The Ancient Library

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On this page: Praecinctiones – Praeco – Praefectura – Praefectus



du Musee dn Louviv, 1882, jrf. 60 plates, 1883; and the popular work by Pottier, Les Statuettes de Tern Cuite dans VAnti-qnite,

(1) BARKER IN TERRA-COTTA. Fivm Tlimgra (Arch. Zeil. 1874, taf. M).

Prsecinctlones. Sec theatre.

Prseco. The Latin term for a public crier, such as those who were employed in private life, especially at auctions. Their profession was eminently lucrative, but was not considered at all respectable. Similarly those employed by the State ranked as the most insignificant of its paid servants (see apparitor). Their duties were to summon the meetings of the people and the Senate, to command silence, to proclaim aloud the proposals under consideration, to announce the result of the individual votes, and also the final result: in legal proceedings, to cite the parties to the case, their counsel, and witnesses, to announce the close of the proceedings, and the jury's dismissal; to invite the people to funeral feasts and to games, and to assist at public auctions and other sales, etc., etc. Consuls, praetors, and censors had three decuries of such atten­dants; quaestors, and probably also tribunes and sediles, one. They also attended on extraordinary magistrates and on governors of provinces.

Prsefectura. An Italian township pos­sessing no jurisdiction of its own, but having a prefect to administer justice (prw-fectus iurc dicundo) sent to it every year, generally on the nomination of the prtetOr

urbanus. When all Italian towns received full citizen rights, 90 B.C., these towns among the rest became mdniclpla (see miinicipium), and retained the old name merely as a tradition.

Praefectus (one set over others, a superior). The title given by the Romans to officials of many kinds, who were all however appointed, not elected. Thus, under the Republic, praifedi iure dicundo was the name of those who were appointed by the praetor to administer justice in those Italian communities which were called prcefectftrce (q.v.); even later these townships retained the name for the judges elected by them­selves. In the republican armies the six Roman officers appointed by the consuls to command the contingents sent by the Italian allies to the consular armies were called prtefecti sdcium (officers in command of the allies), while their cohorts were led by native prcefecii cdhortium. In the times of the Empire these titles were borne by the commanders of the auxiliary cohorts, while the officers of the cavalry divisions were prcefecti equitum. Military engineer­ing was under the direction of a prcefectus fabrum (pioneers); the several fleets of the Empire under a pr&fcctus claasis (see ships). Prcefectus castrorum (camp-com­mander) was the name, under the Empire, of the commander in the permanent camps of the legions, usually a centurion who had completed his term of service. His chief functions were, in time of peace, to super­intend garrison-service (i.e. to distribute the watches and other duties); in war, the arrangement and supervision of the camp, the transportation of the baggage, and the construction of roads, bridges, and entrench­ments. This title of preafectus was also given to the knight who commanded the legions stationed in Egypt; while an im­perial governor, called prrefectus sEgypti, administered that country, which was treated as an imperial domain, and outside the general provincial administration. At a later time each legion had upon its staff of officers its own commander of the camp, styled prczfectus l&gldnls, to whom in 3 a.d. even the command of the legion was transferred. Pr&fectus vigilum was the commander of the cohorts organized by Augustus to make Rome secure by night.

A very high and influential office under the Empire was that -of the prcK/cctus prce-torio, the commander of the imperial guard (see pr^toriani). Originally a purely military office, it acquired in process of

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.