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Dux (plural: duces) is Latin for leader (from the verb ducere, 'to lead') and later for Duke.

During the Roman Republic, dux could refer to anyone who commanded troops, including foreign leaders, but was not a formal military rank. In writing his commentaries on the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar uses the term only for Celtic generals, with one exception for a Roman commander who held no official rank.[1]

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Until the 3rd century AD, dux was not a formal expression of rank within the Roman military or administrative hierarchy.[2]

In the Roman military, a Dux would be a general in charge of two or more legions. While the title of dux could refer to a Consul or Imperator, it usually refers to the Roman Governor of the provinces. As the governor, the dux was both the highest civil official as well as the commander-in-chief of the legions garrisoned within the province.

However, during the time of the Dominate, the powers as a dux were split from the role of the governor and were given to a new office called "Dux". The dux was still the highest military office within the province and commanded the legions, but the governor had to authorize the use of the dux's powers. But once authorized, the dux could act independently from the governor and handled all military matters. An example would be the Dux per Gallia Belgica which was the Dux of the province of Gallia Belgica.

Since Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform, the provinces were organized into dioceses each administered by a Vicarius. As with the Governors, the Vicarius was assisted by a Dux. This Dux was superior to all of other Duces within the dioceses and when the Vicarius called the legions of the dioceses into action, all of the legions were at the Dux's command. An example would be the Dux per Gallia which was the Dux of the Dioceses of Gaul. The office of Dux was, in turn, made subject to the Magister Militum of his respective Praetorian prefecture, and above him to the Emperor.

In the Byzantine Empire, the position of "dux" survived (Byzantine Greek: "δούξ" douks) as rank equivalent to a provincial general (strategos). The office of megas doux ("Grand Duke"), created in the 1090s, was the commander-in-chief of the Byzantine navy and survived until the final Fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Post-Roman uses

King Arthur, in one of his earliest literary appearances, is described as dux bellorum ("dux of battles") among the kings of the Romano-Britons in their wars against the Anglo-Saxons.

Dux is also the root of various high feudal noble titles of peerage rank, such as (via the French duc) the English duke, the Spanish and Portuguese duque, the Venetian doge and Italian duca and duce and the modern Greek ducas (δούκας).

Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used the title of Dux (and Duce in Italian) to represent his leadership.

Education

  • In schools in Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Iceland, Dux is a modern title given to the top student in academic and sporting achievement (Dux Litterarum and Dux Ludorum respectively) in each graduating year. In this usage, Dux is similar to the American concept of a valedictorian. The runner up may be given the title Proxime Accessit (meaning "he came next") or Semidux, but is often not regarded as highly as his superior.
  • In Portuguese universities the dux is the most senior of students, usually in charge of overseeing the Praxe (initiation rituals for the freshmen).

Source

Notes

  1. ^ Thomas Wiedemann, “The Fetiales: A Reconsideration,” Classical Quarterly 36 (1986), p. 483. The Roman called dux is Publius Crassus, who was too young to hold a commission; see discussion of his rank.
  2. ^ Fergus Millar, The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337 (Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 191 online.

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Wiktionary

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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English

Etymology

Latin dux (leader).

Noun

Singular
dux

Plural
duces

dux (plural duces)

  1. (Scotland, New Zealand, Australia) The top student in a class.
  2. A high-ranking commander in the Roman army, responsible for more than one legion.

Related terms


Latin

Etymology

From ducere

Noun

dux (genitive ducis); m, third declension

  1. leader

Inflection

Number Singular Plural
nominative dux ducēs
genitive ducis ducum
dative ducī ducibus
accusative ducem ducēs
ablative duce ducibus
vocative dux ducēs







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