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After Caesar Augustus gained complete control in 27 B.C. and became the first Roman Emperor, he established the Praetorian Guard for his personal protection. Over the next three centuries, the Guard exploited its nexus to the seat of power for its own interest and aggrandizement. Most notably, the Praetorians schemed and interfered with Roman politics to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors.
In 193 A.D., Emperor Septimius Severus tried to disband the Praetorian Guard, but his reorganization of the Guard did not last as it regained power after his death. In 306 A.D., amidst turmoil among a tetrarchy of Roman emperors, the Praetorians turned to Maxentius and proclaimed him their emperor. In 312 A.D., Constantine the Great defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge to gain control of the Western Roman Empire. After the death of Maxentius at the battle, Constantine put an end to the Praetorian Guard by destroying their barracks and dispatching their soldiers to the outskirts of the Roman Empire.