List of Roman dictators

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The following is a list of dictators in ancient Rome as reported by ancient sources. Contemporary historians doubt whether some of these dictatorships actually occurred. In antiquity, the meaning of dictator was not pejorative but referred to one who ruled by dictat for a set period; rarely (as in case of Gaius Julius Caesar) it was a title for life.

All dates and names are given as they appear in Magistrates of the Roman Republic by T.R.S. Broughton.

Where a cause is not attested in ancient sources and is reconstructed by modern scholars, it is preceded by an asterisk (e.g., *Rei gerundae causa). Dicatators rei gerundae causa were appointed "for getting things done"; clavi figendi causa, "for driving a nail" as part of a ritual at the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus; comitiorum habendorum causa, "for holding elections"; and ludorum faciendorum causa, "for holding the Roman games." Other causes are unique to the case at hand, with the possible exception of seditionis sedandae et rgc, "for quieting sedition and getting things done."[1]

Date (BC) Term Name Cause/Notes
501 or 498 Titus Lartius Flavus[2] Rei gerundae causa
499 or 496 Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis *Rei gerundae causa
494 Manius Valerius Maximus *Rei gerundae causa
463 Gaius Aemilius Mamercus? *Clavi figendi causa (possibly interrex, not dictator).[3]
458 1st Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus Rei gerundae causa
439 2nd Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus *Rei gerundae causa or *seditionis sedandae causa
437 1st Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus *Rei gerundae causa
435 1st Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas *Rei gerundae causa
434 2nd Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus *Rei gerundae causa
431 Aulus Postumius Tubertus *Rei gerundae causa
426 3rd Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus *Rei gerundae causa
418 2nd Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas *Rei gerundae causa
408 Publius Cornelius Rutilus Cossus *Rei gerundae causa
396 1st Marcus Furius Camillus *Rei gerundae causa
390 2nd Marcus Furius Camillus *Rei gerundae causa
389 3rd Marcus Furius Camillus *Rei gerundae causa
385 Aulus Cornelius Cossus *Rei gerundae causa
380 Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus *Rei gerundae causa
368 4th Marcus Furius Camillus Rei gerundae causa
368 Publius Manlius Capitolinus Seditionis sedandae et rei gerendae causa
367 5th Marcus Furius Camillus Rei gerundae causa
363 Lucius Manlius Capitolinus Imperiosus Clavi figendi causa
362 Appius Claudius Crassus Inregillensis *Rei gerundae causa
361 Titus Quinctius Poenus Capitolinus Crispinus Rei gerundae causa
360 Quintus Servilius Ahala Rei gerundae causa
358 Gaius Sulpicius Peticus *Rei gerundae causa
356 Gaius Marcius Rutilus *Rei gerundae causa
353 1st Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus *Rei gerundae causa
352 Gaius Julius Iullus *Rei gerundae causa
351 Marcus Fabius Ambustus Comitiorum habendorum causa
350 1st Lucius Furius Camillus Comitiorum habendorum causa
349 2nd Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus Comitiorum habendorum causa
345 2nd Lucius Furius Camillus *Rei gerundae causa
344 Publius Valerius Publicola Feriarum constituendarum causa
342 1st Marcus Valerius Corvus *Seditionis sedandae causa et rgc or *rei gerundae causa
340 Lucius Papirius Crassus *Rei gerundae causa
339 Quintus Publilius Philo *Rei gerundae causa
337 Caius Claudius Inrelligensis *Rei gerundae causa; his appointment was declared faulty and he abdicated
335 Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas Comitiorum habendorum causa
333 Publius Cornelius Rufinus *Rei gerundae causa; his appointment was declared faulty and he abdicated[4]
332 Marcus Papirius Crassus *Rei gerundae causa
331 Gnaeus Quinctius Capitolinus Clavi figendi causa
327 Marcus Claudius Marcellus Comitiorum habendorum causa; his appointment was declared faulty and he abdicated
325 1st Lucius Papirius Cursor Rei gerundae causa
324 2nd Lucius Papirius Cursor *Rei gerundae causa[4]
322 Aulus Cornelius Cossus Arvina Ludorum faciendorum causa or rei gerundae causa[5]
321 Quintus Fabius Ambustus Comitiorum habendorum causa; his appointment was declared faulty and he abdicated
321 Marcus Aemilius Papus Comitiorum habendorum causa
320 1st Gaius Maenius (unknown)[6]
320 Lucius Cornelius Lentulus *Rei gerundae causa
320 3rd Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus *Comitiorum habendorum causa
316 Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas Rei gerundae causa
315 1st Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus Rei gerundae causa
314 2nd Gaius Maenius Rei gerundae causa
313 Gaius Poetelius Libo Visolus Rei gerundae causa or clavi figendi causa[7]
313 2nd Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus *Rei gerundae causa[7]
312 Gaius Sulpicius Longus Rei gerundae causa[8]
312 Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus *Rei gerundae causa (possibly magister equitum, not dictator)[8]
310 3rd Lucius Papirius Cursor *Rei gerundae causa
309 4th Lucius Papirius Cursor *Rei gerundae causa[4]
306 Publius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus Comitiorum habendorum causa
302 2nd? Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus *Rei gerundae causa
302 2nd Marcus Valerius Corvus *Rei gerundae causa
301 3rd Marcus Valerius Corvus *Rei gerundae causa[4]
292 - 285 Marcus Aemilius Barbula (unknown)[9]
291 - 285 Appius Claudius Caecus (unknown)[9]
291 - 285 Publius Cornelius Rufinus (unknown)[9]
287 Quintus Hortensius *Seditionis sedandae causa or *rei gerundae causa
280 Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus Maximus Comitiorum habendorum causa
263 Gnaeus Fulvius Maximus Centumalus Clavi figendi causa
257 Quintus Ogulnius Gallus Latinarum feriarum causa[10]
249 Marcus Claudius Glicia (unrecorded); made to resign[11]
249 Aulus Atilius Caiatinus Rei gerundae causa
246 Tiberius Coruncanius Comitiorum habendorum causa
231 Gaius Duilius Comitiorum habendorum causa
224 Lucius Caecilius Metellus Comitiorum habendorum causa
221 1st Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator (unknown)[12]
217 2nd Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator Interregni causa[13]
217 Marcus Minucius Rufus Co-dictator or magister equitum[14]
217 Lucius Veturius Philo Comitorium habendorum causa; his appointment was declared faulty and he abdicated
216 Marcus Junius Pera Rei gerundae causa
216 Marcus Fabius Buteo Senatus legendi causa[15]
213 Gaius Claudius Centho Comitiorum habendorum causa
210 Quintus Fulvius Flaccus Comitiorum habendorum causa
208 Titus Manlius Torquatus Comitiorum habendorum causa or ludorum faciendorum causa
207 Marcus Livius Salinator Comitiorum habendorum causa
205 Quintus Caecilius Metellus Comitiorum habendorum causa
203 Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus Comitiorum habendorum causa
202 Gaius Servilius Geminus Comitiorum habendorum causa
82/81 - 81 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix Legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa
49 1st Gaius Julius Caesar Rei gerundae causa
48 2nd Gaius Julius Caesar Rei gerundae causa
47 3rd Gaius Julius Caesar Rei gerundae causa
46 4th Gaius Julius Caesar Rei gerundae causa
45 5th Gaius Julius Caesar Rei gerundae causa
44 -- Gaius Julius Caesar perpetuus

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marianne Hartfield argues that only Manlius Capitolinus was named dictator seditionis sedandae et rgc in 368 BC, and that it was his dictatorship that caused the Romans to institute new causes to distinguish between the traditional military office (rei gerundae causa) and other uses to which the powers of that office might be put. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ The name of the first dictator is also given as Manius Valerius Volesi, but Livy rejects this in favor of Titus Lartius Flavus on the basis of the law that only consulars could be named dictator and Valerius had not yet been named consul. Broughton follows Livy in this. Broughton, T. R. S. (1951). Magistrates of the Roman Republic 1. New York: American Philological Association. p. 9. 
  3. ^ No dictator is listed for this year in the fasti consulares, but Lydus says that there was a dictator in the forty-eighty year of the republic. Bendel links this with the story that the senate appointed a dictator clavi figendi causa in 363 BC because that had worked to stop a pestilence a century earlier and concludes that Mamercus was this dictator. Broughton sees this as an insufficient reason to say that Mamercus was dictator in 463 BC, and suggests that Lydus has confused a dictator with an interrex. Broughton, T. R. S. (1951). Magistrates of the Roman Republic 1. New York: American Philological Association. p. 35 n.2. 
  4. ^ a b c d The fasti consulares, but no other source, list four years in which there was a dictator but no consuls elected: 333, 324, 309, and 301. In each case, Livy includes the names of the dictator and magister equitum under the previous years consuls. See Broughton, T. R. S. (1951). Magistrates of the Roman Republic 1. New York: American Philological Association. p. 141. 
  5. ^ The sources for the causa of this dictator conflict. Most historians accept that Cornelius carried on the Ludi Romani games when the praetor fell ill and attempt to explain how an annalist would have altered the records to make this a dictator rei gerundae causa. See Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. p. 420.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Maenius is one of three dictators appointed in 320, none of whom is listed as having abdicated and been replaced by another dictator. This fact, combined with the fact that Cornelius Lentulus can only have been appointed rei gerundae causa, her conclusion that Manlius Torquatus was appointed comitiorum habendorum causa, and her judgment that the quaestionibus exercendis cannot have been his causa and is never said to be by Livy (the source of the phrase) lead Hartfield to conclude that Maenius must have had a religious function. She cannot conclude which religious causa he might have had, except that it certainly was not clavi figendi causa. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 425–28.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ a b Livy and the fasti consulares suggest that Poetelius was dictator rei gerundae causa, but Livy preserves a source who claims that one of the consuls that year instead captured the town Poetelius was said to have captured and that his dictatorship was instead clavi figendi causa. Some modern historians do not dismiss this alternate account. Because an rgc does not hammer in the sacred nail, if Poetelius did, then he must have been appointed dictator twice this year, once for each causa. Diodorus Siculus attributes the victories credited to Gaius Poetelius Libo Visolus to one Κόιντος Φάβιος instead. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 443–51.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b The fasti consulares list Gaius Sulpicius Longus as the dictator rei gerundae causa and Gauis Junius Bubulcus Brutus as his magister equitum, but Livy names the latter as dictator, without following his usual procedure of recording the magister equitum. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 452–54.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ a b c Three dictators are known only from various literary sources. Historians date them to a period for which the fasti consulares and Livy's history are missing but nothing about their causa can be known. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 471–76.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ This is the only known instance of this causa, "for celebrating the Latin games."
  11. ^ The fasti consulares do not record Claudius' causa, but do note that he had been a clerk and that he was forced to abdicate. Normally, dictators were senators of consular rank, not equestrians. It seems that the consul naming him did so to scorn the senate, which had voted to appoint a dictator to relieve him in Sicily. Claudius' nomination would not declared by the augurs to have been invalid, but the senate forced him to resign by means unknown. Aulus Atilius Caiatinus was appointed in Claudius' stead. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 480–83.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Livy says that Fabius Maximus was appointed dictator "again" in 217, so he must have had a dictatorship for some unknown cause in the periods covered by the portions of Livy that are lost.
  13. ^ This causa, "because of the interregnum," is unique and perplexing, as there was no interregnum (one consul was still alive). Some scholars suggest that the fasti consulares misstate Fabius' causa, since he clearly took the field like a dictator rei gerundae causa. Hartfield suggests that the senate did not want to alter the forms of dictator already in use to meet the almost unique situation it found itself in, and so said that the situation was like an interregnum. Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 303–6.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Minucius was appointed Fabius Maximus' magister equitum but opposed his strategy of delay, so a tribune proposed a law to make his authority equal to that of the dictator. Scholars disagree whether this made Minucius a co-dictator or instead a magister equitum with dictatorial imperium. Since he was known to have been a dictator, those who advance the second possibility identify an additional dictatorship for him in the period for which the Livian history is missing, perhaps comitiorum habendorum causa. See Hartfield, Marianne (1981). Ph.D. dissertation. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley. pp. 489–99.  Missing or empty |title= (help) and Broughton, T. R. S. (1951). Magistrates of the Roman Republic 1. New York: American Philological Association. pp. 243–44. 
  15. ^ This is the only instance of this causa. The senate decided to appoint a dictator to enroll new senators after Cannae rather than push up elections for new censors to do the same.

See also[edit]