Denarius of moneyer P. Sepullius Macer with the head of Julius Caesar on the obverse. The legend on the obverse reads dict perpetvo caesar

Dictator perpetuo (English: "dictator in perpetuity"), also called dictator in perpetuum,[1] was the office held by Julius Caesar just before the end of his life. He was granted the title between 26 January and 15 February during the year 44 BC, shortly before his assassination on 15 March.[2] By abandoning the time restrictions of the regular Roman dictatorship, it elevated Caesar's to a rank more akin to the ancient Roman kings.


Julius Caesar held the dictator position for only eleven days in 49 BCE (holding elections either as dictator Comit. habend. or as dictator rei gerundae causa) and again for the year 48/47 BCE. In 46 BCE, he was elected dictator for the next ten years. At some point between January and February 44 BCE he was appointed dictator perpetuo, but was assassinated less than two months later, on the Ides of March.[3]

Stefan Weinstock has argued that the perpetual dictatorship was part of the senatorial decrees regarding Caesar's divine honors, as well as his planned apotheosis as Divus Iulius, a complex of honors aimed at eternity and divinity.[4]

See also


  1. ^ For this title in inscriptions and texts cf. the Fasti Capitolini (Rome): ..../ [C(aius) Iulius C(ai) f(ilius) C(ai) n(epos) Caesar in perpetuum dict(ator)] / [rei gerundae causa]... and the Fasti Amiternini (Amiternum/ Poggio San Vittorino): ...[C(aius) Iulius Ca]esar dict(ator) [in p]erpetuum/ [bellu]m civil(e) Mutine(n)se / cum M(arco) [A]ntonio...; important is also Livy, Perioch. CXVI Archived 2018-12-04 at the Wayback Machine: Caesar... Et cum plurimi maximique honores a senatu decreti essent (inter quos... dictator in perpetuum esset...)... For the date "Julius Caesar: Dates and Events".
  2. ^ Wilson, Mark (2021). Dictator: The Evolution of the Roman Dictatorship. University of Michigan Press. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-472-12920-1.
  3. ^ Martin Jehne (1987), Der Staat des Dicators Caesar, Köln/Wien, pp. 15-38.
  4. ^ Weinstock, Stefan (1971). Divus Julius. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-814287-4.