Praetors were "curule magistrates" and had imperium, and consequently were one of the magistratus maiores: but they owed respect and obedience to the consuls. They were accompanied by six lictors and performed mainly judicial functions.
Originally there was one praetor elected as minor colleague to the consules.
The praetor could command the armies of the state; and while the consuls were absent with the armies, he exercised their functions within the city.
The Latin word "praetor" means literally "who goes before", "who precedes" and we can translate it as "president", "leader" and "commander".