The Ancient Library

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On this page: Praetoriani – Praetorium – Praevaricatio – Prandium – Pratinas



& standing criminal court for certain stated offenders, the rule was introduced that the entire body of praetors should stay in Rome during their year of office; the praetors urbamis and inter peregrines having juris­diction in civil cases, as hitherto, while the others presided in the quoestiones, and had to instruct the jurors as to the case before the court, and to carry out the sentence passed. After the completion of their year of office, they all proceeded as proprcetors or proconsuls to the praetorian provinces assigned them by lot. In consequence of the multiplication of the qiicpstiones and of the provinces, the number of praetors was raised by Sulla to eight, by Caesar to ten, fourteen, and sixteen. Under the Empire the prsetorship lost its former importance, the civil jurisdiction of the praetor urbamis and peregrinus being in part transferred to the jn-cefectus urbi and prcefectus pra>-torls, while the criminal jurisdiction of the others ceased with the gradual decay of the <jucestiones, and the praetors only retained particular departments of their judicial power and general administration. Their most important function was the manage­ment of the games, some of which had already, in republican times, been assigned to the prcetor urbanus. When their year's office had expired, they went as proconsuls to the senatorial provinces. Their election was transferred to the Senate by Tiberius. Under the Republic, the statutory age for the office was forty; under the Empire, thirty. The praetor's insignia were the toga prcetexta, the sella curulis, and, in the provinces, six lictors ; in Rome, pro­bably two. Like the consul, he had the honour of a triumph open to him.

Praetoriani. The bodyguard of the Roman emperor. Even in the armies of the Republic there was a separate corps, the cdhors prcetdrZa, to guard the general, and protect the headquarters. The organization of a bodyguard for the emperor, one of whose permanent powers was the chief military command, was among the first ad­ministrative measures of Augustus. The supreme command was generally held by two prcefecti prcetSrlO in the emperor's name. The guard consisted of nine, and at a later time, of ten cohortes prcetoriee, each composed of ten centuries of infantry, and i ten squadrons of cavalry (turmce), and com­manded by a trlbunus (see tribuni militum). They had higher rank and pay than the j legions, and a shorter time of service (six­teen years instead of twenty). While the

other cohorts were stationed at various places in Italy, where the emperors were in the habit of staying, there were quar­tered in Rome, to keep watch in the em­peror's palace, three cohorts, which at first were billeted on separate parts of the city, j until under Tiberius they were placed in a fortified camp (caatra prcetoria) to the north-east of the city, outside the agger. By being thus united, they gained such importance, that they were able to raise an emperor to the throne, and to overthrow him. To break down their influence, and to make them simply a picked corps, Septlmlus Severus, towards the end of the second century, brought legions to Italy, ; and made a regulation that the guard, which had hitherto been recruited exclusively from Italy and a few Romanised provinces, should have its ranks filled up from de­serving legionary soldiers, and should serve for a longer time. To be thus transferred to the guard was considered a promotion. The guard was broken up by Constantine the Great.

Praetorlum. The headquarters in the Roman camp; a wide space, on which stood the general's tent, the altar of the camp, the augurdle, and the tribunal (see castra). In the provinces this name was given to the official residence of the governor.

Praevarlcatlo (lit. " deviation from the straight path"). The Latin term for the improper conduct of a case on the part of a prosecutor in favour of the defendant, or on the part of a patronus to the detriment of his client. The penalty was forfeiture of the right to prosecute, and to act as an advocate. If the acquittal of the defendant was demonstrably due to prtxvaricatio, the case might be undertaken anew by a second prosecutor.

Prandlum. The second morning meal of the Romans. (See meals.)

Pratinas. [The quantity of the second syllable is uncertain, probably long. Fick, Gr. Personen-namen, p. xxxv, deriving it from pratds, Doric for prOtds, makes it a collateral form for prOtlnos =protidnds.] A Greek dramatist, of Phlius, who lived about 496 b.c. at Athens. He was a contemporary and rivalof ^Eschy lus,and is believed to have invented the satyric drama. At any rate, he was a very prolific writer in this depart­ment of literature. He also wrote tragedies, dithyrambs, and hyporchemata, of which we possess a fairly long and highly original fragment [preserved by Athenaeus, xiv 617]. His son Aristlas was also a dramatic poet.

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