Prefecture

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Prefecture (from the Latin Praefectura) indicates the office, seat, territorial circumscription of a prefect. The term prefecture is also used to refer to offices analogous to prefectures.

Contents

Literal prefectures

Antiquity

It has been used most prominently to denote a somewhat self-governing body or area since the tetrarchy, when emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into four districts (each divided into dioceses, grouping under a Vicarius (a number of Roman provinces, listed under that article), although he maintained two pretorian prefectures as an administrative level above the also surviving dioceses (a few of which were split).

Ecclesiastic

As Canon law is strongly inspired by Roman law, it is not surprising that the Catholic Church has several offices under a prefect. That term occurs also in otherwise styled offices, such as the head of a congregation or department of the Roman Curia. Various ecclesiastical areas, too small for a diocese, are termed prefects.

Analogous prefectures

Brazilian equivalent of prefecture

In Brazil, the prefecture (prefeitura in Portuguese) is the Prefeitura Municipal, home to the Executive of a city and to the mayor's office.

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