The Black Madonna 28: Lictor
Romulus, the first king of Rome, appointed 12 lictors to attend him. The lictors were bodyguards, strongly built men and often Centurions retired from the legion. They were assigned to Rome's emperors, magistrates and consuls. They carried fasces, bundles of wood sometimes including an axe with its blade emerging. This symbolized their power to, upon their master's command, punish Roman citizens and carry out capital punishment.
The number of lictors a magistrate commanded symbolized his "imperium", or power to command. The Roman emperors had 12, which was increased to 24 for Dictators.