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PROPRAETOR The propraetorship was, like the proconsulate, technically a delegation of the praetorian imperium where alone such delegation was constitutionally allowable--that is, outside the pomerium; but, instead of the delegation of a new imperium militiae, the course usually adopted was the prolongation of an imperium already existing (prorogatio). The title pro praetore seems really to be an older title than that of pro consule. As the title praetor belonged originally to all magistrates who demanded obedience from the army in virtue of their imperium (Pseud.-Ascon. in Verrin. p. 168; Festus, p. 161), so the title pro praetore was applied to an officer who had this authority delegated to him; and accordingly Dionysius (9.12) calls the military delegate appointed by the consuls for the command of the reserve force ἀντιστρατηγός (propraetor), which is more likely to have been the original title than proconsul, given by Livy (3.4). This view of the propraetorship as a delegated military imperium never died out. When, for instance, the military imperium was to be conferred on an individual who had held no magistracy, or only a minor one, it is generally conferred with the title pro praetore. M. Antonius, while still tribune, had this title granted him by Caesar, for the purpose of military command in Italy (Cic. ad Att. x. 8 a); and Octavian, who had held no magistracy, had the title propraetor conferred on him by the senate for the purpose of acting against Antony (Suet. Oct. 10).

But the propraetorship, as a standing office, originated with the necessities of provincial government. When the number of the Roman provinces increased beyond the four original provinces, for which special praetors were appointed, the prolongation of the imperium of the two city praetors became usual. Provincial government was subsequently divorced from the administration of the praetors, and the provinces divided between the past consuls and praetors, the propraetors obtaining those provinces where least military forces were required. As provincial governors they were invested with the imperium with the same ceremonies with which the imperium for military service had been confirmed: among which were especially the religious ceremonies of the vota and auspicia [p. 2.502]Cic. in Verr. 5.13, 14; Festus, l.c.) and the Lex Curiata, or popular sanction for all the magistratus cum imperio (Cic. de Lege Agr. 2.1. 1, 26). The tenure of his imperium by the praetor was now, as a rule, biennial, one year being spent in office at home, the other as governor of a province; this separation of commands was first formally recognised by Sulla (Lex Cornelia de provinciis ordinandis), and the limit of the propraetor's government of a province fixed at one year. (For the administration of the provinces by propraetors, see PROVINCIA) The senatusconsultum of 52 B.C. affected the propraetor as it affected the proconsul [PROCONSUL]. The propraetor did not now leave Rome to take command of a province until five years after he had ended his period of office at home (D. C. 40.30, 1; 46, 2). Although the division of the provinces between the propraetors and the proconsuls was regulated by constitutional usage, and the interval between home and foreign commands regulated by law, yet the senate might by a decree interfere with the ordinary arrangements. In 51 B.C. a senatusconsultum was passed by which the senate commanded that all the praetorii who were qualified for foreign command should be sent to provinces, and that, if there were not sufficient praetorii of five years' standing, those of less standing should be sent out in the order of seniority (Cic. Att. 8.8, 8). The effect of this decree was to debar from government consulares duly qualified by the five years' interval (Caes. Civ. 1, 6).

When, under the Empire, the provinces were divided into senatorial and imperial, the republican system was reversed; the military provinces were given to governors with the title pro praetore, the non-military to proconsuls. In the latter, however, we find the senatorial proconsuls accompanied by legati proconsulis pro praetore. They were assessors (πάρεδρος, D. C. 53.14, 7) of the senatorial governor, and were all alike called propraetors, though some might be consulares. For a senatorial province of the higher class, such as Asia and Africa, which were governed always by consulares, three such legati pro praetore were selected; to one of the lower class, such as Sicily and Baetica, which were governed by a proconsul who had been praetor, one such legatus accompanied the governor. They were selected by the proconsuls themselves, subject to the approval of the princeps: in the lower senatorial provinces these propraetors might be praetorii; in the higher they might be consulares (Dio Cass. ib.).

The title quaestor pro praetore is connected with senatorial government. It may mean one of three offices. During the Republic, a magistrate with this title was either (i.) one who replaced an absent or dead superior in a province for the purpose of temporary government (Sal. Jug. 103; cf. ib. 36), and, from the instances referred to, we see that the quaestor took this title, although he might be commanding in the room of a proconsul; or (ii.) one who, though still only a quaestor, was appointed to an independent command by senate or people. Cato bore this title when sent to annex Cyprus in 58 B.C. (Vell. 2, 45; cf. C. I. L. 1.4, 598); and (iii.) in a senatorial province, during the Empire, the quaestor, who is the finance officer in such a province, had this title, as we know from inscriptions, in which the title quaestor pro praetore appears by the side of that of his superior the proconsul (Orelli, 151). Two explanations of this are possible. He may have been adlectus inter praetoris because the other leading members of the staff, the legati, were propraetors: or, more probably, the title was given him because he was the provincial representative of the finance officer of the aerarium at Rome, which, under the Empire, was in the hands, not of a quaestor, but of a praetor.

The governors of the imperial provinces, under the Empire, were all legati Caesaris pro praetore. Their government was not an independent command; they were legati of the Emperor: hence they could not have the proconsulare imperium, which was vested in the princeps, and could not therefore be proconsuls. The imperial provinces, like the senatorial, were divided into a higher and a lower class. To the higher, such as Syria and the two Germanies, consulares were sent; to the lower, such as Aquitania and Galatia, praetorii; but the governors of both were called propraetors (D. C. 53.13, 5), those who had been consuls adding the title vir consularis or consularis legatus. These propraetorial governorships had no definite limit of time, and their tenure depended on the emperor's discretion (D. C. 53.13, 6; Tac. Ann. 1.80), their holders having fixed salaries from the imperial treasury (D. C. 52.23, 1). The imperial provinces all involved military commands; and hence the legati Caesaris wore the military dress and sword (D. C. 53.13, 6), which were not worn by the proconsuls of senatorial provinces.


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