[LMB] Papacy (WAS OT: Democracy)

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Tue Nov 2 18:38:06 GMT 2010

On Tue, Nov 02, 2010 at 09:14:25AM -0700, Elizabeth Holden wrote:

> It's my understanding (as mentioned here already) that in classical
> times, a dictator was usually chosen by the Senate for a fixed term.
> Wikipedia says Julius Caesar changed this by making himself emperor
> for an indefinite term - which sounds right to me.  Thereafter, I
> suppose, the term for "Dictator" was transformed into "Emperor" and
> made hereditary.

No, from what I read in Wikipedia the Imperator had nothing to do with
dictator; Augustus specifically avoided it for the bad juju Sulla and
Julius had built up, and someone had abolished the law empowering
dictators by then anyway.  August was consul, tribune, high priest, and
maybe some other stuff, all for life, an unholy conjunction of powers
residing in one man rather than a single office.  Then things evolved
from there, but not from the legal soil of the dictatorship.

-xx- Damien X-) 

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