The Preatorian Guard

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Introduction Their name alone invokes many vivid images; from heroic men clad in Roman red iron to bloody battlefields, where they stand disciplined and ordered while chaos reigns all around, and even of the quiet corridors of the Emperors’ palace, where a change in power and leadership is only a blade thrust away. These fierce and hardy men formed the iconic symbol of the Ancient Roman Army: the Praetorian Guard. Rigid and unwavering, these soldiers were the bodyguards of the most powerful men in the ancient world: The Emperors of Rome. Formally created in 23 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus the Praetorian Guard Served as Bodyguards for the Emperors, About nine cohorts of five hundred men each formed the early Praetorian Guard; they were stationed right outside the center of Rome. The Praetorian Guard were recruited primarily from central Italy, unlike most of the Roman Army, the Guards were made up of all Italian citizens and they are referred to as “the true-born sons of Italy” by Piso the chosen heir of Galba. “The Praetorians therefore became the symbolic living descendants of the glorious Roman past” (Wasileski 32).The Praetorians were thought to be the Emperors’ symbol of power “The Praetorians were a visible symbol of that [Emperor’s] force in the Capital” (Wasileski 1). The transition from Bodyguard to Political Power gave the Praetorian Guard a sense of power, especially the Praetorian Prefects Most of the infamous stories surrounding the Praetorian Guards assassinating their emperors are in fact only about a few guards following a very ambitious Praetorian Prefect. Praetorian Prefects usually do not serve with Praetorian’s before taking command. They are mainly administrators for the Guard and most do not have ... ... middle of paper ... 20). It also should be known that the Praetorian Guard was still a personal bodyguard and on most occasions they served their Emperors faithfully and they actually helped keep the peace and continued to do their duty to the Emperor overall. However with the realization of their political powers the Praetorian Prefects will use the Praetorian Guard to affect what happens behind the palace doors more frequently and more suiting to their own agendas. Those loyal and heroic men of the Guard are slowly being turned into infamous tools used to further corrupt ambitions and disloyal treasons. Though despite all of the bribes and corruption the Guard will always be that awe striking symbol for Roman might, they will always be remembered as the Emperor’s right hand. They will always take their place in the hallowed annals of history as the Emperor’s elite bodyguards.

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