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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 difference then and now between the standing army and the Praetorian Guard (I'll discuss its modern equivalent below) is that the former could not conduct military operations inside the boundaries of their own country.
In short, Bingham's book is important if not essential reading for students of Roman imperial history; future work on the Praetorian Guard will depend in large part on the impressive efforts on display here.
Beginning in the ancient world and proceeding chronologically, the volume examines the characteristics and tactics of groups such as the Persian Immortals, Spartan Hoplites and Roman Praetorian Guard, Viking Varangians, Knights Templar, Teutonic Knights, Ottoman Janissaries, Polish Hussars, and the French Foreign Legion.
In 193, at his suggestion and promises of reward, his troops proclaimed him emperor after the murder of the Emperor Pertinax by the Praetorian Guard.
Potter glosses over Severus's dismissal and reform of the praetorian guard without explanation and concludes his chapter with an intriguing but unsubstantiated statement (p.
The most egregious suspicion is that the media is in thrall to advertisers or sponsors, that we are really just holding out for the highest bidder and will provide positive coverage in return, much like the Praetorian Guard in the waning days of Rome's glory sold the emperor's position for sacks of gold.
These include the Persian Immortals of Darius; the Spartans of King Leonidas, the Roman Praetorian Guard, the Ninja, the Mongol Hordes, the Prussian Guard, the Stonewall Brigade, the Gurkas, the Green Berets, the U.
Hadrian ANSWERS TO QUIZ: 1) b 2) c 3) a 4) a 5) d 6) the Praetorian Guard 7) d, c, a, b 8) c 9) a 10) d
The Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime's increasingly influential Praetorian guard and ideological bulwark, has warned it is prepared to crush any dissent and the Pasdaran, as the guards are known in Farsi, have shown many times they are not to be trifled with.
One senator declared it "antagonistic to our traditions" to surround a president with "a sort of Praetorian Guard.
Unfortunately, he did not last long (about 12 months) because he reneged on a pay rise for the Praetorian guard (shades of Gordon and the police?