In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
The Principate or early Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus in 27 BC to the end of the Crisis of the Third Century in 284 AD, after which it evolved into the so-called Dominate. The Principate is characterised by the reign of a single emperor and an effort on the part of the early emperors, at least, to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance, in some aspects, of the Roman Republic, it is etymologically derived from the Latin word princeps, meaning chief or first, the political regime dominated by such a political leader, whether or not he is formally head of state and/or head of government. This reflects the principate emperors' assertion that they were "first among equals" among the citizens of Rome; the title, in full, of princeps senatus / princeps civitatis was first adopted by Octavian Caesar Augustus, the first Roman'emperor' who chose, like the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar, not to reintroduce a legal monarchy.
Augustus's purpose was to establish the political stability needed after the exhausting civil wars by a de facto dictatorial regime within the constitutional framework of the Roman Republic as a more acceptable alternative to, for example, the early Roman Kingdom. The title itself derived from the position of the princeps senatus, traditionally the oldest member of the Senate who had the right to be heard first on any debate. Although dynastic pretenses crept in from the start, formalizing this in a monarchic style remained politically unthinkable. In a more limited and precise chronological sense, the term is applied either to the Empire or the earlier of the two phases of'Imperial' government in the ancient Roman Empire, extending from when Augustus claimed auctoritas for himself as princeps until Rome's military collapse in the West in 476, leaving the Byzantine Empire sole heir, or, depending on the source, up to the rule of Commodus, of Maximinus Thrax or of Diocletian. Afterwards, Imperial rule in the Empire is designated as the dominate, subjectively more like an monarchy while the earlier Principate is still more'Republican'.
Under this'Principate stricto sensu', the political reality of autocratic rule by the Emperor was still scrupulously masked by forms and conventions of oligarchic self-rule inherited from the political period of the'uncrowned' Roman Republic under the motto Senatus Populusque Romanus or SPQR. The theory implied the'first citizen' had to earn his extraordinary position by merit in the style that Augustus himself had gained the position of auctoritas. Imperial propaganda developed a'paternalistic' ideology, presenting the princeps as the incarnation of all virtues attributed to the ideal ruler, such as clemency and justice, in turn placing the onus on the princeps to play this designated role within Roman society, as his political insurance as well as a moral duty. What was expected of the princeps seems to have varied according to the times. Speaking, it was expected of the Emperor to be generous but not frivolous, not just as a good ruler but with his personal fortune providing occasional public games, horse races and artistic shows.
Large distributions of food for the public and charitable institutions were means that served as popularity boosters while the construction of public works provided paid employment for the poor. With the fall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in 68 CE, the principate was redefined in formal terms under the Emperor Vespasian in 69 CE; the position of princeps became a distinct entity within the broader – formally still republican – Roman constitution. While many of the cultural and political expectations remained, the princeps was no longer a position extended on the basis of merit, or auctoritas, but on a firmer basis, allowing Vespasian and future emperors to designate their own heir without those heirs having to earn the position through years of success and public favor. Under the Antonine dynasty, it was the norm for the Emperor to appoint a successful and politically promising individual as his successor. In modern historical analysis, this is treated by many authors as an "ideal" situation: the individual, most capable was promoted to the position of princeps.
Of the Antonine dynasty, Edward Gibbon famously wrote that this was the happiest and most productive period in human history, credited the system of succession as the key factor. This first phase was to be followed by, or rather evolved into, the so-called dominate. Starting with the Emperor Diocletian, oriental type of styles like dominus became current, though not legal, but there could by definition never be a clear, constitutional turning point, so this appreciation remains subjective; the reality is gradual development. This process is said to be established by the Emperor Septimius Severus. After the Crisis of the Third Century resulted in the Roman Empire's political collap
Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, was so used by Roman emperors thereafter; the feminine form Augusta was used for other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion, their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult. In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos, or Hellenised as Augoustos. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, it remains a given name for males. Some thirty years before its first association with Caesar's heir, Augustus was an obscure honorific with religious associations.
One early context, associates it with provincial Lares. In Latin poetry and prose, it signifies the "elevation" or "augmentation" of what is sacred or religious; some Roman sources connected it to augury, Rome was said to have been founded with the "august augury" of Romulus. The first true Roman Emperor known as "Augustus" was Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, he was the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar, murdered for his seeming aspiration to divine monarchy subsequently and deified. Octavian studiously avoided any association with Caesar's claims, other than acknowledging his position and duties as Divi filius, "son of the deified one", his position was unique and extraordinary. He had ended Rome's prolonged and bloody civil war with his victory at Actium, established a lasting peace, he was self-evidently favored by the gods. As princeps senatus he presided at senatorial meetings, he was chief priest of Roman state religion. He held consular imperium, with authority equal to the official chief executive, he was supreme commander of all Roman legions, held tribunicia potestas.
As a tribune, his person was inviolable and he had the right to veto any act or proposal by any magistrate within Rome. He was renamed Augustus by the Roman Senate on January 16, 27 BC – or the Senate ratified his own careful choice. So his official renaming in a form vaguely associated with a traditionally Republican religiosity, but unprecedented as a cognomen, may have served to show that he owed his position to the approval of Rome and its gods, his own unique, elevated, "godlike" nature and talents, his full and official title was Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. Augustus' religious reforms extended or affirmed augusti as a near ubiquitous title or honour for various minor local deities, including the Lares Augusti of local communities, obscure provincial deities such as the North African Marazgu Augustus; this extension of an Imperial honorific to major and minor deities of Rome and her provinces is considered a ground-level feature of Imperial cult, which continued until the official replacement of Rome's traditional religions by Christianity.
The title or name of Augustus was adopted by his successors, who held the name during their own lifetimes by virtue of their status and powers. This included the Christian emperors. Most emperors used imperator but others could and did bear the same title and functions. "Caesar" was used as a title, but was the name of a clan within the Julian line. Augusta was the female equivalent of Augustus, had similar origins as an obscure descriptor with vaguely religious overtones, it was bestowed on some women of the Imperial dynasties, as an indicator of worldly power and influence and a status near to divinity. There was no qualification with higher prestige; the title or honorific was shared by state goddesses associated with the Imperial regime's generosity and provision, such as Ceres, Bona Dea, Juno and Ops, by local or minor goddesses around the empire. Other personifications perceived as female and given the title Augusta include Pax and Victoria; the first woman to receive the honorific Augusta was Livia Drusilla, by the last will of her husband Augustus.
From his death she was known as Julia Augusta, until her own death in AD 29. Under Tetrarchy, the empire was divided into Western halves; each was ruled by a senior emperor, with the rank of augustus, a junior emperor, who ranked below him as a caesar. The Imperial titles of imperator and augustus were rendered in Greek as autokratōr, augoustos; the Greek titles were used in the Byzantine Empire until its extinction in 1453, although "sebastos" lost its imperial exclusivity and autokratōr became the exclusive title of the Byzantine Emperor. The last Roman Emperor to rule in the West, Romulus Augustus became known as Augustulus, due to the unimportance of his reign. Charlemagne used the title serenissimus augustus as a prefix to his titles His successors limited themselves to imperator augustus, in order to avoid conflict with the Byzantine emperors. Beginning with Otto III, the Holy Roman Emperors used Romanorum Imperator Augustus; the form
King of Rome
The King of Rome was the chief magistrate of the Roman Kingdom. According to legend, the first king of Rome was Romulus, who founded the city in 753 BC upon the Palatine Hill. Seven legendary kings are said to have ruled Rome until 509 BC; these kings ruled for an average of 35 years. The kings after Romulus were not known to be dynasts and no reference is made to the hereditary principle until after the fifth king Tarquinius Priscus; some have assumed that the Tarquins and their attempt to institute a hereditary monarchy over this conjectured earlier elective monarchy resulted in the formation of the republic. Early Rome was not self-governing, was ruled by the king; the king possessed absolute power over the people. The senate was a weak oligarchy, capable of exercising only minor administrative powers, so that Rome was ruled by its king, in effect an absolute monarch; the senate's main function was to administer the wishes of the king. After Romulus, Rome's first legendary king, Roman kings were elected by the people of Rome, sitting as a Curiate Assembly, who voted on the candidate, nominated by a chosen member of the senate called an interrex.
Candidates for the throne could be chosen from any source. For example, one such candidate, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus was a citizen and migrant from a neighboring Etruscan city-state; the people of Rome, sitting as the Curiate Assembly, could either accept or reject the nominated candidate-king. The insignia of the king was twelve lictors wielding the fasces, a throne of a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Only the king could wear a purple toga; the supreme power of the state was vested in the rex, whose position gave the following powers: Beyond his religious authority, the king was invested with the supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium. The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions; as being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions.
His executive power and his sole imperium allowed him to issue decrees with the force of law. The laws that kept citizens safe from the misuse of magistrates owning imperium did not exist during the times of the king. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome but as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi, which acted as the warden of the city; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city. The king received the right to be the sole person to appoint patricians to the Senate.
The king's imperium granted him both military powers as well as qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Although he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could be brought before the king by any patrician during a meeting of the Curiate Assembly. To assist the king, a council advised the king during all trials, but this council had no power to control the king's decisions. Two criminal detectives were appointed by him as well as a two-man criminal court which oversaw for cases of treason. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them. While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorable council.
It could advise the king on his action but, by no means, could prevent him from acting. The only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation; these issues allowed the King to more or less rule by decree with the exception of the above-mentioned affairs. Whenever a Roman king died, Rome entered a period of interregnum. Supreme power in the state would be devolved to the Senate, which had the task of finding a new king; the Senate would assemble and appoint one of its own members as the interrex to serve for a period of five days with the sole purpose of nominating the next king of Rome. After the five-day period, the interrex would appoint another Senator for another five-day term; this process would continue until the election of a new king. Once the interrex found a suitable nominee for the kingship, he would bring the nominee before the Senate and the Senate would examine him. If the Senate confirmed the nomination, the interrex would convene the Curiate Assembly and preside as its chairman during the election of the King.
Once a candidate was proposed to the Curi
Western Roman Empire
In historiography, the Western Roman Empire refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are modern descriptions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453. Though the Empire had seen periods with more than one Emperor ruling jointly before, the view that it was impossible for a single emperor to govern the entire Empire was institutionalised to reforms to Roman law by emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the Third Century, he introduced the system of the tetrarchy in 286, with two separate senior emperors titled Augustus, one in the East and one in the West, each with an appointed Caesar. Though the tetrarchic system would collapse in a matter of years, the East–West administrative division would endure in one form or another over the coming centuries.
As such, the Western Roman Empire would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Some emperors, such as Constantine I and Theodosius I, governed as the sole Augustus across the Roman Empire. On the death of Theodosius I in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, with Honorius as his successor in the West, governing from Mediolanum, Arcadius as his successor in the East, governing from Constantinople. In 476, after the Battle of Ravenna, the Roman Army in the West suffered defeat at the hands of Odoacer and his Germanic foederati. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. In 480, following the assassination of the previous Western emperor Julius Nepos, the Eastern emperor Zeno dissolved the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire; the date of 476 was popularized by the 18th century British historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Odoacer's Italy, other barbarian kingdoms, would maintain a pretence of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court. In the 6th century, emperor Justinian I re-imposed direct Imperial rule on large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, including the prosperous regions of North Africa, the ancient Roman heartland of Italy and parts of Hispania. Political instability in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious differences, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were lost for good. Though the Eastern Empire retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire had over Western Europe had diminished significantly; the papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions.
The Great Schism of 1054 between the churches of Rome and Constantinople further diminished any authority the Emperor in Constantinople could hope to exert in the west. As the Roman Republic expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome could not rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, natural disasters, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service requiring much time to reach Rome and for Rome's orders to be returned and acted upon. Therefore, provincial governors had de facto autonomy in the name of the Roman Republic. Governors had several duties, including the command of armies, handling the taxes of the province and serving as the province's chief judges. Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided in 43 BC among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea and Epirus, Bithynia and Asia, Syria and Cyrenaica.
These lands had been conquered by Alexander the Great. The whole region the major cities, had been assimilated into Greek culture, Greek serving as the lingua franca. Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia, Gallia Belgica, Hispania; these lands included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls and Celtiberians were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa. Octavian soon took Africa while adding Sicilia to his holdings. Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Em
Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws and governance. A male Roman citizen enjoyed a wide range of privileges and protections defined in detail by the Roman state. A citizen could, under certain exceptional circumstances, be deprived of his citizenship. Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. Though held in high regard they were not allowed to stand for civil or public office; the rich might participate in public life by funding building projects or sponsoring religious ceremonies and other events. Women had the right to own property, to engage in business, to obtain a divorce, but their legal rights varied over time. Marriages were an important form of political alliance during the Republic. Client state citizens and allies of Rome could receive a limited form of Roman citizenship such as the Latin Right; such citizens could not be elected in Roman elections. Slaves lacked legal personhood. Over time, they acquired a few protections under Roman law.
Some slaves were freed by manumission for services rendered, or through a testamentary provision when their master died. Once free, they faced few barriers, beyond normal social snobbery, to participating in Roman society; the principle that a person could become a citizen by law rather than birth was enshrined in Roman mythology. Freedmen were former slaves, they were not automatically given citizenship and lacked some privileges such as running for executive magistracies. The children of freedmen and women were born as free citizens. Ius suffragiorum: The right to vote in the Roman assemblies. Ius honorum: The right to stand for civil or public office. Ius commercii: The right to make legal contracts and to hold property as a Roman citizen. Ius gentium: The legal recognition, developed in the 3rd century BC, of the growing international scope of Roman affairs, the need for Roman law to deal with situations between Roman citizens and foreign persons; the ius gentium was therefore a Roman legal codification of the accepted international law of the time, was based on the developed commercial law of the Greek city-states and of other maritime powers.
The rights afforded by the ius gentium were considered to be held by all persons. Ius conubii: The right to have a lawful marriage with a Roman citizen according to Roman principles, to have the legal rights of the paterfamilias over the family, for the children of any such marriage to be counted as Roman citizens. Ius migrationis: The right to preserve one's level of citizenship upon relocation to a polis of comparable status. For example, members of the cives Romani maintained their full civitas when they migrated to a Roman colony with full rights under the law: a colonia civium Romanorum. Latins had this right, maintained their ius Latii if they relocated to a different Latin state or Latin colony; this right did not preserve one's level of citizenship should one relocate to a colony of lesser legal status. The right of immunity from some taxes and other legal obligations local rules and regulations; the right to sue in the right to be sued. The right to have a legal trial; the right to appeal the lower court decisions.
Following the early 2nd-century BC Porcian Laws, a Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped and could commute sentences of death to voluntary exile, unless he was found guilty of treason. If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross. Roman citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. Citizen soldiers could be beaten by the centurions and senior officers for reasons related to discipline. Non-citizens gained citizenship through service; the legal classes varied over time, however the following classes of legal status existed at various times within the Roman state: The cives Romani were full Roman citizens, who enjoyed full legal protection under Roman law. Cives Romani were sub-divided into two classes: The non optimo iure who held the ius commercii and ius conubii The optimo iure, who held these rights as well as the ius suffragiorum and ius honorum.
The Latini were a class of citizens who held the Latin Right, or the rights of ius commercii and ius migrationis, but not the ius conubii. The term Latini referred to the Latins, citizens of the Latin League who came under Roman control at the close of the Latin War, but became a legal description rather than a national or ethnic one. Freedmen slaves, those of the cives Romani convicted of crimes, or citizens settling Latin colonies could be given this status under the law. Socii or foederati were citizens of states which had treaty obligations with Rome, under which certain legal rights of the state's citizens under Roman law were exchanged for agreed levels of military service, i.e. the Roman magistrates had the right to levy soldiers for the Roman legions from those states. However, foederat
The Latin word imperator derives from the stem of the verb imperare, meaning'to order, to command'. It was employed as a title equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic, 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 based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Imperator was used consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate and the dominate. In Latin, the feminine form of Imperator is imperatrix; when 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 had to be conferred the imperium. In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium, but mainly in the Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, imperator was the honorific title assumed by certain military commanders.
After an 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, in 84 BC to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, in 60 BC to Gaius Julius Caesar, relative of the mentioned Lucius Julius Caesar, in 45 BC again to Gaius Julius Caesar, in 44 BC to Marcus Iunius Brutus, in 41 BC to Lucius Antonius. In 15 AD Germanicus was imperator during the empire of his adoptive father Tiberius. After Augustus established the Roman Empire, the title imperator was restricted to the emperor, though in the early years of the empire it would 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, 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. In time it became the title of the de facto monarch, pronounced upon their assumption; as a title imperator was translated into Greek as autokrator This was imprecise as it lost the nuances of Latin political thought contrasting imperium with other forms of public authority. This title was used in Greek-language texts for Roman emperors from the establishment of the empire.
In the east, the title continued to be used into the Byzantine period, though to a lesser, much more ceremonial, extent. In most Byzantine writings, the Greek translation "Autokrator" is preferred, but "Imperator" makes an appearance in Constantine IV's mid 7th century mosaic in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, on various 9th century lead seals. After the Roman empire collapsed in the West in the 5th century, Latin continued to be used as the language of learning and diplomacy for some centuries; the Roman emperors of this period were referred to as imperatores in Latin texts, while the word basileus was used in Greek. After 800, the imperator was used as a formal Latin title in succession by the Carolingian and German Holy Roman Emperors until 1806 and by the Austrian Emperors until 1918. In medieval Spain, the title imperator was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157, it was used by the Kings of León and Castile, but it found currency in the Kingdom of Navarre and was employed by the Counts of Castile and at least one Duke of Galicia.
It signalled at various points the king's equality with the Byzantine Emperor and Holy Roman Emperor, his rule by conquest or military superiority, his rule over several people groups ethnic or religious, his claim to suzerainty over the other kings of the peninsula, both Christian and Muslim. Beginning in 1077 Alfonso instituted the use of the style ego Adefonsus imperator totius Hispaniae and its use soon became regular; this title was used throughout the period 1079–81, which represents the peak of his imperial pretensions before his capture of the city of Toledo, ancient capital of the Visigoths. In 1080 he introduced the form ego Adefonsus Hispaniarum imperator, which he used again in 1090, his most elaborate imperial title was ego Adefonsus imperator totius Castelle et Toleto necnon et Nazare seu Alave. In 1721