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"It is also the root of the Albanian term for king, mrbet." A fun fact if it's not a ludibrium, but not very central, and the obscure etymology, if it is from Latin, is quite likely simply to derive directly from the sense of "emperor," no? Wetman 18:15, 27 Jun 2004 (UTC)


An anonymous editor made the following change (in bold): "After 800, the title was used (in conjunction with augustus) in succession by the Carolingian and German Holy Roman Emperors until 1806 and by the Austrian Emperors until 1918. Over time, Kaiser became the title most often used by these emperors." I zapped this because it implies that the emperors started off being called imperator and ended up being called kaiser. In fact, from Charlemagne's time on, they had always been called kaiser in German, and were called imperator right down to 1918 in Latin. I added a bit making it clearer that "imperator" is a more formal title used in Latin only, but perhaps it could be better clarified. --Jfruh 19:31, 22 January 2006 (UTC)


In English, imperator, unlike emperor, is pronounced with stress on the third syllable.

Surely, it's the second syllable - im-per-AH-tor - as per Latin stress.

Nuttyskin 05:56, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Most of the native English speaking Roman historians I know (and I was in grad school for a few years studying this, not terribly long ago) pronounce it or im-PEHR-a-tor or im-PEER-a-tor when dropping it into an English sentence (not when reading a passage of Latin aloud, obviously). I don't think third-syllable-stressed words work very well in English. --Jfruh (talk) 14:24, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I've removed the weird claim "In English, imperator, unlike emperor, is pronounced with stress on the second syllable." In Latin, it's stressed on the third syllable (i.e. the penultimate) because the a is long: impe'rātor. I'd like to see a cited source (not "I heard it this way") for an English pronunciation with antepenultimate stress. —Angr 12:01, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
I've likewise heard it both ways, but I was also under the understanding that it was on the penultimate syllable, akin to closely related Greek. However, this produces a stress pattern that's quite alien to English, at least, to my local (New Jersey/New York) dialect. My own vote is that the original, and correct, pronunciation was corrupted to the incorrect, but more harmonious, Anglicized pattern of im-PEHR-ah-tor. (hardly the definitive source, I know) cites the penultimate stress as the correct version, with no secondary variant with antepenult stress.
Further, the use of Latin words by those unaware of Latin rules probably contributes to a corruption in pronunciation. Again, I can't say I can cite any example - and thus why I don't note it on the main page - but I have heard several times the antepenult stress variant. 02:57, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
I just looked it up in my two standby pronunciation dictionaries: Kenyon and Knott for American English, John C. Wells's Longman Pronunciation Dictionary for British English, and both indicate secondary stress on im and primary stress on ra. And those are definitely anglicized pronunciations, because the a is shown to be pronounced [eɪ] by K&K as the only pronunciation and by Wells as an alternative to [ɑ:]. —Angr 18:12, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Meaning of 'Imperator'[edit]

I have amended the following paragraph:

"It later went on to become a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors; after the fall of the Roman empire, in those situations where Latin was still used for formal or legal reasons, it meant "emperor." The English word emperor derives from this Latin word, via its French descendent empereur."

The comments about imperator's subsequent derivatives in modern languages are certainly relevant, but as far as I am aware, imperator has never meant 'emperor', although emperors have taken it as their cognomen. Rather, imperator meant commander, and grew in stature as a word by association with the increasingly powerful Roman generals who bore it. The word for 'emperor' was always princeps, from where we get the modern word, 'prince'. Anyone feel particularly stongly that this should not be the case? JulesVerne 16:43, 1 Mar 2007 (GMT)

Princeps versus Imperator[edit]

The Latin word for 'emperor' was actually princeps, from where we get the modern word prince.

While certainly "princeps" was the term associated with the Emperors, there should be a bit of caution as to saying it means "emperor" in the way we in the modern era know it. Princeps was the title of Augustus and the early Emperors, and was roughly analogous to the English phrase "First Citizen." In fact, the word Princeps comes from the phrase Princeps Senatus, which means "First of the Senate," and is based on the idea of Primus inter pares, or "First among equals."

AFAIK, there was no single term that corresponds entirely to the word "Emperor" as we know it in English, at least, that would be interpreted as such by classical Romans. The word in English is a relatively new term when one considers all of the suggestions and nuances of the word.

Further, the term Princeps becomes, in effect, obsolete once we reach Diocletian,and we come away from the Principate, which maintained at least an illusion of Republican government, and go towards the Dominate, wherein they, as I understand it, effectively ditched the entire Republican illusion and the Roman Emperor became a dominus, or lord. However, the Romans certainly maintained Emperors past Diocletian, even if they weren't titled Princeps. Thus, the caution in saying "Princeps" is the Roman translation of the word "Emperor" is in the fact that the Roman Emperors were given authority by a whole slew of changing titles, opposed to a singular title. 23:08, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

hey isn't the roman emperor called "caesar"? what do we mean by "there is no word for emperor"? i thought this was common knowledge. if not it should be explained more clearly61.69.26.159 (talk) 09:01, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

The Latin word imperator in the Kingdom was probably an unimportant term for the king. In the early Republic it seems to have meant "commanding magistrate" (with imperium, in power of life and death; contrary to the article's claims I doubt a curule aedil would ever have been known as such). In the later Republic, and now we leave the area of "seems" and "probably", it meant "general field marshal" (that is, a general, still necessarily a magistrate with imperium, who has been awarded a special title for special military achievements). In the Imperial Area, it somewhen assumed the meaning of "Emperor", although still the number of victories were counted in the full titles (where would appear an "imperator quinquies", or so). -- (talk) 11:20, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

no to merger[edit]

Not sure how long that merge template has been up there, but I would strongly oppose the suggested merge. Imperator was used in Roman society before the empire, and it was used by emperors who weren't Roman emperors. --Jfruh (talk) 23:09, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I also strongly oppose the suggested merge. I am therefore removing the template. Gaia Octavia Agrippa Talk | Sign 22:37, 24 August 2008 (UTC)