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Old March 15 2013, 06:11 AM   #84
Sci
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
As to one remark at the top of this page... in actual fact, one of the titles of the Roman head of state was imperator, "the one who commands", which is where English gets the word emperor from.
We covered this.


Sci wrote: View Post
And the word imperator was not a synonym for "emperor" in our understanding of the term:

In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium (Rivero, 2006). But also, mainly in the later Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, imperator was the honorifical 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....

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.
So, the title of imperator referred to successful military commanders, not hereditary monarchs -- and the monarchy we now call the Roman Empire was not an official monarchy, but was a de facto monarchy legitimized by the accumulation of republican constitutional offices. (One might compare it to the same way the ruler of, say, North Korea legitimizes his status through the accumulation of numerous seemingly republican titles [such as General Secretary of the Workers' Party, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army].) Imperator was merely one of the titles a de facto emperor would acquire.
Tl;dr: "Imperator" may be where "Emperor" comes from, but it did not itself mean "hereditary monarch."
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