Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/256

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242
PRAEMUNIRE

franchise, such prefectures ceased to exist in fact, though the name was sometimes retained.

3. Under the empire the praetorian or imperial guards were commanded by one, two, or even three prefects (praefecti praetorio), who were chosen by the emperor from among the knights and held office at his pleasure. From the time of Alexander Severus the post was open to senators also, and if a knight was appointed he was at the same time raised to the senate. Down to the time of Constantine, who deprived the office of its military character, the prefecture of the guards was regularly held by tried soldiers, often by men who had fought their way up from the ranks. In course of time the command seems to have been enlarged so as to include all the troops in Italy except the corps commanded by the city praefect (cohortes urbanae). Further, the praetorian praefect acquired, in addition to his military functions, a criminal jurisdiction, which he exercised not as the delegate but as the representative of the emperor, and hence it was decreed by Constantine (331) that from the sentence of the praetorianpraefect there should be no appeal. A similar jurisdiction in civil cases was acquired by him not later than the time of Severus. Hence a knowledge of law became a qualification for the post, which under Marcus Antoninus and Commodus, but especially from the time of Severus, was held by the first jurists of the age, (e.g. Papinian, Ulpian and Paullus), While the military qualification fell more and more into the background. Under Constantine the institution of the magistri militum deprived the praetorian prefecture altogether of its military character; but left it the highest civil office of the empire.

The title of “praefect” was borne by various other Roman officials, of whom we may mention the following:—

4. Praefectus Socium (sociorum).-Under the republic the contingents furnished to the Roman armies by the Italian allies were commanded by Roman officers called praefecti socium (sociorum), who were nominated by the consuls and corresponded to the tribunes in the legions.

5. Praefectus Classium.—Down to near the close of the republic a naval command was never held independently but only in Connexion with the command of an army, and, when the general appointed an officer to command the fleet in his room, this lieutenant was styled “praefect of the fleet” (praefectus classium). When in 311 b.c. the people took the appointment of these lieutenants into their own hands the title was changed from “praefects” to duo viri navales, or “two naval men”; but under the empire the admirals went by their old name of prefects.

6. Praefectus Fabrum.—The colonel of the engineer and artillery corps (fabri) in a Roman army was called a praefect; he did not belong to the legion, but was directly subordinate to the general in command.

7. Praefectus Annonae.—The important duty of provisioning Rome was committed by Augustus (between a.d. 8 and 14) to a praefect, who was appointed by the emperor from among the knights and held office at the imperial pleasure.

8. Praefectus Aegypti (afterwards Prczefectus augustalis).-Under the empire the government of Egypt was entrusted to a Viceroy with the title of “praefect,” who was selected from the knights, and was surrounded by royal pomp instead of the usual insignia of a Roman magistrate. He stood under the immediate orders of the emperor. The exceptional position thus accorded to Egypt was due to a regard on the part o the emperors to the peculiar character of the population, the strategic strength of the country, and its political importance as the granary of Rome.  (J. G. Fr.) 

9. Praefectus Castrorum, from the time of Augustus to Severus the title of the commander of the fixed camps of the legions in different parts of the empire. He was a purely military man appointed by the emperor, usually a centurion whose term of service was completed. From the time of Domitian, when each legion had a separate Camp, the name of the legion was added to the title, e.g. praefectus castrorum legionis xiii. gem. (C.I.L. iii. 454). The duties of this officer included: the arrangement of the camp and medical service, the transport of the baggage, the construction of roads, bridges and fortifications, the supply of ammunition and engines of war.

10. Praefectus Vigilum, the commander of the seven cohortes vigilum, a night police force instituted by Augustus (a.d. 6). To each cohort, consisting of about 1000 men (chiefly freedmen), was entrusted the care of two of the fourteen city districts; one of its chief duties was that of a fire brigade. The policing of the city had formerly been one of the' duties of the aediles, but was now transferred to the praefectus vigilum, appointed by the emperor from the equites. He exercised criminal jurisdiction in cases of incendiarism and offences committed against the law during the night, and in later times this jurisdiction was considerably extended.

The different kinds of prefects are fully discussed in Mommsen, Römisches Staatsrecht (1887) vols. ii., iii.; see also T. M. Taylor, Constitutional and Political History of Rome (1899). There is an excellent monograph on the Praefectura urbis by P. E. Vigneaux (1896). Mommsen deals very cursorily with the praefectus castrorum, but there is a special article by G. Wilmanns, in Ephemeris epigraphical (1872), vol. i., “De praefecto castrorum et praefecto legionis.”

For the French préfet see Prefect. (X.)


PRAEMUNIRE (Lat. praemonere, to pre-admonish or forewarn), in English law an offence so called from the introductory words of the writ of summons issued to the defendant to answer the charge, “Praemunire facias A.B.,” &c., i.e. “cause A.B. to be forewarned.” From this the word came to be used to denote the offences, usually ecclesiastical, prosecuted by means of such a writ, and also the penalties they incurred. The statute of Richard II., Purchasing bulls from Rome' (1392), is usually designated the Statute of Praemunire, but it is only one of numerous stringent measures (some still unrepeated, and, as a body, of the most confused character) passed for the purpose of putting restraint on the papal usurpation of authority in England. From the beginning of the 14th century papal aggression had been particularly active, more especially in two forms. The one, the disposal of ecclesiastical benefices, before the same became vacant, to men of the pope’s own choosing; the other, the encouragement of resort to himself and his Curia rather than to the courts of the country. The Statute of Provisors 1306, passed in the reign of Edward I., was, according to Coke, the foundation of all subsequent statutes of praemunire. This statute enacted “that no tax imposed by any religious persons should be sent out of the country whether under the name of a rent, tallage, tribute or any kind of imposition.” A much greater check on the freedom of action of the popes was imposed by the Statute of Provisors (1350–1351) and the Statute of Praemunire passed in the reign of Edward III. The former of these, after premising “that the Pope of Rome, accroaching to him the seignories of possession and benefices of the holy Church of the realm of England doth give and grant the same benefices to aliens which did never dwell in England, and to cardinals, which might not dwell here, and to others as well aliens as denizens, as if he had been patron or advowee of the said dignities and benefices, as he was not of right by the laws of England . . . ,” ordained the free election of all dignities and benefices elective in the manner as they were granted by the king’s progenitors. The Statute of Praemunire (the first statute so called) 1353, though expressly levelled at the pretensions of the Roman curia, excludes any direct reference to it in actual words. By it, the king “at the grievous and clamorous complaints of the great men and commons of the realm of England” enacts “that all the people of the king’s ligeance of what condition that they be, which shall draw any out of the realm in plea” or any matter of which the cognizance properly belongs to the king’s court shall be allowed two months in which to answer for their contempt of the king’s rights in transferring their pleas abroad. The penalties which were attached to the offence under this statute involved the loss of all civil rights, forfeiture of lands, goods and chattels, and imprisonment during the royal pleasure.

Many other statutes followed that of 1353, but that passed in the sixteenth year of Richard II.’s reign is, as mentioned before, usually referred to as the Statute of Praemunire. This statute, after first stating “that the right of recovering the presentments to churches, prebends, and other benefices . . . belongeth only to the king’s court of the old right of his crown, used and approved in the time of all his progenitors kings of England,” proceeds to condemn the practice of papal translation, and after rehearsing the promise of the three estates of the realm to stand with the king in all cases touching his crown and his regalty, enacts “that if any purchase or pursue, or cause to be purchased or pursued in the court of Rome, or elsewhere, any such translations, processes, and sentences of excommunications, bulls, instruments or any other things whatsoever . . . he and his notaries, abettors and counsellors” shall be put out of the king’s protection, and their lands