imperium

/im pear"ee euhm/, n., pl. imperia /-pear"ee euh/, imperiums.
1. command; supreme power.
2. area of dominion; sphere of control or monopoly; empire.
3. a nation having or exerting supreme power; superpower.
4. Law. the right to command the force of the state in order to enforce the law.
[1645-55; < L: supreme administrative power, authority, empire, equiv. to imper(are) to rule (see IMPERATIVE) + -ium -IUM]

* * *

      (Latin: “command,” “empire”), the supreme executive power in the Roman state, involving both military and judicial authority. It was exercised first by the kings of Rome; under the republic (c. 509 BC–27 BC) it was held by the chief magistrates (consuls, dictators, praetors, military tribunes with consular power, and masters of the cavalry) and private citizens entrusted with a special command. In the later republic, proconsuls, propraetors, second members of certain commissions also possessed the imperium. Restrictions on its use were instituted from the inception of the republic. The principle of collegiality provided that each of the magistrates of the same level (e.g., the two consuls) who held it should hold it to the same degree. Down to the 2nd century BC, a series of laws was passed requiring trials for Roman citizens in capital cases, and also the right of appeal to the people (jus provocandi ad populum). The same rights were conventionally extended to Roman citizens in the military or other official service outside Rome. Magistrates were required to exercise imperium within the limits of their office (provincia). Imperium was officially conferred by the Comitia Curiata (a popular assembly) for one year or until the official completed his commission. Only in the last years of the republic was the imperium granted for specific terms beyond one year.

      Caesar's opponent Pompey was the first to receive such a commission, specifically for three years by the Lex Gabinia (67 BC). Octavian obtained the imperium as holder of various offices under the republic before he became the first emperor, under the name of Augustus, in 27 BC. From then on he was granted imperium for 10- or 5-year periods by the Senate throughout his tenure of office. The Senate thereafter voted the imperium to each succeeding emperor upon his accession. Some emperors, such as Augustus, had it voted to their chosen successor. Under the empire the title imperator (emperor), which had been used by victorious Roman generals under the republic, was reserved as an exclusive title for the head of state. The emperors received their first acclamation as emperor at their accession and thereafter each time a Roman general won a victory. Imperium was sometimes given to others in cases of special military commands, such as that of Germanicus in AD 17. When it was granted with no special duties, as in the case of Tiberius in AD 13, it implied that the recipient was an appropriate successor to the princeps, the unofficial title used by Augustus and subsequent emperors. With the expansion of Roman power during and after the reign of Augustus, imperium took on the meaning of “empire.”

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Imperium — Imperium …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Impérium — Imperium Pour les articles homonymes, voir Imperium (homonymie). Monarchie romaine 753 – 509 av. J. C. République romaine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • imperium — ● imperium nom masculin (latin imperium, puissance publique) Dans l Antiquité romaine, pouvoir de celui qui gouverne l État. ⇒IMPERIUM, subst. masc. Pouvoir suprême détenu par certains magistrats romains. Rome envoyait un de ses citoyens dans un… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Imperium — Sn erw. fach. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. imperium Befehlsgewalt, Reich , einer Ableitung von l. imperāre befehlen, herrschen aus l. parāre rüsten, bereiten und l. in . Zum gleichen Verb gehört als Nomen agentis Imperator aus l.… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • IMPERIUM — titulus Honorarius Imp. in Ep. Theodoberti Regis ad Iustinianum Imp. Amorem nostrum erga Imperium vestrum. Sic Nicolaus I. Pontif. Rom. Ep. 8. ad Michaelem Imp. Paro seripsit nobis Imperium vestrum etc. ἡ βασιλεία μου, Impp. CP. cum de se… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • imperium — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. n V, lm M. imperiumria {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} rozległe i potężne państwo o ustroju monarchicznym; mocarstwo : {{/stl 7}}{{stl 10}}Imperium rzymskie. Imperium brytyjskie, rosyjskie. <łac.> {{/stl 10}} …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • imperium — (n.) 1650s, from L. imperium command, supreme authority, power (see EMPIRE (Cf. empire)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Imperium — Im*pe ri*um, n.; pl. {Imperia}. [L. See {Empire}.] 1. Supreme power; absolute dominion; empire. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. (Law) The right to command, which includes the right to employ the force of the state to enforce the laws. It is one of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imperĭum — (röm. Recht), 1) höchste Gewalt; in Rom war sie ursprünglich bei dem Volke u. bestand in der Wahl der Magistrate, Legislation u. Obergerichtsbarkeit; 2) die Machtbefugniß der höchsten Magistrate, u. zwar I. militāre, das Obercommando im Kriege, u …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Imperĭum — (lat., »Befehl, Herrschaft, Macht«), im alten Rom die höchste militärische und bürgerliche Gewalt, die ursprünglich nur den Königen und nach ihrer Vertreibung dem Volke, dann den höchsten Obrigkeiten angehörte, aber in der republikanischen Zeit… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Imperium — Imperĭum (lat.), höchste staatliche Gewalt, vom Volke in Rom den höchsten Beamten übertragen, bes. die militär. Gewalt, daher auch der Oberbefehl; später das röm. Kaiserreich …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.