In the hierarchy of the imperial administration as presented in the Notitia Dignitarum early in the fifth century, the two urban prefects occupied the second rank immediately under the praetorian prefects. They were therefore personages of considerable status, who held an enviable position. The vitality of the urban prefecture is remarkable. By means of various documents, researches have been enabled to compile a list of prefects for the period from 312 to 604, the last urban prefect, named Iohannes, holding office in 599. The vicarius of the city of Rome was the city prefect's right-hand man until the 350s. Since the Augustan era, two other prefectures had existed: the prefect of the annona and vigiles. From Constantine's reign onwards it was the agents of these offices, and not the urban cohorts, who had ensured public order in the city during the day, while firefighting was now entrusted to members of guilds of artisans.
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