Praetorian Guard


May 22, 2022

The Imperial Guard, the Praetorians (Latin praetoriani) are the personal bodyguards of the emperors of the Roman Empire. The name has been used since the time of the Roman Republic, denoting the protection of the Roman generals, which existed from 275 BC. The guard (life guard) of the Roman emperors, established by the emperor Augustus, and had 9,000 people with him.


The Praetorians are the guards of the Roman Caesars, which developed from a select detachment (Latin ablecti) of the allies, who served in the Republican period to protect the commander-in-chief (selective guards) and his praetorium, hence the name cohors praetoria, in another source cohortes praetoriae. Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilian Africanus organized under the same name a guard of Roman horsemen. The headquarters, office and the entire immediate retinue of the commander or ruler of the region (quaestor, scribes, legates, tribunes, prefect and translators, lictors, heralds, couriers, and finally acquaintances and friends - comites) constituted his cohors praetoria. To maintain order in Rome, Octavian Augustus created 9 praetorian cohorts, 1000 people each, using his rank of proconsul of Gaul, Spain and Syria (there were three praetorian cohorts in the republic). Outside of service, the Praetorians wore civilian clothes (lat. coh. togatae). Three cohorts were stationed at the quarters of citizens in the Eternal City itself, the rest - in the suburbs of the capital. Together with the guards cavalry (Latin equites praetoriani), they formed the core of the armed forces of the nascent empire. Only the Praetorians had the right to serve in Rome and carry weapons; before the reign of Septimius Severus, only natives of Italy were enlisted in the guard. Increased salaries (20 thousand sesterces against 12 thousand for an ordinary legionnaire), an honorary position and a 16-year service life (instead of 20 years for ordinary legionnaires and 25 years for auxiliary troops) were the privileges of the guard. Subsequently, the city police (lat. cohortes urbanae) merged with the guard into one corps, divided into 14 cohorts. Praetorians were subordinate to a special prefect - praefectus praetorio (praetorian prefect). The prefect of the time of Emperor Tiberius, Sejanus, concentrated the entire guard in Rome, building a special camp for her - castra praetoria. Since the Praetorians were involved in all the conspiracies and rebellions of the empire, the organization