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prae-fĭcĭo, fēci, fectum, 3, v. a. [facio], to set over any thing (as officer, superintendent, leader, etc.), to place in authority over, place at the head, appoint to the command of.

I. Lit. (freq. and class.; cf.: praepono, praefero): te cum securi caudicali praeficio provinciae, Plaut. Ps. 1, 2, 25: praefeci rure recte qui curet tamen, id. Cas. 1, 1, 17: aliquem pecori, Cic. Planc. 25, 62: certum magistratum alicui procurationi, id. Leg. 2, 26, 66: imperatorem bello, id. Imp. Pomp. 16, 49: tantis rebus, id. ib. 10, 27: legatos legionibus, Caes. B. G. 5, 24: pontifices sacris, Cic. Rep. 2, 14, 26: aliquem sacerdotio Neptuni, Plin. 9, 8, 8, 27: libertos rationibus, libellis et epistulis, Tac. A. 6, 8: aliquem provinciae, id. ib. 13, 46; 2, 4: aliquem classi, Nep. Milt. 4, 1; Liv. 35, 42 et saep.: lucis Avernis, Verg. A. 6, 118: Juno sacris praefecta maritis, Ov. H. 12, 87: in eo exercitu inimici mei fratrem praefecerat, had given him a command, Cic. Sest. 18, 41. —

II. Trop., to set over, etc. (rare): nec locus nec materia invenitur, cui divinationem praeficere possimus, Cic. Div. 2, 4, 12. —Hence, as subst.: praefectus, i, m., an overseer, director, president, chief, commander, prefect.

A. In gen.: gumnasi praefecto poenas pendere, Plaut. Bacch. 3, 3, 22: villae, Varr. R. R. 1, 17 fin.: tu (censor) es praefectus moribus, Cic. Clu. 46, 129; cf.: praefectus morum, Nep. Hamilc. 3, 2: nec vero mulieribus praefectus praeponatur, Cic. Rep. 4, 6, 16 (Non. 499, 13); cf. Plaut. Aul. 3, 5, 30: cum praefectus custodum quaesisset, etc., Nep. Eum. 11, 1: his utitur quasi praefectis libidinum suarum, Cic. Red. in Sen. 6, 15.—

B. In partic., as a title of particular civil or military officers, a president, superintendent, commander, governor, etc.: praefectus aerarii or aerario, a treasurer, Plin. Ep. 3, 4, 2; id. Pan. 92; Gell. 13, 24, 30; Capitol. Gord. 4: annonae, a superintendent of grain or of the markets, Tac. A. 11, 31; Inscr. Orell. 1084; 1186; 1091; 3169: castrorum or castris, an officer who attended to the pitching of the camp and all matters connected therewith, a quartermaster, Vell. 2, 112, 6; 119, 4; 120, 4; Tac. A. 14, 37; 1, 20; cf. Veg. Mil. 2, 10: classis, an admiral, Cic. Verr. 2, 5, 34, 89; Liv. 26, 48; 36, 20; 42; Flor. 3, 7; afterwards also for a captain of a ship, Tac. H. 3, 12; Veg. Mil. 4, 32; Inscr. Orell. 3596; who was formerly called praefectus navis: dextrum cornu praefectos navium ad terram explicare jubet, Liv. 36, 44; Flor. 2, 5: fabrūm, in the army, a superintendent of the military engines, chief engineer, Caes. ap. Cic. Att. 9, 7, C, 2; id. B. C. 1, 24, 4; Nep. Att. 12, 4; Vell. 2, 76, 1; Plin. 36, 6, 7, 48; Inscr. Orell. 4906; in the free towns and colonies, a superintendent of public works, ib. 516: equitum, a commander of the cavalry, as we say, a colonel or general of cavalry, Hirt. B. G. 8, 12; Vell. 2, 24, 1; called also simply praefectus, Caes. B. G. 1, 39; 3, 7; Cic. Fam. 3, 8, 7; cf. cohortium, Sall. J. 46, 7: legionis, in the time of the emperors, the same that was previously called legatus legionis, a commander of the legion, i. q. our colonel, Tac. H. 1, 82; Suet. Claud. 12; id. Galb. 11; 14; id. Calig. 56; id. Ner. 21; Inscr. Grut. 465, 2; cf. Veg. Mil. 2, 9: praefectus regis or regius, a commander-in-chief, generalissimo, Liv. 36, 11; Sall. J. 46, 5; Nep. Alcib. 5, 2; id. Ages. 2, 3; cf. Flor. 3, 5; 11: praefectus praetorio and praetorii, in the time of the emperors, a commander of the imperial body - guard, pretorian prefect, Tac. A. 1, 24; id. H. 1, 13; 19; Dig. 1, 11 et saep.; in later times, a governor of a province of the Roman empire: praefectus urbi or urbis, governor of the city of Rome, in the times of the republic, appointed only to represent the consul during the latter's absence; under the emperors, a perpetual office with a particular jurisdiction, Varr. ap. Gell. 14, 7; Tac. A. 6, 10; 11; Plin. 11, 38, 90, 223; Suet. Aug. 33; Inscr. Orell. 3153 sq.: vigilum or vigilibus, a captain of the watch, Dig. 1, 15, 3; 47, 2, 58; Inscr. Orell. 801; 1088; 1929: Aegypti, the governor of the province of Egypt, Suet. Aug. 18; 66; id. Vesp. 6; Dig. 1, 17; Inscr. Orell. 709; 3651; so, Lydiae, Ioniae, totiusque Phrygiae, Nep. Dat. 2, 5: Alpium, Plin. 10, 48, 68, 134; Inscr. Grut. 287, 7.