- Glossary definition: Emperor, Roman
Emperor, Roman

The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period (starting at about 27 BC). The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor. If a man was "proclaimed emperor" this normally meant he was proclaimed augustus, or (for generals) imperator (from which English emperor ultimately derives). Several other titles and offices were regularly accumulated by emperors, such as caesar, princeps senatus, consul and Pontifex Maximus. Power was generally based on the accumulation of powers from republican offices and the support of the army.