The identity of West hinges on literary productions of Ennodius. In him we see a Latin go from mocking Germanics & loving Eastern Romans to vice versa.
His fave intellectual trick is to ask who the real barbarians were based on reversal of attributes. Eastern Romans are transformed into a crafty & violent breed with too much Hellenisation. Germanics became at one with holiness, valour, strength & kindness.
Basically, Ennodius (d. 521) suffered (along with the West for 1,500 years) a very nasty case of Stockholm Syndrome.
INTRO to INTRA-ROMAN HATRED: The Italo-Romans for whom Anthemius played the martyr (giving his daughter to Ricimer) disparaged him as a savage little Greek.
Obvious stockholm syndrome comes to fore at several points. When Eastern Romans aren't involved, Ennodius admits men like Nepos had to (mindshatteringly) get used to talking to Goths (like Euric) as equals not subordinates.
Romulus Augustus was never recognised by Constantinople. Nepos was last Roman figurehead in West.
As far as Ennodius was concerned, the western Empire never ceased to exist. The political changes ushered in by the events of 476 were essentially meaningless to him, a reality demonstrated by continued references to gov as the Roman Empire.
Ground is set for Theoderican [Germanic] notions of restoration and renovation of Romanitas.
Ennodius: “Everywhere a massive sadness oppressed us, since inactivity was impairing the faculties of eloquent men, while rapacious disregard was stealing away the ostentation of our elders and youths were not aroused towards emulation worthy of pursuit.”
Roman society, it seemed, was in last stages of totally losing itself.
What's funny is that a provincialist Stockholm syn set in so bad that Cassiodorus loved being ruled by a Goth but loathed Roman Galla Placidia's offer of Illyricum to Byz (in return for acknowledgment of Valentinian III's rule in West).
Tbf to guys like Ennodius, it's concrete geography over abstract identities: it's a just a long game of envy (better to applaud the Germans of OUR patch than love the abstract notion of our Romans on that faraway patch).
Odoacer: ah man i can't believe I managed to shunt off the western puppet emperors & pretend i am a petty agent of byz

Zeno: lol akuallly Nepos is your imperial (& senior) colleague, he tech rules you from his hide-out in Dalmatia – legitimacy is different to power.
Important to remember that as late as 487 Odoacer was inc Emperor Zeno as partner in his triumph against the Rugians (some Norwegian migrants).
Theoderic was meant to be a [roman] patrician. That was his Italian commission. He was an gothic king [of pannonian goths] with no claim to roman sovereign land. A patricius beholden to constantinople, there was to be NO rex italiae.
There's a fascinating denouement tho. c. 497-8 Head of Senate Festus returns to Theoderic with the imperial vestments/regalia Odovacer had sent East. WTF that made Theoderic was anybody's guess.
Let's cut to chase: Myopic Italo-Romans wanted a Roman empire centred on Italy but instead they got a Roman Empire that was ONLY Italy. Idiots ensured the senior Rome soon sank in status behind "Second Rome" Constantinople.
Theoderic was not a basileus/imperator. Bt he didn't disqualify himself from those associations by being a simple rex. He also employed princeps (v much in imperial tradition), pregnant with meanings that Byz couldn't necessarily monopolise.
He celebrated traditional Games as princeps in 500 and 519. He had monuments erected at the princeps' order. Theoderic = interesting coz extraordinarily conscious of antiquity & its resurrection:

'ut... nostris temporibus videatur antiquitas decentius innovata."
Just as republican principes had been reges in disguise so too were Gothic principes imperatores and basileis in disguise.
cf. cassiodorus: superficial deference to anastasius while building up Rome/Italy as one of two Roman republics tha t constituted the empire i.e. parity.
Could only be stretched so far tho. Coinage in Theoderician Italy almost always bears Eastern Emperor's bust and name on the obverse.
Justinian wanted this respect demonstrated in statues too. Henceforth all statues of Italy's ruler would have to be accompanied by Eastern Emperor (in senior position) lol.
You can chart the struggle between East & West in inscriptions. Which vary from Anastasius being Augustus and Theoderic being a 'great man' all the way down to Byz not even being referenced & Theo becoming semper augustus!
one of the most fukkked up was synod in Rome (498): attendees shout in unison X30 long live theoderic. Pope gets X20. Anastasius = none. WTAF. Fraternity clearly negotiable. No Wonder Justinian sent the lads in for a word.
My absolute fave to show how weird Romans in Rome had become is describing Theoderic as the 'subduer of barbarians (domitor gentium...)'
Theoderic's robes were dyed with imperial purple. Italian sources such as Variae are riddled with ref to him as "purple-clad" (purpuratus)... tho must be careful that it's not jsut a synonym for being royal.
He also almost certainly wore a diadem. Ennodius wrote of a 'wreath of woven gems' on his head and a 'jewel guarded by a snake' too. Gregory of Tours claimed Clovis also crowned himself with a diadem after receiving an honorary consulship from Anastasius in 508.
Prokopios got his weird & wonderful [roman] own-back on theoderic by describing a brick portrait of him crumbling in Naples in a manner that clearly divined the future lol
Goths –––– until Byz sorted them out –––– were very proud of being the only barbarians not to be conquered by Romans.
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