lol, how the heck we drifted from ...... never mind.
Anyhow. I completly denie the claim, that Praetorians were somewhat more elite than trained legionaries. Over the entire rule, the possibility of a Roman soldier to be involved in an actual combat was 1 to 1.000, generaly speaking and leaving out the momentum of a greater event like a battle of course ..... But, the problem is. The Roman legionary would have far more combat experience then his elite counterpart who mainly trained on ghost enemies to improve his slash skills on wooden sculptures. I am pretty sure, they were rather specialized on killing political enemies and countering uprisings, rather than fighting real enemy armies. If the enemy was so succesful on the field against a Roman army that his units allready advanced against the emperors personel guard, well .... being stabbed by 100 swords wont give you much useful experience would it .... ? Even Napoleon's old guard was more active than those guys. We don't know a shit if they had so good morale to stand their ground to the end if it afforded. Keep in mind, that those individuals were involved in intrigues on several occasions. They were payed well, not harrased, ( maybe in exception of by Kaligula lol ) and had lot more privileges than a legionary, but at this time not really personaly bound to their emperor, but rather on the pay.
We are comparing a pure warrior culture with it's highest values and traditions, with an army relying on superior military tactics on open field and advanced equipement. But that is not the Macedonian phalanx with it's two hand heavy Sarissa, relying on sheer mass of men gathered in a tight box formation. We talk about a warrior cult, trained on the usage of most, if not all close combat weapons of that time, plus javelins and bows. Spartans used a much shorter spear, what gave them more flexibility and speed. Their shield was a great round shield, not a small shield used by other armies, to compensate their overall weight of pikes. That round shield was hardly penetratable by several pilas. If the pila succesfuly stuck in the shield to make it heavier, the spartan would have simply slashed it off and the standart equipment of the Praetorian on guard, was a single pila. Keep that in mind also. Even though, I did also consider the possibility of such an individual to have two spears.
The point of it is, that we talk about a 1 on 1 situation. The Roman uses a pila, not a bow. The pila was thought to brake a gap in the enemys large formations and is heavier than the javelin, what could be actually used by the Spartan. Let's say, the first throw misses the Spartan complety and the second one hits most likely nothing else, but the shield, if the Roman hits at all. Again, this is not a bow. Every untrained guy would have a good chance to step aside in time, if the guy stands some 4-7 meters away. The good thing about round shields is, that a weapon as is the pila, would simply glance off very easily if the shield was held in proper ancle. ( Aha, we remember: shape of tank armor ). When it comes to sword fight, the gladius was designed for stabbing mainly, but could also be very well used for slashing, hacking etc. However, the Spartan xhipos' design was not bound on specific rules actually and it's diverse shapes made it more effective for slashing, but was equaly good in stabbing. Just because the Praetorian Guard could use a giant scutum covering his entire body, does not mean he has more chances. BTW, that was often not the case, keep that in mind. Especially in later periods. The Spartan's shield provides equal cover when kneeling and could force the oponent to open a clear view on his body if he closed up and was suddenly teckled with enough power.
Yes, the Guard would most probably have his body covered better with armor, but it's mainly about any kind of injuries, not only cuts. If haters gonna call that even, still, the Spartan has more experience and will win this fight.