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p1074 Stratores

Article by William Ramsay, M.A., Professor of Humanity in the University of Glasgow
on pp1074‑1075 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.


  1. Imperial Equerries subject to the Tribunus Stabuli. Their proper duty, as the name imports, was to saddle the horses; they also led them from the stable and assisted the emperor to mount. Hence they were termed in Greek ἀναβολεῖς. From the addition of miles to their title it appears that they were considered as part of the military establishment (Spartian, Caracalla 7; Amm. Marc. XXX.5; see Ducange, s.v.). Consuls and praetors had their stratores as we learn from inscriptions (Orell. Inscr. n798, 3250, 3523), and perhaps aediles also (Orell. n1584).

  2. Officers sent into the provinces to select horses for the stud of the prince or for the general service of the state (Amm. Marc. XXIX.3; Cod. Theod. 8 tit. 8 s.4; Cod. 12 tit. 25; Salmas., ad Capitolin. M. Antonin. 8, ad Trebell. Poll. Valerian. 3). These in all probability belonged to the same body with those mentioned above; the title stratores a publicis rationibus, by which they are usually distinguished in works upon Roman antiquities, rests upon no authority except the letters STR. A.P.R. in an inscription (Gruter, p. DLXIX, n8), the interpretation of which is very doubtful.

  3. Jailors under the orders of the Commentariensis or Chief Inspector of Prisons (Cod. Theod. 9 tit. 3 s.1). To these Ulpian refers (Dig.1 tit. 16 s.4), "nemo proconsulum stratores suos habere potest, sed vice eorum milites ministerio in provinciis funguntur", although the passage is quoted in most dictionaries as bearing upon the stratores of the stable (cf. the Notitia Dignitatum Imperii Orientis, c. 13 and c. 101 in Graevii Thes. Rom. Antiq. vol. VII. p1374 and p1606).

  4. In the later Latin writers and especially in the monkish historians of the middle ages, stratores denote a chosen body of soldiers sent in advance of an army to explore the country, to determine the proper line of march, to select the spots best fitted for encamping, and to make all the arrangements necessary for the safety and comfort of the troops when they halted, their duties being in some respects analogous to those of the classical metatores, and in others to those of a modern corps-de‑guides (Symmach. Epist. ad Theod. et Valent. 1; Ducange, s.v.).

  5. p1075 We find in an inscription the words Diomedes Ap. Strator, which is generally understood to commemorate the labours of some individual in paving the Appian Way, and mention is made of stratores of this description in another inscription found at Mayence (Orell. n1450; cf. Fuchs, Geschichte von Mainz.).

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