The Praetor's source of power has always been the Romulan fleet. In 2266, the Praetor sent his flagship across the Romulan Neutral Zone in an unprovoked attack on several border outposts. Decius, an officer aboard the Romulan vessel, sent the Praetor a message to update him on their mission. However, this broke the communication silence the ship was running under and he was reduced in rank as punishment. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")
Later, Hiren ascended to the position, which he held until 2379, when Shinzon, a Human clone raised as a Reman, had the entire Romulan Senate killed and assumed leadership of the Star Empire. However, he was killed the same year after his plan to annihilate Earth was uncovered. (Star Trek Nemesis)
|Praetors of the Romulan Star Empire|
|Colius • Unnamed (c. 2266) • Neral (c. 2374) • Hiren (c. 2379) • Shinzon (c. 2379)|
Like so much concerning the Romulans, "Praetor" is a term taken from the Roman Empire. There, a praetor was a magistrate and minister of justice, who presided over courts of law. The position was subordinate only to consuls in hierarchy of the Roman Republican Government, and was a prerequisite for eligibility to standing for election to the Consulate. The term also referred to an army commander. A praetor in Rome was automatically a member of the Senate.
In Star Trek, Ayel refers to Nero as "Prod Nero." According to the DVD commentary for the film, "prod" was intended to mean "praetor." In the deleted scene in which the Narada is surround by Klingon warbirds, however, the subtitles created by the filmmakers for the Romulan dialogue translate "prod" as "commander."
The copy of the Star Fleet Technical Manual accidentally transmitted to Earth in the 20th Century "Tomorrow is Yesterday" identified Karzan as the Praetor of the Romulan Empire who negotiated the First Algeron Peace Treaty with the UFP in the 22nd Century.
The novel Probe mentions that the Romulan praetor is "third in rank but first in power", technically subordinate to the Emperor and the Emperor's Legate, but in fact is the real ruler of the Empire.
Novels set after Nemesis establish that Tal'aura became praetor after Shinzon's death and that Commander Donatra declared herself empress, splitting the Empire into two fragments, the Romulan Star Empire and the Imperial Romulan State. Donatra was afterwards killed rejoining the Romulan Star Empire, this made it a dominant species in the Typhon Pact. Other Typhon Pact members then arranged the death of Tal'aura, who was succeeded by the moderate Gell Kamemor.
In the comic series Star Trek: Countdown, the Vulcan security forces in charge of the planet Vulcan's security are shown to be under the command of a Praetor named M'kan who is subordinate to the orders of the Vulcan High Command.