Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Form: one set over others, a superior.
The title given by the Romans to officials of many kinds, who were all however appointed, not elected. Thus, under the Republic, praefecti iure dicundo was the name of those who were appointed by the praetor to administer justice in those Italian communities which were called praefecturae (q.v.); even later these townships retained the name for the judges elected by themselves. In the republican armies the six Roman officers appointed by the consuls to command the contingents sent by the Italian allies to the consular armies were called praefecti socium (officers in command of the allies), while their cohorts were led by native praefecti cohortium. In the times of the Empire these titles were borne by the commanders of the auxiliary cohorts, while the officers of the cavalry divisions were praefecti equitum. Military engineering was tinder the direction of a praefectus fabrum (pioneers); the several fleets of the Empire under a praefectus classis (see SHIPS). Praefectus castrorum (camp-commander) was the name, under the Empire, of the commander in the permanent camps of the legions, usually a centurion who had completed his term of service. His chief functions were, in time of peace, to superintend garrison-service (i.e. to distribute the watches and other duties); in war, the arrangement and supervision of the camp, the transportation of the baggage, and the construction of roads, bridges, and entrenchments. This title of praefectus was also given to the knight who commanded the legions stationed in Egypt; while an imperial governor called praefectus Aegypti, administered that country, which was treated as an imperial domain, and outside the general provincial administration. At a later time each legion had upon its staff of officers its own commander of the camp, styled praefectus Legiones, to whom in 3 A.D. even the command of the legion was transferred. Praefectus vigilum was the commander of the cohorts organized by Augustus to make Rome secure by night. A very high and influential office under the Empire was thatof the praefectus praetorio, the commander of the imperial guard (see PRAeTORIANI). Originally a purely military office, it acquired in process of time an ever-increasing importance. It had attached to it the control of affairs in the emperor's absence, criminal jurisdiction over Italians outside Rome, and the like. Sometimes ambitious men contrived to employ this position to obtain for themselves the real power in the State, and raised whom they pleased to the imperial throne, sometimes ascending it themselves. After the praetorians were disbanded by Constantine in 324, the four who were then praefecti praetorio were made governors of the four praefecturae into which that emperor divided his dominions. Another important office under the Empire was that of the praefectus urbi (city prefect). Such an office had existed in the time of the kings and in the early years of the Republic, to supply the place of the king or the consuls when absent. When the latter came to be represented by the praetors, it was only during the feriae Latinae (at which festival all magistrates were present) that a praefectus urbi Latinarum was appointed. Augustus revived it in its old form. On several occasions he appointed a praefectus urbi during his absence from the city. The city prefecture first became a standing office for the maintenance of public order in Rome after Tiberius. Subsequently the praefectus urbi (whose authority extended a hundred miles from Rome, and who had three city cohorts to assist him) exercised, together with the police authority enforced at an earlier period by the aediles, a correlated criminal jurisdiction, which in course of time expanded so much that the city prefecture became the highest criminal authority at Rome. After the transfer of the seat of empire to Byzantium, the praeefectus urbi united in himself the military, administrative, and judicial powers in what was once the capital, and was now formed into a separate district for purposes of administration. One of the most important offices under the Empire was that of the praefectus annonae (corn-supply, see ANNONA), whose duty it was to provide Rome with the necessary corn, and whose countless subalterns were distributed over the whole Empire. For the praefectus aerarii (State chest) see AeRARIUM.
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint