List of governors of Roman Egypt

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"Pompey's Pillar", erected in Alexandria by the governor Aristius Optatus in the reign of Diocletian (r. 284–305)

During the Roman Empire, the governor of Roman Egypt (praefectus Aegypti) was a prefect who administered the Roman province of Egypt with the delegated authority (imperium) of the emperor.

Egypt was established as a Roman province in consequence of the Battle of Actium, where Cleopatra as the last independent ruler of Egypt and her Roman ally Mark Antony were defeated by Octavian, the adopted heir of the assassinated Roman dictator Julius Caesar. Octavian then rose to supreme power with the title Augustus, ending the era of the Roman Republic and installing himself as princeps, the so-called "leading citizen" of Rome who in fact acted as an autocratic ruler. Although senators continued to serve as governors of most other provinces (the senatorial provinces), especially those annexed under the Republic, the role of Egypt during the civil war with Antony and its strategic and economic importance prompted Augustus to ensure that no rival could secure Aegyptus as an asset. He thus established Egypt as an imperial province, to be governed by a prefect he appointed from men of the equestrian order.

As Egypt was a special imperial domain, a rich and strategic granary, where the Emperor enjoyed an almost pharaonic position unlike any other province or diocese, its head was styled uniquely Praefectus Augustalis, indicating that he governed in the personal name of the emperor, the "Augustus". The praefectus Aegypti was considered to hold the highest ranking equestrian post during the early empire. Later, the post would fall second to that of the praetorian command, but its position remained highly prestigious.

A prefect of Egypt usually held the office for three or four years.[1] An equestrian appointed to the office received no specialized training, and seems to have been chosen for his military experience and knowledge of Roman law and administration.[1] Any knowledge he might have of Egypt and its arcane traditions of politics and bureaucracy—which Philo of Alexandria described as "intricate and diversified, hardly grasped even by those who have made a business of studying them from their earliest years"—was incidental to his record of Roman service and the emperor's favor.[1]

Prefects during the Principate

Unless otherwise noted, governors from 30 BC to AD 299 are taken from Guido Bastianini, "Lista dei prefetti d'Egitto dal 30a al 299p", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 17 (1975), pp. 263-321, 323-328

Later Roman Diocese (330 – 395)

Prefects of the province of Egypt. Names and dates taken from the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 1, pp. 1084–1085.

  • Magnilianus (330)
  • Florentius (331)
  • Hyginus (331–332)
  • Paterius (333–335)
  • Philagrius I (335–337)
  • Antonius Theodorus ([337?–]338)
  • Philagrius II (338–340)
  • Longinus (341–343)
  • Palladius (344)
  • Nestorius (345–352)
  • Sebastianus (353–354)
  • Maximus (355 – 11 Feb. 356)
  • Catafronius (10 Jun. 356 – 357)
  • Parnassius (357–359)
  • Italicianus (3 months in 359)
  • Faustinus (359–361)
  • Hermogenes (uncertain, before 361?)
  • Himerius (early–mid 4th century?)
  • Gerontius (30 Nov. 361 – 4 Feb. 362)
  • Ecdicius Olympus (Oct. 362 – 16 Sep. 363)
  • Hierius (364)
  • Maximus (364)
  • Flavianus (364 – 21 Jul. 366)
  • Proclianus (366–367)
  • Anonymous (between 367 and 375)
  • Eutolmius Tatianus (27 Jan. 367 – 6 Oct. 370)[9]
  • Olympius Palladius (370–371)
  • Aelius Palladius (371–374)
  • ??Publius (376?)
  • ??Bassianus (379)
  • ??Hadrianus (379)
  • Julianus (17 Mar. 380)
  • ??Antoninus (381[–382?])
  • Palladius (14 May 382)
  • Hypatius I (29 Apr. – 8 May 383)
  • Optatus (4 Feb. 384)
  • Florentius (20 Dec. 384 – 16 Jun. 386)
  • Paulinus (25 Jul. – 30 Nov. 386)
  • Eusebius (387)
  • Ulpius Erythrius (30 Apr. 388)
  • Alexander (388 – 18 Feb. 390)
  • Evagrius (16 Jun. 391)
  • Hypatius II (Apr. 392)
  • Potamius (5 May – 30 Jul. 392)
  • Damonicus (uncertain, late 4th century?)
  • Theodorus (late 4th century)

First Byzantine Period (395 – 616)

Names and dates taken from John Stewart's African States and Rulers (2006).[10]


Titles:

  1. Prefect (395 - 539)[10]
  2. Dux (539 - 616)[10]


  • Charmosynus (395 - 5 February 396)
  • Gennadius (also known as Torquatus) (5 February 396 - 30 March 396)
  • Remigius (30 March 396 - 17 June 397)
  • Archelaus (17 June 397 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 403)
  • Pentadius (403 - 404)
  • Euthalius (404 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 415)
  • Orestes (415 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 422)
  • Callistus (422 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 435)
  • Cleopater (435 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 442)
  • Charmosinus (442 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 451)
  • Theodorus (451 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 453)
  • Florus (453 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 468)
  • Alexander (468 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 476)
  • Boethus (476 - 477)
  • Anthemius (477 - 478)
  • Theoctistus (478 - 479)
  • Theognostus (479 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 482)
  • Pergamius (482 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 485)
  • Eutrechius (485 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 487)
  • Theodorus (487)
  • Arsenius (487 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 501)
  • Eustathius (501 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 510)
  • Theodosius (c. 510 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 520)
  • Licinius (520 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 527)
  • Hephaestus (527 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 535)
  • Dioscorus (535 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 537)
  • Rhodon (537 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 539)
  • Petrus Marcellinus Felix Liberius (539 - 542)
  • Ioannes Laxarion (542 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 560)
  • Flavorinus (c. 560 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 566)
  • Iustinus (566 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 582)
  • Ioannes (582 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 585)
  • Paulus (c. 585 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 588)
  • Ioannes (c. 588 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 592)
  • Constantinus (c. 592 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - c. 595)
  • Menas (c. 595 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 600)
  • Petrus (also known as Iustinus) (600 - 603)
  • Unknown (603 - c. 606)
  • Ioannes (c. 606 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 614)
  • Nicetas (614 - ?)
  • Unknown (? - 616)

Sassanian Occupation

# Governor Start End Termination
- Benjamin
(Patriach-Prefect)[10]
616 628
1 Shahrbaraz 618 before 621
2 Sahralanyozan ca. 621 625?
3 Shahrbaraz ca. 626? ca. 628 Egypt recorded as being under Shahrbaraz's control when he concluded his agreement with Heraclius on withdrawal of Persian troops

Second Byzantine Period (628-642)

# Governor Start End Title as governor Termination
1 Unknown[10] 628[10] 629[10] Military Prefect[10] -
2 Anastasius[10] 629[10] 641[10] Military Prefect[10] -
Cyrus of Alexandria 630s 630s Patriarch and Pope recalled by the emperor
3 Theodorus[10] 641[10] 17 September 642[10] Military Prefect[10] -
Cyrus of Alexandria 630s 642 Patriarch and Pope surrendered to Umar

References

  1. ^ a b c Alan K. Bowman, Egypt After the Pharaohs 332 BC-AD 642: From Alexander to the Arab Conquest (University of California Press, 1986, 1996), p. 66.
  2. ^ Following here Magioncalda Andreina, "La carriera di l. Iulius Ursus e le alte prefetture equestri nel I sec. D.C.", Cahiers du Centre Gustave Glotz, 23 (2012), pp. 118f
  3. ^ O.W. Reinmuth disagrees, dating Quadratus between 180 and 190. ("A Working List of the Prefects of Egypt, 30 B.C. to 299 A.D.", in Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 4 (1967), p. 104)
  4. ^ Guido Bastianini ("Lista dei prefetti d'Egitto dal 30a al 299p: Aggiunte e correzioni", Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, 38 (1980), p. 83) found a document from his term dated to 179
  5. ^ Bastianini ("Lista dei prefetti d'Egitto dal 30a al 299p: Aggiunte e correzioni", p. 86) found a document from his term dated to 214
  6. ^ Added from Bastianini, "Lista dei prefetti d'Egitto dal 30a al 299p: Aggiunte e correzioni", pp. 75-89
  7. ^ Guido Bastianini ("Lista dei prefetti d'Egitto dal 30a al 299p: Aggiunte e correzioni", p. 86) found a document from his term dated to 291
  8. ^ However, John R. Martindale dates his tenure to 310 ("Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Addenda et Corrigenda to Volume I", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 23 (1974) p. 248)
  9. ^ First governor to be styled "Augustal prefect". PLRE 1, p. 876
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stewart, John (2006). African States and Rulers (Third ed.). London: McFarland. p. 84-85. ISBN 0-7864-2562-8.

Further reading

  • Heinz Hübner: Der Praefectus Aegypti von Diokletian bis zum Ende der römischen Herrschaft. Filser, München-Pasing 1952.
  • Oscar William Reinmuth: The Prefect of Egypt from Augustus to Diocletian. Leipzig 1935.
  • Arthur Stein: Die Präfekten von Ägypten in der römischen Kaiserzeit. Francke, Bern 1950.