praetor

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praetor

(prēt`ər), in ancient Rome, originally a consulconsul,
title of the two chief magistrates of ancient Rome. The institution is supposed to have arisen with the expulsion of the kings, traditionally in 510 B.C., and it was well established by the early 4th cent. B.C.
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, and later a judicial magistrate (from c.366 B.C.). In 242 B.C. two praetors were appointed, the urban praetor (praetor urbanus), deciding cases to which citizens were parties, and the peregrine praetor (praetor peregrinus) deciding cases between foreigners. The urban praetor exercised the functions of the consuls in their absence and of the peregrine praetor when he was holding a military command. Two additional praetors were appointed (227) to administer Sicily and Sardinia, and two more (197) to administer Spain. A principal duty of praetors was the production of the public games. Under the empire the functions of the praetor were gradually taken over by other magistrates.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Praetor

 

a state position in ancient Rome. Initially, in the early republican period, “praetor” was the title of the highest magistrates (consuls and dictators). In 367 (or 366) B.C., the position of praetor was instituted as a junior colleague of the consul. The praetor managed civil court cases on the basis of the praetorian edict, which he himself issued, and, in the absence of consuls, he had supreme power. In 242 B.C. two praetors were elected: the city praetor (praetor urbanus), who managed court trials among Roman citizens, and a praetor for foreigners (praetor peregrinus). Under Sulla, the number of praetors was increased to eight. After performance of their duties, praetors were sent to the provinces as propraetors or proconsuls. In the time of the empire the highest city officials were also called praetors.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

praetor

, pretor
(in ancient Rome) any of several senior magistrates ranking just below the consuls
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
When the Praetorship was created in 367 BC, the jurisdiction assigned to the Praetor formed part of the Consular Imperium--the jurisdiction, to decide civil disputes.
Originally, there was 1 Imperial praetor, then 2, and after Sulla (137-78 BC), there were 8.
Cairns, AJP 95 (1974), 161-2 works with the possibility of etymological play between anteire and praeire/praetor to suggest that the young Tullus had a position as praetor or propraetor or legatus/quaestor pro praetore.
There were several reasons for this: Caesar was in need of officers, and Antony's reliability in this regard had never been questioned;(69) although many had been unhappy with his administration in 49, he had worked hard to assist the people who counted, especially the urban praetor Lepidus and Caesar's agents, Oppius and Balbus, by preparing and sponsoring legislation;(70) his healthy disregard for constitutional practice earned him the approbation of the men who were creating a unique place in the state for Caesar (and themselves).
Provincial sortition for consuls and praetors is well attested throughout the Republic and requires no demonstration.
When attributing a praetorship in 50 to Favonius, Willems noted that the eight praetors of 49 are known; therefore, though the text of Caelius implies that Favonius was defeated in the praetorian elections in 51, he must have won: "Wehrmann ...
Whereas the sections which relate to Piso and his family simply state what should happen to the status and the property of those concerned, in the case of Visellius and Sempronius an instruction is passed to magistrates of the Roman people (the praetors in charge of the quaestio maiestatis and of the treasury respectively) about what they are to do.
As in the case of the detainees of 167, the official in Rome who has administrative charge of Timotheus is a praetor (see below on lines 26-7).
If civil wars were ended and if the government functioned, then the res publica had survived, and supporters of Augustus could give him the credit.(42) They could even claim, as Velleius did, that for all practical purposes the traditional system had been restored: 'The civil wars were ended after twenty years, foreign wars were dead and buried, peace was brought back, and the fury of arms was quieted everywhere; force was restored to the laws, authority to the courts, and majesty to the senate, and the power of magistrates was reduced to its earlier limits, except that two praetors were adlected to the traditional eight.
(9) He was praetor in 115 at a time when provincial commands were not inevitable rewards for a year in high public office.