleon’s being constituted “Emperor of the French” on December 2, 1804. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_II,
Evidence. Historians Will and Arial Durant, husband and wife, present similar documentation in “The Age of Faith,” the 6th volume of their magna work “The Story of Civilization,” in 11 large volumes, for which they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Today, in the 3rd decade of the 21st century, more and more historians, writers, and teachers accept these “FACTS.” However, according to my own investigations, it seems difficult
for not a few of even these to rid themselves completely of all related fictions and myths. Though they may say that an entity called the “Byzantine Empire” was, in reality, the Eastern Roman Empire, some continue to use both names even in the same paragraph! It is as if that name “Byzantine” has cast such a strong spell on them that they are not willing
Dear visitor, you might say: “Hello! I live in India… Nigeria… Ghana… The Philippines… Indonesia… Kenya… The Netherlands… The USA… in the 21st century. Why should such a dry-sounding subject be important to me or you, wherever you live?”
My humble reply: Because “Roman” is very much alive today in almost the whole world. Both as an earthly and a religious empire. May occupy valuable material property close to you and exercise mental-religious-moral-spiritual dominion over people you know. Maybe even you yourself. Its towers and spires dominate the skyline of thousands and thousands of cities and towns. Of course, I have reference to the “ROMAN Catholic Church-Empire,” its monstrous, worldwide governing hierarchy, as well as its immense properties and secular financial investments.
Not just “Catholic Church,” my friend, meaning “Universal Church” but “ROMAN Catholic Church.” A name that links it directly with the earthly city of ROME in Italy and thereby historically to the earthly Roman Empire.
Furthermore, its vast hierarchy is organized, dresses as, imposes itself, and generally proceeds like the ruling powers of the earthly Imperial Roman Empire. With the Pope-Emperor at the top claiming worldwide dominion not only of souls but also of all earthly-political-secular powers.
As such, the ROMAN Catholic Church-Empire of today is much, much more invasive, conquering, and dominating than the earthly Roman Empire ever was even at its zenith. If you are not already a loyal citizen of the “ROMAN Catholic Church Empire,” that “Empire” wants to make you one. More obedient to the Pope-Emperor than to any other ruler in the world, even in Heaven itself.
Beginning in 312 CE with the conversion to Christianity of the Roman emperor Constantine I, the apostate church in western Europe interacted with both the Western Roman Empire, centered in Rome, and the Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople, not attaining even the semblance of “Roman Catholic Church-Empire” until 607 CE when Bishop Bonifacio III of Rome “obtained a decree” from the usurper Emperor Phocas in Constantinople “which restated that ‘the See of blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the churches,’” thus authorizing the bishop of Rome to take the title of “Universal Bishop.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Boniface_III
Though the bishop of Rome now had his coveted title of “Universal Bishop,” he was nevertheless inferior in power and influence to the Bishop of Constantinople until the defeat of the Eastern Roman Empire by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE.
The comparatively weak Western Apostate Catholic Church-Empire interacted with the much-weak-ened secular Western Roman Empire until what was left of this one was absorbed in 800 CE by the new Holy Roman Empire which lasted until 1806 CE.
Right. December 25, 800, Charlemagne is crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by Pope Leo III
The Western Apostate Catholic Church-Empire possessed territories, called Papal States, in the Italian peninsula from 756 to 1870 CE. By 1861, most of those states had been conquered by the Kingdom of Italy and by 1870 the Pope had no physical territory at all. In 1929, Benito Mussolini, head of the new Italian state, negotiated the Lateran Treaty with the Holy Seat (See), ceding the Pope and his Roman Curia 121 acres of Rome, an internationally recognized sovereign territory known as Vatican City.
Thus, to say: “The Roman Empire fell in 476 CE,” is to state an absolute UNTRUTH! It prematurely divorces the Western Apostate Catholic Church-Empire from the earthly Roman Empire, the Western in particular, by 1,199 years! From 607 when Bonifacio III took the title of “Universal Bishop” in Rome to 1806 for the correct end of the earthly Roman Empire.
So, the earthly, secular Roman Empire finally came to an official end on August 6, 1806, as the data in this article proves. However, its world-dominating spirit and agenda, and its “Empire” form of government, live on TODAY in the Earthly Religious Empire composed of the Latin Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Chaldean Catholic Church, and any other church in full communion with the Pope and the Roman Curia in Vatican City.
Hope you will be motivated to read, at least peruse, this “dry-sounding subject.”
to stop using it. Not good! Not professional! Not totally honest! Because there never was a political entity called “Byzantine Empire.”
FICTION: That a “Byzantine Empire” existed.
The TRUTH. The Romans of the eastern part of the empire never identified themselves as “Byzantines,” nor their culture as “Byzantine.” Neither their part of the Roman Empire as the “Byzantine Empire.” They continued to be Romans, and their dominions, the Roman Empire.
Evidence. The term “Byzantine Empire” is purely an invention of historians from the 16th century on.
“The first use of the term ‘Byzantine’ to label the later years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiae Byzantinae, a collection of historical sources.” www.wikipedia.org/Byzantine Empire
Regarding the word “Byzantine,” the Miriam-Webster Dictionary Online provides the following information: First Known Use of Byzantine as an adjective: 1651. As a noun: 1651.” Dear reader, did you get that year? Not 330 CE, nor 476 CE, neither 606 CE, but 1651 CE, or 1651 of the Christian
Age for Christians.
As an adjective: “of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient city of Byzantium. Byzantine art. Often not capitalized: of, relating to, or characterized by a devious and usually surreptitious manner of operation. The figurative sense of labyrinthine deviousness first appeared in the late 1930s.”
As a noun: “a native or inhabitant of Byzantium.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Byzantine. “
Evidence. “The very name Byzantine illustrates the misconceptions to which the empire’s history has often been subject, for its inhabitants would hardly have considered the term appropriate to themselves or to their state. Theirs was, in their view, none other than the Roman Empire… They called themselves Romaioi, or Romans.”
The above statement is from the “Encyclopedia Britannica.” Article: “Byzantine Empire.” However, incredulously, an effort to justify the designation of “Byzantine Empire” is made in the article. For example: “Modern historians agree with them only in part…” That is, that they should call themselves “Romaioi” and not “Byzantines,” and their kingdom the “Roman Empire” and not the “Byzantine Empire.” A weird observation, I must say, particularly for the venerable “Encyclopedia Britannica.” And ask: What right do modern historians have to call a people of the past by a name they never used for themselves, or their kingdom by a name they never applied to it? In truth, the “Britannica” should not even have an article entitled “Byzantine Empire,” for such an entity never existed!
Evidence from the National Geographic. “Although Greek was declared the official language of the Empire soon after the time of Justin, the people of the Orient still held themselves to be Romans. (They called the Franks ‘Latins,” or even worse, ‘barbarians.’) Their Emperor of the Romans was the legitimate heir of Augustus Cesar. Until 1453, their Empire was the Roman Empire. However, it was the old pagan Roman world Christianized and turned upside down, that is, it was the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.” National Geographic. December 1983. “The Byzantine Empire.” Page 727
Evidence. “The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capitol city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe."
Double-headed eagle flag of the
Eastern Roman Empire.
"Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire (Medieval Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, romanized: Basileía Rhōmaíōn) or Romania (Medieval Greek: Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as Romans (Medieval Greek: Ῥωμαῖοι, romanized: Rhōmaîoi) – a term which Greeks continued to use for themselves into Ottoman times.” www.wikipedia.org/Byzantine Empire May 25, 2021
Well now, dear Wikipedia, neither should you have
an entry called “Byzantine Empire,” for in the very
article you do have by that title you say, and rightly
so: “Byzantine Empire is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire,” both in Greek and Latin. Why have an article about an entity that never existed?
Evidence. In the Wikipedia article “Fall of the Western Roman Empire” and with reference to the date of 476 CE for its “fall,” it is stated: “While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again. It never again controlled any portion of Western Europe to the North of the Alps. The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire, survived, and though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_the_Western_Roman_Empire
The Coat of Arms of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Observation. The Western Roman Empire did, indeed, continue to be legitimate for centuries after 476 CE, a FACT professors, preachers, and writers need to accept in order to be themselves considered “properly informed and legitimate.” The Eastern Roman Empire was never called “Byzantine Empire,” though the writer of the article insists on perpetuating that myth.
Evidence. The healing of the “mortal wound” received by the 6th head of the First Beast of Revelation 13 did not produce a new “beast” or new “head-kingdom” called the “Byzantine Empire.”
The Roman Empire, the Sixth Head of the First Beast of Revelation 13, also represented by the Sixth Mountain and the Sixth King of Revelation 17, suffered what seemed to be a "mortal wound" (Revelation 13:3), caused in great part by terrible civil wars, especially during the “Crisis of the 3rd Century,” also called the “Military Anarchy” and the “Imperial Crisis,”, and including the civil war between Constantine I and Maxentius, his brother-in-law.
In 312 CE, Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge, near Rome, and proceeded to unite the empire. He built a new, fabulous capitol for the Empire at Byzantium, on the Bosporus Strait, a strategic point between Europe and Asia. Inaugurated May 11, 330 CE, the new capitol was called, at first, “New Rome,” but soon renamed Constantinople in honor of its founder
An artistic representation of the great city of Constantinople aproximating its development in the 7th century CE.
“In less than two centuries, Constantinople became the richest, most beautiful and civilized city of the world. By the year 337 a. d., it had 50,000 inhabitants; by the year 400, approximately 100,000; and by the year 500, almost 1,000,000.” “History of Civilization,” Volume IV, “The Era of Faith,” Pages 3-5, by Will and Ariel Durant.
Thus was the seemingly mortal wound healed! The healing was of the Roman Empire and did not produce a new political-religious entity, a new and different “beast-head-mountain” called the “Byzantine Empire.” Constantine and the multitudes who accompanied him to build and occupy “New Rome” were not Byzantines but Romans. “Byzantium” was the name of the geographical place chosen for the new Roman capitol. It was replaced with the new name of “Constantinople.”
Clearly, the “Byzantine Empire” is a myth concocted by careless historians and spread worldwide by many, both secular and religious, who have not diligently done their homework. For long years, I repeated that same error until my own extensive investigations unveiled it.
Evidence. Professor Gonzalo Fernández Hernández, of the University of Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain, wrote in an article in Wikipedia: “476 does not mean the end of any empire… Ruling barbarians federated with the Roman Empire recognize the nominal sovereignty of the sole emperor based in Constantinople… In theory, this situation continued until the imperial coronation of Charlamagne…” Translated from the original in Spanish in www.wikipedia.org Artículo: Decadencia del Imperio Romano. By the way, those “barbarians” were not pagan but Arian Christians. Also, for Charlemagne’s true relationship to the Roman Empire, see the second "FICTION" below for his own instructive words.
Roman coins (a Solidus) showing that Odoacer recognized Zeno, in Constantinople, as emperor of the Roman Empire, including the Western part.
FICTION. That Flavius Odoacer was an idolatrous pagan German who tore the western part of the Roman Empire totally away from the eastern part.
FACT. On the contrary, he was an Arian Christian who considered himself a Roman and subject to the Roman emperor Zeno (476-491 CE), in Constantinople. He kept “the administration of Italy in his own hands while recognizing the overlordship of the Eastern emperor. Odoacer introduced few important
changes into the administrative system of Italy. He had the support of the Senate at Rome.” Encyclopedia Britannica. Article: Odoacer
“When Odoacer compelled the abdication of Romulus Augustulus, he did not abolish the Western Empire as a separate power, but caused it to be reunited with or sink into the Eastern, so that from that time there was a single undivided Roman Empire ...”  James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, academic, jurist, historian. The Holy Roman Empire, 1864, pp. 62–64. As cited in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne#Coronation
FICTION. That the Holy Roman Empire was not a continuation of the Western Roman Empire.
FACT. It was most certainly conceived to be just that by the chief protagonists in play.
In this painting, Charlemagne, kneeling, turns his head as if surprised by Pope Leo's action of coming from behind him to crown him "Emperor of the Romans." Some evidence of that time indicates he was; other, that he had previous knowledge of what was to take place.
Evidence. “[Pope Leo III and Charlemagne], like their predecessors, held the Roman Empire to be one and indivisible, and proposed by the coronation of [Charlemagne] not to proclaim a severance of the East and West ... they were not revolting against a reigning sovereign, but legitimately filling up the place of the deposed Constantine VI ... [Charlemagne] was held to be the legitimate successor, not of Romulus Augustulus, but of Constantine VI ...”  James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, academic, jurist, historian. The Holy Roman Empire, 1864, pp. 62–64. As cited in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne#Coronation
Evidence. “Charlemagne used these circumstances to claim that he was the “renewer of the Roman Empire,” which had declined under the Byzantines. [Remember, dear reader: The citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire called themselves “Romans,” never “Byzantines".] In his official charters, Charles preferred the style Karolus serenissimus Augustus a Deo coronatus magnus pacificus imperator Romanum gubernans imperium  ("Charles, most serene Augustus crowned by God, the great, peaceful emperor ruling the Roman Empire") to the more direct Imperator Romanorum ("Emperor of the Romans").
"The title of Emperor remained in the Carolingian family for years to come, but divisions of territory and in-fighting over supremacy of the Frankish state weakened its significance.  The papacy itself never forgot the title nor abandoned the right to bestow it. When the family of Charles ceased to produce worthy heirs, the Pope gladly crowned whichever Italian magnate could best protect him from his local enemies. The empire would remain in continuous existence for over a millennium, as the Holy Roman Empire, a true imperial successor to Charles.” 
108. Cf. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Diplomata Karolinorum I, 77ff.; title used from 801 onward.
109. Cantor 2015, pp. 194–95, 212.
110. Davies1996, pp. 316–17.
The Imperial Crown of the
Holy Roman Empire
To be sure, it would remain until August 6, 1806, CE when Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, was deposed by Napoleon.
Now, beloved, regarding this “dry-sounding subject,” there is another reason for it you may not have given much thought, to wit: It is important because both of us need to know where we are on the timeline of this material-physical world in order to identify the major players in the Grand Drama of Humanity unfolding in the 21st century, and where, in general, they are taking humanity. That both you and I may decide intelligently if we wish to follow them or find a better, more promising way.
For the empires, nations, and other political-secular-religious powers of the world, the Roman Empire being one of the most outstanding, have influenced, determined to some degree, even ordained the earthly and eternal destines of world populations, and continue to do so. Do you wish to capitulate yourself unthinkingly to them or make your own informed, intelligent way? As for me, I choose the latter. And that takes a lot of mental, spiritual energy and acuity. That is to say, much study and objective reasoning.
The end of the great, powerful, long-lasting Roman Empire, whenever it was, was not, of course, the end of the world.
After that Empire comes the Seventh King. And after him, the Eight. Then, there are also the Ten Horns-Kingdoms and the Little Horn-Kingdom. And the Powers of the Orient. Revelation 9:12-20; 17:1-18. And committing spiritual adultery with all of them to some degree or another, the “great prostitute” with “Babylon the Great” written on her forehead. Revelation 17:1-18; 18:1-24
If there is any way for you and me to intelligently identify these as they come on the “Grand World Stage of Times and Peoples” and determine the moral-philosophical-religious-spiritual agenda of each, then each of us can decide to support that agenda or a better, more promising one. Supposing, of course, that one should have knowledge of a better, more promising one. A chief purpose of this Site is to make that better one known.
That most deleterious impact of the false Narrative that says: “The Roman Empire Ended
in 476 CE”
The patently false historical fallacies-fictions-myths of…
“476 CE for the fall of the Roman Empire…
Odoacer, a pagan barbarian who took over the Roman Empire, converting it into another kind of political-religious entity…
A Byzantine Empire distinct and separate from the Roman Empire…”
…has produced equally false perspectives and narratives on the prophecies and signs of Revelation.
Because the thesis of many commentators, professors, preachers, pastors, teachers, and editors who hold those false historical fallacies as unquestionable facts is that the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled by what is for them the red-letter year 476 CE.
By thus limiting the temporal reach of
the prophecies, and subsequently the
signs of their fulfillment, to times
before 476 CE, they do, effectively,
deprive Christians after that time, including those of actual modern times, of all those prophecies and signs of Revelation they assign to pre 476 CD. Generally, according to them: “No Revelation prophecies and signs for Christians after 476 CE, with the exception of those about the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the material universe.” Some go much farther still, affirming categorically that the whole book of Revelation was written and fulfilled before the end of the year 70 CE, including the Second Coming of Christ!
However, reasonable interpretations developed in this commentary (At least, I consider them “reasonable”) supported by abundant evidence make it clear (At least, to me personally) that most of the visions and prophecies of Revelation have had, as many continue to have, their fulfillment after 476 CE. That being true for me, you, esteemed reader, can understand why, for me, it is a very serious offense to deprive present-day Christians of them, an offense made graver still by appealing to the historical fallacy-fiction of “Rome fell in 476 and Revelation was fulfilled before that year.”
In any place and period of time, Christians need to “know perfectly… the seasons and the times” in which they live so that they may be “children of the light and… the day,” not children “of the night, nor of darkness.” Full and accurate knowledge of applicable prophecies and signs enables them to see and understand what is taking place in the secular-religious world about them. Armed with that knowledge, they are not surprised nor discomfited completely by threatening developments. They are not overtaken by them as by a “thief in the night.” They are not like one “drunken in the night” of intellectual, spiritual ignorance. Rather they are “sober” and armed with “the whole armor of God.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-7; Ephesians 6:10-20
Likewise, the multitudes of unconverted souls all around the earthly globe need to have a knowledge of authentic prophecies and signs in order that they might perhaps, hopefully, come to have faith in the credibility of their Celestial Author and align themselves with his will. Showing them, with clarity and kindness, where they are pictured in Revelation and other Bible prophecies may awaken them to their spiritual fate should they choose to remain where they are. But how will they ever change if they are deprived of that knowledge?
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Category. Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. Commentary.