tenements, goods and chattels forfeit to the king, and they shall be attached by their bodies or process made against them by praemunire facias. This statute, says Stubbs, was one of the strongest defensive measures taken during the middle ages against Rome and was called for by the conduct of the pope, who had forbidden the bishops to execute the sentences of the royal courts in suits connected with ecclesiastical patronage. The last ancient statute concerning praemunire, until the Reformation, was an extension in the reign of Henry IV. (1400) of the Statute of Provisors, by which all persons who accepted any provision from the pope to be exempt from canonical obedience to their proper ordinary were subjected to the penalties prescribed. The range and description of offences subject to the penalties of praemunire were greatly widened after the Reformation, so that acts of a very miscellaneous character were from time to time brought within the scope of enactments passed for a very different purpose. For instance, the penalties of praemunire were incurred, under an act of Queen Elizabeth (1571), for denying the Queen’s title; and under an act of James I. the Statute of Monopolies (1623), for obtaining any stay of proceedings (other than by arrest of judgment or a writ of error) in any suit for a monopoly; under an act of Charles I. (1640) the attempting to restrain the importation or making of gunpowder was a praemunire; in the reign of Charles II. an act of 1661 made the asserting maliciously and advisedly, by speaking or writing, that both or either house of parliament has a legislative authority without the king, a praemunire. In the same reign, the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 made the committing of any man to prison out of the realm a praemunire, unpardonable even by the king. It thus appears that while the Crown by its prerogative might at any time remit the whole or any part of the punishment incurred by a praemunire, an exception was made in transgressions of the Statute of Habeas Corpus. An act of William III. (1695) made sergeants, counsellors, proctors, attorneys, and all officers of courts practising without having taken the proper oaths guilty of a praemunire. By the Succession to the Crown Act 1707, verbally to assert the rights of a person to the Crown contrary to the Acts of Settlement and Union is praemunire (to do so by writing or printing is treason). The Royal Marriages Act 1772 is the last statute which subjects anyone to the penalties of a praemunire. A peer charged with praemunire is not entitled to trial by his peers, but is to be tried by a jury. The most famous historical instance of a prosecution of the Statute of Praemunire was that of Cardinal Wolsey in 1529.
Authorities.—Statutes of the Realm; Coke, Institutes; Collier, Ecclesiastical History; Hallam, Middle Ages; Reeves’ History of English Law; Stephen’s Commentaries on the Laws of England; Sir J. Stephen’s History of Criminal Law; Sir T. E. Tomlin’s Law Dictionary; Stubbs, Constitutional History. (T. A. I.)
PRAENESTE (mod. Palestrina), a very ancient city of Latium, lies 23 m. E. of Rome by the Via Praenestina (see below), on a spur of the Apennines facing the Alban Hills. To the natural strength of the place and its commanding situation Praeneste owed in large measure its historical importance. There are various legends as to its foundation. Objects in metal and ivory discovered in the earliest graves prove that as early as the 8th or 7th century b.c. Praeneste had reached a considerable degree of civilization and stood in commercial relations not only with Etruria but with the East. At this time the city was probably under the hegemony of Alba Longa, then the head of the Latin League. In 499 b.c., according to Livy, Praeneste withdrew from the Latin League, in the list of whose members given by Dionysius (v. 61) it occurs, and formed an alliance with Rome. After Rome had been weakened by the Gallic invasion (390) Praeneste joined its foes in a long struggle with Rome. The struggle culminated in the great Latin War (340–38), in which the Romans were victorious, and Praeneste was punished for its share in the war by the loss of part of its territory. It was not, however, like most other Latin cities, embodied in the Roman state, but continued in the position of a city in alliance with Rome down to the Social War, when it received the Roman franchise (in 90 b.c., probably as one of those cities which had not rebelled or had laid down their arms at once), which in 215 b.c. some of its citizens—who had bravely held Casilinum against Hannibal, and only surrendered when pressed by hunger—had refused to accept.
As an allied city it furnished contingents to the Roman army and possessed the right of exile (jus exilii), i.e. persons banished from Rome were allowed to reside at Praeneste. To judge from the works of art and inscriptions of this period (338 to 90 b.c.), it must have been for the place a time of prosperity, and even luxury. The nuts of Praeneste were famous and its roses were amongst the finest in Italy. The Latin spoken at Praeneste was somewhat peculiar, and was ridiculed to some extent by the Romans. In the civil wars of Sulla the younger Marius was blockaded in the town by the Sullans (82 b.c.); and on its capture Marius slew himself, the male inhabitants were massacred in cold blood, and a military colony was settled on part of its territory, though, possibly owing to the extravagance of the new coloni, we find that in 63 b.c. this was already in the possession of large proprietors. It was probably in 82 b.c. that the city was removed from the hill-side to the lower ground at the Madonna dell’ Aquila, and that the temple of Fortune was enlarged so as to include much of the space occupied by the ancient city. From an inscription found in 1907 it appears that Sulla delegated the foundation of the new colony to M. Terentius Varro Lucullus, who was consul in 73 b.c. Under the empire Praeneste, from its elevated situation and cool salubrious air, became a favourite summer resort of the wealthy Romans, whose villas studded the neighbourhood. Horace ranked it with Tibur and Baiae, though as a fact it never became so fashionable a residence as Tibur or the Alban Hills. Still, Augustus resorted thither; here Tiberius recovered from a dangerous illness, and here Hadrian probably built himself a villa. Marcus Aurelius also had a villa here. Amongst private persons who owned villas at Praeneste were Pliny the younger and Symmachus. Inscriptions show that the inhabitants of Praeneste were especially fond of gladiatorial shows.
But Praeneste was chiefly famed for its great temple of Fortune and for its oracle, in connexion with the temple, known as the “Praenestine lots” (sortes praenestinae). The oldest portion of the sanctuary was, however, that situated on the lowest terrace but one. Here is a grotto in the natural rock, containing beautiful coloured mosaic pavement, representing a sea-scene—a temple of Poseidon on the shore, with various fish swimming in the sea. To the east of this is a large space, now open, but once very possibly roofed, and forming a basilica in two storeys, built against the rock on the north side, and there decorated with pilasters also; and to the east again is an apsidal hall, often identified with the temple itself, in which the famous. mosaic with scenes from the Nile, now in the Palazzo Barberini on the uppermost terrace, was found. Under this hall is a chamber, which, as an inscription on its walls shows, served as a treasury in the 2nd century b.c. In front of this temple an obelisk was erected in the reign of Claudius, fragments of which still exist. The modern cathedral, just below the level of this temple, occupies the civil basilica of the town, upon the façade of which was a sun-dial, described by Varro (traces of which may still be seen). In the modern piazza the steps leading up to this latter basilica and the base of a large monument were found in 1907; so that only a part of the piazza represents the ancient forum. As extended by Sulla the sanctuary of Fortune occupied
a series of live vast terraces, which, resting on gigantic
- Sir T. E. Tomlins says that there is only one instance of prosecution on a praemunire to be found in the state trials, in which case the penalties were inflicted upon some persons for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to Charles II.
- Thus the Praenestines shortened some words: they said conia for ciconia, tammodo for tantummodo (Plaut. Truc. iii. 2, 23; Id. Trinum. iii. 1, 8; cf. Comment. on Festus, p. 731, ed. Lindemann), and inscriptions exhibit the forms Acmemeno and Tondrus for Agamemno and Tyndarus. They said nefrones for nefrendes in the sense of testiculi and tongitio for notio (Festus, s.v. “nefrendes” and “tongere”). Cf. Quintilian, Instit. i. 5, 56.