Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 September 2021
I trace the senatorial and military elite responses to the 472 civil war and the willingness of senatorial aristocrats to ally themselves with the powerful general Ricimer to restore the city. The efforts of some senatorial aristocrats from the leading families of Rome, the Anicii and the Decii in particular, attest to the continuing influence of a shrinking group of civic leaders. But senatorial aristocrats had developed ties to the Germanic generals and king Odoacer, ensuring their continued role in the recovery of Rome. The removal of a western emperor by the end of the fifth century gave increased political influence to senatorial aristocrats in an admittedly smaller city. The idea of an eastern emperor allowed for the continuation fo the ideals of empire, without undermining senatorial political ascendancy in Rome and Italy. Indeed, the growth of senatorial influence can also be seen in their involvement in religious conflicts of the day. With the absence of a western emperor and living under Germanic Kings, the popes of Rome relied increasingly on senatorial aristocrats as they asserted their independence from eastern imperial and patriarchal control.