Lictors

Binders (Latin, ligo, to bind or tie). These Roman officers were so called because they bound the hands and feet of criminals before they executed the sentence of the law. (Aulus Gellius.)

The lictors at that word, tall yeomen all and strong.
Each with his axe and sheaf of twigs, went down into the throng.

Macaulay: Virginia.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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