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(Latin, cohors praetoria) Household troops of the Roman emperors. In the 2nd century BC they were bodyguards for Roman generals, their name taken from the general's tent (praetorium). During the civil wars military leaders had personal bodyguards, but in 27 BC Augustus created a permanent corps to guard the emperor and stationed its members around Rome. In AD 23, with Sejanus as commander, they gained political influence; from then on, they usually had an important voice in the appointment of emperors. They were responsible for the accession of Claudius (41), the disorders of 68–69, the lynching of Domitian's murderers (97), and the murder of Elagabalus (222). Constantine I disbanded the Praetorian Guard in 312.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Praetorian Guard, visit Britannica.com.
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