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magistrate with two lictors (©!!)
Roman magistrate, former consul in charge of a province.
Like a propraetor, the proconsul was someone who acted as if (pro) he were an official magistrate. He could have all the powers of a consul, but was, in fact, a former consul whose term in office was prolonged (prorogatio).
This magistracy was 'invented' in the last quarter of the fourth century BCE: if a war lasted a long time and needed more than two commanders, the consuls of the preceding year stayed in offices 'as if they were consuls'. This custom became popular during the war against Hannibal; an innovation was the appointment of private citizens as proconsuls (i.e., people who were not former magistrates). The oldest example is Publius Cornelius Scipio, who received this rank to conduct the war in Hispania (211).