Lictor

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Lictor lĭk"tŏr (Rom. Antiq) An officer who bore an ax and fasces or rods, as ensigns of his office. His duty was to attend the chief magistrates when they appeared in public, to clear the way, and cause due respect to be paid to them, also to apprehend and punish criminals. "Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n lictor Among the ancient Romans, one of a number of officers, required to be free-born (though freed-men were admitted to the office under the empire), whose functions were to attend a magistrate, bearing the fasces, in some cases with the ax and in others without it, in order to clear the way and enforce due respect, and also to arrest offenders and to scourge or behead condemned persons. Magistrates were entitled to a number of lictors according to their rank, a dictator having twenty-four, a consul twelve, a pretor six (at first only two within the city walls), etc. The Flamen Dialis, or priest of Jupiter, and the Vestals also had lictors, but, it is believed, without fasces.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Lictor lik′tor an officer who attended the Roman magistrates, bearing an axe and bundle of rods.
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.

Usage

In literature:

Eventually he gave up his lictors and retired to Patavium.
"Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II" by Caius Cornelius Tacitus
Probably a consular personage, a duumvir, since lictors lead the line.
"The Wonders of Pompeii" by Marc Monnier
He also on the occasion of a triumph paraded with a four-horse chariot and kept twelve lictors for life.
"Dio's Rome, Volume 1 (of 6)" by Cassius Dio
The Lictors, I think, are not mentioned by him.
"The Letters of Cassiodorus" by Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)
For they have no executioners and lictors, lest the state should sink into ruin.
"Ideal Commonwealths" by Various
Each consul had twelve lictors.
"A Smaller History of Rome" by William Smith and Eugene Lawrence
Go, lictor, bind his hands.
"The History of Rome, Books 01 to 08" by Titus Livius
The lictors bundled up their rods; beside, II.
"The Hesperides & Noble Numbers: Vol. 1 and 2" by Robert Herrick
The jailer must at once deliver him up to the chief lictor.
"King of the Jews" by William T. Stead
The lictors now had at times to use their flails against the crowd.
""Unto Caesar"" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The presence of the lictors signified that this plain farmer had been invested with all the power of the former kings.
"Historic Tales, Volume 11 (of 15)" by Charles Morris
The lictors await me at the city gate.
"Historic Boys" by Elbridge Streeter Brooks
He has his "lictors" with him still.
"The Life of Cicero" by Anthony Trollope
But his head did not fall under the axe of the lictors, as in the ancient Roman triumphs.
"The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI" by Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies
He is the Dai Tengu's lictor.
"Japanese Fairy World" by William Elliot Griffis
The condemned slave and his guards had proceeded some distance, when a litter, preceded by a lictor, was seen approaching.
"Jovinian" by W.H.G. Kingston
Lictor, part the twain!
"Virginia, A Tragedy" by Marion Forster Gilmore
All disposition to dance, however, was forgotten upon the arrival of lictors bearing an official missive.
"The Black Poodle" by F. Anstey
What we learn of the Centurion, the Triumvir, and the Lictor, is very trifling.
"Deformities of Samuel Johnson, Selected from his Works" by Anonymous
Others were employed as lictors, jailers, executioners, etc.
"The Private Life of the Romans" by Harold Whetstone Johnston
***

In poetry:

Our strength the clustered seasons tax,--
For him new life they mean;
Like rods around the lictor's axe
They keep him bright and keen.
"To James Freeman Clarke" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
The Lictors with their fasces throng
To quell the Commons' rising roar,
As Tullia's chariot flames along,
Splashed with her murdered father's gore.
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
"See! the pontiff cometh near,
Fly, my own, thou canst be free!
Seek thy unknown passage drear, — Lucius, think not of me!
Vain! the lictors bind him fast,
They have stilled his voice at last.
"The Vestal Virgin" by Eloise Alberta Bibb