previous next


PRAEFECTUS ANNO´NAE Livy (4.12, 13) relates that in B.C. 440 L. Minucius was appointed praefectus annonae to deal with the difficulties arising in a time of scarcity, either for a year, being re-elected the next, or for an indefinite period: “Nihil enim constat, nisi in libros linteos utroque anno relatum inter magistratus praefecti nomen.” Nothing more is heard of such an appointment under the Republic, and hence it has been not unreasonably argued that Licinius, from whom Livy is here drawing (Hermes, 5.266), introduced the title by mistake.

The superintendence of the corn-market throughout the whole Republic was at a later period entrusted to Pompey for a period of five years (D. C. 39.9; Cic. Att. 4.1; Liv. Epit. 104); and in accordance with this example Augustus took the same superintendence upon himself, and commanded that two persons who had been praetors five years before should be appointed every year for the distribution of the corn. (D. C. 54.1; curam frumenti populo dividundi, Suet. Aug. 37.) Subsequently Augustus assigned this duty to two persons of consular rank (D. C. 55.26, 31). But he also created an officer under the title of praefectus annonae to take charge of the more important duty of seeing to the due supply of the corn-market. Under him worked procuratores in the provinces and at Ostia, and a large staff of clerks (tabularii) and superintendents of granaries (horrearii). This office was a permanent one, and only held by one person at a time: he had jurisdiction over all matters appertaining to the cornmarket, and, like the praefectus vigilum, was chosen from the Equites, and was not reckoned among the ordinary magistrates. (Tac. Ann. 1.7; D. C. 52.24; Dig. 1, 2, 2, 33; 14, 1, 1, 18; 14, 5, 8; 48, 2, 13.) The praefectus annonae continued to exist till the latest times of the Empire: respecting his duties in later times, see Walter, Gesch. des röm. Rechts, § 360, 2nd ed. Cf. FRUMENTARIAE LEGES and Hirschfeld in Philologus, 29.1-96.

[W.S] [A.S.W]

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.1
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.7
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 37
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 12
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: