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PRAETOR, Roman civil law. A municipal officer of Rome, so called because, (praeiret populo,) he went before or took precedence of the people. The consuls were at first called praetors. Liv. Hist. III. 55. He was a sort of minister of justice, invested with certain legislative powers, especially in regard to the forms or formalities of legal proceedings. Ordinarily, be aid not decide causes as a judge, but prepared the grounds of decision for the judge and sent to, him the questions to be decided between the parties. The judge was always chosen by the parties, either directly, or by rejecting, under certain rules and limitations, the persons proposes to them by the praetor. Hence the saying of Cicero, (pro Cluentis, 43,) that no one could be judged except by a judge of his own choice. There were several kinds of officers called proctors. See Vicat, Vocab.
     2. Before entering on his functions he published an edict announcing the system adopted by him for the application and interpretation of the laws during his magistracy. His authority extended over all jurisdictions, and was summarily expressed by the word do, dico, addico, i, e. do I give the action, dico I declare the law, I promulgate the edict, addico I invest the judge with the right of judging. There were certain cases which he was bound to decide himself, assisted by a council chosen by himself perhaps the Decemvirs. But the greater part of causes brought before him, be sent either to a judge, an arbitrator, or to recuperators, (recuperatores,) or to the centumvirs, as before stated. Under the empire the powers of the praetor passed by degrees to the praefect of the praetorium, or the praefect of the city; so that this magistrate, who at first ranked with the consuls, at last dwindled into a director or manager of the public spectacles or games.
     3. Till lately, there were officers in certain cities of Germany denominated praetors Vide 1 Kent, Com. 528.

References in periodicals archive ?
Unlike the Judges of the Royal Courts of England, the Praetors never detached themselves from the Executive and never claimed independent authority to exercise the executive power of the Consuls--each Praetor's period of office was limited to one year.
Later, the title of praetor was used for the "lesser brothers" of the consuls, who served as ministers of justice.
Secures preceded a proconsul as well as a consul (or praetor, dictator): cf.
Caelius' loyalty to the Caesarian cause had never been wholehearted, but he himself ascribed the immediate cause of his dissatisfaction in 48 to dolor,(3) in this case that Caesar had created his trusted lieutenant Gaius Trebonius urban praetor instead of him.
Most scholars are aware that the sortes picked the highly influential centuria praerogativa and apportioned provinces, armies, and a variety of other tasks among consuls and praetors, but the lots did a lot more than that.
The power lay, in theory, with elected officials (magistrates) such as the tribunes, the praetors, the consuls, the pro-consuls etc.
All political enemies of Marius were cruelly put to the sword, and the heads of slain senators, consuls, and praetors were put on public exhibit in the forum.
It was just this state of affairs that necessitated the Lex Cornelia of 67, legislation that required praetors to announce at the outset of their tenure the legal standards by which they would act and that forbade praetors any divergence from their own edicts.
For the sake of argument, we may assume that the praetors were present, though this assumption is supported only by a vague reference in Plutarch.
Piso and collaborators and assistants in all his evil deeds, the senate decides that they should be prohibited from water and fire by that praetor who is to conduct trials under the lex maiestatis, and that their goods should be sold by the praetors who are to be in charge of the treasury, and the proceeds deposited in the treasury.
The list of praetors whom the honorand approached is, as far as we can tell, in chronological order, and so Silanus will have been governor after M.
647-50) believes indeed that all praetors sent to Macedonia were given proconsular imperium.