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which were subject to the Romans, from the cataracts
." Zosimus, l. ii. p. 109, 110. If we had not fortunately possessed this satisfactory account of the division of the power and provinces of the Praetorian praefects, we should frequently have been perplexed amidst the copious details of the Code, and the circumstantial minuteness of the Notitia.
plain, to enforce, and on some occasions to modify, the general edicts by their discretionary proclamations. They watched over the conduct of the provincial governors, removed the negligent, and inflicted punishments on the guilty. From all the inferior jurisdictions, an appeal in every matter of importance, either civil or criminal, might be brought before the tribunal of the praefect: but his sentence was final and absolute; and the emperors themselves refused to admit any complaints against the judgment or the integrity of a magistrate whom they honoured with such unbounded confidence." His appointments were suitable
to his dignity; " and if avarice was his ruling passion,
he enjoyed frequent opportunities of collecting a
torian praefect for Africa, he allowed him a salary of one hundred pounds of gold.
p. 24–77) has deduced a very distinct abridgment of the state of the Roman
The praefects of Rome and Constantinople.
CHAP. of arbitrary power." Valerius Messalla was appointed
the first praefect of Rome, that his reputation might countenance so invidious a measure: but, at the end of a few days, that accomplished citizen” resigned his office, declaring with a spirit worthy of the friend of Brutus, that he found himself incapable of exercising a power incompatible with public freedom." As the sense of liberty became less exquisite, the advantages of order were more clearly understood; and the praefect, who seemed to have been designed as a terror only to slaves and vagrants, was permitted to extend his civil and criminal jurisdiction over the equestrian and noble families of Rome. The praetors, annually created as the judges of law and equity, could not long dispute the possession of the Forum with a vigorous and permanent magistrate, who was usually admitted into the confidence of the prince. Their courts were deserted, their number, which had once fluctuated between twelve and eighteen,” was gradually reduced to two or three, and their important functions were confined to the expensive obligation" of exhibiting games for the amusement of the peo- CHAP.
y Tacit. Annal. vi. 11. Euseb. in Chron. p. 155. Dion Cassius, in the oration of Maecenas (l. vii. p. 675), describes the prerogatives of the praefect of the city as they were established in his own time. * The fame of Messalla has been scarcely equal to his merit. In the earliest youth he was recommended by Cicero to the friendship of Brutus. He followed the standard of the republic till it was broken in the fields of Philippi; he then accepted and deserved the favour of the most moderate of the conquerors; and uniformly asserted his freedom and dignity in the court of Augustus. The triumph of Messalla was justified by the conquest of Aquitain. As an orator, he disputed the palm of eloquence with Cicero himself. Messalla cultivated every muse, and was the patron of every man of genius. He spent his evenings in philosophic conversation with Horace; assumed his place at table between Delia and Tibullus; and amused his leisure by encouraging the poetical talents of young Ovid. • Incivilem esse potestatem contestans, says the translator of Eusebius. Tacitus expresses the same idea in other words: quasi nescius exercendi. b See Lipsius, Excursus D. ad 1 lib. Tacit. Annal. c Heineccii Element. Juris Civilis secund. ordinem Pandect. tom. i. p. 70. See likewise Spanheim de Usu Numismatum, tom. ii. dissertat. x. p. 119. In the year 450, Marcian published a law, that three citizens should be annually created Praetors of Constantinople by the choice of the senate, but with their own consent. Cod. Justinian. l. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 2.
ple. After the office of Roman consuls had been changed into a vain pageant, which was rarely displayed in the capital, the praefects assumed their vacant place in the senate, and were soon acknowledged as the ordinary presidents of that venerable assembly. They received appeals from the distance of one hundred miles; and it was allowed as a principle of jurisprudence, that all municipal authority was derived from them alone." In the discharge of his laborious employment, the governor of Rome was assisted by fifteen officers, some of whom had been originally his equals, or even his superiors. The principal departments were relative to the command of a numerous watch, established as a safeguard against fires, robberies, and nocturnal disorders; the custody and distribution of the public allowance of corn and provisions; the care of the port, of the aqueducts, of the common sewers, and of the navigation and bed of the Tyber; the inspection of the markets, the theatres, and of the private as well as public works. Their vigilance ensured the three principal objects of a regular police, safety, plenty, and cleanliness; and as a proof of the attention of government to preserve the splendour and ornaments of the capital, a particular inspector was appointed for the statues; the guardian, as it were, of that inanimate people, which, according to the extravagant computation of an old writer, was scarcely inferior in number to the living inhabitants of Rome. About thirty years after the foundation of Constantinople, a similar magistrate was created in that rising metropolis, for the same uses and with the same powers. A perfect equality
d Quidguidigitur intra urbem admittitur, ad P.U. videtur pertinere; sed et siquid intra centesimum milliarium. Ulpian in Pandect. l. i. tit. xiii. n. 1. He proceeds to enumerate the various offices of the praefect, who, in the code of
Justinian (l. i. tit. xxxix. leg. 3), is declared to precede and command all city magistrates sine injurià ac detrimento honoris alieni.
was established between the dignity of the two municipal, and that of the four praetorian, praefects." Those who, in the imperial hierarchy, were distinguished by the title of Respectable, formed an intermediate class between the illustrious praefects, and the honourable magistrates of the provinces. In this class the proconsuls of Asia, Achaia, and Africa, claimed a pre-eminence, which was yielded to the remembrance of their ancient dignity; and the appeal from their tribunal to that of the praefects was almost the only mark of their dependence.' But the civil government of the empire was distributed into thirteen great Dioceses, each of which equalled the just measure of a powerful kingdom. The first of these dioceses was subject to the jurisdiction of the count of the east; and we may convey some idea of the importance and variety of his functions, by observing, that six hundred apparitors, who would be styled at present either secretaries, or clerks, or ushers, or messengers, were employed in his immediate office." The place of Augustal prafect of Egypt was no longer filled by a Roman knight; but the name was retained; and the extraordinary powers which the situation of the country, and the temper of the inhabitants, had once made indispensable, were still continued to the governor. The eleven remaining dioceses, of Asiana, Pontica, and Thrace; of Macedonia, Dacia, and Pannonia, or Western Illyricum ; of Italy and Africa; of Gaul, Spain, and Britain;
* Besides our usual guides, we may observe that Felix Cantelorius has written a separate treatise, De Praefecto Urbis; and that many curious details concerning the police of Rome and Constantinople are contained in the fourteenth book of the Theodosian Code.
* Eunapius affirms, that the proconsul of Asia was independent of the praefect; which must, however, be understood with some allowance: the jurisdiction of the vice-praefect he most assuredly disclaimed. Pancirolus, p. 16l.
g The proconsul of Africa had four hundred apparitors; and they all received large salaries, either from the treasury or the province. See Pancirol. p. 26, and Cod. Justinian. l. xii, tit. lvi. lvii.