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Talk:Roman Emperor

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Julius Caesar?

I was surprised to see that Julius Caesar is not listed on this article as the first of the Roman emperors, but what do I know? It seems strange to see the list lacking his name. What's the real scoop? I actually read a whole bunch of the Gallic Wars (in Latin) when in high school; they were high drama to me then. So, was Julius an emperor, or just a dictator who started the line of subsequent emperors? I think someone, who knows more Roman history than I do, might help this article by providing it with a sort of introduction to explain why the list starts where it starts.Pat Palmer (talk) 21:29, 16 October 2020 (UTC)

Nowadays he isn't counted as an emperor. He used to be, e.g. in the foreword to the Authorized Version, and more recently in Bryce's Holy Roman Empire (19th century I think). It's actually somewhat arbitrary. Legally, there was no office of Roman Emperor till Diocletian. Before him, the Senate passed a decree conferring a package of offices, powers and privileges on someone. Modern historians seem to have decided that something that can be regarded as in practice the same thing existed from either 31 BC or 27 BC (there seems to be some disagreement on which, and I'm not sure whether one position is predominant).
A similar situation exists for our Prime Minister. The office officially existed only from 1905, but lists of PMs go back to 1721, with some variation before 1905. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:14, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
As a kid I used to read a lot of old history and my impression is that Caesar was never actually CALLED "Emperor" -- he had dictatorial powers but didn't style himself "Emperor". Such is my recollection. Sad to say that I never hung onto the complete Gibson that was in my house as I grew up. I suppose I could do a Google to see what Gibbon says....Hayford Peirce (talk) 18:01, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
Imperator was a title given originally to any victorious general. Over the course of time it gradually became impossible for any other general to be sufficiently victorious. In fact, the Emperor was nominally in command of most of the legions, represented in practice by legates. I'm not sure when it started being used as a de facto title for the Emperor. Peter Jackson (talk) 09:17, 19 October 2020 (UTC)