The Praetorian Guard Posted by on Sep 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

Prætoriani is the Latin word for Praetorian Guard. The Praetorian Guard was a group of bodyguards who were supposed to protect the emperor. History shows, however, that the members of the Praetorian Guard were hardly trustworthy companions for the emperor.

One example of betrayal is the story of how Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus died. Once Emperor Probus (pictured below) left Rome on a military conquest, Marcus Aurelius Carus took the throne for himself. Carus was the commander of the Praetorian Guard. When Carus became Emperor, the members of the Guard assassinated Probus.


Emperor Hadrianwas the first emperor to form the Frumentarii. The Frumentariiwere basically spies who were employed by the emperor. Hadrian’s Frumentarii secretly stalked the private lives of the Senate. The Frumentarii soon developed a nasty reputation and were hated by the members of the Senate.

Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, also known as Emperor Constantine, disbanded the Praetorian Guard for the duration of his reign. Emperor Constantine destroyed the Castra Praetoria. The Castra Praetoria was a military fort and the main headquarters of the Praetorian Guard. Constantine also reduced the power of the Guard by scattering the members throughout the empire.

By Constantine’s reign, the Praetorian Guard came to symbolize greed, corruption and disloyalty. The people who were supposed to protect the emperor came to represent thugs who had access to the emperor.

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