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On this page: Praetoria Actio – Praetoria Cohors – Praetoriani



Praetor, and he was the first in rank. His duties confined him to Rome, as is implied by the name, \ and he could only leave the city for ten days at a j ti-mei It was part of his duty to superintend the Ludi Apollinares. He was also the chief magis- ; trate for the administration of j'ustice, and to the Edicta of the successive praetors the Roman Law owes in a great degree its developement and im­provement. Both the Praetor Urbanus and the Praetor Peregrinus had the Jus Edicendi (Gaius, i. 2), and their functions in this respect do not ap­pear to have been limited on the establishment of the imperial power, though it must have been gradually restricted as the practice of Imperial Constitutions and Rescripts became common. [Eoio tum.] The limits of these two praetors1 adminis­tration were expressed by the term Urbanae Pro-vinciae.

The chief judicial functions of the Praetor in. civil matters consisted in giving a judex. [JuDEX.] It was only in the case of Interdicts, that he de­cided in a summary way. [interdictum.] Pro­ceedings before the praetor were technically said to be injure.

The Praetors also presided at trials of criminal matters. These were the Quaestiones perpetuae (Cic. Brut. c. 27), or the trials for Repetundae, Ambitus, Majestas, and Peculatus, which, when there were six praetors, were assigned to four out of the number. Sulla added to these Quaestiones those of Falsum, Be Sicariis et Veneficis, and Do Parricidis, and for this purpose he added two or according to some accounts four praetors, for the accounts of Pomponius and of other writers do not agree on this point. (Sueton. Caesar, 41 ; Dion Cass. xlii, 51.) On these occasions the Praetor presided, but.a body of judices determined by a majority of votes the condemnation or acquittal of the accused. [JuoiciUM.]

The Praetor when he administered justice sat on a sella Curulis in a Tribunal, which was that part of the Court which was appropriated to the Praetor and his assessors and friends, and is op­posed to the Subsellia, or part occupied by the Judices, and others who were present. (Cic. Brut. 84.) Rut the Praetor could do many ministerial acts out of court, or as it was expressed e piano* or ex acquo loco, which terms are opposed to e tribunali or ex superiore loco : for instance, he could in cer­tain cases give validity to the act of manumission when he was out of doors, as on his road to the bath or to the theatre. (Gaius, i. 20.) .A person who had been ejected from the senate c.oiild recover his rank by being made Praetor (Dion Cassius, xxxvii. 30 ; Plutarch, Cicero, 17). Sallustius was made praetor evrl roS tjjv fiovXty dmAagetV. (Dion Cassius, xlii. 52.)

The Praetors existed with varying numbers to a late period in the Empire, and they had still jurisdictio. (Cod. 7. tit. 62. s. 17; 5. tit.*71. s. 18.)

The functions of the Praetors, as above ob­ served, were chiefly judicial, and this article should be completed by a reference to edictum, impe- rium, judex, jurisdictio, magistratus, pro- vincia. To the authorities referred to under Edictum maybe added, " Die Pratorischen Edicte der Romer, &c., von D. Eduard Schrader, Weimar, 1815." [G.L.]


PRAETORIA COHORS. [praetoriani.]

PRAETORIANI, sc. militcs, or Praetoriae


Cohorte'S) a body of troops instituted by Augustus, to protect his person and his power, and called by that name in imitation of the Praetoria Co-JiorSj or select troop, which attended the person of the praetor or general of the Roman army. (Sal-lust, Cat. 60; Cic. Cat. ii. 11 ; Caes. Bell. Gall.

1. 40.) This cohort is said to have been first formed by Scipio Africanus out of the bravest troops, whom he exempted from all other duties except guarding his person, and to whom he gave sixfold pay (Festus, s. v.) • but even in the early times of the republic the Roman general seems to have been attended by a select troop. (Liv. ii. 20.) In the time of the civil wars the number of the praetorian cohorts was greatly increased (Appian, Bell. Civ. iii. 67, v. 3) ; but the establishment of, them as a separate force was owing to the policy of Augustus. They originally consisted of nine (Tac. Ann. iv. 5; Suet. Aug. 49) or ten cohorts' (Dion Cass. Iv. 24), each consisting of a thousand-, men, horse and fo-ot. They were chosen only from Italy, chiefly from Etruria and Umbria, or ancient Latium, and the old colonies (Tac. /. c. Hist. i. 84), but afterwards from Macedonia, Noricum, and Spain also. (Dion Cass. Ixxiv. 2.) Augustus, in accordance with his general policy of avoiding the appearance of despotism, stationed only three of these cohorts in the capital, and dis--. persed the remainder in the adjacent towns of Italy. (Suet. Aug. 49.) Tiberius, however, under pretence of introducing a stricter discipline among them, assembled them all at Rome in a permanent camp, which was strongly fortified. (Tac. Ann*. iv. 2; Suet. Tiber. 37; Dion Cass. Ivii. 19.) Their number was increased by Vitellius to sixteen co^ horts, or 16,000 men. (Tac. Hist. ii. 93.)

The Praetorians were distinguished by double-pay and especial privileges. Their term of service-was originally fixed by Augustus at twelve years (Dion Cass. liv. 25), but was afterwards increased to sixteen years ; and when they had served their time, each soldier received 20,000 sesterces. (Id. Iv. 23 ; Tac. Ann. i. 17.) All the Praetorians seem to have had the same rank as the centurions in the regular legions, since we are told by Dion (Iv. 24) that they had the privilege of carrying a: vitis (pd§8os) like the centurions. The Praetorians,, however, soon became the most powerful body in the state, and like the janissaries at Constantinople, frequently deposed and elevated emperors accord­ing to their pleasure. Even the most powerful of the emperors were obliged to court, their favour j and they alwaj^s obtained a liberal donation upon the accession of each emperor. After the death of Pertinax (a. d. 193) they even offered the em­pire for sale, which was purchased by Didius Juliahus (Dion Cass. Ixxiii. 11 ; Spartian. Julian.

2. Herodian. ii. 7) ; but upon the accession of Severus in the same year they were disbanded, on account of the part they had taken in the death of Pertinax, and banished from the city. (Dion Cass. Ixxiv. 1.) The emperors, however, could not dis­pense with guards, and accordingly the Praetorians were restored on a new model by Severus, and increased to four times their ancient number. In­stead of being levied in Italy, Macedonia, Nori­cum, or Spain, as formerly, the best soldiers were now draughted from all the legions on the frontiers; so that the praetorian cohorts now formed the bravest troops of the empire. (Dion Cass. Ixxiv. 2 j Herodian. iii, 13.) Diocletian reduced their num-

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