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Thread: The Praetorian Guard's Ethnic Types?

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    Senior Member Falcon's Avatar
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    The Praetorian Guard's Ethnic Types?

    It was composed of the best legionnaires of the Roman Empire.
    Does anyone has any info that it was composed basically of Germanics?
    Because usually the barbarian in the ancient world was the best individual fighter, who along with Iron Roman Discipline could form the best fighting force in ancient world....?

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    Senior Member Alfadur's Avatar
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    The Praetorian Guard was basically the elite troops of the Roman army, which acted as the Emperor's bodyguards. As only military force allowed to be stationed inside Italy, it was very powerful. They even assassinated a few Emperors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon View Post
    Does anyone has any info that it was composed basically of Germanics?
    No, it wasn't composed of Germanics. The foreigners had their own legions. As far as I know, only Roman citizens could join the Praetorian Guard.

    You're thinking of the Varangian Guard, in the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine). It was composed of Vikings only, for several reasons. They were stronger fighters, and most importantly, weren't native to the land, so they didn't have any other loyalties than the Emperor. Over time, the Varangian Guard became composed of various Germanics, who all shared the "oath loyalty" tradition.

    This is what I found on wikipedia:

    The duties and purpose of the Varangian Guard were similar — if not identical — to those of the Slavic druzhina, the Norwegian hird, and the Anglo-Saxon housecarls. The Varangians served as the personal bodyguard of the Emperor, swearing an oath of loyalty to him; they had ceremonial duties as retainers and often performed duties as police, especially in cases of treason and conspiracy. They were headed by a commanding officer, the akolouthos, who was a native Greek.

    The Varangian Guard was only used in battle during critical moments, or where the battle was most fierce. The contemporary Byzantine Greek chroniclers noted with a mix of terror and fascination that "the fierce Scandinavians were frightening in appearance, they attacked the Turks with reckless rage and neither cared about losing blood nor their wounds". The description probably refers to berserkergang since this state of trance is said to have given them superhuman strength and no sense of pain from their wounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadur View Post
    The Praetorian Guard was basically the elite troops of the Roman army, which acted as the Emperor's bodyguards. As only military force allowed to be stationed inside Italy, it was very powerful. They even assassinated a few Emperors.


    No, it wasn't composed of Germanics. The foreigners had their own legions. As far as I know, only Roman citizens could join the Praetorian Guard.

    You're thinking of the Varangian Guard, in the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine). It was composed of Vikings only, for several reasons. They were stronger fighters, and most importantly, weren't native to the land, so they didn't have any other loyalties than the Emperor. Over time, the Varangian Guard became composed of various Germanics, who all shared the "oath loyalty" tradition.

    This is what I found on wikipedia:
    I always found that interesting: I always wondered if it were possible to see if there was a "dip" in military performance when it changed basically from Norsemen to almost entirely Anglo-Saxons in the high middle ages. Also: Germanic speakers had been definitely in some number integrated into the western roman empire; and almost certainly weren't confined to irregular Roman units.

    EDIT: Did I just bump an extremely old thread?....

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