- Latin: imperator – “one who prepares against”; commander.
Imperator was originally a title granted to Roman generals by his troops and the Roman Senate after a great victory. Augustus Caesar was the first monarchical imperator because the title became restricted to him and his family. Subsequent dynasties continued to use imperator and the name Caesar.
Emperors are considered to rank above kings in precedence. While a king is subject to the conventions of a state church, an emperor often ranks above the church, answering to no one but himself.