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domini

in ancient Rome, "master," or "owner," particularly of slaves. The name became the official title for the emperor, beginning with Diocletian, who reigned from AD 284 to 305; and thus he and his successors are often referred to as the dominate (dominatus), as contrasted with the earlier principate (principatus) of Augustus and his successors. Some earlier emperors, such as Caligula (reigned AD 37-41), however, also had used the title. By Trajan's day it was the common form of address to the emperor.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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