The praetors were one of the higher ranking magistrates of the Roman Republic, who served as either the commander of an army or judicial administrator. There were eight of them elected every year by the Centuriate Assembly (Latin comitia centuriata), and they served as judges, wielding immense power. Most influential politicians of the Roman Republic, like Cicero, Crassus, Cato, Pompey, Gaius Marius and Julius Caesar, served as praetor sometime in their career as being one was a necessary step in the cursus honorum.
The leaders of Camp Jupiter, there can be only two praetors at a time, one male and one female, acting as the leaders in all of the legion's affairs, including battles. In this way, praetors in New Rome seem more like consuls. The only known surviving legion of the empire is the Twelfth Legion Fulminata
Jason Grace declares, during the battle against Porphyrion, that he is the praetor of the First Legion. However, the First Legion directly pertains to the original Roman legion. He slowly regains his memory and remembers the demigods from his cohort including Hazel Levesque and his co-praetor, Reyna Avila Ramírez-Arellano.
It is explained in greater detail that Jason had become praetor after his successful defeat of Krios. This brought honor back to the Fifth Cohort, of which Jason was a part of. One month later, during the events of The Lost Hero, Jason was swapped with Percy Jackson by Hera who planned to unite the two camps. Octavian, having no progress as to Jason's status, takes the opportunity to question Reyna's decision to put the election of another praetor to replace Jason on hold. Reyna, knowing that Camp Jupiter is to be attacked by Polybotes, decides that if by the Feast of Fortuna, Jason does not appear, a new praetor can be elected.
Upon returning from the quest to release Death, and after reacquiring the Roman standard and defeating Alcyoneus, Percy returns to camp, along with Hazel and Frank Zhang, as the standard-bearer. Upon Percy's defeat of Polybotes, the Romans raise him on a shield and proclaim him praetor. In real life, this was not possible and praetors had to be elected. As his first decision in the senate, Percy orders that Camp Jupiter stand ready upon the arrival of the Argo II, to greet his old friends, the Greeks.
Shortly after Jason arrives back at Camp Jupiter, he reunites with Reyna and is introduced to the newly elected praetor in his place, Percy. During a meeting between Roman and Greek demigods, Octavian points out that with the return of Jason, the camp currently has three praetors instead of the usual two. Percy and Jason both point out that currently they both outrank him and order Octavian to hold his tongue. Percy then offers to step down to allow Jason to return to his old position as if it is no big deal, something that greatly upsets Octavian. After Percy and Jason are forced to flee camp because an eidolon possesses Leo Valdez to attack the Roman Legion, Reyna is once again burdened to lead the camp by herself as the only praetor.
Despite Reyna's position, the attack undermines her authority and Octavian is able to successfully agitate for war with Reyna unable to reel him in.
Although Reyna continues to command the Twelfth Legion as the sole praetor, Octavian continues to undermine her power and agitate for an attack on Camp Half-Blood. Annabeth Chase manages to relay a message to Reyna through Rachel Elizabeth Dare and Grover Underwood asking her to travel to Rome and take the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood, her status as praetor meaning that the gesture of a Roman leader returning a stolen Greek statue could heal the divisions between the Greeks and Romans and the gods. Following Reyna's departure, Octavian is left in command as the next senior officer due to his position as the augur and he promptly begins ignoring Reyna's final orders to leave Camp Half-Blood alone until she returns.
While inside the House of Hades, Jason Grace, Nico di Angelo and Frank Zhang are ambushed by Gaea's monsters. Despite having Diocletian's Scepter, used to control the army of dead Roman legionaries, they are powerless: Nico is a Greek demigod, Jason changed too much to have proper Roman authority and Frank is just a centurion - he isn't important enough to command the entire Legion although he is able to get some of the undead soldiers to follow his commands. To save their lives and to break open the Doors of Death, Jason made his last order and, due to "emergency field promotion", made Frank into praetor as Jason officially resigns. This is illegal however but everybody just went along with it. Frank's new rank allows him to command the undead Legion and defeat the army of monsters guarding the House of Hades.
After the Seven reunites with Reyna, she learns of Frank's promotion to praetor, albeit technically of an undead Legion. Nevertheless, Reyna admits that Frank is someone that she could work with as a co-praetor and they just need to figure out how to convince the rest of the Legion to follow. The two then joke about how their first order of business will be to launch Octavian out of a catapult. Although Jason asks if Percy has an objections to Frank having the position as a former praetor, Percy is all too happy to let Frank have the job.
Octavian attempts to have Reyna arrested in his efforts to undermine her authority with both Bryce Lawrence and Michael Kahale trying. However, Nico di Angelo kills Bryce while Michael's heart doesn't seem to truly be into it and he is subdued by Tyson. Dakota and Leila acknowledge Reyna as their rightful leader since the Senate has not voted to have her removed from office and neither has Reyna resigned which makes her orders still lawful. The Fourth and Fifth Cohorts follow Reyna's commands relayed through the two centurions, but an increasingly insane Octavian attempts to use the fact that he has brought the Romans to the brink of victory over the Greeks to convince the Legion to follow him nevertheless with Will Solace trying to dissuade Octavian from forcing the legionaries to pick a side. Reyna's arrival with the Athena Parthenos, healing the division between the Greeks and the Romans, ends the power struggle and the Legion follows her and Frank into battle against Gaea's forces. Octavian's subsequent death prevents him from trying to usurp Reyna's power ever again.
During the events surrounding the Battle of San Francisco Bay, Reyna and Frank command the Legion together against the forces of Caligula, Commodus and Tarquin. Frank is apparently killed taking out the two emperors with Apollo's help, but he is ultimately discovered to have survived.
List of Known Praetors
- The symbol of a praetor is an eagle medal and a purple cape.
- The Fifth Cohort has housed five of the six known praetors: Jason Grace, Percy Jackson, Michael Varus, Frank Zhang, and Hazel Levesque.
- The four males are also the only known male praetors.
- Percy Jackson, Jason Grace, Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang have all been members of the Seven Demigods of the Second Great Prophecy
- Percy is the only known praetor to be promoted directly from the rank of a probatio, within 5 days of his arrival.
- A centurion must serve at least five years in the legion to qualify as a senator, and then graduate to praetor. The only three exceptions to this rule are Reyna (she served for only four years); Percy Jackson (promoted directly from probatio to praetor within a week of joining for defending Camp Jupiter and restoring the Legion's honor) and Frank Zhang (he was promoted from Probatio to Centurion in accordance with Mars' wishes despite serving for only six weeks. He also received emergency promotion to praetor by Jason Grace to take control of the ghost legion in the House of Hades).
- Only two praetors can be in office at the same time. The sole known exception is when Percy Jackson is raised to praetorship the day before Jason returned to Camp Jupiter. This resulted in Percy, Jason, and Reyna all having the rank of praetor. Before this could be resolved, Percy and Jason are forced to flee Camp Jupiter on the Argo II.
- Percy, Jason, Frank, Reyna, and Hazel have all entered the Mediterranean Sea, breaking Camp Jupiter's laws.
- Praetors can only be removed from power by a full vote of the Senate. Octavian attempts to circumvent this in The Blood of Olympus.
- In the days of the Roman Republic, praetors were among the highest authorities as judicial officials, second only to the consuls in power. The consul does not exist in New Rome, so praetors are the most powerful.