Explain the basis for being an
“emperor”: What were his titles and actual powers, and how did these grow out
of the Republic or otherwise come into being and develop over time?
During the Imperial period of the Roman Empire, the
leader was the Roman Emperor. This
person typically wasn’t chosen by the people, rather the leader was usually
lucky with birthright. Being born into
the right family at the time helped bring economic, political, and military power
to a person. And if you did get born
into the correct family and were placed as the emperor, you had that job for
life. There wasn’t a way to retire, and
the only way to lose your emperorship was to be killed. There were always people looking to take
power for themselves so the current emperor had to be meticulous in his decisions.
That made the emperors fear for their lives,
making them lead with paranoia rather than completely focusing on what they
should be doing as a leader.
An emperor could have a variety of titles to chose from. In the beginning the first emperors used the
title of Princeps, meaning first citizen.
That title was used in conjunction with other titles such as the taking of
the title Augustus or Caesar. An emperor
can have many titles, other such titles can be Imperator (military honor
title), Consul, Princeps senatus, Pontifex Maximus. There are many other titles too that emperors
could have earned. But on the other hand
an emperor had the option to not have titles at all.
emperor’s powers are vast, But at first Augustus was offered supreme authority,
and he turned that down to divide the power into various offices of power. The emperor as Princeps senatus declared the opening
and closure of the senate session, declared the Senate’s agenda, imposed rules
and regulation for the Senate to follow, and met with foreign ambassadors in
the name of the Senate. At pontifex
maximus, the emperor was the chief administrator of religious affairs. This allowed him the power to conduct all religious
ceremonies, consecrate temples, control the Roman calendar. These powers are the lesser of the emperor’s powers.
The Emperor held the powers of Tribunicia
potestas, these powers gave the emperor the ability to pardon any civilian for
any act, the emperor could also prosecute anyone who got between the emperor
and his duties. The tribuneship gave the
emperor the powers to convene the senate at his will and give proposals to the senate. The emperor can also veto any act that was
brought up by any magistrate. The emperor
can also call the Council of the people, and propose legislation to them aswell,
he also served as the council’s president.
Augustus also gave the emperor
the power of Imperium, which increased his power aswell.