Sorry, but remembering references to "praetor" in TNG it sounded like he was the head of the Romulan Star Empire and the producers probably went for a title that definitely had Roman allusions (i.e. "praetor" instead of "emperor").
Sounds like a great idea to me and is possibly the analogy the producers had in mind!
The whole Romulan mission in "Balance of Terror" reminded me a lot of the Doolittle Raid
on Tokyo during WW II.
While a bigger Romulan carrier ship would have been detected, a small few man fighter (...) could have penetrated the Earth Outpost defense line and did so.
This could / would also explain the sole use of impulse power for that small vessel if there was a warp-capable mothership waiting to pick it up upon return. Ain't that an explanation that could make everyone happy?