Praetorian Soldiers Marble Bas-Relief .
Praetorian Guard of Augustus - 2nd Cent. A.D.
The Praetorian Guard
was created by Augustus primarily to protect the emperor and be his
personal bodyguards. They enforced his laws and maintained public
Augustus defeated Mark Anthony at
the Battle of Actium and became sole ruler. He reformed the military
in order to stabilize the Empire. He reorganized 28 Roman legions
and ordered 9 cohorts to maintain peace within Italy. He stationed 3
cohorts in the city of Rome and these 3 became the praetorian guard.
my sixth and seventh consulates (28-27 BC), after putting out the
civil war, having obtained all things by universal consent, I handed
over the state from my power to the dominion of the senate and Roman
people. And for this merit of mine, by a senate decree, I was called
Augustus and the doors of my temple were publicly clothed with
laurel and a civic crown was fixed over my door and a gold shield
placed in the Julian senate-house, and the inscription of that
shield testified to the virtue, mercy, justice, and piety, for which
the senate and Roman people gave it to me. After that time, I
exceeded all in influence, but I had no greater power than the
others who were colleagues with me in each magistracy. ’ (The Deeds
of the Divine Augustus 34.1-3)" AUGUSTUS
The population of the Roman Empire
during the time of Augustus was probably between 85,000 and 120,000.
His standing professional army consisted of over 170,000 soldiers,
besides the troops stationed in the capital, and it was they who
guarded the frontiers from the many barbarous tribes. Augustus
administered the whole Empire through the Provinces, who were
governed by officers that received their commission from Rome.
People grew up without knowing any form of government other than the
Principate. Augustus brought peace and prosperity throughout the
empire, but it was Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who would
ultimately utilize this young empire and bring true peace to
Acts 23:11 - And the night following the Lord stood by
him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of
me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Praetorians. Early Roman
republic, praetor (q.v.) meant commander of the army: in the later
republic praetor and pro praetor were the usual titles for
provincial governors with military powers . Accordingly, the
general's quarters in a camp came to be called praetorium,' and one
of the gates Aorta praetoria, and the general's bodyguard cohors
praetoria, or, if large enough to include several cohorts, cohortes
praetoriae . Under the empire the nomenclature continued with some
changes . In particular cohortes praetoriae now designated the
imperial bodyguard . This, as founded by Augustus, consisted of nine
cohorts, each r000 strong, some part of which was always with the
emperor, whether in Rome or elsewhere . In A.D . 23 his successor
Tiberius concentrated this force on the eastern edge of Rome in
fortified barracks: hence one cohort in turn, clad in civilian garb,
was sent to the emperor's house on the Palatine, and large
detachments could be despatched to foreign wars. The men were
recruited voluntarily, in Italy or in Italianized districts, and
enjoyed better pay and shorter service than the regular army: they
were under praefecti praetorio (usually two; later, sometimes three,
rarely only one), who during most of the empire might not be
senators . This force was the only body of troops in Rome ( save a
few cohortes urbanae, a fire brigade, and some non-Roman personal
guards of the emperor), or, indeed, anywhere near the capital .
Accordingly it could make or unmake emperors in crises—at the
accession cf Claudius in A.D . 41, in 68-69, and again late in the
second century. But its normal influence was less than is often
asserted . Moreover, its prefects, since they were two and liable to
be disunited, and since they could not be senators, neither combined
with the s In permanent forts and fortresses, praetorium probably
denoted strictly a residence: the official headquarters building
(though commonly styled praetorium by moderns) was the principle .
On the other hand praetorium could denote any lord's residence, even
on a civilian's estate . senators to restore an oligarchy nor
themselves aspired as pretenders to the throne. These prefects were
at first. soldiers, but later mostly lawyers who relieved the
emperors of various civil and criminal jurisdiction . In the second
century the praetorian cohorts became ten in number, and at the end
of it Septimius Severus reorganized them so that they consisted
practically of barbarian soldiers and held constant conflict with
the people of Rome . At the end of the third century the praefecti
praetorio were reconstituted as four officers, each ruling one
quarter of the now divided empire . In 312 the Praetorian Guard was
suppressed by Constantine . Their barracks at Rome covering a
rectangle of 39 acres (1210 by 1410 ft.), were included by Aurelian
in the walls of Rome, and three sides of the enceinte can still be
seen near the Porta Pia, with brickwork as old as Tiberius: the
interior (now barracks for the Italian army) is archaeologically
less interesting (Ency Brit 1911)
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The Bible mentions a lot regarding Rome:
- And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of
good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so
must thou bear witness also at Rome.
4:22 - The Lord Jesus Christ [be] with thy spirit. Grace
[be] with you. Amen. <[The second [epistle] unto Timotheus, ordained
the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from
Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second
- And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come
from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had
commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto
Colossians 4:18 - The salutation by the hand of me Paul.
Remember my bonds. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[Written from
Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.]>
6:24 - Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus
Christ in sincerity. Amen. <[To [the] Ephesians written from
Rome, by Tychicus.]>
1:25 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your
spirit. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Philemon, by
Onesimus a servant.]>
- Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about
Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
- After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when
he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem,
saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
- And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered
the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to
dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.
- To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to
be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord
6:18 - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be]
with your spirit. Amen. <[To [the] Galatians written from Rome.]>
Philippians 4:23 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be]
with you all. Amen. <[To [the] Philippians written from Rome,
- Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven
days: and so we went toward Rome.
- So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you
that are at Rome also.
1:17 - But, when he was in Rome, he sought me
out very diligently, and found [me].
fullness of time came, God brought forth His Son, born of a
woman, born under the law." (Gal 4:4)
The Roman road was the bloodstream of the
empire. Merchants paid taxes to Rome on all their
transactions, and they needed the roads to carry their goods
to an ever-widening market. Legionnaires marched upon them
swiftly gaining efficient access to battle. In a sense, the
roads were funding and facilitating Roman expansion.
Yet God had a higher purpose. A new kind of merchant would
soon be traversing the entire Mediterranean area, not one
who transports his treasure to the city marketplace, but one
who is a treasure, and who carries true riches, - not to
sell, but to give away freely. The transforming good news of
God’s forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah was imbedded
into the hearts of the Apostles and early believers, and God
prepared those roads for them to walk upon and lead others
into His path.
A new kind of soldier would be running these well built
thoroughfares to fight, - not flesh and blood, but a
spiritual warfare that would liberate entire civilizations
from the bondage of Satan’s tyrannical oppression and
coercion, to a Kingdom ruled by love, service and willing
Throughout history ‘the road’ has provided an excellent
metaphor for life’
s journey. With amazement, we can look back over the winding
grades of difficulty, the narrow pass of opportunity, the
choice between security or adventure, when our road divided
and we had to make the call.
Yes, all roads led to Rome, specifically the Forum, in the
ancient empire of old, where an Emperor judged the players
in the arena for their conduct before him. Our personal road
will eventually and inevitably cease at the throne of
Almighty God. It is He who must judge our travel upon this
earth, in the blinding glory of His eternal justice.
Compelled by His love, He placed sin’s damning penalty upon
His Own Son, instead of us, so that we could freely receive
the "thumbs up!" from Him who loves us beyond all measure.
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Bibliography on Ancient Images
The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised
by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
Bible History Online
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