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who was the ruler of the roman empire?

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4 Answers

There were many rulers of the Roman Empire beginning with Augustus who took the title Caesar like his predecessor and great-uncle, Julius Caesar.  Later, when the Roman Empire was split into the Eastern Roman Empire and Western Roman Empire, there were 2 Emperors.  After the fall of the Western Roman Empire (commonly said to be 476 AD) the Western Roman Emperor became the the sole ruler of the Roman Empire until Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453 AD and the Roman Empire ceased to exist. 


Edward did you mean to say that the Eastern Roman Emperor became the sole ruler after 476 AD?
Incidently there were claiments to the title in former Byzantine territories until 1461. With some justification
one could also say that Charlemagne and later Otto I could be regarded as the legitimate succesors to
the Western Empire, they certainly regarded themselves as such! Using this argument one could stick ones neck out and postulate that the Empire actual lasted another 800 years and in some senses is with us yet....
Yes, I did mean to say that the Eastern Roman Emperor became
the sole ruler after 476 AD.  Thank you
for bringing that to my attention, John. 
Although Charlemagne was arguably a Roman Emperor as well, since he was
crowned by the Pope, I’ve always considered him a Holy Roman Emperor, in the
fashion of Frederick Barbarossa and Otto I. 

P.S. “I, Claudius” was great as was, “Claudius the God”.    

The roman imperial period starts in about 27 BC. The first Emperor being Augustus who took the name
Octavian in 44 BC. The Emperors always maintained the fiction that they were not monarchs but leaders
of a republic. Sucession was frequently heireditary but could also be by proclamation. The last Emperor
in the west was Julius Nepo circ 480 AD. For a good picture of Imperial Rome try reading the novel
" I Claudius " by Robert Graves
There were several rulers of the Roman Empire, from the time it was started by Augustus to its fall during the time of Nero.  Note: The Empire is distinctive from the Republic, which preceded it, and the Kingdom, which preceded the Republic.  I wouldn't normally recommend Wikipedia, but they have a good summary of the history of both the Republic and the Empire, so try looking around there.