Praetor as a Magistrate in the Ancient Rome. A Few Remarks


  • Piotr Kołodko


Pretorship, Roman public law, Roman law, magistrates of the Rome.


The main point of this text is an attempt to present a few duties of the praetor and try to stipulate the origins of them. First of all it should be noted that the term praetor was not consistently used to describe only the jurisdictional magistrate, and it was used in relation, for example, to the consuls. This was probably because the sound etymological sense of the word (praeire: “to go before, to precede, to lead the way”). The appointment of praetor urbanus in 367 BC under leges Licniae Sextiae was not associated with the need to carry out a jurisdictional competence. The origins of the magistrate were strictly military in its nature, which since the end of the third century BC gave way to the area of jurisdiction. Raised considerations apply also to the praetor for foreigners (praetor peregrinus), who has not resolved disputes between the Romans and foreigners (peregrini), and his role was to ensure the military security of Italy. The jurisdictional competence of the pretorship as the most “famous” begins to emerge in the late third century BC, which is likely to be linked not only with the increase in the number of praetors, but mainly obviates external threat from the Carthage. It seems to indicate that the jurisdictional competence (civil and criminal) was not assigned to pretorship at the beginning of this office. It appears at least at the end of the third century BC and starts to become predominant among others which were associated with this office in ancient Rome.



How to Cite

Kołodko, P. (2013). Praetor as a Magistrate in the Ancient Rome. A Few Remarks. Miscellanea Historico-Iuridica, 12, 31–55. Retrieved from




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