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Today’s entry from A Concise Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities is Praefectus Annonae. I am continuing with the subheadings under the entry Praefectus.
PRAEFECTUS ANNONAE. Augustus created an officer under the title of praefectus annonae to see to the due supply of the corn-market. Under him worked procuratores, and a large staff of clerks (tabularii) and superintendents of granaries (horrearii). This office was a permanent one, and only held by one person at a time: he had jurisdiction over all matters appertaining to the corn-market, and was chosen from the Equites. The office continued till the latest times of the Empire (Tac. Ann. i. 7).
I confess to being puzzled by the reference to Tacitus after “The office continued till the latest times of the Empire.”
The OCD does not have an entry “praefectus annonae.” But he is mentioned in the entry “food supply”: “Other legislation alternately cut and increased the number of entitled recipients [of a monthly ration of grain], called the plebs frumentaria, until in 2 BC Augustus stabilized it at or below 200,000. Augustus also reorganized the system of storage and distribution under an imperial appointee of equestrian status called the praefectus annonae, who also had a more general remit to watch over food supplies. This public supply (annona), drawing on the grain paid to the state as rent or tax in Sicily, Africa, and (from 30 BC) Egypt, helped the privileged minority who held tickets of entitlement [=tesserae frumentariae] , which could be inherited or sold. But the monthly ration did not meet a family’s need for grain, and the tickets did not necessarily go to the poor. All residents will still have relied on the private market to some extent (or, if they had them, on produce from their farms), and the majority will have used it for most of their supplies.”