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MUNICIPIUM
Originally the Roman term for a town the inhabitants of which, called manicipes, only possessed tart of the rights of Roman citizenship, viz. the private rights of commercium and conubium, while they were excluded from the political rights, the ius suffragii and the ius honorum, the right to elect and to be elected to office. As Roman citizens, they did not serve (like the allies) in cohorts under a prefect, but in the legions under tribunes; they were, however, assigned to legions distinct from the others, since they were not inscribed on the lists of the Roman tribes, and therefore could not be levied in accordance with those lists. After the dissolution of the Latin League in B.C. 338, the allied towns were put into the position of municipia. At first there were two classes of municipia, according as they retained an independent communal constitution or not. The second class, which had no senate, magistrates, or popular assembly of its own, and was governed directly by Rome, consisted of the proefecturoe (q.v.). As the municipia gradually obtained the full rights of citizship, their nature changed; all persons were now called municipes, who did not belong to the town of Rome by birth, but were full Roman citizens, and hence belonged to a Roman tribe, were registered at Rome, could elect and be elected to office, and served in the Roman legions. The Lex Iulia of B.C. 90 made all the towns of Italy municipia with full civic rights, and every Italian country-town was now called a Roman municipium. Gradually the towns in the provinces received municipal rights, till finally Caracalla made all towns of the empire municipia. Originally one class of municipia had retained their own laws and their own constitution; this arrangement underwent a change when they were received into the Roman citizenship, inasmuch as the Roman law then became binding upon them, and a regularly organized administration on the Roman model was introduced. The citizens were divided into curice, and at their comitia curiata passed all kinds of decrees, and chose officers; most of these rights, however, passed into the hands of the local senate towards the end of the 1st century. This senate usually consisted of 100 life-members, called decuriones, and in every fifth year the vacancies were filled up from those who had held office or were qualified by their property. The highest officials were the duo viri, who were judges and presided at the assemblies of the people, especially at elections, and in the senate; the two quinquennales, chosen for a year, once in five years, and corresponding to the Roman censors; and qucestores and cediles, officials with similar duties to the Roman officials of the same name. (See MAGISTRATUS.) Besides the decuriones, whose position became hereditary at the end of the Empire, there were, under the heathen emperors, a second privileged class, known as Augustales, chosen by decree of the local senate and next to that body in rank. They made up a collegium, which was originally dedicated to the worship of the Julian family, and in later times seems to have also extended its functions to the worship of the other emperors. The decline of the municipal system, the prosperity of which had depended on the liberty and independence of the administration, set in at the end of the 2nd century after Christ, when the emperors began to transfer to the municipia the burdens of the State, and the decuriones gradually became mere imperial officials, who were more especially responsible for the collection of the tribute imposed.
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