Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

by Guy de la Bédoyère


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Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard by Guy de la Bédoyère

A riveting account of ancient Rome’s imperial bodyguard, the select band of soldiers who wielded the power to make—or destroy—the emperors they served

Founded by Augustus around 27 B.C., the elite Praetorian Guard was tasked with the protection of the emperor and his family. As the centuries unfolded, however, Praetorian soldiers served not only as protectors and enforcers but also as powerful political players. Fiercely loyal to some emperors, they vied with others and ruthlessly toppled those who displeased them, including Caligula, Nero, Pertinax, and many more. Guy de la Bédoyère provides a compelling first full narrative history of the Praetorians, whose dangerous ambitions ceased only when Constantine permanently disbanded them.
de la Bédoyère introduces Praetorians of all echelons, from prefects and messengers to artillery experts and executioners. He explores the delicate position of emperors for whom prestige and guile were the only defenses against bodyguards hungry for power. Folding fascinating details into a broad assessment of the Praetorian era, the author sheds new light on the wielding of power in the greatest of the ancient world’s empires.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300234381
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 342,902
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Guy de la Bédoyère is author of a widely admired series of books on Romano-British history. He has appeared regularly on the UK’s Channel 4 archaeology series Time Team and is well known in the United States for his volume The Romans for Dummies. He lives in Grantham, UK.

Table of Contents

Plan of Castra Praetoria viii

Introduction 1

1 Evolution (44-31 BC) 12

2 Foundation (31 BC-AD 14) 27

3 Ambition (14-37) 63

4 Making History (37-51) 94

5 A Tale of Two Prefects (51-68) 120

6 Civil War (69) 142

7 To the Victor, the Spoils (69-98) 165

8 Concordia Exercituum (98-180) 187

9 The Age of Iron and Rust (180-235) 210

10 Decline and Dissolution (235-312) 244

Epilogue 265

Appendix 1 Key Dates 272

Appendix 2 Praetorian Pay and Organization 275

Appendix 3 Praetorian Prefects 280

Appendix 4 Glossary of Terms 283

Notes 289

Bibliography and References 317

Index of Emperors 326

General Index 328

Illustration Credits 336

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