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Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

by Guy de la Bédoyère
Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

Praetorian: The Rise and Fall of Rome's Imperial Bodyguard

by Guy de la Bédoyère


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“The dramatic story of the soldiers at the heart of the Roman empire . . . traces the history of the praetorians and the emperors they served.”—Adrian Goldsworthy, author of Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors
Founded by Augustus around 27 B.C., the elite Praetorian Guard was tasked with the protection of the emperor and his family. As the centuries unfolded, however, Praetorian soldiers served not only as protectors and enforcers but also as powerful political players. Fiercely loyal to some emperors, they vied with others and ruthlessly toppled those who displeased them, including Caligula, Nero, Pertinax, and many more. Guy de la Bédoyère provides a compelling first full narrative history of the Praetorians, whose dangerous ambitions ceased only when Constantine permanently disbanded them.
de la Bédoyère introduces Praetorians of all echelons, from prefects and messengers to artillery experts and executioners. He explores the delicate position of emperors for whom prestige and guile were the only defenses against bodyguards hungry for power. Folding fascinating details into a broad assessment of the Praetorian era, the author sheds new light on the wielding of power in the greatest of the ancient world’s empires.
“Any future researcher into the subject will certainly begin here.”—The Times (London)
“A lively and up-to-date history of the Praetorian Guard, the anti-coup divisions of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Constantine. De la Bédoyère tells their story with clarity and panache, and his book can be most warmly recommended both to aspiring tyrants and the ordinary armchair historian.”—The Sunday Times
“Fast paced and engaging.”—The Sunday Telegraph
“A definitive and highly readable account.”—Tom Holland, author of Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300226270
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 74,487
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Guy de la Bédoyère is author of a widely admired series of books on Romano-British history. He has appeared regularly on the UK’s Channel 4 archaeology series Time Team and is well known in the United States for his volume The Romans for Dummies. He lives in Grantham, UK.

Table of Contents

Plan of Castra Praetoria viii

Introduction 1

1 Evolution (44-31 BC) 12

2 Foundation (31 BC-AD 14) 27

3 Ambition (14-37) 63

4 Making History (37-51) 94

5 A Tale of Two Prefects (51-68) 120

6 Civil War (69) 142

7 To the Victor, the Spoils (69-98) 165

8 Concordia Exercituum (98-180) 187

9 The Age of Iron and Rust (180-235) 210

10 Decline and Dissolution (235-312) 244

Epilogue 265

Appendix 1 Key Dates 272

Appendix 2 Praetorian Pay and Organization 275

Appendix 3 Praetorian Prefects 280

Appendix 4 Glossary of Terms 283

Notes 289

Bibliography and References 317

Index of Emperors 326

General Index 328

Illustration Credits 336

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