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princĭpātus, ūs, m. [princeps], the first place, pre-eminence, preference (class.).

I. In gen.: omnem naturam necesse est .. habere aliquem in se principatum, ut in homine mentem ... in arborum autem radicibus inesse principatus putatur. Principatum autem id dico, quod Graeci ἡγεμονικόν vocant, quo nihil in quoque genere nec potest, nec debet esse praestantius, Cic. N. D. 2, 11, 29 sq.: animi, id. Tusc. 1, 10, 20: ut quisque aetate antecedit, ita sententiae principatum tenet, id. Sen. 18, 64: Gallia hujus belli sustinendi principatum tenet, i. e. in bello sustinendo, id. Phil. 12, 4, 9: eloquentiae dignitatis principatum dare, id. Off. 2, 19, 49: qui tibi detulerat ex latronibus suis principatum, id. Phil. 2, 3, 5: sol astrorum obtinet principatum, id. N. D. 2, 19, 49: principatum in oleo obtinuit Italia, Plin. 15, 2, 3, 8; 16, 36, 64, 156; 37, 13, 76, 198.—

II. In partic.

A. The chief place in the state or the army, the post of commander-in-chief: Cassio dominatum et principatum dari, Cic. Phil. 11, 14, 36: Cingetorigi principatus atque imperium est traditum, Caes. B. G. 6, 8 fin.: obtinere principatum totius Galliae, id. ib. 7, 4: se dejectos principatu, id. ib. 7, 63: de principatu contendere, Nep. Arist. 1.—

2. Of the empire (post-Aug.), reign, empire, dominion, sovereignty: Nero toto principatu suo hostis generis humani, Plin. 7, 8, 6, 46: Fenestella, qui obiit novissimo Tiberii Caesaris principatu, id. 33, 11, 52, 146: Nerva res olim dissociabiles miscuit, principatum et libertatem, Tac. Agr. 3; Plin. Pan. 36, 3; 45, 3; Suet. Calig. 22; id. Tib. 24.—

B. A beginning, origin (class. but very rare): an mundus ab aliquo temporis principatu ortus est? Cic. Univ. 2; cf.: totius opusculi principatus, the beginning, Diom. 375 P.—

III. The hosts of angels, good or bad (eccl. Lat.), Vulg. Rom. 8, 38; id. Col. 1, 16.