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(both: prē`fĕkt), in ancient Rome, various military and civil officers. Under the empire some prefects were very important. The Praetorian prefects (first appointed 2 B.C.) usually numbered two; they commanded the powerful PraetoriansPraetorians
, bodyguard of the ancient Roman emperors. Growing out of an early troop that served as bodyguard to the general commanding in Rome, they were formally organized in the time of Augustus.
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. From the 2d cent. A.D. they had juridical functions, and important legists (e.g., Papinian and Ulpian) held the post. The prefect of the city was at first a deputy for absent consuls; the office fell out of use but was revived by Julius Caesar. Under the empire this prefect had power over the summary court for the region within 100 mi (160 km) of Rome. The prefect of the watch had charge of the fire brigade set up by Augustus. Augustus also established a prefect of the grain supply. There were other officers called prefects, such as the Roman viceroy of Egypt and many other officials of Italian cities.


See L. L. Howe, The Praetorian Prefect from Commodus to Diocletian (1942).



(1) In ancient Rome, an official who was in charge of a prefecture. From the time of Augustus at the end of the first century B.C., prefects were appointed as governors, first of Egypt and later of other provinces. During the imperial period, the term prefect was applied to the chiefs of various administrative departments. In the republican period, prefects with exclusively juridical functions (praefecti iuri dicundo) assisted the praetors in judging lawsuits in the cities of Italy, and under the empire, in the provinces also.

(2) In France, an official in charge of a department as a representative of the central government. Prefects are appointed by the president of France and are considered the heads of all state institutions within the given department. A prefect exercises broad powers; in particular, he has the right to protest individual acts of the local bodies of self-government and to abrogate resolutions of the department council. In Paris the administrative authority is divided between two prefects—the prefect of the department of the Seine and the prefect of police.


1. (in France, Italy, etc.) the chief administrative officer in a department
2. (in France, etc.) the head of a police force
3. Brit a schoolchild appointed to a position of limited power over his fellows
4. (in ancient Rome) any of several magistrates or military commanders
5. RC Church an official having jurisdiction over a missionary district that has no ordinary
6. RC Church one of two senior masters in a Jesuit school or college (the prefect of studies and the prefect of discipline or first prefect)
7. RC Church a cardinal in charge of a congregation of the Curia
References in periodicals archive ?
Como lo demuestra Mijangos, ello fue producto de la percepcion que la sociedad se forjo en torno al sistema prefectoral como la representacion mas cercana de la "tirania".
The purchase of land for the new women's hostel, for example, required prefectoral approval.
Il est donc du devoir des responsables institutionnels du departement de tutelle, des autorites locales, du conseil prefectoral, des elus de la region du Souss Massa.
La vente d'alcool a emporter est interdite dans la ville les veilles et jours de match en vertu d'un arrete prefectoral.
La realisation du centre a necessite un budget de 14,5 MDH, finances par la Fondation Mohammed V pour la Solidarite (5 MDH), le Conseil prefectoral de Casablanca (3 MDH) et l'Office de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion du Travail (6,5 MDH), qui en assurera egalement la gestion et l'encadrement pedagogique.
that relate to disarmament and the reunification of the country remain uncompleted, including the disarmament of former combatants of the FN and the dismantling of militia; the reunification of the Ivorian defence and security forces; the restoration of State authority throughout the country, including the redeployment of the corps prefectoral, the judiciary and the fiscal and customs administrators; and the centralization of the treasury.
Regional Commissions for Population and Human Resources, created in 1994; and Prefectoral Health Councils, created in the late 1980s.
The folder itself contained a biography up to the opening date of the file, periodic updates (regulations required updates every six months and, after 1934, every three months), and copies of all police documents, including prefectoral reports, exchanges of notes between local police and the Ministry of the Interior, notification of sentences, transfer notices, petitions of clemency, and so on.
On sera, effectivement, amene a s'interroger sur le sort du CRT dont le budget de fonctionnement et de promotion provient essentiellement des subventions des trois conseils regional (1,5 millions de dirhams), communal (400 millions de dirhams) et prefectoral (100 millions de dirhams), en plus de ses propres cotisations qui sont, somme, pietres par rapport aux besoins soutenus.
le prefet coordonnateur des itineraires routiers (arrete prefectoral nA 2015083-0013 du 7.
Et dire qu'un arrete prefectoral, interdisant la vente de poisson dans la rue au-dela de 11h, datant de la periode coloniale est toujours en vigueur.
Son Altesse Royale a egalement ete saluee par le president du Conseil de la region Fes-Boulemane, le vice-president du Conseil de la ville de Fes, le president du Conseil prefectoral de Fes, le president du Conseil Al Mechouar-Fes-Jdid, le president de la Fondation "Esprit de Fes", le president d'honneur de la Fondation, le directeur general de la Fondation, ainsi que par les membres du comite d'organisation de cette 20eme edition du Festival, qui se poursuivra jusqu'au 21 juin.