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Praetorian prefecture of Italy: Map

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The praetorian prefecture of Italy ( , in its full form (until 356) ) was one of four large Praetorian prefectures into which the Late Roman Empire was divided. It comprised the Italian peninsula, the Western Balkans, the Danubian provinces and parts of North Africa. The Prefecture's seat moved from Romemarker to Mediolanummarker and finally, Ravennamarker.

Structure and history

The prefecture was established in the division of the Empire after the death of Constantine the Great in 337, and was divided into dioceses. Initially these were the Diocese of Africa, the Diocese of Italy, the Diocese of Pannonia, the Diocese of Dacia and the Diocese of Macedonia (the last two were until ca. 327 united in the Diocese of Moesia).Eventually the Diocese of Italy was split in two, the Diocese of Suburbicarian Italy (Italia suburbicaria: "Italy under the City", also referred to as "Diocese of the City of Rome") and the Diocese of Annonarian Italy (Italia annonaria: "provisioning Italy").

In 356, the praetorian prefecture of Illyricum was established, comprising the dioceses of Pannonia, Dacia and Macedonia. The new prefecture was abolished in 361 by Julian and reestablished in 375 by Gratian. Its territory was contested between the two halves of the Empire, until the final partition in 395, when the Diocese of Pannonia was split off from the Illyricum and joined to the Western Empire and the prefecture of Italy as the Diocese of Illyricum.

Despite the end of the Western Empire in 476, the Germanic successor states under Odoacer and Theodoric the Great continued to use the Roman administrative machinery, as well as being nominal subjects of the Eastern emperor at Constantinople. The Prefecture thus survived, and came again into Roman hands after Justinian's Gothic War. However, with the Lombard invasion in 568, Roman rule became reduced to fragmented and isolated territories, and the Prefecture gave its place to the Exarchate of Ravenna, established by the emperor Maurice.

List of known praefecti praetorio Italiae et Africae

Western Empire

  • Flavius Taurus (355-361)
  • Petronius Probus (1st time, ca. 368-375)
  • Flavius Afranius Syagrius (382)
  • Petronius Probus (2nd time, 383)
  • Virius Nicomachus Flavianus (390-392)
  • Nummius Aemilianus Dexter (395)
  • Eusebius (395-396)
  • Flavius Mallius Theodorus (397-399)
  • Valerius Messala Avienus (399-400)
  • Rufus Synesius Hadrianus (400-405)
  • Flavius Macrobius Longinianus (1st time, 406)
  • Curtius (407-408)
  • Flavius Macrobius Longinianus (2nd time, 408)
  • Theodorus (408-409)
  • Caecilianus (409)
  • Jovius (409)
  • Melitius (410-412)
  • Seleucus (prefect for Africa, 412)
  • Ioannes (412-413)
  • Rufus Synesius Hadrianus (413-414)
  • Seleucus (414-415)
  • Flavius Quartius Iunius Palladius (416-421)
  • Anicius Acilius Glabrio Faustus (ca. 438)
  • Petronius Maximus (439)


Germanic rule

Under Odoacer:
  • Flavius Caecina Decius Maximus Basilius iunior (483)
  • Caecina Mavortius Basilius Decius iunior (486-493)


Under the Ostrogothsmarker:
  • Liberius (494-500)
  • Cassiodorus the Elder (500-?)
  • Faustus (507-512)
  • Rufius Magnus Faustus Avienus (527-528)
  • Cassiodorus the Younger (533-537)
  • Fidelis (537-538)
  • Reparatus (538-539)


East Roman rule

  • Athanasius (539-542)
  • Maximinus (ca. 542)



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