Thursday, 31 March 2022

Praetorian Guard

The Praetorian Guard (cohortes praetoriae) was an elite unit of the Roman Army who were bodyguards to the emperor. During the era of the Roman Republic, the Praetorians served as a small escort force for high-ranking officials. With the transition to the Roman Empire, Augustus refounded the Guard as his personal security detail.
Although they continued to serve in this capacity for roughly three centuries, the Guard became infamous for its interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming successors. The Guard was ultimately disbanded by Constantine the Great in 312.
Praetorian Cohorts intervened many times in the struggle for the imperial succession. Lacking troops of its own, the Senate had no choice each time but to accept the choice of the Praetorians as well as that of the various legions. The new emperor was always proclaimed by the Praetorians before being ratified by the Senate and the legions stationed in the various provinces. While the guard had the power to make or break emperors, it had no formal role in government. Often after outrageous acts of violence, revenge by the new ruler was almost always forthcoming.