Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!



HOME Praetorians Equites Sing. Foreign Guards Scholae Pal.

The Elite Troops

Contents

Praetorian Guard
Equites Singulares
Foreign Bodyguards
Scholae Palatinae
Sources and References

Click on the links above for a detailed discussion.


The Praetorian Guard

    The Cohortes Praetoriae were the regular military bodyguard of the Emperor, their mission to act as the guarantors of his security -- though all too frequently, the Guard proved fickle in the loyalty of their commanders and soldiers.  While prone to violently unmake as well as make emperors based on personal considerations such as service benefits and monetary recompense, the Guard linked their fortunes to the survival of the imperial office.  As for the Emperor himself, the Praetorians were loyal as long as he did not threaten their interests.

    Ultimately, the partisan tendency of the Guard proved to be their downfall.  In 306 CE, the Praetorians threw their weight behind Maxentius, acclaiming him Emperor despite the marginally more legitimate claim of the previous Emperor's son, Constantine.  A civil war followed that was finally decided in 312 CE at the Milvian Bridge outside the city of Rome, where Maxentius drowned while fleeing after his Praetorian troops broke in battle.  The victor Constantine, who became the first Christian emperor, exacted revenge on the Praetorians for their loyalty to his enemy by disbanding the Guard entirely.  In their place as the Emperor's bodyguard, Constantine established the Scholae Palatinae, composed of his own trustworthy troops, mostly of Germanic origin.

    The legacy of the Praetorian Guard, as elite but unscrupulous guardians of an imperial regime, survives into our own modern age as a paragon of military amorality.  Not bound by ethics, the Guard and their commanders, the Praetorian Prefects, regularly abused their power and access to the emperor in order to extort concessions, to murder with impunity, and to repress dissent.  For more than three hundred years, the corps of Praetorians protected even the most venal of rulers without question, so long as their greed and ambition were served.   

Click here   Read more about the Praetorian Guard!   to read more
about the Praetorian Guard ...

 

 

The Equites Singulares

(text to follow)

Click here     to read more
about the
Equites Singulares ...

 

 

Foreign Bodyguard Troops 

(text to follow)

Click here     to read more
about foreign bodyguards ...

 

 

The Scholae Palatinae

(text to follow)

Click here     to read more
about the
Scholae Palatinae ...

 

 

Sources & References

Bishop, M. C. and Coulston, J.C.N.  Roman Military Equipment.  London: Batsford, 1993.

Campbell, J. Brian.  The Roman Army, 31 BC - AD 337: a Sourcebook.  London: Routledge, 1996.

Connolly, Peter.  Greece and Rome at War.  London: Macdonald, 1988.

Durry, Marcel.  Les cohortes praetoriennes.  Paris, 1938.

Howe, L.  The Praetorian Prefecture from Commodus to Diocletian.  Chicago, 1942.

Kennedy, David.  "Some observations on the Praetorian Guard," Ancient Society 9 (1978), pp 275-301.

Keppie, Lawrence.  The Making of the Roman Army.  London: Batsford, 1984.

Passerini, Alfredo.  Le coorti pretorie.  Rome, 1939.

Rankov, Boris.  The Praetorian Guard.  Osprey Elite Series, No. 50, editor Lee Johnson.  London: Osprey, 1994.

Robinson, H. Russell.  The Armour of Imperial Rome.  New York: Scribner, 1975.

Speidel, Michael.  Riding for Caesar: the Roman Emperors' Horse Guards.  Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1994.

Syme, R.  "Guard prefects of Trajan and Hadrian," Journal of Roman Studies 70 (1980), pp 64-80.

 

 

HOME Sitemap News & Events The Legions Elite Troops Bibliography Travelogue Update Log Search Page Corona Award Links Staff & Credits

Click to send email to us
Contact
Click to go to our Message Board
Discuss
Click to search our website!
Search

Sign Guestbook
Click to see what's new!
See Changes

You're Visitor Number


Link to Us!

Text credited to individual authors and photographers remain the intellectual property of those contributors. 
This website is 2000, 2001 by RomanArmy.com 
Wherever possible, non-original material on this site has been credited to its source and is considered free use/fair use for educational purposes.  We are not a commercial site.
Soldier images in the banner above are of the Ermine Street Guard, one of the oldest Roman re-enactor groups in existence. 

Keep the Web free -- support a ban on Internet taxation and regulation by government.

We use WebCounter for our free hit counter.  Click to try it! Microsoft is evil, but we are stuck with them, so what can you do?