Dominate


Dominate
Ancient Rome

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ancient Rome


Periods
Roman Kingdom
753 BC – 509 BC

Roman Republic
508 BC – 27 BC
Roman Empire
27 BCAD 1453

Principate
Western Empire

Dominate
Eastern Empire

Roman Constitution

Constitution of the Kingdom
Constitution of the Republic
Constitution of the Empire
Constitution of the Late Empire
History of the Constitution
Senate
Legislative Assemblies
Executive Magistrates

Ordinary Magistrates

Consul
Praetor
Quaestor
Promagistrate

Aedile
Tribune
Censor
Governor

Extraordinary Magistrates

Dictator
Magister Equitum
Consular tribune

Rex
Triumviri
Decemviri

Titles and Honours
Emperor

Legatus
Dux
Officium
Praefectus
Vicarius
Vigintisexviri
Lictor

Magister militum
Imperator
Princeps senatus
Pontifex Maximus
Augustus
Caesar
Tetrarch

Precedent and Law
Roman Law

Imperium
Mos maiorum
Collegiality

Roman citizenship
Auctoritas
Cursus honorum

senatus consultum
(senatus
consultum
ultimum
)

Other countries · Atlas
Politics portal
view · talk · edit

The Dominate was the "despotic" latter phase of government in the ancient Roman Empire from the conclusion of the Third Century Crisis of 235–284 until the formal date of the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476. It followed the period known as the Principate. In the Eastern half of the Empire, and especially from the time of Justinian I, the system of the Dominate evolved into Byzantine absolutism.[1]

The word is derived from the Latin dominus, meaning lord or master, an owner versus his slave—this had been used sycophantically to address emperors from the Julio-Claudian (first) dynasty on, but not used by them as a style—Tiberius in particular is said to have reviled it openly. It became common under Diocletian, who is therefore a logical choice as the first ruler of the "early" dominate. Historian David Potter describes the transformation of government under Diocletian when describing the shifts in imagery the Emperor used to display his power (in this case the building of a huge new palace at Sirmium):

The style of Government so memorably described by Marcus, whereby the emperor sought to show himself as a model of correct aristocratic deportment, had given way to a style in which the emperor was seen to be distinct from all other mortals. His house could no longer be a grander version of houses that other people might live in: it, like him, had to be different.

During the Principate, the formalities of the constitutionally-never-abolished Roman Republic were still very much the "politically correct" image of Imperial government. It has also often been said to have ended after the 235–284 AD Crisis of the Third Century, which concluded when Diocletian established himself as Emperor. Moving the notion of the Emperor away from the republican forms of the Empire's first three centuries, Diocletian introduced a novel system of joint rule by four monarchs, the Tetrarchy, and he and his colleagues and his successors (in two imperial territories, east and west, not four) chose to stop using the title princeps. Instead, they openly displayed the naked face of Imperial power, adopting a Hellenistic style of government more influenced by the veneration of the Eastern potentates of ancient Egypt and Persia than by the heritage of civic collegiality amongst the Roman governing class passed down from the days of the "uncrowned" Roman Republic.

Emperors of the Principate, emulating Augustus in his fiction of a republican government, created the idea of the Emperor as a concentration of the various civil and military offices upon one individual, nevertheless hiding any autocratic or despotic connotations by the preservation of the Senate and other facets of the Republican period, such as the annual paired consulship. After Diocletian, however, Emperors started to wear jeweled robes and shoes (in contrast with the simple toga praetexta used by Principate Emperors in emulation of Augustus), inhabiting luxurious palaces (the ruins of Diocletian's enormous palace in Dalmatia survive to this day; see Diocletian's Palace) and surrounded by a court of individuals who, only due to the favor and proximity of the Emperor, attained the highest honorific titles and bureaucratic functions. In fact, many offices associated with the palatine life and that suggested intimate relationship with royalty eventually developed connotations of power, such as the offices of Chamberlain and Constable. The titles of Senator and Consul, after the loss of every residue of political power they had had in the Principate, became a honorific in the later Empire.

The adoption of Dominus as a formal title reflected the divine status (divus) that has come to be a prerogative of the Imperial position. Originally an exceptional honour awarded by the Senate to an Emperor posthumously, the elevation had devolved to an expected convention for still living Ceasars. To dissuade the rebellions and usurpations of the Crisis of the Third Century, the Emperors sought the kind of divine legitimacy invoked by Eastern monarchies, importing rituals such as kneeling before the Emperor and kissing of the hem of the Imperial robe (proskynesis). After the personal adoption of Christianity by Constantine I (312) and its installation as the official state religion by Theodosius as the state religion in 380, Imperial divinity became directly associated with the Christian Church. In the Eastern Roman Empire after AD 476, the symbiotic relation between the Imperial Crown in Constantinople and the Orthodox Church led to the distinctive character of the medieval Byzantine state.

Another clear symptom of the upgrading of the imperial status was the notion of the emperor as an incarnation of the majesty of Rome; thus lèse majesté became high treason.[citation needed]

Present historians[who?] reject the interpretation of the transition from Principate to Dominate as a clear, easily definable break (cf. Late Antiquity). Rather, they now characterize it as a much more subtle, gradual transformation, in which Diocletian's reforms of the Imperial office, while significant, are but one point on a sliding scale. Nevertheless, the distinction between two primary phases of Imperial government in Rome remains an important and useful one.

References

  1. ^ Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith (2009). "Conclusion: A Simple Answer". How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. pp. 405–415. ISBN 0300137192. OCLC 262432329. http://books.google.com/books?id=HOdcA1nqY7cC&lpg=PA405&pg=PA405#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • dominate — UK US /ˈdɒmɪneɪt/ verb [I or T] ► to be more important, powerful, or successful than other people, companies, etc.: »This is an industry where a few global manufacturers and their brands dominate. »They dominate the market for high speed internet …   Financial and business terms

  • Dominate — Album par Adagio Sortie 18 avril 2006 Enregistrement 2005 Durée 47:19 Genre metal progressif …   Wikipédia en Français

  • dominate — [däm′ə nāt΄] vt., vi. dominated, dominating [< L dominatus, pp. of dominari, to rule < dominus, a master < * domonos < base of domus: see DOME] 1. to rule or control by superior power or influence [to dominate a group] 2. to tower… …   English World dictionary

  • Dominate — Dom i*nate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Dominated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Dominating}.] [L. dominatus, p. p. of dominari to dominate, fr. dominus master, lord. See {Dame}, and cf. {Domineer}.] To predominate over; to rule; to govern. A city dominated by the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dominate — (v.) 1610s, from L. dominatus, pp. of dominari to rule, dominate, to govern, from dominus (see DOMAIN (Cf. domain)). Related: Dominated; dominating. Or perhaps a back formation from domination …   Etymology dictionary

  • dominate — dominate, domineer Dominate means primarily ‘to exercise control or influence over’ and is used transitively (with an object). Domineer is a more judgemental word meaning ‘to behave in an arrogant and overbearing way’ and is often used with over… …   Modern English usage

  • dominate — [v1] govern, rule boss, call the shots*, command, control, detract from, dictate, direct, domineer, eclipse, handle, have one’s way*, have upper hand*, head, hold sway over*, influence, keep under thumb*, lay down the law*, lead, lead by the… …   New thesaurus

  • Dominate — Dom i*nate, v. i. To be dominant. Hallam. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • dominate — I verb administer, carry authority, command, compel, control, dictate, domineer, govern, have power, hold down, influence, keep subjugated, lead, manage, master, oppress, overrule, predominate, preponderate, preside over, prevail, reign over,… …   Law dictionary

  • dominate — ► VERB 1) have a commanding or controlling influence over. 2) (of something tall or high) overlook. DERIVATIVES domination noun dominator noun. ORIGIN Latin dominari rule, govern , from dominus lord, master …   English terms dictionary


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.