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The Latin
Latin
word IMPERATOR was originally a title roughly equivalent to _commander_ under the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen . The English word _emperor _ derives from _imperator_ via Old French _Empereür_. The Roman emperors themselves generally based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Nevertheless, _imperator_ was used relatively consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate (derived from _princeps,_ from which _prince_ in English is derived) and the dominate .

In Latin, the feminine form of imperator is IMPERATRIX, denoting a ruling _female_.

CONTENTS

* 1 _Imperatores_ in the ancient Roman Kingdom
Roman Kingdom
* 2 _Imperatores_ in the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
* 3 _Imperator_ as an imperial title * 4 Post-Roman use * 5 Imperatrix * 6 Derivatives * 7 References * 8 Bibliography

_IMPERATORES_ IN THE ANCIENT ROMAN KINGDOM

When Rome
Rome
was ruled by kings , to be able to rule, the king had to be invested with the full regal authority and power. So, after the comitia curiata , held to elect the king, the king also had to be conferred the imperium .

_IMPERATORES_ IN THE ROMAN REPUBLIC

In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium. But also, mainly in the later Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, _imperator_ was the honorific title assumed by certain military commanders. After an especially great victory, an army's troops in the field would proclaim their commander _imperator_, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph . After being acclaimed _imperator_, the victorious general had a right to use the title after his name until the time of his triumph, where he would relinquish the title as well as his imperium .

Since a triumph was the goal of many politically ambitious Roman commanders, Roman Republican history is full of cases where legions were bribed to call their commander _imperator_. The title of _imperator_ was given in 90 BC to Lucius Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
, in 84 BC to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus , in 60 BC to Gaius Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
, relative of the previously mentioned Lucius Julius Caesar, in 45 BC again to Gaius Julius Caesar, in 44 BC to Marcus Iunius Brutus , and in 41 BC to Lucius Antonius (younger brother and ally of the more famous Marcus Antonius ). In 15 AD Germanicus
Germanicus
was also _imperator_ during the empire (see below) of his adoptive father Tiberius
Tiberius
.

_IMPERATOR_ AS AN IMPERIAL TITLE

After Augustus
Augustus
established the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
, the title _imperator_ was generally restricted to the emperor, though in the early years of the empire it would occasionally be granted to a member of his family. As a permanent title, _imperator_ was used as a praenomen by the Roman emperors and was taken on accession. After the reign of Tiberius
Tiberius
, the act of being proclaimed imperator was transformed into the act of imperial accession. In fact, if a general was acclaimed by his troops as _imperator_, it would be tantamount to a declaration of rebellion against the ruling emperor. At first the term continued to be used in the Republican sense as a victory title but attached to the _de facto_ monarch and head of state , rather than the actual military commander. The title followed the emperor's name along with the number of times he was acclaimed as such, for example _IMP V_ ("imperator five times"). In time it became the title of the _de facto_ monarch, pronounced upon (and synonymous with) their assumption.

As a title _imperator_ was generally translated into Greek as _autokrator _ ("one who rules himself," also sometimes used as a translation for _Roman dictators _.) This was necessarily imprecise as it lost the nuances of Latin
Latin
political thought contrasting _imperium_ with other forms of public authority. Nevertheless, this title (along with _sebastos _ for _augustus _) was used in Greek-language texts for Roman emperors from the establishment of the empire. In 629 AD Emperor Heraclius , having changed the official language to Greek nine years earlier, adopted the title of _basileus _, previously used by Alexander the Great , as a translations for emperor and it is thereafter used interchangeably (and often in conjunction) with autokrator in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
.

POST-ROMAN USE

After the Roman empire collapsed in the West in the 5th century, Latin
Latin
continued to be used as the language of learning and diplomacy for some centuries. The Roman emperors of this period (referred to by modern historians as the Byzantine emperors ) were referred to as _imperatores_ in Latin
Latin
texts, while the word _basileus_ (king) was used in Greek.

After 800, the _imperator_ was used (in conjunction with _augustus_) as a formal Latin
Latin
title in succession by the Carolingian
Carolingian
and German Holy Roman Emperors until 1806 and by the Austrian Emperors until 1918.

In 1721, as part of his drive to both westernize the Russian Empire and assert the monarchy's claim that it was the successor to the Byzantine emperors, Peter the Great imported the Latin
Latin
word directly into Russian and styled himself _imperator_ (Императоръ). The style remained the official one for all his successors down to the end of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
in 1917, though the Russian rulers continued to be colloquially known as tsar (a word derived from "Caesar"), which they had begun to use c. 1480 to likewise assert their contention to be the heirs to the Byzantine state (see: Third Rome .) Reigning female Russian rulers were styled _imperatritsa._ _ Signature of King Edward VIII . The "R" and "I" after his name indicate Rex_ ("king") and _Imperator_ ("emperor") respectively. German East African Roupie, 1890. Coins of European Colonial Empires were sometimes inscribed in Latin, such as this colonial coin featuring Wilhelm II of Germany
Wilhelm II of Germany
.

Napoleon
Napoleon
famously adopted the title for himself and after the Napoleonic wars , the number of emperors in Europe proliferated, but Latin
Latin
began to fall out of use for all but the most ceremonial situations. Still, in those rare cases in which a European monarch's Latin
Latin
titles were used, _imperator_ was used as a translation for _emperor_. Famously, after assuming the title Emperor
Emperor
of India , British monarchs would follow their signatures with the initials _RI_, standing for _rex imperator_ ("king-emperor "). George VI of the United Kingdom was the last European ruler to claim an imperial title; when he abdicated as Emperor
Emperor
of India in 1948, the last active use of the title _imperator_ in the West ceased. It was thereafter used only historically, or as a Latin
Latin
translation for certain continuing titles of non-European cultures, such as Japan.

The imperial title was also adopted by Jean-Bédel Bokassa , during his reign as the emperor of the short-lived Central African Empire (1976–79).

IMPERATRIX

The term IMPERATRIX seems not to have been used in Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
to indicate the _consort _ of an imperator or later of an Emperor
Emperor
. In the early years of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
there was no standard title or honorific for the Emperor's wife, even the "Augusta" honorific was rather exceptionally granted, and not exclusively to wives of living emperors.

It is not clear when the feminine form of the Latin
Latin
term _imperator_ originated or was used for the first time. It usually indicates a _reigning_ monarch, and is thus used in the Latin
Latin
version of titles of modern reigning Empresses.

Likewise, when Fortuna is qualified "imperatrix mundi" in the _ Carmina Burana _ there's no implication of any type of _consort_ — the term describes (the Goddess or personified) Fortune "ruling the world".

In Christian context, _Imperatrix_ became a laudatory address to the Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
, in diverse forms at least since the Middle Ages — for example, she is sometimes called "Imperatrix angelorum" ("regnant of the angels").

DERIVATIVES

_Imperator_ is the root of most Romance languages' word for emperor. It is the root of the English word "emperor", which entered the language via the French _empereur_, while related adjectives like "imperial" were imported into English directly from Latin.

REFERENCES

* ^ Rex.A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875. * ^ LacusCurtius • Roman Law — Auctor (Smith\'s Dictionary, 1875) * ^ Rivero (2006) . * ^ Tacitus, _The Annals _ 1.58

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Combès, Robert (1966). _ Imperator
Imperator
: Recherches sur l’emploi et la signification du titre d’ Imperator
Imperator
dans la Rome
Rome
républicaine_. Paris: Presses universitaires de France; Publications de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences humaines de l’Université de Montpellier. 489 p. * Rivero, Pilar (2006). _ Imperator
Imperator
Populi Romani: una aproximación al poder republicano_. Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico. 514 p. (Biblioteca virtual at http://ifc.dpz.es).

* v * t * e

Ancient Rome
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topics

* Outline * Timeline

EPOCHS

* Foundation * Kingdom (overthrow ) * Republic

EMPIRE

* (_ Pax Romana _ * Principate * Dominate
Dominate
) * Western Empire (fall * historiography of the fall ) * Eastern (Byzantine) Empire (decline * fall )

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Emperor
* Legatus * Dux
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* Officium * Praefectus * Vicarius * Vigintisexviri * Lictor
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* Magister militum
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* Imperator * Princeps senatus * Pontifex Maximus
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Augustus
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MAGISTRATES

ORDINARY

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Tribune
* Quaestor
Quaestor
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Aedile
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* Dictator * Magister Equitum * Decemviri * Consular Tribune
Tribune
* Triumvir * Rex * Interrex

LAW

* Twelve Tables * Mos maiorum * Citizenship * Auctoritas * Imperium * Status * Litigation

MILITARY

* Borders * Establishment * Structure * Campaigns * Political control * Strategy * Engineering * Frontiers and fortifications (castra ) * Technology * Army (Legion * Infantry tactics * Personal equipment * Siege engines ) * Navy (fleets ) * Auxiliaries * Decorations and punishments * Hippika gymnasia
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Conflict of the Orders
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Secessio plebis
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Equites
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MAJOR CITIES

* Alexandria
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Smyrna
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Vindobona
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Lists and other topics

* Wars and battles * Generals * Legions * Emperors * Geographers * Cities and towns * Institutions * Laws * Consuls * Tribunes * Distinguished women * Nomina * Gentes * Climate * Legacy

* Fiction / Films

ANCIENT ROME PORTAL

HIGHEST MILITARY RANKS

* General officer * Flag officer * Air officer

* Imperator * Marshal of Italy * Generalissimo * Generalissimus of the Soviet Union * Supreme Allied Commander * Admiral of the Navy * General of the Armies * General of the Air Force
General of the Air Force
* Generalfeldmarschall * Mareşal * Marshal of the air force * Marshal of the Soviet Union * Marshal of the Russian Federation * Mushir
Mushir
* Magister militum
Magister militum
* Spahbed * Ispahsalar * Beylerbey * Bojni Vojvoda * Chom Thap Thai * Constable of France * Domestic of the Schools * Grand Domestic * Shogun * Dux
Dux
bellorum * Grand marshal * Hetman * Jenderal besar * Polemarch * Reichsmarschall * Federal General of Switzerland * Sardar
Sardar
* Serasker * Autokrator
Autokrator
* First marshal of the empire * Da yuan shuai
Da yuan shuai
* Dai-gensui * Taewonsu * Yuan shuai * Wonsu * Marshal of Yugoslavia

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Imperator
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