Praetorian prefect

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Praetorian prefect (Latin Praefectus praetorio) was the constant title of a high office in the Roman state that changed fundamentally in nature.


[edit] Praetorian guards commander

The praetorian prefect was commander of the Praetorian Guard until Constantine abolished the guard in 314. Praetorian prefects continued to be appointed until the reign of Heraclius, but the office developed into head of the civil and judicial administration of the empire.

The term praefectus praetorio was often abbreviated in inscriptions as 'PR PR'.<ref>Lesley and Roy Adkins. Handbook to life in Ancient Rome. Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN 0195123328. page 241</ref>

Under the empire the praetorians or imperial guards were commanded by one, two, or even three praefects (praefecti praetorio), who were chosen by the emperor from among the equites and held office at his pleasure. From the time of Alexander Severus the post was open to senators also, and if an equite was appointed he was at the same time raised to the senate. Down to the time of Constantine, who deprived the office of its military character, the prefecture of the guards was regularly held by tried soldiers, often by men who had fought their way up from the ranks. In course of time the command seems to have been enlarged so as to include all the troops in Italy except the corps commanded by the city praefect (cohortes urbanae).

The special position of the Praetorians made them become a power in their own right in the Roman state, and their prefect, praefectus praetorio, soon became one of the more powerful men in this society. The emperors tried to flatter and control the praetorians, but they staged many coup d'états and contributed to a rapid rate of turnover in the imperial succession. The praetorians thus came to destabilize the Roman state, contrary to their purpose. The Praetorian prefect became a major administrative figure in the later empire, when the post combined in one individual the duties of an imperial chief of staff with direct command over the guard also. Diocletian greatly reduced the power of these prefects as part of his sweeping reform of the empire's administrative and military structures.

[edit] List of known Guard Prefects

</td> </tr> </td> <tr> <td>Aurelius Heraclianus
</td> <td>Gallienus
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Florianus
</td> <td>Tacitus
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Carus
</td> <td>Probus
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Aper
</td> <td>Carus, Carinus, Numerian
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Aristobulus
</td> <td>Numerian, Diocletian
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Afranius Hannibalianus
</td> <td>Diocletian</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Constantius Chlorus
</td> <td>Diocletian</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Asclepiodotus
</td> <td>Diocletian</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Rufius Volusianus
</td> <td>Maxentius
</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Publius Cornelius Anullinus
</td> <td>Maxentius</td> </tr> </table>

[edit] Transformation to administrator

Further, the praetorian praefect acquired, in addition to his military functions, a criminal jurisdiction, which he exercised not as the delegate but as the representative of the emperor, and hence it was decreed by Constantine 331 that from the sentence of the praetorian praefect there should be no appeal. A similar jurisdiction in civil cases was acquired by him not later than the time of Septimius Severus. Hence a knowledge of law became a qualification for the post, which under Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, but especially from the time of Severus, was held by the first jurists of the age, (e.g. Papinian, Ulpian, Paullus) and John the Cappadocian, while the military qualification fell more and more into the background.

The tetrarchy reform of Diocletian (circa 296) multiplied the office, as there was now one pretorian prefect as chief of staff (military and administrative) -rather then commander of the guard- for each of the two Augusti and two Caesares - their masters were soon reduced to two imperial courts, at Rome (later Ravenna) and Constantinople, but the four prefectures remained as the highest level of administrative division, in charge of several so-called dioceses (groups of Roman provinces), each of which was headed by a Vicarius.

Under Constantine the Great, the institution of the Magister militum deprived the praetorian prefecture altogether of its military character; but left it the highest civil office of the empire.

[edit] Germanic era

The office was among the many maintained after the Western Roman empire had succombed to the Germanic invasion in Italy, notably at the royal court of the Ostrogothic king Theoderic the Great.

[edit] Sources and references

[edit] Footnotes

<references />

bg:Преториански префект

de:Prätorianerpräfekt fr:Préfet du prétoire it:Prefetto del pretorio mk:Преторијански префект nl:Praefectus praetorio sv:Praetorianprefekt

Praetorian prefect

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Known Prefects of the Praetorian Guard 2 BC - AD 312
Emperor Served
Publius Aper
Quintus Ostoriius Scapula
Valerius Ligur
Lucius Strabo
Augustus, Tiberius
Lucius Aelius Sejanus
Quintus Sutorius Macro
Tiberius, Caligula
Marcus Arrecinus Clemens
Rufrius Pollio
Cantonius Justus
Rufius Crispinus
Lusius Geta
Sextus Afranius Burrus
Claudius, Nero
Faenius Rufus
Gaius Ophonius Tigellinus
Nymphidius Sabinus
Cornelius Laco
Plotius Firmus
Licinius Proculus
Publius Sabinus
Junius Priscus
Tiberius Julius Alexander
Arrius Varus
Arrecinus Clemens
Titus Flavius Vespasianus
Cornelius Fuscus
Casperius Aelianus
Norbanus Domitian
Petronius Secundus Domitian
Casperius Aelianus Nerva
Suburanus Trajan
Claudius Livianus Trajan
S. Sulpicius Similis Trajan
C. Septicius Clarus Hadrian
Marcius Turbo Hadrian
Gaius Maximus
Hadrian, Antoninus Pius
Tattius Maximus
Antoninus Pius
Fabius Cornelius
Antoninus Pius
Furius Victorinus
Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius
Macrinus Vindex
Marcus Aurelius
Bassaeus Rufus
Marcus Aurelius
Tarutenius Paternus
Marcus Aurelius, Commodus
Tigidius Perennis
Lucius Julianus
Aemilius Laetus
Commodus, Pertinax, Didius Julianus
Flavius Genialis
Didius Julianus
Tullius Crispinus
Didius Julianus
Veterius Macrinus
Septimius Severus
Gaius Fulvius Plautianus
Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus, Caracalla
Oclatinius Adventus
Marcus Opellius Macrinus
Ulpius Julianus
Julianus Nestor
Valerius Comazon Eutychchianus
Severus Alexander
Iulius Paulus
Severus Alexander
P. Aelius Vitalianus
Philip the Arab
Gordian III
Gaius Julius Priscus
Philip the Arab
Silvanus (praetorian prefect)|Silvanus