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a term used in historiography to designate the form of monarchy that developed in ancient Rome during the early imperial period (27 B.C. to A.D. 193). Under the principate, certain republican institutions were retained in form and the emperor was called the princeps.

The principate system first took form during the reign of Augustus, whose authority was based on a combination of various magistracies. Augustus and his successors held the office of princeps senatus and exercised both military power and the supreme civilian authority, since they held the powers of a people’s tribune for life. The republican system continued to exist nominally, with the Senate, the comitia, or popular assemblies, and the magistracies, except for the censors. But these institutions lost their previous political importance, since they were controlled by the princeps. Real power was held by the imperial bureaucratic machinery, whose staff continuously grew and whose sphere of activity expanded.


Mashkin, N. A. Printsipat Avgusta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Utchenko, S. L. Krizis i padenie Rimskoi respubliki. Moscow, 1965.
References in periodicals archive ?
Such associations lingered, even after the Council meeting place was moved to the Stoa Basileios to the north west of the agora, and with arrival of the Principate the Areopagus was given more powers, with a status matching that of the Roman Senate, with extra powers added by Hadrian.
42) Then for all its emphasis on free will and freedom of speech, (43) which may itself have been a vexing issue when the Principate was established, the Epicurean school became quite dogmatic, with Athens taking the lead in policing Epicurean orthodoxy, and sometime in the first century the Athenian school accepted the rule that its president had to have Roman citizenship, even if a Greek by birth.
But as Greece came under more direct Roman control in the Principate, yet with more respect for its cultural heritage, the grant of free city status to Athens meant that the city fathers had to be the more careful to the play the system.
12) The different narrative strategies adopted by Suetonius reflect something of (his view of) the different personalities of the two principes and of the attitudes of their respective ages towards divinisation: for Augustus it was a goal long aspired to, long advertised, carefully prepared for, and above all vouched for by the gods through all the most important methods of divination; (13) for Vespasian, a tradition of a humble but honourable Roman ancestry served well the ideological needs of his principate, both in distancing himself from Julio-Claudian excesses and in promoting the new ethos of 'ostentatious modesty', whereas a divine future was not of paramount importance.
54) The impression that Suetonius generates is that the appointment which changed Vespasian's life, elevating him to the principate, came at a time of despair and trepidation: just as he became the unexpected emperor who did nothing to engineer his own elevation, the turning-point came to him unexpectedly and unsought, in literary terms a heightened peripateia such as Cicero thought appropriate for an appealing history.
WIRSZUBSKI, Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome during the Late Republic and Early Principate, Cambridge, 1950, p.
Current views of hearings before the senate in the early principate provide no explanation of this profound but silent change.
This, according to Bleicken, provided the basis for the power which the senate exercised under the principate, when by means of a senatorial decree it condemned an accused person.
27) Kunkel's conclusion, after a careful examination of cases under the first two emperors, is that the jurisdiction of the senate was not based in republican precedents but a development of the early principate and particularly of Tiberius.
Smallwood, Documents illustrating the Principates of Nerba, Trajan and Hadrian (Cambridge, 1966), no.
In this number of principates I include Galba but exclude Otho and Vitellius.
The prooemium, then, provides strong evidence of its composition during the principate of Vespasian.