Were attendants on magistrates, one of whose main functions was to summon persons to the magistrate's presence. Thus they might be used to call senators to a meeting from their country seats. However, they also had a function more akin to that of a bailiff, acting in the presence of a magistrate to seize a criminal or his property or indeed a recalcitrant political opponent. So Caesar as consul had Porcius 2 Cato dragged from the senate. This latter function was esp. useful to a tribune (see tribuni plebis), who, unlike a consul or praetor, lacked the help of lictors. So Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus 2 removed his fellow‐tribune Octavius from the platform. By the late republic viatores formed a corporation divided into several groups according to the rank of the magistrates. They are also found on the staffs of local magistrates and of Roman magistrates in the provinces. Although many were in origin freedmen or of low birth, the posts seem to have conferred prestige on those who held them.
Subjects: Classical Studies.