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The Dominate, also known as the late Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the "
despotic Despotism ( el, Δεσποτισμός, ''despotismós'') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, go ...
" later phase of imperial government, following the earlier period known as the "
Principate The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republ ...
", in the ancient
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. This phase is more often called the
Tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
Menne, I., ''Power and Status in the Roman Empire, AD 193–284'' (2011) p. 21 at least until 313 when the empire was reunited. It may begin with the commencement of the reign of
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
in AD 284, following the Third Century Crisis of AD 235–284, and to end in the west with the collapse of the
Western Empire
Western Empire
in AD 476, while in the
east
east
its end is disputed, as either occurring at the close of the reign of
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
(AD 565) or of
Heraclius Heraclius ( el, Ἡράκλειος, ''Hērakleios''; c. 575 – 11 February 641), sometimes called Heraclius I, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinop ...
(AD 641). In form, the Dominate is considered to have been more authoritarian, less collegial and more bureaucratic than the Principate from which it emerged.


Etymology

The modern term ''dominate'' is derived from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''dominus'', which translates into English as ''
lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief, or a ruler. The appellation can also denote certain persons who hold a title of the Peera ...

lord
'' or ''master.'' ''Dominus'', traditionally used by Roman slaves to address their masters, was sporadically used in addressing
emperors An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the he ...
throughout the Principate, usually in the form of excessive flattery (or political invective) when referring to the emperor.
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
actively discouraged the practice, and
Tiberius Tiberius Caesar Augustus (; 16 November 42 BC – 16 March AD 37) was the second Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Tiberius
in particular is said to have reviled it as sycophancy.
Domitian Domitian (; la, Domitianus; 24 October 51 – 18 September 96) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles thr ...

Domitian
encouraged its use, but none of the emperors used the term in any semi-official capacity until the reign of
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
in AD 274, where coins were issued bearing the inscription ''deus et dominus natus''. However, it was only under
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
that the term ''dominus'' was adopted as part of the emperor's official titulature, forming part of Diocletian's radical reforms.


Transition from the Principate

The Dominate system of government emerged as a response to the 50 years of chaos that is referred to as the
Crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
. The stresses and strains of those years (chronic usurpations, military insurrections, simultaneous military conflicts across multiple frontiers) exposed the weaknesses in the Roman state under the Principate, and saw a gradual movement from the collegiate model of government that existed prior to AD 235 to a more formally autocratic version that begins after AD 285. In broad terms, it saw the gradual exclusion of the senatorial elite from high military commands and the parallel elevation of the equestrian orders, the reorganisation of the armed forces and the creation of mobile field armies, changes in imperial dress and ceremonial displays, a religious policy aiming at religious unity, large scale monetary reforms, and the creation of an empire-wide civil bureaucracy. Although Diocletian is commonly thought of as creator of the Dominate, its origins lie in the innovations of earlier emperors, principally those undertaken by Aurelian (AD 270–275) some stretching back to the reign of
Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (; c. 218 – September 268) was Roman emperor with his father Valerian (emperor), Valerian from 253 to 260 and alone from 260 to 268. He ruled during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the coll ...

Gallienus
(AD 253–268). and even
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
during the reign of whom "
knights A knight is a person granted an honorary title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some ...
were given an escalating importance in the administration of Rome and the empire." Not all the changes that produced the 'Dominate' were completed by the time of Diocletian's abdication in AD 305; many changes were either introduced or modified by
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine I
. Consequently, just as the Principate emerged over the period 31 BC through to 14 AD, it is only by AD 337 that the reforms that resulted in the Dominate were largely complete. In the opinion of the historian John Bagnall Bury, the system of government,
"constructed with the most careful attention to details, was a solution of the formidable problem of holding together a huge heterogeneous empire, threatened with dissolution and bankruptcy, an empire which was far from being geographically compact and had four long, as well as several smaller, frontiers to defend. To govern a large state by two independent but perfectly similar machines, controlled not from one centre but from two foci, without sacrificing its unity was an interesting and entirely new experiment. These bureaucratic machines worked moderately well, and their success might have been extraordinary if the monarchs who directed them had always been men of superior ability. Blots of course and defects there were, especially in the fields of economy and finance. The political creation of the Illyrian Emperors was not unworthy of the genius of Rome."


Characteristics


Multiple emperors

Under the Principate, the position of emperor saw the concentration of various civil and military offices within a single magistracy. Augustus and his successors usually took great care to disguise the autocratic nature of the office by hiding behind the institutions of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
and the fiction that the emperor was simply the ''princeps'' or first citizen, whose authority was granted by the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. This role was almost always filled by a single individual, and the date that the ''
Potestas tribunicia Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman Republic, Roman state that was open to the plebs, plebeians, and was, throughout the history of the Republic, the most important ...
'' was conferred onto that person was the point when imperial authority could be exercised. Over the course of the Principate, it became common for the emperor (or ''
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...
'') to nominate an heir (referred to as the ''
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
''), but the ''caesar'' did not have access to the powers of the emperor, nor was he delegated any official authority. It was during the
Crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
that the traditional imperial approach of a single imperial magistrate based at
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
became unable to cope with multiple and simultaneous invasions and usurpations that required the emperor to be everywhere at once. Further, it was their absence which caused usurpations to occur in response to a local or provincial crisis that traditionally would have been dealt with by the emperor. Under the Dominate, the burden of the imperial position was increasingly shared between colleagues, referred to as the ''
Consortium imperii ''Consortium imperii'' is a Latin term dating from the Roman Dominate, denoting the sharing of imperium, imperial authority between two or more emperors, each hence designated as ''consors imperii'', i.e. "partner in (exercising) ''imperium''", ei ...
''. It was Diocletian who introduced this form of government, under a system called the
Tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
, which originally consisted of two co-emperors (''
augusti 300px, Coin of the emperor Diocletian, marked ''Augustus'' (plural ''augusti''; , ; "majestic", "great" or "venerable") was an ancient Roman In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 ...
'') and two respectively subordinate junior emperors ('' caesars''), each of whom shared in the imperial power. This original power sharing model lasted from AD 289 through to AD 324, being undone during the
Civil wars of the Tetrarchy The Civil wars of the Tetrarchy were a series of conflicts between the co-emperors of the Roman Empire, starting in 306 AD with the usurpation of Maxentius and the defeat of Severus and ending with the defeat of Licinius at the hands of Constan ...
. With
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine I
’s death in AD 337, the empire was again shared between multiple ''augusti'', lasting until AD 350. The model became a permanent feature of the empire in AD 364 with the accession of
Valentinian I Valentinian I ( la, Flavius Valentinianus; 32117 November 375), sometimes called Valentinian the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting ...
, who shared the imperial office with his brother
Valens Flavius Valens (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ) ...

Valens
. Barring the 3-year period of solitary rule by
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
from AD 392–395, this approach would last until the overthrow of the last western emperor in AD 476. While each ''augustus'' was autonomous within each portion of the empire they managed, all laws that were introduced by any emperor were valid across the entirety of the empire.


Devaluation of the Consulate

During the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
, the office of
Consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...
was the highest elected magistracy in the Roman state, with two consuls elected annually. With the arrival of the Principate, although all real power was invested in the emperor, the consuls were still in theory the head of state, and the calendar year was identified by the two ''ordinary'' consuls who began in office at the start of the year. Throughout the Principate, the imperial consulate was an important position, albeit as the method through which the Roman aristocracy could progress through to the higher levels of imperial administration – only former consuls could become consular legates, the proconsuls of Africa and Asia, or the urban prefect of Rome. Consequently, the high regard placed upon the ordinary consulate remained intact, as it was one of the few offices that one could share with the emperor, and during this period it was filled mostly by patricians or by individuals who had consular ancestors. It was a post that would be occupied by a man halfway through his career, in his early thirties for a patrician, or in his early forties for most others. If they were especially skilled or valued, they may even have achieved a second (or rarely, a third) consulate. Prior to achieving the consulate, these individuals already had a significant career behind them, and would expect to continue serving the state, filling in the post upon which the state functioned.Bagnall, R. S.; Cameron, A.; Schwartz, S. R.; Worp, K. A., ''Consuls of the later Roman Empire'' (1987) p.2 Under the Dominate, the loss of many pre-consular functions and the encroachment of the ''equites'' into the traditional senatorial administrative and military functions meant that senatorial careers virtually vanished prior to their appointment as consuls. This had the effect of seeing a suffect consulship granted at an earlier age, to the point that by the 4th century, it was being held by men in their early twenties, and possibly younger. As time progressed, second consulates, usually ordinary, became far more common than had been the case during the first two centuries, while the first consulship was usually a suffect consulate. Also, the consulate during this period was no longer just the province of senators – the automatic awarding of a suffect consulship to the equestrian
praetorian prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
s (who were given the ''ornamenta consularia'' upon achieving their office) allowed them to style themselves ''cos. II'' when they were later granted an ordinary consulship by the emperor. All this had the effect of further devaluing the office of consul, to the point that by time of the Dominate, holding an ordinary consulate was occasionally left out of the cursus inscriptions, while suffect consulships were hardly ever recorded.


Transformation of the traditional Senatorial order

One of the key changes in the management of the empire during the Dominate was the large scale removal of old-style senatorial participation in administrative and military functions. The process began with the reforms of Gallienus, who removed senators from military commands, placing them in the hands of the ''
Equites The ''equites'' (; la, eques nom. singular; literally "horse-" or "cavalrymen", though sometimes referred to as "knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representati ...
''. Under Diocletian, the military equestrian transformation was taken a stage further, with the removal of hereditary senators from most administrative, as well as military, posts (such as the
Legatus legionis A ''legatus'' (anglicised Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understan ...
). Hereditary senators were limited to administrative jobs in Italy and a few neighbouring provinces (Sicily, Africa, Achaea and Asia), despite the fact that senior administrative posts had been greatly multiplied by the tripling of the number of provinces and the establishment of
dioceses In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrust ...
(or super-provinces). The exclusion of the old Italian aristocracy, both senatorial and equestrian, from the political and military power that they had monopolised for many centuries was largely complete. The Senate became politically insignificant, although it retained great prestige. Constantine I, however, re-introduced a limited form of senatorial career, basing the magistracies on previous offices but with changed functions.Southern, P. ''The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine'' (2001) p. 255 Beginning with the
quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
ship, a role which had acted as a form of apprenticeship for an ambitious senator during the Principate, it was downgraded during the Dominate and assigned to the sons of senators, with the legal qualifying age lowered to sixteen. This was followed by a suffect consulship and/or a
praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
ship. The office of Praetor had also lost much of its influence, as it had been stripped of its legal functions, so that during the Dominate its purpose was primarily to organise the ''
Ludi Romani The Ludi Romani ("Roman Games"; see ''ludi ''Ludi'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, know ...
''. The most prestigious post that a senator could hold under the Dominate was that of ''
Praefectus urbi The ''praefectus urbanus'', also called ''praefectus urbi'' or urban prefect in English, was prefect Prefect (from the Latin ''praefectus'', substantive adjectival form of ''praeficere'': "put in front", meaning in charge) is a Magistrate, m ...
''; during this period the office gained in effective power, as the imperial court was removed from the city of Rome, meaning that the prefects were no longer under the emperor's direct supervision. The most significant change was the return of
provincial government A state (subnational), state government is the government of a country subdivision in a federation, federal form of government, which shares political power with ...
to the senatorial order, with the larger or more important provinces handed over to those senators who had held an ordinary consulship. However, unlike the time of the Principate, the role of governor was much reduced, being a purely civil magistrate with no military functions, and with provinces greatly reduced in size, and the number increasing from the roughly fifty pre-existing provinces to approximately one hundred. The decline in the functions carried out by the old aristocratic senatorial families acting collegially with the emperor in the running of the empire was offset by the rise of an expanded imperial bureaucracy who served the emperor in a subordinate role. Interposed between the governors and the emperors was the ''
Vicarius ''Vicarius'' is a Latin word, meaning ''substitute'' or ''deputy''. It is the root of the English word " vicar". History Originally, in ancient Rome, this office was equivalent to the later English "vice-" (as in " deputy"), used as part of the ...
'' and, above him, the
Praetorian Prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
, both of which were civilian (non-military) roles. Gone was the division between provinces under the jurisdiction of the Senate and those under the authority of the emperor during the Principate. Now all
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
,
dioceses In church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrust ...
and
Praetorian prefecture The praetorian prefecture ( la, praefectura praetorio; in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Sout ...
s were under the authority of the emperor. The Praetorian Prefects had wide-ranging administrative, financial, judicial and legislative powers. The provincial governors were appointed at his recommendation, and with him rested their dismissal, subject to the Emperor's approval. The only civilian officials not under the direct oversight of the Praetorian Prefects were the
proconsul A proconsul was an official of ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose wo ...

proconsul
ar governors of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
,
Achaea Achaea () or Achaia (), sometimes transliterated from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southe ...
and
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...
, along with the Urban Prefects. The increasing administrative machinery surrounding the emperor resulted in an explosion of bureaucratic offices. These state officials were paid originally both in food and with money, but over the course of the Dominate, the ''annona'' (or food ration) was converted into money. Their salaries therefore consumed a considerable chunk of the imperial budget. Although precise numbers are not available, it has been speculated that the state bureaucracy in the
Praetorian prefecture of the East The praetorian prefecture of the East, or of the Orient ( la, praefectura praetorio Orientis, el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία τῶν πραιτωρίων τῆς ἀνατολῆς) was one of four large praetorian prefecture The praetor ...
and the
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum ( la, praefectura praetorio per Illyricum; el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία ῶν πραιτωρίωντοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ, also termed simply the Prefecture of Illyricum) was one of f ...
, including the diocesan and provincial governor's staffs, would have consisted of somewhere around 10,000 individuals. This figure did not include the staff of the military commanders, or the financial and other central ministries, and contrasts with the estimated 300 state bureaucrats that were employed across all the provinces during the period of the Julio-Claudian emperors. Among the most important offices under the Dominate were the: * ''
Quaestor sacri palatii The ''quaestor sacri palatii'' ( gr, κοιαίστωρ/κυαίστωρ τοῦ ἱεροῦ παλατίου, usually simply ), in English: Quaestor of the Sacred Palace, was the senior legal authority in the late Roman Empire and early Byzantiu ...
'' (the officer responsible for drafting the laws, and the Imperial rescripts responding to petitions) * ''
Magister officiorum The ''magister officiorum'' (Latin language, Latin literally for "Master of Offices", in gr, μάγιστρος τῶν ὀφφικίων, magistros tōn offikiōn) was one of the most senior administrative officials in the Later Roman Empire and ...
'' (officer responsible for managing the secretarial departments in the palace, the conduct of court ceremonies, and controlling the special department which dealt with ceremonial arrangements and Imperial audiences) * ''Magistri scriniorum'' (the emperor's secretaries, belonging to the ''memoriae'', ''epistularum'', and ''libellorum'' bureaus) * ''
Praepositus sacri cubiculi The ''praepositus sacri cubiculi'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
'' (the emperor's chamberlain, who exercised a general authority over all officers associated with the imperial court). All important offices automatically carried with them admission into the Senate, thereby further eroding the standing of the traditional aristocratic Senatorial families of the Principate under the Dominate. This resulted in a senatorial body of around 2,000 members during the reign of Constantine, and these numbers only increased when there were two senatorial bodies in existence, one at Rome and one at Constantinople. All the higher officials in the imperial bureaucracy belonged to one of the three classes or ranks introduced by Constantine I – the '' illustres'', ''spectabiles'' and ''clarissimi'', all of whom were automatically members of the senatorial order. The heads of the great central civil ministries, the ''
magistri militum Image:Rmn-mil-cmd-strct-4.png, 300px, The original command structure of the Late Roman army, with a separate ''magister equitum'' and a ''magister peditum'' in place of the later overall ''magister militum'' in the command structure of the army of ...
'' and other high level military commanders as well as the ''Praepositus sacri cubiculi'' were all graded as ''illustres'', the highest of the new senatorial ranks. The second class (''spectabiles'') was assigned to a large group of civil servants, including the Proconsuls, ''vicarii'', the military governors in the provinces and the ''magistri scriniorum''. The entry level class, ''clarissimus'', was the minimum qualification for membership of the Senate. It was automatically awarded as part of the governorship of a province, and to a myriad of other lesser officers. It was held by a large number of junior imperial public servants, as well as being awarded to them after their retirement. The generosity of the emperors in bestowing the ''clarissimus'' witnessed the gradual erosion in its value. As a consequence, the emperors began to raise many ''clarissimi'' graded officials to the rank of ''spectabiles'', which in turn cheapened the highest rank of ''illustres''. This inflationary pressure resulted in the creation of a new senatorial rank before the middle of the 6th century, that of '' gloriosi''. Higher in grading than the ''illustres'', all of the highest state officials were regraded to this rank.


Military reforms

Under the Principate, provinces that contained were under the proconsular authority of the emperor, who managed those provinces through designated legates (''
Legatus Augusti pro praetore A ''legatus Augusti pro praetore'' (literally: "envoy of the emperor – acting for the praetor") was the official title of the governor A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the Executive (government), executi ...
''), while the units stationed at Rome were under the authority of the
Praetorian Prefect The praetorian prefect ( la, praefectus praetorio, el, ) was a high office in the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Repub ...
. During the Crisis of the Third Century, greater authority over imperial military matters was ceded to the Praetorian Prefects, while the imperial legates took advantage of weakened centralised authority to use the troops under their command to rebel against the emperor and claim the imperial title for themselves. It was
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
who initially divided the military administrative apparatus and the civil administration in order to mitigate the risk that future imperial governors or Praetorian Prefects might attempt to seize the throne through force, and then he reorganized both of them. During the Tetrarchy, the Praetorian Prefects were the Emperor's top administrators, ranking just below the Emperor himself in dignity. While initially serving as the Emperor's second in command in all matters of imperial administration (military, civil, judicial, taxation, etc.), during the course of the Dominate the Prefects gradually had portions of their authority stripped from them and given to other offices: the Masters of the Soldiers for military affairs and the Imperial Chancellor for central civilian administration. These reforms were the result of both the lack of officials suitable for the prefect's wide-ranging tasks, and of the desire to reduce the potential challenge to the Emperor's authority posed by a powerful Prefect. The next reforms were undertaken by Constantine I, who reorganised the supreme military command. Two significant parts of the reform are apparent: the separation of military commanders from civil administration and the division of the army into two classes: the Field Armies ("''
comitatenses The comitatenses and later the palatini were the units of the field armies of the late Roman Empire The Later Roman Empire spans the period from 284 AD to 641 in the history of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...
''") and the Frontier Troops ("''
limitanei The ''līmitāneī'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

limitanei
''"). The Field Armies served as the Empire's strategic reserve to respond to crisis where it may arise whereas the Frontier Troops were permanently stationed along the Empire's borders ("''
limes Limes is the plural of lime. It is also the Latin word for ''limit'' which refers to: * Limes (Roman Empire), a border marking and defense system of the ancient Roman Empire * Limes (magazine), ''Limes'' (magazine), an Italian geopolitical magazi ...
''"). Recruited from the ranks of the Field Armies were the Palace Troops units ("'' Palatini''"), who accompanied the Emperor as he travelled around the Empire, functioning as the successor to the Principate's
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
. Around the same time, Constantine established the new military roles of the Master of the Soldiers ("''
Magister Militum (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic ...
''"), who were the supreme military commanders of the empire. Beginning with the head of the foot troops, the ''magister peditum'' ("Master of the Foot"), and one for the more prestigious horse troops, the ''magister equitum'' ("Master of the Horse"), these were established in each of the four
Praetorian Prefecture The praetorian prefecture ( la, praefectura praetorio; in Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Sout ...
s. Over time, the numbers and types of Masters would vary across the empire. The establishment of solely military officials provided for a more professional military leadership. The Masters were all ranked as ''illustres''. *Within the East, by the late 4th century, there were Masters of the Soldiers, '' per Illyricum'', '' per Thracias '', and '' per Orientem''. Each of these three Masters exercised independent command over one of the three Field Armies of the Eastern Empire. There were also two Masters of the Soldiers in the Presence (''in praesenti'') who accompanied the Eastern Emperor and who each commanded half of the Palace Troops. Each of the five Masters were of equal rank.Bury, J. B. ''History of the Later Roman Empire From the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian'' Vol I (1958), p. 36 *Within the West, there were originally four Masters of the Soldiers; foot and horse '' per Gallias'' and '' per Italiam''. Over time, it became more common for the offices (foot and horse) to be combined under a single person, then styled ''magister equitum et peditum'' or ''magister utriusquae militiae'' ("master of both forces"). By the time of
Stilicho Flavius Stilicho (; c. 359 – 22 August 408) was a military commander in the Late Roman army, Roman army who, for a time, became the most powerful man in the Western Roman Empire. He was of Vandals, Vandal origins and married to Serena (wife o ...

Stilicho
, the Master of Both Services was the supreme military commander of the West, ranking only below the Emperor and above all other military commanders, and commander of half the Palace Troops. The Master of the Horse held command over half the Palace Troops and the Field Army of Gaul, but still under the command of the Master of Both Services. To support the Masters of the Soldiers, the Empire established several Military Counts ("''
Comes rei militaris ''Comes'' ( ), plural ''comites'' ( ), is the Latin word for "companion", either individually or as a member of a collective denominated a "''Comitatus (classical meaning), comitatus''", especially the suite of a magnate, being in some instances s ...
''"). There were six such Military Counts throughout the Empire. The Military Counts were all ranked as ''spectabiles''. *Within the East, there was only one Military Count: the Military Count of Egypt ("''Comes rei militaris Aegypti''"). Unlike the Military Counts of the West, this Count commanded the Frontier Troops stationed in Egypt and reported directly to the Eastern Emperor. *Within the West, there were six such Military Counts, one for each of the five Field Armies in Illyria, Africa, Tingitania, Hispania, and Britannia. The sixth military count, the Count of the Saxon Shore ("'' comes littoris Saxonici per Britanniam''"), commanded Frontier Troops along both sides of the
English Channel The English Channel,, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" (Cotentinais Cotentinais is the dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two ...

English Channel
and reported to the Count of Britannia. The five regular Military Counts reported to the Master of Both Services. The various Frontier Troops were under the command of Dukes ("''''" or "border commanders"). These commanders were the closest in function to the Imperial Legates of the Principate. Most Dukes were given command of forces in a single province, but a few controlled more than one province. In the East, the Dukes reported to the Master of the Soldiers of their district whereas in the West they reported to their respective Military Count.


Religious reforms

The Dominate saw enormous changes in the official religion of the empire from its
pantheistic Pantheism is the belief that reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status o ...

pantheistic
Principate origins. Its principal feature was the elevation of a supreme deity that all peoples in the empire were to worship. According to John Bagnall Bury,
"while in all ancient monarchies religion and sacerdotalism were a political as well as a social power, the position of the Christian Church in the Roman Empire was a new thing in the world, presenting problems of a kind with which no ruler had hitherto been confronted and to which no past experience offered a key. The history of the Empire would have been profoundly different if the Church had remained as independent of the State as it had been before Constantine. But heresies and schisms and religious intolerance on one side, and the despotic instinct to control all social forces on the other, brought about a close union between State and Church which altered the character and spirit of the State, and constituted perhaps the most striking difference between the early and the later Empire."
The origins of the change began in the reign of
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
, who promoted the worship of
Sol Invictus Sol Invictus (, "Unconquered Sun") was long considered to be the official sun god A solar deity (also sun goddess or sun god) is a sky deity The sky often has important religious significance. Many religions, both polytheistic and ...
as the supreme deity of the empire.Körner, C., ''Aurelian (A.D. 270–275)'',
De Imperatoribus Romanis
' (2001)
Although the worship of Sol Invictus did not remove the veneration towards the traditional Roman gods, it was seen as a mark of imperial favouritism, and the emperors linked his cult to the well-being of the state and on-going military victories of the empire. Next, it was during Diocletian's reign that emperor worship was fully adopted by the emperors, as a method of expressing loyalty to the state. Previously, deceased emperors had been worshiped as ''
divus The vocabulary of ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. Ethnic re ...
'' across the empire. Living emperors had been worshiped as gods in the eastern half of the empire since the time of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
, but this was not officially encouraged during the Principate, and it was not introduced into Italy. It was Diocletian who altered this to have the worship of the living emperors as an official part of the religious framework of the entire empire. To facilitate this, Diocletian was linked to the god
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
, while his colleague
Maximian Maximian ( la, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus; c. 250 – c. July 310), nicknamed Herculius, was Roman emperor from 286 to 305. He was ''Caesar (title), Caesar'' from 285 to 286, then ''Augustus (title), Augustus'' from 286 to 305. He share ...

Maximian
was associated with
Hercules Hercules (, ) is the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed p ...

Hercules
. It was under Constantine I that the religious transformation began to take its late Dominate shape, initially with Constantine officially favouring the worship of a single deity in the shape of Sol Invictus. During the course of his reign, the identification of Sol Invictus as the principal god began to merge with the
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koi ...

Christian
god. To avoid offending Christians, Constantine abandoned the emperor's formal claim to divinity and ceased to demand sacrifices to the emperor that formed part of the imperial cult. In an attempt to appeal to both Christians and pagans, Constantine adopted two new religious symbols into the imperial iconography, in the form of the
Chi Rho The Chi Rho (; also known as ''chrismon'') is one of the earliest forms of christogram A Christogram (Latin ') is a monogram or combination of letters that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ, traditionally used as a Christian ...

Chi Rho
and the
Labarum The labarum ( el, λάβαρον) was a ''vexillum The ''vexillum'' (; plural ''vexilla'') was a flag-like object used as a War flag, military standard by units in the Ancient Roman army. Use in Roman army The word ''vexillum'' is a der ...

Labarum
.Southern, P. ''The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine'' (2001) p. 281 By the time of Constantine's death in AD 337, this process was largely complete, with Constantine officially converting to Christianity on his deathbed. At the Imperial court, Christians began indiscernibly to rise in favour, to the detriment of pagans. This did not begin to immediately hamper the advancement of pagan courtiers after the defeat of
Maxentius Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius (c. 283 – 28 October 312) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, ...
in 312, as the full effects were not visible until paganism was prohibited at the end of the 4th century. Ultimately, however, as a result of the imperial patronage of Constantine and especially his sons, Christianity rapidly emerged as the official religion of the empire, although many vestiges of the imperial cult took some time to pass (such as the Emperors still assuming the role of
Pontifex Maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
, chief priest of the pagan cults, until AD 381). By the time of
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
, the organisation of the Imperial Church had aligned to the civil administration of the empire. Every city had a
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
, every
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
had a
metropolitan Metropolitan may refer to: * Metropolitan area, a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories * Metropolitan borough, a form of local government district in England * Metropolitan county, a type ...
, and every
civil diocese In the Late Roman Empire The history of the Roman Empire covers the history of ancient Rome from the fall of the Roman Republic in 27 BC until the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in AD 476 in the West, and the Fall of Constantinople Th ...
had an
exarch The term exarch () comes from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers s ...
. At the level of the
Praetorian Prefectures The praetorian prefecture ( la, praefectura praetorio; in Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. It ...
sat the five Patriarchates. The
Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
's authority extended over the whole western or Latin half of the Empire, and included the
Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum The praetorian prefecture of Illyricum ( la, praefectura praetorio per Illyricum; el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία ῶν πραιτωρίωντοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ, also termed simply the Prefecture of Illyricum) was one of f ...
. The
Patriarchate of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantino ...
had oversight over the civil dioceses of Thrace, Pontus, and Asia. The
Patriarchate of Alexandria The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''A ...
corresponded to the Diocese of Egypt. The
Patriarchate of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within ...
had jurisdiction over the majority of the
Praetorian prefecture of the East The praetorian prefecture of the East, or of the Orient ( la, praefectura praetorio Orientis, el, ἐπαρχότης/ὑπαρχία τῶν πραιτωρίων τῆς ἀνατολῆς) was one of four large praetorian prefecture The praetor ...
, while the smaller
Patriarchate of JerusalemPatriarchate of Jerusalem or Diocese of Jerusalem may refer to: * Early bishops of Jerusalem * Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem * Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem * Melkite ...
dominated the three Palestinian provinces. The emperors had, over time, conceded many privileges to the clergy and the churches. Firstly, all clergy, like the holders of the pagan religious offices, were exempted from taxation. There were no restrictions placed on churches receiving bequests through wills, and they were given the same rights as the pagan temples had in granting asylum to any who requested it. Bishops were permitted to act as judges in civil cases when both parties had agreed, and no appeal was permitted once the Bishop had made their ruling. The state made increasing use of the ecclesiastical authorities in local administration due to the decline in the civic life of the urban communities, which coincided with the increasing local influence of the bishops. Finally, bishops were given the same role as the '' defensor civitatis'', who was responsible for protecting the poor against exploitation by government officials and defending them from other powerful individuals, during the course of which the bishop could bring cases of illegality directly to the emperor.


Downgrading of Rome as capital of the empire

One of the most visible signs of the changes brought about by the Dominate was the downgrading of Ancient Rome, Rome from its status as the official residence of the Roman emperor, emperor. This precedent had already been established by Gallienus in 260, who moved the imperial court to Mediolanum in response to a suspected future attack by the Roman usurper, usurper Postumus as well as defending Italy from the ravages of the Alamanni. Rome was increasingly seen to be too distant a residence for the emperor when troubles could erupt along any of the borders of the empire. In the west, Mediolanum was seen to be a much better strategic city for the emperor to be based at, as it gave good access through the Alps northwards to both the Danubian provinces in the east as well as the Rhine provinces and Gaul to the west. Further, it was well positioned to guard against incursions through the alpine passes. This decision was confirmed when Diocletian established the Tetrarchy, and his colleague
Maximian Maximian ( la, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus; c. 250 – c. July 310), nicknamed Herculius, was Roman emperor from 286 to 305. He was ''Caesar (title), Caesar'' from 285 to 286, then ''Augustus (title), Augustus'' from 286 to 305. He share ...

Maximian
informally established Mediolanum as the senior western emperor's official residence. Diocletian, conscious that the Sasanian Empire, Persian threat to the eastern provinces required a continuous imperial presence, placed his eastern capital in the city of Nicomedia. Meanwhile, the Caesars also had imperial residences – Constantius Chlorus was based at Augusta Treverorum, while Galerius sited his residence at Sirmium. After the collapse of the Tetrachy, Constantine I at first placed his imperial capital at Serdica, Ulpia Serdica before erecting a new imperial capital on the site of the old Greek city of Byzantium. Naming it Constantinople, it finally replaced Nicomedia as the site of the emperor's residence in the east in 330. Constantinople would remain the capital of the eastern provinces throughout the period of the Dominate. In the west, Mediolanum continued to be the imperial residence until the repeated invasions by Alaric I forced the western emperor Honorius (emperor), Honorius to relocate to the strongly fortified city of Ravenna in 402. Ravenna remained the western imperial capital until the loss of Italy in 476. Although Rome was reincorporated into the empire by
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
in 540, it was Ravenna which was selected as the official residence of the Exarchate of Ravenna, Exarch, the governor who represented the emperor in Italy. Ravenna would retain this position until 751, when the Byzantine Empire finally lost the central Italian provinces to the Lombards.


Stylistic changes

Diocletian and his ''augusti'' colleagues and successors openly displayed the naked face of Imperial power. They ceased using the more modest title of princeps#Roman Emperor, princeps; they adopted the veneration of the potentates of ancient Egypt and Persian Empire, Persia; and, they started wearing jeweled robes and shoes in contrast to the simple toga praetexta used by Emperors of the Principate. Emperors inhabited luxurious palaces (the ruins of Diocletian's enormous palace in Dalmatia survive to this day; see Diocletian's Palace) and were surrounded by a court of individuals who, only due to the favor and proximity of the Emperor, attained the highest honorific titles and bureaucratic functions. In fact, many offices associated with the palatine life and that suggested intimate relationship with royalty eventually developed connotations of power, such as the offices of Chamberlain (office), Chamberlain and Constable. The titles of Roman Senator, Senator and Roman Consul, Consul, after the loss of every residue of political power they had had in the Principate, became mere honorifics in the later Empire. Historian David Stone Potter, David Potter describes the transformation of government under Diocletian when describing the shifts in imagery the Emperor used to display his power (in this case the building of a huge new palace at Sirmium):
The style of Government so memorably described by Marcus, whereby the emperor sought to show himself as a model of correct aristocratic deportment, had given way to a style in which the emperor was seen to be distinct from all other mortals. His house could no longer be a grander version of houses that other people might live in: it, like him, had to be different.
The adoption of ''Dominus'' as a formal title reflected the divine status (''divus'') that has come to be a prerogative of the Imperial position. Originally an exceptional honour awarded by the Senate to an Emperor posthumously, the elevation had devolved to an expected convention for still-living Caesars. To dissuade the rebellions and usurpations of the
Crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
, the Emperors sought the kind of divine Legitimacy (political), legitimacy invoked by Despotism#Ancient Greece and oriental despotism, Eastern monarchies. Emperors imported rituals such as kneeling before the Emperor, and kissing of the hem of the Imperial robe (proskynesis). Even some Christian emperors, such as Constantine I, Constantine, were venerated after death. In the Eastern Roman Empire after 476 AD, the symbiotic relation between the Imperial Crown in Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Church led to the distinctive character of the medieval Roman state. Anastasius I Dicorus, Anastasius I was the last emperor known to be consecrated as ''divus'' on his death (518 AD). The title appears to have been abandoned thereafter on grounds of its spiritual impropriety (see Imperial cult of ancient Rome for more on the divinity of Roman leaders). The last ruler to use the titles ''Dominus Noster'' was
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
(died 565), giving place to the title of ''Basileus'' ("King"). In the Eastern half of the Empire, and especially from the time of
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
, the system of the Dominate evolved into Autocracy, autocratic absolute monarchy, absolutism. In contrast to the situation in the Principate, however, emperors in the Dominate could not be deified as it was, excepting the two initial decades and the reign of Julian the Apostate, Julian, the Constantine the Great and Christianity, Christian period of the Roman Empire. Another clear symptom of the upgrading of the imperial status was the notion of the emperor as an incarnation of the majesty of Rome; thus ''lèse majesté'' became high treason.


See also

* Constitution of the Late Roman Empire


References


Further reading

* Carson, Robert. 1981. ''Principal Coins of the Romans, III: The Dominate, A.D. 294–498.'' London: Brit. Museum Publ. * Elton, Hugh. 2018. ''The Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, A Political and Military History.'' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Hebblewhite, Mark 2017. ''The Emperor and the Army in the Later Roman Empire, AD 235–395.'' London; New York: Routledge. * Kelly, Christopher 2004. ''Ruling the Later Roman Empire.'' Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. * Kulikowski, Michael. 2016. ''The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World from Hadrian to Constantine.'' Cambridge: Harvard University Press. * Melounová, Markéta. 2012. "Trials with Religious and Political Charges from the Principate to the Dominate." S''borník Prací Filosofické Fakulty Brnenské University = Studia minora Facultatis Philosophicae Universitatis Brunensis. Rada archeologicko-klasicka = Series archaeologica et classica''. 17.2: 117–130. * Minamikawa, Takashi ed. 2015. ''New Approaches to the later Roman Empire.'' Kyoto: Kyoto University. * Roymans, Nico, Stijn Heeren, and Wim de Clerq eds. 2016. ''Social Dynamics in the Northwest Frontiers of the Late Roman Empire: Beyond Transformation or Decline.'' Amsterdam archaeological studies, 26. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. * Vitiello, Massimiliano. 2015. "Blaming the Late Republic: Senatorial Ideology and Republican Institutions in Late Antiquity." ''Classical Receptions Journal'' 7.1: 31–45.


External links

{{Ancient Rome topics Roman Empire in Late Antiquity Government of the Roman Empire 3rd century in the Roman Empire 4th century in the Roman Empire 5th century in the Roman Empire