Prefect (Ancient Rome)

Article

May 22, 2022

Prefect - a Roman official who was in charge of managing a separate part of the administration, court, state economy or army. The prefect of the city (lat. Praefectus urbi) - replaced the Roman king during the absence of the latter, taking care mainly of the administration of justice. During the republican period, when the consuls at the head of the state could easily be replaced by another official, the urban prefecture became an unnecessary luxury or an empty formality; so, for the entire time of the celebration of feriae latinae, when the highest magistrates left Rome, a temporary prefect (praefectus feriarum latinarum) was appointed consuls. The importance of city prefects increased enormously during the period of the principate. Even under Augustus and Tiberius there were no permanent prefects of the city, but from the second half of the 1st century AD. e. all the functions of praetors and aediles are gradually absorbed by the prefecture. The prefect's jurisdiction extended 100 miles around Rome; 3 police cohorts of 1000 people each (cohortes urbanae) were subordinate to him. Praefectus civitatis - governor of a region not yet involved in actual provincial administration. A famous example is Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea. Praefectus sociorum (socium) were the commanders of the allied contingents, corresponding in rank to the legionary tribunes. Each consul appointed 12 Roman prefects to command separate parts of the allied corps, connected to his two legions. Praefectus iuri dicundo was sent from Rome for legal proceedings in those cities that did not enjoy full self-government. This name was retained by the highest judges of such cities even after the Julio Law, which granted the prefectures the rights of full citizenship, and therefore the right to freely elect judges. Prefect of the camp (lat. Praefectus castrorum) - the commandant of the legionary camp with the rank of tribune. This position first appears in the time of Augustus. Prefects were usually appointed from among the old, experienced centurions; they supervised the serviceability of the camp, infirmaries and carts, and maintained camp discipline. The cruel punishments to which the fined soldiers were subjected made the camp prefects extremely unpopular officers; they became the first victims of the indignations of the legionnaires. Often