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PROVINCE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 245 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PROVINCE.) (J. G. FR.; X.) A full account of the praetorship will be found in Mommsen, Remisches Staatsrecht (1887), vol. ii. and P. Willems, Le Droll public romain (1883) ; T. M. Taylor's Constitutional and Political History of Rome (1899) will also be found useful. There is a monograph by E. Labatut, Histoire de la preture (1868). number of judicial and provincial departments corresponded to the annual number of praetors, propraetors and proconsuls. The proportion, however, was not long maintained: new pro-vi aces were added to the empire—Bithynia in 74, Cyrene about the same time, Crete in 67, Syria in 64—and one or more new law courts were instituted. To keep pace with the increase of duties Julius Caesar increased the number of praetors successively to ten, fourteen and sixteen; after his time the number varied from eight to eighteen. The praetors were elected, like the consuls, by the people assembled in the comitia centuriata and with the same formalities.' They regularly held office for a year; only in the transition period between the republic and the empire was their tenure of office sometimes limited to a few months? The insignia of the praetor were those common to the higher Roman magistrates—the purple-edged robe (toga praetexta) and the ivory chair (sella curulis); in Rome he was attended by two lictors, in the provinces by six. The praetors elect cast lots to determine the department which each of them should ad-minister. A praetor was essentially a civil judge, and as such he was accustomed at or before his entry on office to publish an edict setting forth the rules of law and procedure by which he intended to be guided in his decisions. As these rules were often accepted by his successors, the praetor thus acquired an almost legislatorial power, and his edicts, thus continued, corrected and amplified from year to year, became, under the title of the " perpetual " edicts, one of the most important factors in moulding Roman law. Their tendency was to smooth away the occasional harshness and anomalies of the civil law by substituting rules of equity for the letter of the law, and in this respect the Roman praetor has been compared to the English chancellor. His functions were considerably modified by the introduction of the standing jury courts (quaestiones perpetuae). Hitherto the praetor had conducted the preliminary inquiry as to whether an action would lie, and had appointed for the actual trial of the case a deputy, whom he instructed in the law applicable to the case and whose decisions he enforced. The proceedings before the praetor were technically known as jus in distinction from judicium, which was the actual trial before the deputy judge. But in the standing jury courts (of which the first—that for repetundae—was instituted in 149), or rather in the most important of them, the praetors themselves presided and tried the cases. These new courts, though formally civil, were substantially criminal courts; and thus a criminal jurisdiction was added to the original civil jurisdiction of the praetors. Under the empire various special functions were assigned to certain praetors, such as the two treasury praetors (praetores aerarii),' appointed by Augustus in 23; the spear praetor (praetor hastarius), who presided over the court of the Hundred Men, which dealt especially with cases of inheritance; the two trust praetors (praetores ffdeicommissarii), appointed by Claudius to look after cases of trust estates, but reduced by Titus to one; the ward praetor (praetor tutelaris), appointed by Marcus Aurelius to deal with the affairs of minors; and the liberation praetor (praetor de liberalibus causis), who tried cases turning on the liberation of slaves.' There is no evidence that the praetors continued to preside over the standing courts after the beginning of the 3rd century A.D., and the foreign praetorship disappears about this time.' Even the jurisdiction of the city praetor seems not to have survived the reforms of Diocletian, though the office itself continued to exist. But of the praetorships with special jurisdiction (especially the ward praetorship and the liberation [Until the time of Tiberius, when their election was transferred to the Senate.] [The age for the office was forty under the republic, thirty under the empire.] [They took the place of the quaestors; this arrangement continued till the time of Claudius.] [The fiscal praetor (praetor fiscalis) was appointed by Nerva to hear claims preferred against the imperial fiscus.] 5 Marquardt conjectures with much probability that when Caracalla extended the Roman franchise to the whole empire he at the same time abolished the foreign praetorship.
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