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(prētôr`ēənz), bodyguard of the ancient Roman emperors. Growing out of an early troop that served as bodyguard to the general commanding in Rome, they were formally organized in the time of Augustus. The number of cohorts (from 500 to 1,000 men each) forming the guard varied, but in the days of the later empire it was 10. The Praetorians under a prefectprefect
or praefect
, in ancient Rome, various military and civil officers. Under the empire some prefects were very important. The Praetorian prefects (first appointed 2 B.C.) usually numbered two; they commanded the powerful Praetorians. From the 2d cent. A.D.
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 attended the emperor wherever he went. They had special privileges and, in the period when the empire declined, held almost unchallenged authority. Constantine I disbanded them in 312.



(praetorian cohorts), a privileged military unit in ancient Rome.

Originally, the bodyguards of Roman commanders were called praetorians and were recruited from Rome’s allies. From the second century B.C., they were chosen from the ranks of Roman equites. The imperial guard created under Augustus was called the praetorian guard and consisted of nine cohorts of 1,000 men each. Composed only of Italians, praetorians served for a shorter term than legionnaires and received higher pay. They were headed by the praetorian prefect. Gradually the praetorians were recruited from inhabitants of the provinces, and they lost their previous importance. Under Emperor Constantine the Great in the early fourth century they were replaced by palace units known as domestici.

In the figurative sense, the term designates mercenaries who buttress an authority based on brute force.


Durry, M. Les Cohortes prétoriennes. [Paris] 1938.
References in periodicals archive ?
The point, however, of re-releasing The Centurions and The Praetorians was not to teach us how to lose in France.
These soldiers masquerading as citizens were known as the Praetorian Guard.
This illustrated survey of the three-hundred-year history of the Praetorian Guard offers a fairly meticulously annotated examination of the evidence (literary, epigraphical, and archaeological) for this private military force alongside a valuable reappraisal of several aspects of Roman military life and the nature of the imperial bodyguard.
The authors argue that even though Burma has begun to emerge from isolation and to allow greater freedoms, the country still fits the praetorian model.
On the notion of reluctance on the part of Pakistani praetorians, Husain Haqqani has observed that the "narrative presents every Pakistani military ruler as a reluctant coup-maker," but on closer scrutiny "reveals a pattern of careful planning.
Praetorians will be based in Rome and play at the city''s Stadio Flaminio, while Aironi will be based in Viadana but will play some matches in the city of Reggio Emilia.
And Owen could receive another treat as Dave and The Praetorians are planning to take him on a bike ride, though no date has been set.
Praetorians cuts straight to the chase - creating foot soldiers who can build garrisons and defence towers, and fight, of course.
The Praetorians have avoided spelling out what 4 percent actually means in dollar terms.
As Sir Ronald Syme put it, he had heard the Praetorians baying for blood along the Roman streets: `it may be taken that Cornelius Tacitus was adequately informed.
Nor is it accurate, Morgan argues, to say that the praetorians in particular and the army in general became the arbiters of the throne.
150-169); earned distinction during the great incursion of the Marcomanni (169-172); was raised to senatorial rank to command a legion; although he served as consul (174 or 175), he was spared in Commodus' purge of leading men, perhaps because of his humble origins; sent to Britain to quell unrest there (185-186); consul a second time and praetorian prefect (192); he was appointed Emperor by the Senate after Commodus was murdered by the Praetorians (December 31, 192); his stringent measures to restore the economy were unpopular with both army and people, and he was murdered by a band of undisciplined soldiers (March 28, 193).