Lictors


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lictors

 

one of the lower state offices in ancient Rome. The position was known since the time of Etruscan kings, as early as the seventh century B.C. Lictors were originally agents carrying out the orders of the magistrates. Later they performed only security and ceremonial functions for the magistrates and carried the fasces. Lictors chosen from among the emancipated slaves usually accompanied the higher magistrates. Thus a praetor had six lictors, a consul 12, a dictator 24, and the emperor 24 (during the first and second centuries B.C.).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Externally, it was, of course, easier, since today's preachers must fear neither the lion's teeth nor the lictor's axes.
The lictors probably would have beaten him with their rods before the executioner, with a sharp swing of the sword, removed his head.
One of the illustrations in the Bixie jishi depicts a stately magistrate ordering two lictors to shoot arrows at a crucified pig while another decapitates three goat-headed men with the character xi [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Westerner) on their chests (fig.
The Oath of the Horatii and The Lictors bringing Brutus the Bodies of his Sons are represented by the oil sketches in the Louvre and the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm respectively.
(6) An account of such literal, and therefore false, perception was given by Publius, who raved at the memory of "Ceasar march[ing] captive kings, with their hands bound, and ladies with their arms a-cross, furious wild beasts, great giants, and little dwarfs, with lictors, and pictors, and a number of priests" (Orgel--Strong 1973, 2: 455).
There is the Etruscan current that is openly cited as the source of important forms of religious observance and political culture like the "curule" chair, the twelve lictors, and the purple-bordered toga.
(1) Another cartoon of the same date offers a more predictable representation of the Republic: a naked female standing on a rocky outcrop with an axe raised behind her head and lictors' rods (the axe case), crushing the monster of aristocracy.
Voltaire's tragedy based on this event, Rousseau's defense of Brutus in his "Derniere reponse" (a supplement to his Discours sur les sciences et les arts), and Jacques Louis David's 1789 painting, The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons, suggest additionally that the story of Brutus would have been familiar to Merimee's readers at the time he wrote Mateo Falcone.
Jacques-Louis David's two great historical paintings of the 1780s, The Oath of the Horatii and Brutus Receiving the Bodies of his Sons from the Lictors, exemplify this point in their presentations of virtuous men ignoring the grief of their female relatives (and, in the case of Brutus, mastering his own private grief in the interests of public policy) as they sacrifice the family to the state.