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List of Roman dictators

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A list of all of the Roman dictators and magistri equitum known from ancient sources. In some cases the names or dates have been inferred by modern historians.

Key to Latin terms and phrases[edit]

Roman dictators were usually appointed for a specific purpose, or causa, which limited the scope of their activities. The chief causae were rei gerundae (a general purpose, usually to lead an army in the field against a particular enemy), clavi figendi (an important religious rite involving the driving of a nail into the wall of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus), and comitiorum habendorum (the holding of the comitia to elect magistrates, when the consuls were unable to do so).

Other causae included ludorum faciendorum, holding the Ludi Romani (Roman games), an important religious festival; ferarium constituendarum (establishing a religious festival in response to serious prodigies); seditionis sedandae (quelling sedition); and in one remarkable case, senatus legendi (filling up the ranks of the Senate after the Battle of Cannae).

The causa given at the very end of the Republic for the dictatorships of Sulla and Caesar are completely novel, as the powers granted greatly exceeded those traditionally accorded a Roman dictator. By legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa, Sulla was empowered to rewrite the laws and revise the constitution of the Roman state; by dictator perpetuo rei publicae constituendae causa, Caesar was appointed dictator in perpetuity, and given the power to revise the constitution.

The various causae may not have been legally distinguished from one another prior to 368 BC, when Publius Manlius Capitolinus was appointed dictator seditionis sedandae et rei gerundae causa. The precise formula of each causa later reported by ancient historians may only date to Manlius' dictatorship, in which case the causae attributed to earlier dictators must be later additions.[1]

Other phrases[edit]

  • abdicavit – abdicated, or resigned.
  • mortuus est – died in office.
  • non iniit – not inaugurated.
  • occisus est – killed, slain.
  • sine magistro equitum – without a magister equitum.

Roman numerals given following a name indicate that the dictator or magister equitum for that year previously held the same magistracy. The causae listed in the table are based largely on T. R. S. Broughton's The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, reporting those given in ancient sources. For cases in which no causa is given, rei gerundae may usually be inferred.

List of dictators and magistri equitum[edit]

6th and 5th centuries BC[edit]

Dictator Magister equitum Notes
501 253 Titus Larcius Flavus[i] Spurius Cassius Vecellinus rei gerundae causa
496 255 Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis Titus Aebutius Helva
494 260 Manius Valerius Volusus Maximus Quintus Servilius Priscus Structus
463 291 (Gaius Aemilius Mamercus)[ii] unknown clavi figendi causa
458 296 Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus Lucius Tarquitius Flaccus
439 315 Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus II Gaius Servilius Ahala
437 317 Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus
435 319 Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas Postumus Aebutius Helva Cornicen
434 320 Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus II Aulus Postumius Tubertus
431 323 Aulus Postumius Tubertus Lucius Julius Iullus
426 328 Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus III Aulus Cornelius Cossus
418 336 Quintus Servilius Priscus Fidenas II Gaius Servilius Axilla
408 346 Publius Cornelius Rutilus Cossus Gaius Servilius Ahala

4th century BC[edit]

Dictator Magister equitum Notes
396 358 Marcus Furius Camillus Publius Cornelius Maluginensis
390 364 Marcus Furius Camillus II Lucius Valerius Potitus
389 365 Marcus Furius Camillus III Gaius Servilius Ahala
385 369 Aulus Cornelius Cossus Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
380 374 Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus Aulus Sempronius Atratinus
368 386 Marcus Furius Camillus IV Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus rei gerundae causa
368 386 Publius Manlius Capitolinus Gaius Licinius Calvus seditionis sedandae et rei gerundae causa
367 387 Marcus Furius Camillus V Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus rei gerundae causa
363 391 Lucius Manlius Capitolinus Imperiosus Lucius Pinarius Natta clavi figendi causa
362 392 Appius Claudius Crassus Regillensis[iii] Publius Cornelius Scapula? Mucius Scaevola?[iv]
361 393 Titus Quinctius Pennus Capitolinus Crispinus Servius Cornelius Maluginensis rei gerundae causa
360 394 Quintus Servilius Ahala Titus Quinctius Pennus Capitolinus Crispinus rei gerundae causa
358 396 Gaius Sulpicius Peticus Marcus Valerius Poplicola
356 398 Gaius Marcius Rutilus Gaius Plautius Proculus
353 401 Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus Aulus Cornelius Cossus Arvina
352 402 Gaius Julius Iulus Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus
351 403 Marcus Fabius Ambustus Quintus Servilius Ahala comitiorum habendorum causa
350 404 Lucius Furius Camillus Publius Cornelius Scipio comitiorum habendorum causa
349 405 Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus II Aulus Cornelius Cossus Arvina II comitiorum habendorum causa
348 406 (Gaius Claudius Crassinus Regillensis) (Gaius Livius Denter) comitiorum habendorum causa; names uncertain.[v]
345 409 Lucius Furius Camillus II Gnaeus Manlius Capitolinus Imperiosus
344 410 Publius Valerius Poplicola Quintus Fabius Ambustus ferarium constituendarum causa
342 412 Marcus Valerius Corvus Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas
340 414 Lucius Papirius Crassus Lucius Papirius Cursor
339 415 Quintus Publilius Philo Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva
337 417 Gaius Claudius Inregillensis Gaius Claudius Hortator abdicavit
335 419 Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas Quintus Publilius Philo comitiorum habendorum causa
334 420 Publius Cornelius Rufinus Marcus Antonius abdicavit; 333 the first of the "dictator years".[vi]
332 422 Marcus Papirius Crassus Publius Valerius Poplicola
331 423 Gnaeus Quinctilius Varus
or  Gnaeus Quinctius Capitolinus
Lucius Valerius Potitus clavi figendi causa
327 427 Marcus Claudius Marcellus Spurius Postumius Albinus comitiorum habendorum causa; abdicavit
325 429 Lucius Papirius Cursor Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus rei gerundae causa; 324 the second of the "dictator years".[vi]
322 432 Aulus Cornelius Cossus Arvina Marcus Fabius Ambustus rei gerundae (for a general purpose) or ludi faciendorum causa[vii]
321 433 Quintus Fabius Ambustus Publius Aelius Paetus comitiorum habendorum causa; abdicavit
321 433 Marcus Aemilius Papus Lucius Valerius Flaccus comitiorum habendorum causa
320 434 Gaius Maenius Marcus Foslius Flaccinator causa uncertain.[viii]
320 434 Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Lucius Papirius Cursor II
320 434 Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus III Lucius Papirius Cursor III
316 438 Lucius Aemilius Mamercinus Privernas II Lucius Fulvius Curvus rei gerundae causa
315 439 Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus Quintus Aulius Cerretanus
Gaius Fabius Ambustus
rei gerundae causa
314 440 Gaius Maenius II Marcus Foslius Flaccinator II rei gerundae causa
313 441 Gaius Poetelius Libo Visolus
or  Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus II
Marcus Foslius Flaccinator III
or  Marcus Poetelius Libo
rei gerundae (et clavi figendi?) causa[ix]
312 442 Gaius Sulpicius Longus Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus rei gerundae causa[x]
310 444 Lucius Papirius Cursor II Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus II 309 the third of the "dictator years".[vi]
306 448 Publius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus Publius Decius Mus comitiorum habendorum causa
302 452 Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus Marcus Titinius
302 452 Marcus Valerius Maximus Corvus II Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus?
 or Marcus Aemilius Paullus?
301 the fourth and last of the "dictator years".[vi]

3rd century BC[edit]

Dictator Magister equitum Notes
287 467 Quintus Hortensius mortuus est not recorded
287 467 Appius Claudius Caecus? not recorded dictator suffectus?[xi]
285 469 Marcus Aemilius Barbula? not recorded date uncertain.[xii]
280 474 Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus Maximus not recorded comitiorum habendorum causa
276 478 Publius Cornelius Rufinus? not recorded date uncertain.[xiii]
263 491 Gnaeus Fulvius Maximus Centumalus Quintus Marcius Philippus clavi figendi causa
257 497 Quintus Ogulnius Gallus Marcus Laetorius Plancianus Latinarum feriarum causa
249 505 Marcus Claudius Glicia abdicavit[xiv]
249 505 Aulus Atilius Calatinus Lucius Caecilius Metellus
246 508 Tiberius Coruncanius Marcus Fulvius Flaccus comitiorum habendorum causa
231 523 Gaius Duilius Gaius Aurelius Cotta comitiorum habendorum causa
224 530 Lucius Caecilius Metellus Numerius Fabius Buteo comitiorum habendorum causa
221 533 Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Gaius Flaminius date uncertain.[xv]
217 537 Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus II Marcus Minucius Rufus Minucius given authority equal to the dictator's.[xvi]
217 537 Lucius Veturius Philo Marcus Pomponius Matho comitiorum habendorum causa; abdicavit
216 538 Marcus Junius Pera Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
216 538 Marcus Fabius Buteo sine magistro equitum senatus legendi causa[xvii]
213 541 Gaius Claudius Centho Quintus Fulvius Flaccus comitiorum habendorum causa
210 544 Quintus Fulvius Flaccus Publius Licinius Crassus Dives comitiorum habendorum causa
208 546 Titus Manlius Torquatus Gaius Servilius Geminus comitiorum habendorum et ludorum faciendorum causa
207 547 Marcus Livius Salinator Quintus Caecilius Metellus comitiorum habendorum causa
205 549 Quintus Caecilius Metellus Lucius Veturius Philo comitiorum habendorum causa
203 551 Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus Marcus Servilius Pulex Geminus comitiorum habendorum causa
202 552 Gaius Servilius Geminus Publius Aelius Paetus comitiorum habendorum causa

1st century BC[edit]

Dictator Magister equitum Notes
82–79 672–675 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix Lucius Valerius Flaccus legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa
49 705 Gaius Julius Caesar sine magistro equitum rei gerundae causa
48 706 Gaius Julius Caesar II Marcus Antonius
47–44 707–710 Gaius Julius Caesar III Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
44 710 Gaius Julius Caesar IV occisus est Marcus Aemilius Lepidus II
Gaius Octavius
Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus (non iniit)
dictator perpetuo rei publicae constituendae causa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The name of the first dictator is also given as Manius Valerius, but Livy rejects this in favor of Titus Larcius Flavus on the basis of the law that only consulars could be named dictator; Valerius had not yet been named consul. Broughton follows Livy in this.[2]
  2. ^ No dictator is listed for this year in the fasti consulares, but Lydus says that there was a dictator in the forty-eighth 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 mistaken an interrex for a dictator.[3]
  3. ^ Possibly the same individual as Appius Claudius Crassus Regillensis, rather than the consul of 349.[4]
  4. ^ The name of the magister equitum is preserved in the Fasti only as "SCA[.]VLA" or "SCA[.]V[.]LA", which some scholars have interpreted as "Scapula", based on the subsequent appearance of Publius Cornelius Scapula, consul in 328 BC. Broughton notes that Attilio Degrassi's reading, indicating the second gap, would make "Scapula" improbable. "Scaevola", a surname of the Mucia gens, is plausible, but no Mucius Scaevola is mentioned in the history of this period.[5][6]
  5. ^ The names of the dictator and magister equitum for this year are missing from the consular fasti, and not explicitly stated by any ancient author. The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology inserts these names, although the basis for them is not stated.[7][8]
  6. ^ 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 year's consuls.[9]
  7. ^ 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.[10]
  8. ^ Maenius is one of three dictators appointed in 320, none of whom is listed as having abdicated and been replaced by another dictator. Hartfield asserts that Maenius was not appointed for quaestionibus exercendis, to conduct a court of inquiry into conspiracies against the Republic, as described by Livy. Instead, she concludes that he must have had a religious function, although she cannot determine precisely which causa he had, except to exclude clavi figendi. Cornelius can only have been nominated rei gerundae causa, due to the war with the Samnites, while Manlius must have been appointed to hold the elections for the next year's magistrates.[11]
  9. ^ 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 a dictator rei gerundae causa would not have hammered in the sacred nail, Hartfield adduces that he must have been appointed dictator twice this year, if he did so. Diodorus Siculus attributes the victories credited to Gaius Poetelius Libo Visolus to "Κόιντος Φάβιος" (Quintus Fabius) instead.[12]
  10. ^ The fasti consulares list Gaius Sulpicius Longus as the dictator rei gerundae causa and Gaius Junius Bubulcus Brutus as his magister equitum, but Livy names the latter as dictator, without following his usual procedure of recording the magister equitum.[13]
  11. ^ 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.[14] One of these was probably dictator suffectus after the death of Quintus Hortensius in 287 BC. Mommsen suggested that this was Claudius.[15]
  12. ^ One of three dictators known from literary sources, but not found in the surviving portions of the consular fasti or Livy's history. Broughton concludes that they must have held office between 292 and 285 BC, and lists them under the latest possible date.
  13. ^ The third of three dictators known from literary sources, but not found in the surviving portions of the consular fasti or Livy's history. Although Broughton concluded that they must have held office between 292 and 285 BC, the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology places Rufinus in 276, during the war with Pyrrhus, noting, however, that Niebuhr placed his dictatorship in 280, after the Battle of Heraclea.[16]
  14. ^ Nominated by the consul Publius Claudius Pulcher after the Senate had relieved him of his command following the Battle of Drepana. Glicia was a freedman and a scribe; as such he was considered wholly unsuitable for the office and compelled to resign even before he could name his magister equitum. The precise means by which his resignation was procured is unclear. Aulus Atilius Calatinus was appointed in Claudius' stead. Notwithstanding his humble origin, Glicia was recorded as dictator in the consular fasti, and continued to wear the toga praetexta as a symbol of the honour. In 236 BC, he was a legate under the consul Gaius Licinius Varus, but after granting a treaty without permission from the Senate or the consul, was handed over to the enemy, who returned him unharmed; he was then imprisoned, banished, or put to death.[17][18][19]
  15. ^ Livy says that Fabius was appointed dictator for the second time in 217. Broughton adduces that he must have been dictator during a gap in the Capitoline fasti from 221 to 219, and before Livy's history resumes in 218. Since Flaminius was censor in 220 and 219, Broughton places this dictatorship in 221.[20]
  16. ^ Minucius, the magister equitum, vehemently opposed the dictator's delaying strategy against Hannibal, and induced a tribune of the plebs to propose a law granting him authority equal to that of the dictator. Some scholars therefore regard Minucius as a second dictator, while others describe him as a magister equitum with dictatorial imperium. Since ancient sources refer to Minucius as having been dictator, those who consider him merely magister equitum during Fabius' dictatorship suggest that Minucius later held the office during a period for which Livy's history is missing, perhaps in order to hold the comitia.[21][22]
  17. ^ This is the only instance of this causa. The Senate appointed a dictator to enroll new senators after the Battle of Cannae, instead of holding elections for new censors to carry out the same task.


  1. ^ Hartfield, pp. (?).
  2. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 9.
  3. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 35 (note 2).
  4. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 117, 118 (note 2).
  5. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 118 (and note 3).
  6. ^ Pinsent, p. 18 (note 17).
  7. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 130.
  8. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. I, pp. 993 ("Livius Denter, no. 1"), vol. III, p. 1354 ("Chronological Tables of Roman History").
  9. ^ Broughton, vol. I, p. 141.
  10. ^ Hartfield, p. 420.
  11. ^ Hartfield, pp. 425–428.
  12. ^ Hartfield, pp. 443–451.
  13. ^ Hartfield, pp. 452–454.
  14. ^ Hartfield, pp. 471–476.
  15. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 185–187.
  16. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. III, pp. 665 ("Cornelius Rufinus" no. 2), 1357 ("Chronological Tables of Roman History").
  17. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. II, p. 276 (Glicia).
  18. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 215, 223.
  19. ^ Hartfield, pp. 480–483.
  20. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 234, 235.
  21. ^ Hartfield, pp. 489–499.
  22. ^ Broughton, vol. I, pp. 243, 244.