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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.
But, it is equally true, that, on the face of it, it was designed to preserve the underlying system and authority of the Jurisconsults and Praetors.
Later, the title of praetor was used for the "lesser brothers" of the consuls, who served as ministers of justice.
In about 366 BCE, the praetor became the Chief Justice of Roman citizens.
He was praetor at the latest in 100 when Hispania Ulterior was occupied by L.
This was indeed an order for his praetor to observe the spirit of the lex maiestatis, not necessarily an order to observe its letter, without exception.
While in office as praetor and pouring out a libation and wearing the sacred gilded uniform customary in such events, Asellio was killed at the second hour in the centre of the forum in the middle of a sacrifice.