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A Colorful Pageant of Imperial Government Officials

By the mid Fourth Century A. D., the Roman government had created the largest bureaucracy the world had known until then. Indeed, the Roman bureaucracy and the Byzantine bureaucracy that evolved from it are large even by today’s standards During the early Empire. the government officials or magistrates were appointed by the Senate or the Emperor himself and were directly answerable to the emperor. In addition, there were a lot more government officials during the reigns of Constantine II and Theodosius I than there were during the time of Augustus and Nero. During the later empire, the emperor surrounded himself with a group of close advisors or privy council. This was the Consistory and these most exalted of Roman imperial government officials could and most of the time did insulate the emperor from what was actually happening in the empire. In this way, a powerful imperial chamberlain might be able to govern in fact, if not in name.

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