“To squelch the discord of the rabble”: Military Policing in Rome and Italy under Augustus's Successors
Augustus’ formative influence shaped his successors’ approach to public order in Rome and Italy. Starting with his immediate successor Tiberius, the emperors continued expanding military policing in Italy, used soldiers against bandits as well as political enemies, and reacted to disorders in various towns. Rome's military security complement (vigiles, urban cohorts, praetorians, and others), meanwhile, swelled to over 20,000 by the early third century. Soldier-police in Rome administered spectacles, protected the emperor, monitored the populace (sometimes acting as domestic spies), and guarded against ordinary criminality. Praetorian Prefects became increasingly important adjutants in law, security, and administration of public order.
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