« ZurückWeiter »
c H. A. P. After the Praetorian praefects had been dismissed xvii. from all military command, the civil functions *TT which they were ordained to exercise over so many subject nations, were adequate to the ambition and abilities of the most consummate ministers. To their wisdom was committed the supreme administration of justice and of the finances, the two objects which, in a state of peace, comprehend almost all the respective duties of the sovereign and of the people; of the former, to protećt the citizens who are obedient to the laws; of the latter, to contribute the share of their property which is required for the expences of the state. The coin, the highways, the posts, the granaries, the manufactures, whatever could interest the public prosperity, was moderated by the authority of the Praetorian praefects. As the immediate representatives of the Imperial majesty, they were empowered to explain, to enforce, and on some occasions to modify, the general edićts by their discretionary proclamations. They watched over the conduct of the provincial go. vernors, removed the negligent, and inflićted punishments on the guilty. From all the inferior jurisdićtions, an appeal in every matter of importance, either civil or criminal, might be brought before the tribunal of the praefect: but his sentence was final and absolute; and the emperors themselves refused to admit any complaints against the judgment or the integrity of a magi
vinces of the Praetorian praefe&ts, we should frequenthy have been Perplexed amidst the copious details of the Code, and the circumflantial minuteness of the Notitia.
strate whom they honoured with such unbounded c H A P. confidence *. His appointments were suitable XVIIto his dignity”; and if avarice was his ruling "TT" passion, he enjoyed frequent opportunities of collecting a rich harvest of fees, of presents, and of perquisites. Though the emperors no longer dreaded the ambition of their praefects, they were attentive to counterbalance the power of this great office by the uncertainty and shortness of its duration *. From their superior importance and dignity, The preRome and Constantinople were alone excepted Rio. d from the jurisdiction of the Praetorian praefects. ConstantiThe immense fize of the city, and the experience nopleof the tardy, ineffectual operation of the laws, had furnished the policy of Augustus with a specious pretence for introducing a new magistrate, who alone could restrain a servile and turbulent popu
too see a law of Constantine himself. A praefe&is autem praetorio provocare, non sinimus. Cod. Justinian, k. vii. tit. lxii. leg. 19. Charifius, a lawyer of the time of Constantine (Heinec. Hist. Juris Romani, p. 340.), who admits this law as a fundamental principle of jurisprudence, compares the Praetorian praefects to the masters of the horse of the ancient dićtators. Pande&t. I. i.
tit. xi. rot when Justinian, in the exhausted condition of the empire, instituted a Praetorian praefe&t for Africa, he allowed him a salary of one hundred pounds of gold. Cod. Justinian. l. i. tit. xxvii.
leg. 1. 1oz. For this, and the other dignities of the empire, it may be sufficient to refer to the ample commentaries of Pancirolas and Godefroy, who have diligently colle&ted and accurately digested in their proper order all the legal and historical materials. From those authors, Dr. Howeil (History of the World, vol. ii. p. 24–77.) had deduced a very distinét abridgement of the state of the Roman
c H A P. lace by the strong arm of arbitrary power”.
'93 Tacit. Annal. vi. 1 r. Euseb. in Chron. p. 155. Dion Caffius, in the oration of Maecenas (l. vii. p. 675.), describes the prerogatives of the praefect of the city as they were established in his own time. ** The fame of Messalla has been scarcely equal to his merit. In the earliest youth he was recommended by Cicero to the friend. ship of Brutus. He followed the standard of the republic till it was broken in the fields of Philippi; he then accepted and deserved the favour of the most moderate of the conquerors; and uniformly asserted his freedom and dignity in the court of Augustus. The triumph of Messalla was justified by the conquest of Aquitain. As an orator, he disputed the palm of eloquence with Cicero himstif. Messalla cultivated every muse, and was the patron of every man of genius. He spent his evenings in philosophic conversation with Horace; assumed his place at table between Delia and Tibullus; and amused his leisure by encouraging the poetical talents of young Ovid. * Incivilem esse potestatem contestans, says the translator of
Eusebius. Tacitus expresses the same idea in other words: quasi nescius exercendi.
9 OllS 106 See Lipsius, Excursus D. ad 1 lib. Tacit. Annal.
admitted into the confidence of the prince. Their courts were deserted, their number, which had once flučtuated between twelve and eighteen “, was gradually reduced to two or three, and their
important functions were confined to the expen
five obligation ” of exhibiting games for the
amusement of the people. After the office of the
Roman consuls had been changed into a vain pageant, which was rarely displayed in the capital, the praefects assumed their vacant place in the senate, and were soon acknowledged as the ordinary prefidents of that venerable assembly. They received appeals from the distance of one hundred miles; and it was allowed as a principle of jurisprudence, that all municipal authority was derived from them alone *. In the discharge of
his laborious employment, the governor of Rome.
was assisted by fifteen officers, some of whom had been originally his equals, or even his superiors. The principal departments were relative to the command of a numerous watch established as a
197 Heineccii Element. Juris Civilis secund. ordinem Pande&t. tom. i. p. 70. See likewise Spanheim de Usu Numismatum, tom. ii. dissertat. x. p. 119. In the year 450, Marcian published a law, that three citizens should be annually created Praetors of Constanti
nople by the choice of the senate, but with their own consent. Cod.
Justinian. l. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 2. los Quidguidigitur intra urbem admittitur, ad P. U. videtur pertimere; sed et fiquid intra centesimum milliarium. Ulpian in PandeSt. l. i. tit. xiii. n. 1. He proceeds to enumerate the various offices of the praefeSt, who, in the code of Justiman (l. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 3.), is declared to precede and command all city magistrates, fine injurifi ac detrimento honoris alieni.
disorders; the custody and distribution of the public allowance of corn and provisions; the care of the port, of the aqueducts, of the common
fewers, and of the navigation and bed of the
Tyber; the inspection of the markets, the theatres, and of the private as well as public works. Their vigilance ensured the three principal objects of a regular police, safety, plenty, and cleanliness; and as a proof of the attention of government to preserve the splendour and ornaments of the capital, a particular inspector was appointed for the statues; the guardian, as it were, of that inanimate people, which, according to the extravagant computation of an old writer, was scarcely inferior in number to the living inhabitants of Rome. About thirty years after the foundation of Constantinople, a similar magistrate was created in that rising metropolis, for the same uses, and with the same powers. A perfect equality was established between the dignity of the two municipal, and that of the four praetorian, praefects *. Those who, in the Imperial hierarchy, were distinguished by the title of Respectable, formed an intermediate class between the illusárious praefects and the honourable magistrates of the provinces. In this class the proconsuls of Asia, Achaia, and Africa, claimed a pre-eminence, which was yield
169 Besides our usual guides, we may observe, that Felix Can. telorius has written a separate treatise, De Praefe&to Urbis; and that many curious details concerning the police of Rome and Constantinople are contained in the fourteenth book of the Theodosian