Augustus' Praetorian Guard
Marble Relief of Augustus' Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Soldiers Marble Bas-Relief . Praetorian Guard of Augustus - 2nd Cent. A.D.

The Praetorian Guard was created by Augustus primarily to protect the emperor and be his personal bodyguards. They enforced his laws and maintained public order.

Augustus Caesar

Augustus defeated Mark Anthony at the Battle of Actium and became sole ruler. He reformed the military in order to stabilize the Empire. He reorganized 28 Roman legions and ordered 9 cohorts to maintain peace within Italy. He stationed 3 cohorts in the city of Rome and these 3 became the praetorian guard.

"‘In my sixth and seventh consulates (28-27 BC), after putting out the civil war, having obtained all things by universal consent, I handed over the state from my power to the dominion of the senate and Roman people. And for this merit of mine, by a senate decree, I was called Augustus and the doors of my temple were publicly clothed with laurel and a civic crown was fixed over my door and a gold shield placed in the Julian senate-house, and the inscription of that shield testified to the virtue, mercy, justice, and piety, for which the senate and Roman people gave it to me. After that time, I exceeded all in influence, but I had no greater power than the others who were colleagues with me in each magistracy. ’ (The Deeds of the Divine Augustus 34.1-3)" AUGUSTUS

The population of the Roman Empire during the time of Augustus was probably between 85,000 and 120,000. His standing professional army consisted of over 170,000 soldiers, besides the troops stationed in the capital, and it was they who guarded the frontiers from the many barbarous tribes. Augustus administered the whole Empire through the Provinces, who were governed by officers that received their commission from Rome. People grew up without knowing any form of government other than the Principate. Augustus brought peace and prosperity throughout the empire, but it was Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who would ultimately utilize this young empire and bring true peace to mankind.

Acts 23:11 - And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Praetorians. Early Roman republic, praetor (q.v.) meant commander of the army: in the later republic praetor and pro praetor were the usual titles for provincial governors with military powers . Accordingly, the general's quarters in a camp came to be called praetorium,' and one of the gates Aorta praetoria, and the general's bodyguard cohors praetoria, or, if large enough to include several cohorts, cohortes praetoriae . Under the empire the nomenclature continued with some changes . In particular cohortes praetoriae now designated the imperial bodyguard . This, as founded by Augustus, consisted of nine cohorts, each r000 strong, some part of which was always with the emperor, whether in Rome or elsewhere . In A.D . 23 his successor Tiberius concentrated this force on the eastern edge of Rome in fortified barracks: hence one cohort in turn, clad in civilian garb, was sent to the emperor's house on the Palatine, and large detachments could be despatched to foreign wars. The men were recruited voluntarily, in Italy or in Italianized districts, and enjoyed better pay and shorter service than the regular army: they were under praefecti praetorio (usually two; later, sometimes three, rarely only one), who during most of the empire might not be senators . This force was the only body of troops in Rome ( save a few cohortes urbanae, a fire brigade, and some non-Roman personal guards of the emperor), or, indeed, anywhere near the capital . Accordingly it could make or unmake emperors in crises—at the accession cf Claudius in A.D . 41, in 68-69, and again late in the second century. But its normal influence was less than is often asserted . Moreover, its prefects, since they were two and liable to be disunited, and since they could not be senators, neither combined with the s In permanent forts and fortresses, praetorium probably denoted strictly a residence: the official headquarters building (though commonly styled praetorium by moderns) was the principle . On the other hand praetorium could denote any lord's residence, even on a civilian's estate . senators to restore an oligarchy nor themselves aspired as pretenders to the throne. These prefects were at first. soldiers, but later mostly lawyers who relieved the emperors of various civil and criminal jurisdiction . In the second century the praetorian cohorts became ten in number, and at the end of it Septimius Severus reorganized them so that they consisted practically of barbarian soldiers and held constant conflict with the people of Rome . At the end of the third century the praefecti praetorio were reconstituted as four officers, each ruling one quarter of the now divided empire . In 312 the Praetorian Guard was suppressed by Constantine . Their barracks at Rome covering a rectangle of 39 acres (1210 by 1410 ft.), were included by Aurelian in the walls of Rome, and three sides of the enceinte can still be seen near the Porta Pia, with brickwork as old as Tiberius: the interior (now barracks for the Italian army) is archaeologically less interesting (Ency Brit 1911)

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The Bible mentions a lot regarding Rome:

Acts 23:11 - And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

2 Timothy 4:22 - The Lord Jesus Christ [be] with thy spirit. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[The second [epistle] unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.]>

Acts 18:2 - And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Colossians 4:18 - The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace [be] with you. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Colossians by Tychicus and Onesimus.]>

Ephesians 6:24 - Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. <[To [the] Ephesians written from Rome, by Tychicus.]>

Philemon 1:25 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. <[Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant.]>

Acts 2:10 - Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Acts 19:21 - After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

Acts 28:16 - And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

Romans 1:7 - To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:18 - Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. <[To [the] Galatians written from Rome.]>

Philippians 4:23 - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen. <[To [the] Philippians written from Rome, by Epaphroditus.]>

Acts 28:14 - Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

Romans 1:15 - So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

2 Timothy 1:17 - But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found [me].

Heart Message

Roman Roads

"When the fullness of time came, God brought forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law." (Gal 4:4)

The Roman road was the bloodstream of the empire. Merchants paid taxes to Rome on all their transactions, and they needed the roads to carry their goods to an ever-widening market. Legionnaires marched upon them swiftly gaining efficient access to battle. In a sense, the roads were funding and facilitating Roman expansion.

Yet God had a higher purpose. A new kind of merchant would soon be traversing the entire Mediterranean area, not one who transports his treasure to the city marketplace, but one who is a treasure, and who carries true riches, - not to sell, but to give away freely. The transforming good news of God’s forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah was imbedded into the hearts of the Apostles and early believers, and God prepared those roads for them to walk upon and lead others into His path.

A new kind of soldier would be running these well built thoroughfares to fight, - not flesh and blood, but a spiritual warfare that would liberate entire civilizations from the bondage of Satan’s tyrannical oppression and coercion, to a Kingdom ruled by love, service and willing devotion.

Throughout history ‘the road’ has provided an excellent metaphor for life’
s journey. With amazement, we can look back over the winding grades of difficulty, the narrow pass of opportunity, the choice between security or adventure, when our road divided and we had to make the call.

Yes, all roads led to Rome, specifically the Forum, in the ancient empire of old, where an Emperor judged the players in the arena for their conduct before him. Our personal road will eventually and inevitably cease at the throne of Almighty God. It is He who must judge our travel upon this earth, in the blinding glory of His eternal justice. Compelled by His love, He placed sin’s damning penalty upon His Own Son, instead of us, so that we could freely receive the "thumbs up!" from Him who loves us beyond all measure.



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Bibliography on Ancient Images

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008


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