Lictors were officials who served the Roman magistrates, originally, only those with imperium
. They proceeded the magistrates in single file, carrying the fasces on their shoulders. One of the jobs of the lictors was the inflicting of punishments on citizens, which was sometimes done with the fasces
. Another job was to make way for the magistrates. The number of lictors depended on the rank of the magistrate. Lictors also proceeded Vestal Virgins
says 24 lictors preceded the dictator. Twelve lictors preceded a consul, and 2 walked before the praetor.