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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.
An Italian township possessing no jurisdiction of its own, but having a prefect to administer justice (praefectus iure dicundo) sent to it every year, generally on the nomination of the praetor urbanus. When all Italian towns received full citizen rights, 90 B.C., these towns among the rest became munipia (see MUNICIPIUM ), and retained the old name merely as a tradition.
was born in Bruttium, about 480 A.D. He belonged to an old Roman family which had, particularly in the three preceding generations, distinguished itself in the public service. His father stood in high favour with Theodoric, who had an equal regard for his talented and highly educated son, Cassiodorus Senator. On account of his trustworthiness and ability as a statesman, the younger Cassiodorus was appointed to the highest offices by Theodoric and his successors. He was consul A.D. 514, and four times praefectus. For a period of nearly forty years he enjoyed an active and successful career in the public administration, notably as Theodoric's private secretary. After the fall of Vitiges in 540, Cassiodorus retired to the monastery of Vivarium (Vivarese), which he had founded on his estates in Bruttium. Here he passed the rest of his life in religious exercises and literary labour. He died about 575. Among the works which he composed during his career as a statesman, we have a universal history called Chronica, from Adam down to the year when it was written. This consists mainly of a catalogue of the Roman consuls, and is the longest of all the lists which have come down to us. Another work of his which has survived is the Variae (Epistulae) in twelve books. This is a collection of imperial rescripts, and has considerable historical importance. These recripts he made out, partly in the name of Theodoric and his successors, partly in his own name as praefectus. The book likewise contains a collection of formularies for decrees of nomination. His Gothic history, in twelve books, is only preserved in extracts, and in the paraphrase of Jordanes. The chief aim of his monastic life was a noble one. He hoped to make the monasteries an asylum of knowledge, in which the literature of classical antiquity and of the Christian age might be collected. The number of books was to be increased by copyists, and the clergy were to gain their necessary education by studying them. The libraries and schools of the monasteries in succeeding centuries were ultimately formed upon the model which he set up. Besides a number of theological writings, he composed, in about 544 A.D., a sort of Encyclopaedia, in four books, for the instruction of his monks. This is the "Instructions in Sacred and Profane Literature" (Institutiones Divinarum et Saecularium Litterarum). The first part is an introduction to the study of theology, the second a sketch of the seven liberal arts. Finally, in his ninety-third year, he compiled a treatise De Orthographia or on Orthography.
The most important among the Roman jurists; born about 140 A.D., a contemporary and friend of the emperor Septimius Severus, whom he accompanied on his expedition to Britain in the capacity of praefectus praetorio. Severus, on his deathbed at York, left to him the guardianship of his sons Geta and Caracalla; yet the latter caused Papinianus to be put to death in the next year, 212, on the day after the murder of his brother Geta. Of all his works, the thirty-seven books of Quaestiones (legal questions), and the nineteen books of Responsa (legal decisions) were considered the most important. Till the time of Justinian these formed the nucleus of that part of jurisprudence which was connected with the explanation of the original authorities on Roman law. We only possess fragments of them, in the form of numerous excerpts in the "Digest." (See CORPUS JURIS CIVILIS.)
A Roman author, born about 430 A.D. at Lugdunum (Lyons). He belonged to one of the most prominent Christian families in Gaul. He married the daughter of the future emperor Avitus. Under Anthemius, in 467 he was praefectus urbi at Rome, and in 472 he became bishop of Clermont, in Auvergne, and in that capacity headed the resistance against the Western Goths. He died in 483. He was distinguished among his contemporaries for learning and culture, and for a knowledge of ancient literature which was rare in that age. Of his works we possess twenty-four poems, among which are three panegyrics on the emperors Avitus, Majorian, and Anthemius, and two epithalamia, which are somewhat clever in form; they are, however, as bombastic and as destitute of thought and taste as his nine books of Letters, modelled on those of Pliny and Symmachus. His writings are nevertheless not without value, owing to the light they throw on the history and the general circumstances of his time.
Denoted among the Romans the sovereign power of the people and the State, or that of the emperor. To detract from this sovereign power was a crime (crimen minetae maiestatis). Originally the term perduellio (q.v.) included all offences of this kind; distinctions were first made in B.C. 100 by the Lex Apuleia, which declared some offences to be treason that had previously been regarded as perduellio, such as hindering the tribunes and exciting to sedition. The idea of treason was considerably extended by the Lex Cornelia of the dictator Sulla in B.C. 80, which made it include inciting to sedition, hindering a magistrate in the exercise of his functions, and acting in a manner prejudicial to the Roman prestige or beyond the limits of one's authority. It also instituted a permanent lawcourt (see QUAeSTIO PERPETUA) to take cognisance of such cases; and made exile (interdictio aquae et ignis) the penalty. (See EXILIUM.) Caesar's Lex Iulia, B.C. 46, made perduellio pass over into crimen maiestatis, which was held to cover all actions prejudicial to the State and the existing constitution (such as treason, plots, conspiracies, sedition, illegal assumption of authority). The Julian Law also formed the basis for punishing offences of this kind under the Empire; to these were now added all those against the person and the authority of the emperor. The term was very elastic, and received whatever interpretation the emperor preferred, so that when a charge, e.g. that of embezzlement (see REPETUNDARUM CRIMEN), was brought against a man, he could often be also charged with the crimen maiestatis, especially as the accusers were rewarded if the offence was proved. After the closing of the quaestiones these cases were decided by the senate; later still, the emperor was judge, or entrusted them to the praefectue urbi. The regular penalty was confiscation, and sometimes banishment or death. Charges of treason could he brought or the trial could be continued, even after the death of the accused; and in the most serious cases the penalty had to be borne by the children, in accordance with a decree of the emperor, and even with the law at a later period.
ANNONA 11.49%
A Latin word meaning the year's produce, especially in wheat, the staple food of the city population; it was afterwards applied to the corn provided by the State to feed that population. As Italian agriculture decayed, and the city population steadily increased, the question of its maintenance became a constant care to the State, which, on the conquest of the first two provinces, Sicily and Sardinia, at once doomed them, especially the former, to the task of victualling the armies and feeding Rome, by imposing a tithe on corn, and forbidding its exportation to any country but Italy. The tenth paid as tribute, and other corn bought up by the State, was sold by the aediles at a moderate price, usually on terms which prevented the treasury being a loser. Thus till the time of the Gracchi the cura annonae was confined to the maintenance of a moderate price; but the corn law of Gaius Gracchus, B.C. 123, laid on the State the obligation to deliver to any Roman householder on demand 6 1/4 bushels of wheat a month at a fixed price, which even in cheap times was less than half the cost price; and Clodius in B.C. 58 went further, and made the delivery entirely gratuitous. By the year B.C. 46, the number of recipients had risen to 320,000, and the yearly outlay to a sum equivalent to £650,000. Caesar then reduced the recipients to 150,000; but their number grew again, till Augustus cut it down to 200,000, whose names were inscribed on a bronze table, and who received their monthly portion on presentation of a ticket. This arrangement as a whole remained in force till about the end of the Empire, except that in the 3rd century bread was given instead of grain. And, side by side with these gratuitous doles, grain could always be bought for a moderate price at magazines filled with the supplies of the provinces, especially Egypt and Africa, and with purchases made by the State. The expenses of the annona fell mainly on the imperial treasury, but partly on that of the senate. From Augustus' time the cura annonae formed one of the highest imperial offices, its holder, the praefectus annonae, having a large staff scattered over Rome and the whole empire. The annona, like so many other things, was personified by the Romans, and became a goddess of the importation of corn, whose attributes were a bushel, ears of wheat, and a horn of plenty.
PLINY 11.30%
The elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus. A Roman representative of encyclopaedic learning, born 23 A.D., at Novum Comum (Como), in Upper Italy. Although throughout his life he was almost uninterruptedly occupied in the service of the State, yet at the same time he carried on the most widely extended scientific studies. To these he most laboriously devoted all his leisure hours, and thus gained for himself the reputation of the most learned man of his age. Under Claudius he served as commander of a troop of cavalry (praefectus alae) in Germany; under Vespasian, with whom he was in the highest favour, he held several times the office of imperial governor in the provinces, and superintended the imperial finances in Italy. Finally, under Titus, he was in command of the fleet stationed at Misenum, when in 79, at the celebrated eruption of Vesuvius, his zeal for research led him to his death. For a detailed account of this event, as well as of his literary labours, we have to thank his nephew, the younger Pliny [Ep. iii 5 vi 16]. Besides writings upon military, grammatical, rhetorical, and biographical subjects, he composed two greater historical works: a history of the Germanic wars in twenty books, and a history of his own time in thirty-one books. His last work was the Natural History (Nataralis Historia), in thirty-seven books, which has been preserved to us. This was dedicated to Titus, and was published in 77; but he was indefatigably engaged in amplifying it up to the time of his death. This Encyclopaedia is compiled from 20,000 notices, which he had extracted from about 2,000 writings by 474 authors. Book i gives a list of contents and the names of the authors used. ii is on astronomy and physics. iii-vi, a general sketch of geography and ethnography, mainly a list of names. vii-xix, natural history proper (vii, anthropology; viii-xi, zoology of land and water animals, birds, and insects; xii-xix, botany). xx-xxxii, the pharmacology of the vegetable, kingdom (xx-xxvii) and of the animal kingdom (xxviii-xxxii). xxxiii-xxxvii, mineralogy and the use of minerals in medicine and in painting, sculpture, and the engraving of gems, besides valuable notices upon the history of art. A kind of comparative geography forms the conclusion. Considering the extent and varied character of the undertaking, the haste with which the work was done, the defective technical knowledge and small critical ability of the author, it cannot be surprising that it includes a large number of mistakes and misunderstandings, and that its contents are of very unequal value, details that are strange and wonderful, rather than really important, having often unduly attracted the writer's attention. Nevertheless, the work is a mine of inestimable value in the information it gives us respecting the science and art of the ancient world; and it is also a splendid monument of human industry. Even the unevenness of the style is explained by the mosaic-like character of the work. At one time it is dry and bald in expression; at another, rhetorically coloured and impassioned, especially in the carefully elaborated introductions to the several books. On account of its bulk, the work was in early times epitomized for more convenient use. An epitome of the geographical part of Pliny's Encyclopaedia, belonging to the time of Hadrian, and enlarged by additions from Pomponius Mela, and other authors, forms the foundation of the works of Solinus and Martianus Capella. Similarly the Medicina Plinii is an epitome prepared in the 4th century for the use of travellers.
COHORS 8.44%
A division of the Roman army. In the republican age the word was specially applied to the divisions contributed by the Italian allies. Down to 89 B.C., when the Italians obtained the Roman citizenship, they were bound to supply an infantry contingent to each of the two consular armies, which consisted of two legions apiece. This contingent numbered in all 10,000 infantry, divided into: (a) 20 cohortes of 420 men each, called cohortes alares, because, in time of battle, they formed the wings (aloe) of the two combined legions; (b) four cohortes, extraordindrioe, or select cohorts of 400 men each. From about the beginning of the 1st century B.C., the Roman legion, averaging 4,000 men, was also divided into ten cohortes , each containing three manipuli or six centurioe. In the imperial times, the auxiliary troops assigned to the legions stationed in the provinces were also divided into cohorts ( cohortes auxillarioe). These cohorts contained either 500 men (=5 centurioe), or 1,000 men(= 10 centurioe). They consisted either entirely of infantry, or partly of cavalry (380 infantry + 120 cavalry, 760 infantry + 240 cavalry). For the coinmanders of these cohorts, see PRAeFECTUS. The troops stationed in Rome were also numbered according to cohortes. (1) The cohortes proetorioe, originally nine, but afterwards ten in number, which formed the imperial body-guard. Each cohort consisted of 1,000 men, including infantry and cavalry (see PRAeTORIANI ). The institution of a body-guard was due to Augustus, and was a development of the cohors proetoria, or body-guard of the republican generals. Its title shows that it was as old as the time when the consuls bore the name of proetores. This cohors proetoria was originally formed exclusively of cavalry, mainly of equestrian rank. But towards the end of the republican age, when every independent commander had his own cohors proetoria, it was made up partly of infantry, who were mainly veterans, partly of picked cavalry of the allies, and partly of Roman equites, who usually served their tirocinium, or first year, in this way. (2) Three and in later times four, cohortes urbanoe, consisting each of 1,000 men, were placed under the command of the proefectus urbi . They had separate barracks, but ranked below the body-guard, and above the legionaries. (3) Seven cohortes vigilum, of 1,000 men each, were under the command of the proefectus vigilum. These formed the night police and fire-brigade, and were distributed throughout the city, one to every two of the fourteen regiones.
CASTRA 8.16%
A Roman camp, fortified with a rampart and ditch, outside of which a Roman army never spent a single night. It was marked out on a place selected by officers detached for the purpose, generally on the spur of a hill. The same plan was always observed, and the divisions indicated by coloured flags and lances, so that the divisions of the army, as they came in, could find their places at once. In the middle of the 2nd century B.C., according to the account of Polybius [vi 27], the plan of a camp for a consular army of two legions, with the proper contingent of Italian allies, and its auxiliary troops, was as follows (see Plan). The camp was square, its front being on the side furthest from the enemy. It had two main roads through it. (1) The via principalis, 100 feet wide, which divided it into a front part amounting to about two-thirds of the whole, and a back part, turned toward the enemy. This road ended at two gates, the porta rincipalis dextra, and the porta principalis sinistra. (2) The via praetoria, which cut the via principalis at right angles, and divided the whole length of the camp into two parts. This road was 50 feet in width, and ended in two gates, the porta decumana in front, and the porta praetoria on the side opening towards the enemy. In the front part were encamped the two legions, with their allied contingents. They lay in three double rows of tents on each side of the via praetoria, which made a right angle with the via principalis. Its whole length was divided by roads 60 feet in width, while across it, from one lateral rampart to the other, ran the via quintana. The front side of the rows of tents was turned towards the intervening roads. Starting from the via praetoria, the first two lines of tents on each side contained the cavalry and infantry of one legion each, while the third row, lying nearest to the rampart, contained the cavalry and infantry of the allied contingents. In the hinder part of the camp, directly upon the via principalis, and on both sides of the via praetoria, were the tents of the twelve military tribunes, opposite the four ranks of the legions. On both sides were the tents of the praefecti of the allied contingents, placed in the same way opposite those of the troops under their command. Then followed the headquarters, or praetorium, a space 200 feet square, intersected by the via praetoria. In this was the general's tent (tabernaculum); in front was the altar on which the general sacrificed, on the left the augurale for taking the auspices, and on the right the tribunal. This was a bank of earth covered with turf, on which the general took his stand when addressing the troops, or administering justice. Right of the praetorium was the quaeestorium, containing the quarters of the paymasters, and the train of artillery. On the left was the forum, a meeting place for the soldiers. Between these spaces and the lateral ramparts were the tents of the select troops who composed the body-guard of the general. Those of the cavalry had their front turned inwards, while those of the infantry were turned towards the wall. The tents of the picked allied troops occupied the hinder part of the camp, which was bounded by a cross road 100 feet in breadth. The tents of the cavalry looked inwards, those of the infantry towards the rampart. The auxiliary troops were posted at the two angles of this spare. The rampart was divided from the tents by an open space 200 feet in width. This was specially intended to facilitate the march of the troops at their entrance and exit. The construction of the fortifications always began before the general's tent was pitched. The legionaries constructed the rampart and ditch in front and rear, while the allies did the same on either side. The stakes required for the formation of an abattis on the outer side of the wall were carried by the soldiers themselves on the march. The whole work was carried on under arms. The watches (excubiae and vigilae) were kept with great strictness both by day and night. The vigiliae, or night-watches, were relieved four times, the trumpet sounding on each occasion. The posts of each night-watch were inspected by four Roman equites. The password for the night was given by the general. Each gate was guarded by outposts of infantry and cavalry, the light-armed troops (velites) being also distributed as sentries along the ramparts. When the camp was to break up, three signals were given; at the first, the tents were taken down and packed up; at the second, they were put upon beasts of burden and in wagons, and at the third the army began its march. After the time of Polybius the Roman military system underwent many changes, which involved alterations in the arrangements of the camp, but we have no trustworthy information on this subject in detail until the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. The treatise of one Hyginus on castrametation gives the following statements as to the practice of his time. The ordinary form of a camp was that of a rectangle, the length of which was about a third part greater than the breadth. In former times the legions were posted inside the camp; but now, being regarded as the most trustworthy troops, they were encamped along the whole line of ramparts, the width of which was now limited to 60 feet. They were separated from the interior of the camp by a road 30 feet wide (via sagularis), running parallel to the line of ramparts. The interior was now divided, not into two, but into three main sections. The midmost of these lay between the via principalis, which was 60, and the via quintana, which was 40 feet wide. It was occupied by the praetorium and the troops of the guard, and was called the wing of the praetorium (latera praetorii). The auxiliary troops were stationed in what was now the front part, or praetentura, between the via principalis and the porta praetoria, and the rear, or retentura, between the via quintana and the porta decumana. The via praetoria, which was also 60 feet wide, led only from the praetorium and the forum in front of it to the porta praetoria, as at this time the quaestorium was situated between the porta decumana and the praetorium. The general superintendence of the arrangements was, during the imperial period, in the hands of the praefectus castrorum. (See PRAeFECTUS.)
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