Praefectus urbi

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The praefectus urbanus, also called praefectus urbi or urban prefect in English, was prefect of the city of Rome, and later also of Constantinople. The office originated under the Roman kings, continued during the Republic and Empire, and held high importance in late Antiquity. The office survived the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, and the last urban prefect of Rome, named Iohannes, is attested in 599. [1] In the East, in Constantinople, the office survived until the 13th century.

Kingly period

According to Roman tradition, in 753 BC when Romulus founded the city of Rome and instituted the monarchy, he also created the office of custos urbis (guardian of the city) to serve as the king’s chief lieutenant. Appointed by the king to serve for life, the custos urbis served concurrently as the Princeps Senatus. As the second highest office of state, the custos urbis was the king’s personal representative. In the absence of the king from the city, the custos urbis exercised all of his powers, which included the powers of convoking the Senate, the popular assemblies and the exercise of force in the event of an emergency. However, the imperium he possessed was only valid within the walls of Rome.

Under the kings, only three men held the position. The first king Romulus appointed Denter Romulius to serve as the first custos urbis, the third king Tullus Hostilius appointed Numa Marcius, and the seventh king Tarquinius Superbus appointed Spurius Lucretius.

Other Languages
asturianu: Prefeutu romanu
беларуская: Прэфект горада
български: Управител на Рим
Ελληνικά: Πολίαρχος
français: Préfet de Rome
Bahasa Indonesia: Prefek urban
italiano: Praefectus urbi
Nederlands: Praefectus urbi
português: Prefeito urbano
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Praefectus urbi
Türkçe: Praefectus urbi
українська: Префект міста