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date: 17 June 2024

praefectus praetoriolocked

praefectus praetoriolocked

  • Brian Campbell
  •  and John F. Matthews


*Augustus first appointed praetorian prefects (see praefectus) to command the *praetorians in 2 bce; there were usually two, of equestrian rank (see equites, Imperial period). He recognized the potential importance of the prefecture, since it controlled the only significant military force in Rome. Prefects were selected personally by the emperor more for reliability than any specialist expertise, and their status and power increased because they had the ear of the emperor, who tended to confide in them and delegate some of his increasing administrative burden. The prefect was the only official permitted to bear a sword in the emperor's presence. The personal influence gained by several prefects enhanced the role of the prefecture itself, e.g. L. *Aelius Seianus, who also persuaded *Tiberius to concentrate the guard in one camp in Rome and became sole prefect (there were several further instances of this), Sextus *Afranius Burrus, *Ofonius Tigellinus, C.


  • Roman Law

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