Legatus Augusti pro praetore

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Molding from the inscription in the Kastell Bohming [de
], Kipfenberg, Bavaria Bohming Romerkastell Bauinschrift Abguss 181.JPG
Molding from the inscription in the Kastell Böhming  [ de ], Kipfenberg, Bavaria

A legatus Augusti pro praetore (literally: "envoy of the emperor - acting for the praetor") was the official title of the governor or general of some imperial provinces of the Roman Empire during the Principate era, normally the larger ones or those where legions were based. Provinces were denoted imperial if their governor was selected by the emperor, in contrast to senatorial provinces, whose governors (called proconsuls) were elected by the Roman Senate.

Roman governor Position

A Roman governor was an official either elected or appointed to be the chief administrator of Roman law throughout one or more of the many provinces constituting the Roman Empire. A Roman governor is also known as a propraetor or proconsul.

Roman province Major Roman administrative territorial entity outside of Italy

The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and later the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman who was appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.


A legatus Augusti was always a senator of consular or praetorian rank (i.e. who had previously held the office of consul or praetor). However, the position of the governor of Egypt ( praefectus Aegypti ) was unparalleled, for though an eques (Roman knight) he had legions under his command. Some smaller imperial provinces where no legions were based (e.g. Mauretania, Thrace, Rhaetia, Noricum, and Judaea) were administered by equestrian praefecti (prefects) later designated procuratores (procurators) who commanded only auxiliary forces. The legatus Augusti was both the head of the provincial administration, chief judicial officer and commander-in-chief of all military forces based in the province (legions and auxiliaries). The only function outside the remit of the legatus was finance (the collection of imperial taxes and revenues), which was handled by an independent procurator, who reported direct to the emperor.

A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, and ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum.

Praetor Official of the Roman Republic

Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army ; or, an elected magistratus (magistrate), assigned various duties. The functions of the magistracy, the praetura (praetorship), are described by the adjective: the praetoria potestas, the praetorium imperium, and the praetorium ius, the legal precedents established by the praetores (praetors). Praetorium, as a substantive, denoted the location from which the praetor exercised his authority, either the headquarters of his castra, the courthouse (tribunal) of his judiciary, or the city hall of his provincial governorship.

Egypt (Roman province) Roman province that encompassed most of modern-day Egypt

The Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BC after Octavian defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed Pharaoh Cleopatra, and annexed the Ptolemaic Kingdom to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula. Aegyptus was bordered by the provinces of Crete and Cyrenaica to the west and Judea to the East.

In the military hierarchy, the legatus ' direct subordinates were the legati legionis (the commanders of the legions based in the province), who in turn commanded the tribuni militum (the legion's senior staff officers) and the praefecti (commanders) of the auxiliary regiments attached to the legion.

In AD 68, 15 out of a total of 36 provinces were ruled by legati Augusti: Hispania Tarraconensis, Lusitania, Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, Britannia, Germania Inferior, Germania Superior, Moesia, Dalmatia, Galatia, Cappadocia, Lycia et Pamphylia, Syria and Numidia. [1]

Hispania Tarraconensis Roman province

Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of modern Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica. On the Atlantic west lay the province of Lusitania, partially coincident with modern-day Portugal.

Lusitania Roman province

Lusitania or Hispania Lusitana was an ancient Iberian Roman province located where modern Portugal and part of western Spain lie. It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people.

Gallia Aquitania Roman province

Gallia Aquitania, also known as Aquitaine or Aquitaine Gaul, was a province of the Roman Empire. It lies in present-day southwest France, where it gives its name to the modern region of Aquitaine. It was bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, and Hispania Tarraconensis.

See also


  1. CAH X 369 (Table 2)

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