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__NoToC__ The ''celeres'' () were the bodyguard of the
Kings of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two different meanings of magistrate have often overlapped and ...
. Traditionally established by
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary foundation of Rome, founder and King of Rome, first king of Ancient Rome, Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus ...
, the legendary founder and first King of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...
, the celeres comprised three hundred men, ten chosen by each of the
curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

curia
e.Livy, i. 15. The celeres were the strongest and bravest warriors among the early Roman nobility, and were the bravest and most loyal soldiers in the army.Dionysius, ii. 13. The name of ''celeres'' was generally believed to have arisen from their ''celeritas'', or swiftness, but
Valerius Antias Numa Pompilius consulting Egeria (mythology), Egeria. Valerius Antias ( century BC) was an ancient Roman annalists, annalist whom Livy mentions as a source. No complete works of his survive but from the sixty-five fragments said to be his in the w ...
maintained that their first commander was named "Celer", perhaps the same Celer mentioned by
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
as the foreman of the first fortification built around the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
; it was he, rather than Romulus himself, who slew Remus after he overleapt the wall. Unlike most soldiers of the period, who served only in times of war, the celeres were a permanent force, attending the king at all times, including times of peace. They are generally regarded as a
cavalry Historically, cavalry (from the French word ''cavalerie'', itself derived from "cheval" meaning "horse") are soldier A soldier is a person who is a member of a professional army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via O ...

cavalry
unit, for the Roman kings traveled and fought on horseback, and in his absence the celeres were led by the '' tribunus celerum'', or tribune of the celeres, who doubled as the king's lieutenant and head of the royal household, holding a position analogous to that of the
magister equitum The , in English Master of the Horse or Master of the Cavalry, was a Roman magistrate appointed as lieutenant to a Roman dictator, dictator. His nominal function was to serve as commander of the Roman cavalry in time of war, but just as a dictato ...
under the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
. However,
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
states that the celeres fought mounted only where the ground was favourable, dismounting to fight on foot where the ground was unsuitable for cavalry.
Numa Pompilius Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest ...

Numa Pompilius
, the second King of Rome, established certain religious rites that the commanders of the celeres were required to perform. The celeres remained the king's bodyguard until the establishment of the Republic in 509 BC. The last tribune of the celeres was
Lucius Junius Brutus Lucius Junius Brutus ( 6th century BC) is the semi-legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florid ...
, the nephew of
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC) was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in ...
, the seventh and last King of Rome, and it was in his capacity as tribune that he convened the
comitia curiata The Curiate Assembly (''comitia curiata'') was the principal assembly that evolved in shape and form over the course of the Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the ...
to abrogate the king's ''
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in t ...

imperium
'', while Tarquin was away, besieging Ardea. There was no equivalent body under the early Republic;
Roman magistrate The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest hi ...
s were accompanied by the
lictor A lictor (possibly from la, ligare, "to bind") was a Ancient Rome, Roman civil servant who was an attendant and bodyguard to a Roman magistrate, magistrate who held ''imperium''. Lictors are documented since the Roman Kingdom, and may have origi ...

lictor
s, who had also been established by
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary foundation of Rome, founder and King of Rome, first king of Ancient Rome, Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus ...
, while generals chose the troops they trusted most to protect them. Toward the end of the Republic, veteran soldiers were selected to serve in the ''cohors praetoria'', or praetorian cohort, which in became the
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
.''Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities'', pp. 947, 948 ("Praetoriani").


Footnotes


References

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Bibliography

*
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
, ''Romaike Archaiologia'' (Roman Antiquities). * Titus Livius (
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
), ''
History of Rome The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilisation of ancient Rome. Roman history has been influential on the modern world, especially in the history of the Catholic Church, and Roman law ...
''. * Publius Ovidius Naso (
Ovid Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (; 20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD), known in English as Ovid ( ), was a Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom ...

Ovid
), ''
Fasti In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian i ...
''. * ''
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities ''A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities'' is an English language encyclopedia first published in 1842. The second, improved and enlarged, edition appeared in 1848, and there were many revised editions up to 1890. The encyclopedia covered law, ...

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities
'', William Smith, ed., Little, Brown, and Company, Boston (1859). * '' Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities'',
Harry Thurston Peck Harry Thurston Peck (November 24, 1856 – March 23, 1914) was an American classical scholar, author, editor, historian and critic. Biography Peck was born in Stamford, Connecticut Stamford () is a city in the U.S. state In the , a ...
, ed. (Second Edition, 1897). Roman Kingdom Cavalry units and formations of ancient Rome Royal guards