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date: 21 March 2023

cohortes urbanaelocked

cohortes urbanaelocked

  • Brian Campbell


The police force of Rome, established by *Augustus under the command of the *praefectus urbi (prefect of the city). A permanent police force in Rome was an innovation and the first prefect M. *Valerius Messalla Corvinus resigned declaring that he did not understand how to exercise his powers. Originally there were three cohorts, each commanded by a tribune and six centurions, numbered X–XII in continuation of the praetorian sequence (see praetorians); under the Flavians there were four cohorts in Rome. Single ‘urban’ cohorts (so named because they were originally withdrawn from Rome) are found at *Puteoli, *Ostia, and *Carthage, presumably protecting the shipment of grain to Rome, and at *Lugdunum (Lyons), where there was an important mint. Each cohort contained 500 men, probably increased to 1,000 by *Vitellius, who added some legionaries. They were recruited from Italians, served for twenty years, were paid half the rate of praetorians, and had their base in the praetorian camp until the construction of a new camp for them in 270.


  • Roman History and Historiography

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