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PLEBISCITUM 100.00%

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The Roman name for a decree of the comitia tributa. For more See COMITIA (3).
 
COMITIA 100.00%

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The popular assemblies of the Romans, summoned and presided over by a magistratus. In the comitia the Roman people appeared as distributed into its political sections, for the purpose of deciding, in the exercise of its sovereign rights, upon the business brought before it by the presiding magistrate. The comitia must be distinguished from the contiones. The contiones were also summoned and presided over by a magistrate, but they did not assemble in their divisions, and they had nothing to do but to receive the communications of the magistrate. In all its assemblie at Rome, the people remained standing. The original place of meeting was the comitium, a part of the forum. There were three kinds of comitia, viz.: (1) The Comitia Curiata. This was the assembly of the patricians in their thirty curice, who, until the change of the constitution under Servius Tullius, constituted the whole populus Romanus. During the regal period they were summoned by the rex or interrex, who brought before them questions to be decided Aye or No. The voting was taken first in each curia by heads, and then according to curiae, in an order determined by lot. The business within the competence of this assembly was: (a) to elect a king proposed by the interrex; (b) to confer upon the king the imperium, by virtue of the lex curiata de imperio; (c) to decide on declarations of war, appeals, arrogationes (see ADOPTION), and the reception of foreign families into the body of the patricians. The Servian constitution transferred the riaht of declaring aggressive war, and the right of deciding appeals, to the Comitia Centuriata, which, from this time onward, represented the people, now composed of both patricians and plebeians. After the establishment of the Republic, the Comitia Curiata retained the right (a) of conferring, on the proposal of the senate, the imperium on the magistrates elected by the Comitia Centuriata, and on the dictator elected by the consuls; (b) of confirming, likewise on the proposal of the senate, the alterations in the constitution decided upon by the Comitia Centuriata, and Tributa. The extinction of the political difference between Patricians and Plebeians destroyed the political position of the Comitia Curiata, and the mere shadow of their rights survived. The assembly itself became an unreality, so much so that, in the end, the presence of the thirty lictores curiati, and three augurs, was sufficient to enable legal resolutions to be passed (see LICTORS). But the Comitia Curiata retained the powers affecting the reception of a non-patrician into the patrician order, and the powers affecting the proceeding of arrogatio, especially in cases where the transition of a patrician into a plebeian family was concerned. Evidence of the exercise of these functions on their part maybe traced down the imperial period. The Comitia Calata were also an assembly of the patrician curioe. They were so called because publicly summoned (calare). The pontifices presided, and the functions of the assembly were: (a) to inaugurate the flamines, the rex sacrorum, and indeed the king himself during the regal period. (b) The detestatio sacrorum, previous to an act of arrogatio. This was the formal release of a person passing by adoption into another family from the sacra of his former family (see ADOPTION). (c) The ratification of wills twice a year; but this applies only to an early period. (d) The announcement of the calendar of festivals on the first day of every month. (2) Comitia Centuriata. The assembly of the whole people, patrician as well as plebeian, arran ged according to the centurioe established by Servius Tullius. The original founder of the comitia centuriata transferred to them certain political rights which had previously been exercised by the comitia curiata. It was not, however, until the foundation of the Republic, when the sovereign power in the state was transferred to the body of citizens, that they attained their real political importance. They then became the assembly in which the people, collectively, expressed its will. The right of summoning the comitia centuriata originally belonged to the king. During the republican period it belonged, in its full extent, to the consuls and the dictator alone. The other magistrates possessed it only within certain limits. The interrex, for instance, could, in case of there being no consuls, summon the comitia centuriata to hold an election, but he could summon them for this purpose only. The censors could call them together only for the holding of the census and the lustrum; the praetors, it may be conjectured, only in the case of capital trials. In all other instances the consent of the consuls, or their authorisation, was indispensable. The duties of the comitia centuriata during the republican period were as follows: (a) To elect the higher magistrates, consuls, censors, and praetors. (b) To give judgment in all the capital trials in which appeal to the people was permitted from the sentence of the magistrate sitting in judgment. This popular jurisdiction was gradually limited to political trials, common offences being dealt with by the ordinary commissions. And in the later republican age the judicial assemblies of the comitia centuriata became, in general, rarer, especially after the formation of special standing commissions (quoestiones perpetuoe) for the trial of a number of offences regarded as political. (c) To decide on declaring a war of aggression; this on the proposal of the consuls, with the approval of the senate. (d) To pass laws proposed by the higher magistrates, with the approval of the senate. This right lost much of its value after 287 B.C., when the legislative powers of the comitia tributa were made equal to those of the comitia centuriata. After this time the legislative activity of the latter assembly gradually diminished. The comitia centuriata were originally a military assembly, and the citizens accordingly, in ancient times, attended them in arms. On the night before the meeting, the magistrate summoning the assembly took the auspices on the place of meeting, the Campus Martius. If the auspices were favourable, signals were given, before daybreak, from the walls and the citadel by the blowing of horns, summoning the citizens to a contio. The presiding magistrate offered sacrifice, and repeated a solemn prayer, and the assembly proceeded to consider the business which required its decision. Private individuals were not allowed to speak, except with the consent of the presiding magistrate. At his command the armed people divided themselves into their centurioe, and marched in this order to the Campus Martius, preceded by banners, and headed by the cavalry. Arrived at the Campus, they proceeded to the voting, the president having again put the proposal to the people in the form of a question ("Do you wish?" "Do you command?") While the voting was going on, a red flag stood on the Janiculum. The equites, who in ancient times used to begin the battles in war, opened the voting, and their eighteen centuries were therefore called proerogativoe. The result of their vote was immediately published, and, being taken as an omen for the voters who were to follow, was usually decisive. Then came the 175 centuries, 170 of which composed the five classes of infantry in their order. Each centuria counted as casting one vote; this vote was decided by a previous voting within the centuria, which was at first open, but in later times was taken by ballot. If the 18 centuries of equites, and the 80 centuries of the first class, with whom went the two centuries of mechanics (centuroe fabrum), were unanimous, the question was decided, as there would be a majority of 100 centuries to 93. If not, the voting went on until one side secured the votes of at least 97 centuries. The lower classes only voted in the rare cases where the votes of the higher classes were not united. The proceedings concluded with a formal announcement of the result on the part of the presiding magistrate, and the dismissal of the host. If no result was arrived at by sunset, or if unfavourable omens appeared during the proceedings, or while the voting was going on, the assembly was adjourned until the next convenient occasion. This form of voting gave the wealthier citizens a decided advantage over the poorer, and lent an aristocratic character to the comitia centuriata. In the 3rd century B.C. a change was introduced in the interest of the lower classes. Each of the thirtyfive tribus, or districts, into which the Roman territory was divided, included ten centurioe, five of iuniores and five of seniores. (For the five classes, see CENTURIA.) Thus each of the five classes included 70 centurioe, making 350 centurioe in all. To this number add the eighteen centurioe equitum, and the five centurioe not included in the propertied classes; namely, two of fabri (mechanics), two of tubicines (musicians), and one of proletarii and liberti (the very poor and the freedmen), and the whole number of centurioe amounts to 373. The centurioe, it must be remembered, had by this time quite lost their military character. Under this arrangement the 88 votes of the equites and the first classis were confronted with the 285 votes of the rest. Besides this, the right of voting first was taken from the equites and given to the centuria proerogativa chosen by lot from the first classis. The voting, it is true, was still taken in the order of the classes, but the classes were seldom unanimous as in former times; for the interests of the tribus, which were represented in each classis by two centurioe respectively, were generally divergent, and the centuries voted in the sense of their tribe. The consequence was that it was often necessary indeed, perhaps that it became the rule, at least at elections to take the votes of all the classes.[1] In old times the military arrangement was sufficient to secure the maintenance of order. But, after its disappearance, the classes were separated, and the centurioe kept apart by wooden barriers (soepta), from which the centurioe passed over bridges into an open inner space called ovile (sheep-fold). On the position of the comitia centuriata during the imperial age, see below. (3) Comitia Tributa. This was the collective assembly of the people arranged according to the local distribution of tribes (see TRIBUS). It must be distinguished from the concilium plebis, which was an assembly of the tribes under the presidency of plebeian magistrates, i.e., the tribuni and the oediles plebeii. As these magistrates had no right to summon patricians, the resolutions passed by a concilium plebis were (strictly speaking) only plebi scita. It was a lex centuriata of some earlier date than 462 B.C. that probably first made these resolutions binding on all the citizens, provided they received the approval of the senate. This approval was rendered unnecessary by the lex Hortensia of 287 B.C., and from that date onward the concilia plebis became the principal organ of legislation. The method of voting resembled that in the comitia curiata, and the regular place of meeting was the Comitium. No auspices were taken. From 471 B.C. the concilia plebis elected the tribuni and the oediles plebeii. Among the other functions of the concilia plebis were the following: (a) To give judicial decisions in all suits instituted by the tribunes and aediles of the plebs, for offences against the plebs or its representatives. In later times these suits were mostly instituted on the ground of bad or illegal administration. The tribunes and aediles had, in these cases, the power of inflicting pecuniary fines ranging up to a large amount. (b) To pass resolutions on proposals made by the tribunes of the plebs and the higher magistrates on foreign and domestic affairs, on the conclusion of peace, for instance, or the making of treaties. Their power was almost unlimited, and the more important because, strictly speaking, it was only the higher magistrates who required the authorization of the senate. Nor bad the senate more than the right of quashing a measure passed without due formalities. The comitia tributa, as distinguished from the concilia plebis, were presided over by the consuls, the praetors, and (in judicial cases) the curule aediles. Until the latter years of the Republic, the assembly usualy met upon the Capitol, and afterwards on the Campus Martius. The functions of the comitia tributa, gradually acquired, were as follows: (a) The election of all the lower magistrates, ordinary (as the tribuni plebis, tribuni militum, aediles plebis, aediles curules) and extraordinary, under the presidency partly of the tribunes, partly of the consuls or praetors. (b) The nomination of the pontifex maximus, and of the co-opted members of the religious collegia of the pontifices, augures, and decemviri sacrorum. This nomination was carried out by a committee of seventeen tribes chosen by lot. (c) The fines judicially inflicted by the concilia plebis required in all graver cases the sanction of the tribes. The comitia tributa were summoned at least seventeen days before the meeting, by the simple proclamation of a herald. As in the case of the comitia centuriata, business could neither be begun nor continued in the face of adverse auspices. Like the comitia centuriata too, the tribal assembly met at daybreak, and could not sit beyond sunset. If summoned by the tribunes, the comitia tributa could only meet in the city, or within the radius of a mile from it. The usual place of assembly was the Forum or the comitium (q.v.). If summoned by other authorities, the assembly met outside the city, most commonly in the Campus Martius. The proceedings opened with a prayer, unaccompanied by sacrifice. The business in hand was then discussed in a contio, (see above, p. 155a); and the proposal having been read out, the meeting was requested to arrange itself according to its thirty-five tribes in the soepta or wooden fences. Lots were drawn to decide which tribe should vote first. The tribe on which this duty fell was called principium. The result of this first vote was proclaimed, and the other tribes then proceeded to vote simultaneously, not successively. The votes given by each tribe were then announced in an order determined by lot. Finally, the general result of the voting was made known. The proposer of a measure was bound to put his proposal into due form, and publish it beforehand. When a measure came to the vote, it was accepted or rejected as a whole. It became law when the presiding magistrate announced that it had been accepted. The character of the comitia had begun to decline even in the later period of the Republic. Even the citizens of Rome took but little part in them, and this is still more true of the population of Italy, who had received the Roman citizenship in 89 B.C. The comitia tributa, in particular, sank gradually into a mere gathering of the city mob, strengthened on all sides by the influx of corrupt elements. The results of the voting came more and more to represent not the public interest, but the effects of direct or indirect corruption. Under the Empire the comitia centuriata and tributa continued to exist, in a shadowy form, it is true, down to the 3rd century A.D. Julius Caesar had deprived them of the right of deciding on war and peace. Under Augustus they lost the power of jurisdiction, and, practically, the power of legislation. The imperial measures were indeed laid before the comitia tributa for ratification, but this was all; and under the successors of Augustus even this proceeding became rarer. Since the time of Vespasian the emperors, at their accession, received their legislative and other powers from the comitia tributa; but this, like the rest, was a mere formality. The power of election was that which, in appearance at least, survived longest. Augustus, like Julius Caesar, allowed the comitia centuriata to confirm the nomination of two candidates for the consulship. He also left to the comitia centuriata and tributa the power of free election to half the other magistracies; the other half being filled by nominees of his own. Tiberius transferred the last remnant of free elective power to the senate, whose proposals, originating under imperial influence, were laid before the comitia for ratification. The formalities, the auspices, prayer, sacrifice, and proclamation, were now the important thing, and the measures proposed were carried, not by regular voting, but by acclamation.
 
PATRICIANS 36.51%

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(See GENS.) In the oldest times of Rome, the actual citizens who constituted the populus Romanus. They were divided into three tribes, --Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres, each consisting of ten curioe. (See CURIA.) The union of these latter formed the national assembly, the comitia curiata. (See COMITIA, 3.) Besides these there were originally only clientes, settlers enjoying no legal rights, with the citizens for their protectors (or patroni). Afterwards, when a new element of the population, endowed with partial citizenship, called the plebs (q.v.), sprang up from the settlement of subjugated Latin tribes, the patricii stood in contrast to them as old citizens possessing full rights. Later, the plebeians received a fuller citizenship through the centurial constitution framed by Servius Tullius (see CENTURIA), while they gained at the same time the right of voting in the comitia centuriata, composed of patricians and plebeians, together with the obligation of serving in the field and paying taxes, hitherto obligatory on the patricians alone. In contrast to the plebeians, the patricians thus formed a hereditary aristocracy, with the exclusive right to hold public offices, whether civil or religious. Nothing short of a decision by the comitia curiata could either remove any one from the patrician body or (on rare occasions) enrol a plebeian among the patricians. The contraction of marriages between patricians and plebeians was not allowed till 445 B.C. A violent struggle arose between the two parties, after the establishment of the Republic in 510 B.C., on the subject of the admission of the plebeians to State offices. This struggle lasted till 300 B.C., and the patricians were, step by step, forced to give up their exclusive right to one office after another. First of all, they had to give up the quaestorship (409), then the consulate (367), the dictatorship (356), the censorship (351), the praetorship (338), and finally the most important priestly offices, the pontificate and the augurship (300). Only politically unimportant offices were left reserved for them, the temporal office of interrex, and the priestly offices of rex sacrorum and the three flamines maiores. The political importance which the patrician comitia curiata possessed, through its right to confirm the decisions of the comitia centuriata, was lost in 286. The comitia tributa, in which the plebs had the preponderance, thus became the most important organ of the democracy. An aristocracy of holders of public offices was thus formed, consisting of the patricians together with the more important plebeian families. The members of such families, whether patrician or plebeian, were called nobiles. The number of patrician families dwindled greatly owing to the civil wars (on their number towards the end of the Republic, see GENS). Caesar and Augustus increased them by introducing plebeian families, and subsequent emperors gave the patriciate as a distinction. Under Constantine the Great, patricius became a personal title, which conferred a rank immediately below the consuls. The external distinctive marks of a patrician were the tunica laticlavia (see TUNICA) and a peculiar sort of shoe (see CALCEUS) adorned with an ivory crescent (lunula).
 
CONTIO 36.07%
The Latin name for any assembly summoned and presided over by a magistrate. A contio differed from the comitia in the following points: (1) The people were not divided into centuries or tribes. (2) The people did not vote, but were only there to receive communications made by the presiding magistrate or some other official or private individual, whom he allowed to address the meeting. All magistrates had the right of summoning contiones, but the tribunes took precedence of all others, and a higher magistrate took precedence of a lower. Contiones were usually summoned by public heralds (praecones) and generally met in the Forum. The comitia were immediately preceded by a contio, that the people might be prepared for the questions to come before them. If the comitia were to exercise judicial functions, it was a fixed rule that three contiones must be held previously for the purpose of investigation.
 
CLASSICUM 33.15%
The signal given by the bucina or horn for the meeting of the comitia centuriata at Rome, and for the meeting of the soldiers in camp, especially before they marched out to battle.
 
PROVOCATIO 32.64%

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The Roman term for the appeal from the verdict of the magistrate to the decision of the people. Under the kings the court of appeal was the comitia curiata; after Servius Tullius, the comitia centuriata. While, under the arbitrary rule of the kings, the right of appeal was allowed, on the establishment of the Republic, in 509 B.C., this was imposed on the consuls as a duty, and was repeatedly enjoined by special enactments in all cases where it was a question of life and death, or of corporal punishment. The appeal was only valid within the city, and the pomerium, but not in the camp. Moreover, no one could appeal against the dictator. When afterwards (454 B.C.), besides the consuls, the tribunes and aediles acquired the right of imposing a fine (multa, q.v.), a maximum limit was fixed for it, and if that was exceeded, there was an appeal to the comitia tributa. As this appeal was expected in all legitimate cases, trials of this kind were held immediately before the comitia concerned with such appeals; and after the verdict had been pronounced by the magistrate presiding, it was either confirmed or reversed by the votes of the people. About 195 B.C. the right of appeal was extended over the whole of Italy and the provinces. After permanent courts for certain offences had been established, the quoestiones perpetuoe (SeeQUAeSTIO), the jurisdiction of the people, and with it the appeal thereto, became more and more limited. For the provocatio under the Empire, See APPELLATIO.
 
CAMPUS MARTIUS 26.94%

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A plain lying to the north of Rome, outside the Pomerium, between the Tiber, the Quirinal and the Capitoline Hills. (See POMERIUM.) During the regal period it was part of the property of the Crown, and, after the expulsion of the kings, was dedicated to Mars. The northern part, on the banks of the Tiber, served as an exercise-ground for the Roman youth for athletics, riding, or military drill. The smaller part, next to the city, was used for the meetings of the Comitia Centuriata, and for holding the lustrum. In the midst of it stood an altar to Mars, which formed the centre of the ceremony of the lustrum, and of some other festivals held on the spot in honour of that deity. (See LUSTRUM.) Until the end of the republican age there was only one building on this part of the Campus, the Villa Publica. This was the residence assigned to foreign ambassadors and Roman generals on their return from war, to whom the senate granted audiences in the neighbouring temple of Bellona. But in B.C. 55 Pompeius erected in the Campus the first stone theatre built in Rome, with a great colonnade adjoining it. Here too Julius Caesar commenced his marble saepta, or inclosures for the Comitia Centuriate, with a great colonnade surrounding the ovile. (See COMITIA.) These were completed by Agrippa in 27 B.C. In B.C. 28, Octavianus Caesar added the Mausoleum, or hereditary burial-place of the Caesars, and Agrippa the Pantheon and the first Thermoe or Baths. Under the succeeding emperors a number of buildings rose here; for instance, Domitian's Race-course (Stadium) and Odeum. The rest of the Campus was left free for gymnastic and military exercises, the grounds being magnificently decorated with statues and colonnades. The altar survived until the last days of ancient Rome.
 
RENUNTIATIO 26.80%
The Roman term for the solemn and formal announcement of the names of the magistrates elected at the comitia by the votes of the people. The announcement was made by the returning officer who presided at the election, and was necessary to give validity to the election.
 
TRIBUS 26.13%
Originally the name of each of the three classes of Roman patricians (Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres), who were divided into ten curioe (q.v.). In direct contrast with this was the classification made by king Servius, whereby Roman citizens, together with the whole territory of Rome, were divided into four city (tribus urbanoe) and twenty-six country tribes (tribus rusticae). These were geographical divisions, according to which the census was taken, troops levied, and the war tax imposed and collected. From time to time the number was diminished; but it increased again until 241 B.C., when it was raised to thirty-five (four city and thirty-one country tribes), and this number remained fixed for the future, even under the Empire. The new citizens admitted after 241 were distributed amongst the existing tribes. This was the case with all the Italian communities, which in 89 B.C., by the extension of the citizenship to all dwellers in Italy, were included in the tribes. Every citizen (with the exception of those called oerarii, q.v.) belonged to some special tribe, to which he himself or his ancestors had been assigned, even when he no longer had his home there. Accordingly, in the official designation of a free citizen, the name of his tribe was added to his family names. Originally the country tribes were on an equality with those of the city, but subsequently they were deemed superior, on the ground that they consisted of owners of property in land, whilst the chief part of the city tribes was made up of merchants, workmen, and the proletariate, who possessed no landed property, and amongst whom freedmen were included. The tribes attained political importance on the establishment of the comitia tributa (q.v.), in which those present voted as individuals, and not as members of property-classes, as in the comitia centuriata. The comitia tributa thus had a democratic character. The importance of the tribes was further increased on the reform of the comitia centuriata (q.v.), since each of the thirty-five tribes was thereby divided into five property-classes, each consisting of two centurioe, seniores and iuniores. Under the Empire they lost all political importance; the country-tribes were used merely as geographical subdivisions, while the lists of the whole number of the thirty-five tribes were treated as a register for the distribution of the State doles of corn. Thus the tribes sank at last into corporate groups of pauperized citizens.
 
MULTA 18.20%
The Roman term for a fine, inflicted either by a magistrate for disobedience or insubordination, or at the motion of an official by the decision of the people at the comitia tributa, or prescribed in laws, wills, etc., in case any one contravened them. It originally consisted in cattle, sheep, or oxen; then, after B.C. 430, the Lex Iulia Papiria permitted the payment in money according to a fixed scale (a sheep = 10 asses, an ox = 100 asses). The lowest amount of the multa inflicted by a magistrate in virtue of his office was a sheep; when acts of disobedience were repeated, the fine could be raised to 30 oxen (suprema multa). Against heavier penalties, such, in particular, as were imposed by the tribunes of the people on account of political crimes, e.g. when a general had waged war unskilfully or had exceeded the limits of his power, an appeal to the comitia tributa was granted, and they were decided by that body in the regular legal manner. The fines imposed by the people were always, and those imposed by the magistrates usually, set apart for sacred purposes; otherwise they fell to the cerarium, as was the rule under the, Empire. This also received a part of the penalties fixed by laws, the other was given to the plaintiff. Fines for contravention of the clauses of a will were either paid to the funds of a temple or to the community to which the testator belonged, and at Rome to the cerarium.
 
INTERREGES 16.88%
The name given by the Romans to the senators who, between the death of one king and the election of another, held regal authority, during the interregnum, for successive periods of five days each. One of these interreges had to conduct the election itself. Even under the Republic an interrex was nominated by the senate to hold the comitia for the election of consuls, whenever the consuls had died, or resigned, or if the election had not been completed by the end of the year. If five days did not suffice, the retiring interrex named another to succeed him.
 
CONSULES 15.48%
The Roman consuls were the magistrates to whom the supreme authority was transferred from the kings, after the expulsion of the latter in 510 B.C. The consuls gave their name to the year. They were elected by the comitia centuriata, and, down to B.C. 366, from the Patricians only. The legal age at which a man might be elected was, in the time of Cicero, forty-three. The time of entering on the office varied in the early periods: in 222 B.C. it was fixed to March 15th, in 153 to the Ist of January. The accession of the now consuls was attended with the performance of certain ceremonies, among which may be mentioned a procession of the consuls to the Capitol, with the senate, equites, and other citizens of position, as escort; an offering of white bulls to Jupiter, and the utterance of solemn vows. The consuls were the representatives of the royal authority, and consequently all other magistrates were bound to obey them, with the exception of the tribunes of the plebs and the dictator. During a dictatorship their powers fell into abeyance. In the city their authority was limited by the right of appeal to the people, and the veto of the tribunes. But in the army, and over their subordinates, they had full power of life and death. Some of their original functions passed from them in course of time. Thus in 444 B.C. the business of the census was made over to the Censors; in 366 the civil jurisdiction within the city, so far as it included the right of performing the acts of adoption, emancipation, and liberation of slaves, was transferred to the praetors. In the field, however, having the criminal jurisdiction in their hands, they had also the right of deciding in civil cases affecting the soldiers. In the general administration of public business the consuls, although formally recognised as the supreme authority, gradually became, in practice, dependent upon the senate and the comitia, as they ad only the power of preparing the resolutions proposed, and carrying them out if accepted. Within the city, their powers were virtually confined to summoning the senate and comitia, and presiding over their meetings. They also nominated the dictators, and conducted the elections and legislation in the comitia, and the levies of soldiers. After the office of dictator fell into abeyance, the power of the consuls was, in cases of great danger, increased to dictatorial authority by a special decree of the senate. An essential characteristic of the consular office was that it was collegial; and therefore, if one consul died, another (called consul suffectus) was immediately elected. This consul suffectus had absolutely the same authority as his colleague, but he had to lay down his office with him at the end of the year for which the two had been originally elected. The power of the two consuls being equal, the business was divided between them. In the administration of the city they changed duties every month, the senior taking the initiative. With regard to their insignia, namely, the toga proetexta, sella curulis, and twelve lictors, the original arrangement was that the lictors walked in front of the officiating consul, while the other was only attended by an accensus. In later times the custom was for the lictors to walk before the officiating consul, and behind the other. In the field, each consul commanded two legions with their allied troops; if they were in the same locality, the command changed from day to day. The question of the administration of the provinces they either settled by consent, or left it to be decided by lot. With the extension of the empire the consuls became unable to undertake the whole burden of warfare, and the praetors were called in to assist. The provinces were then divided into constilar and praetorian ; the business of assignment being left to the senate, which, after the year 122, was bound to make it before the elections. In the last century B.C. a law of Sulla, deprived the consuls of an essential element of their authority, the military imperium; for it enacted that the consuls should spend their year of office in Rome, and only repair to the provinces and assume the imperium after its conclusion. In the civil wars the consular office completely lost its old position, and though it continued to exist under the Empire, it became, practically, no more than an empty title. The emperors, who often held the office themselves, and sometimes, like Caesar, for several years in succession, had the right of nominating the candidates, and therefore, in practice, had the election in their own hands. It became usual to nominate several pairs of consuls for one year, so as to confer the distinction on as many persons as possible. In such cases, the consuls who came in on January 1st, after whom the year was named, were called consules ordinarii, the consules suffecti counting as minores. Until the middle of the 1st century A.D., it was a special distinction to hold the consulship for a whole year; but after that no cases of this tenure occur. In time the insignia, or ornamenta consularia, or honorary distinctions of the office, were given, in certain degrees, even to men who had not been consuls at all. The chief duties of the consuls now were to preside in the senate, and conduct the criminal trials in which it had to give judgment. But, besides this, certain functions of civil jurisdiction were in their hands; notably the liberation of slaves, the provision for the costly games which occurred during their term of office, the festal celebrations in honour of the emperor, and the like. After the seat of empire was transferred to Constantinople, the consulate was, towards the end of the 4th century, divided between the two capital cities. The consulate of the western capital came to an end in 534 A.D., that of the eastern in 541. From that time the Emperor of the East bore the title of consul perpetuus.
 
CURIA 15.45%
The name of the thirty divisions into which the three tribus of the Roman patricians were divided for political and religious objects. Every curia contained a number of gentes, supposed to be exactly ten, and a president, curio, whose duty it was to look after its secular and religious business. At the head of all the curioe stood the Curio Maximus, who was charged with the notification of the common festivals Fordicidia and Fornacalia (see these words). The separate curiones were chosen by their respective curive, and the Curio Maximus was elected by the people in special comitia out of the number of curiones. For its special sacrifices every curia had its place of meeting, bearing the same name, with a hearth and dining-hall where the members met to feast and sacrifice. The plebeians seem to have been admitted to the sacrifices, which were offered on behalf of the whole people, and were paid for at the expense of the state (see further, COMITIA CURIATA). The term curia was also applied to certain houses intended for holding meetings, as, for instance, the official residence of the Salli on the Palatine, and especially the senate-house, Curia Hostilia, built by king Hostilius on the comitium, and burnt down 52 B.C. In its place Faustus Sulla, the son of the Dictator, erected the Curia Cornelia. Caesar interrupted the progress of this work to set up the Curia Iulia in its place. Then the senate met in the Curia Pompei, in the entrance-hall of Pompey's theatre, where Caesar was murdered. The Curia Iulia was not begun till 44 B.C., shortly before Caesar's death, and was consecrated in 29 by Augustus. (See plan of Roman Fora, under FORUM.)
 
MAGISTRATUS 14.95%

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A term used by the Romans both to designate the magistracy and the person who held it. The magistrates of the Republic were partly ordinary, chosen at regular intervals: consules, censores, praetores, adiles curules, quaestores, tribuni plebis, and aediles plebis; partly extraordinary, chosen only under special circumstances, the principal being dictator, magister equitum, and interrex. Among these the consuls, praetors, and dictator are distinguished from the others by the possession of the imperium (q.v.) derived from the regal power (the interrex had it for five days only); they and the censors, who, without possessing the imperium, derived their duties from the regal power, constitute the higher magistrates, magistratus maiores, while the rest are the lower, minores, with the exception of the tribunes, who have a position of their own. For those offices, which could originally be held by patricians alone, the term patrician was preserved, even after they had become accessible to the plebeians. The plebeian offices also, the tribunate and plebeian aedileship, do not designate any political contrast after plebeians and patricians had been made legally equal, although only plebeians could hold them. Another distinction is that into magistratus curules and non curules, which refers to the right of having a aella curulis (q.v.). This and the toga praetexta, a white toga edged with purple, were accorded to the higher magistrates, the aediles curules and the magister equitum. Only the magistratus cum imperio and the magister equitum were permitted to have lictors with the fasces (q.v.). All the magistrates were elected, except the dictator and the magister equitum; the magistratus maiores at the comitia centuriata, the rest at the comitia tributa. Every magistrate had the right to call the people to a contio (q.v.), to issue edicts, which had the force of laws as long as his authority (potestas) lasted, to take auspices which were binding for the district within his jurisdiction, and to exercise a limited right of punishment; the higher magistrates and the tribunes had the power, generally speaking, of convoking the comitia and the senate (cp. IMPERIUM). The power of the magistrates was limited by the senate, the intercession of the tribunes and of magitrates of equal or higher rank, the right of appeal of the citizens, and the liability to give account after retirement from office; for no charge could be brought, at any rate against the higher magistrates, as long as they held it. The following were the conditions for obtaining an office : (1) Personal application before the election, the right of rejection being in the hands of the magistrate who directed them (a consul in the case of the higher magistrates, a tribune for the plebeian, a consul-afterwards also the praetor of the city-for the rest). (2) Eligibility, dependent on membership of a citizen family, full possession of personal liberty and honorary rights (See INFAMIA), and the absence of bodily blemish (note also that patricians could not hold plebeian offices). (3) A minimum age for each office, at first according to a certain tradition, then regulated by law, so that in Cicero's time a candidate for the quaestorship had to be in his 30th year at least; in his 37th for the curule aedileship; in his 40th for the raestorship; and in his 43rd for the consulship. (4) At this time also the traditional order of the above-mentioned offices was considered law, and a man was compelled to hold the lower office before he could proceed to the higher, except that the aedileship could be neglected, (6) An interval of two years had to elapse between the aedileship, praetorship, and consulate, and of one year between the tribunate and any other office. (6) Ten years had to elapse before the same office could be held again; in this, and with regard to age, order of offices, and intervals between them, exceptions were permitted under special circumstances. The date of the elections was fixed by the senate; in Cicero's time they usually took place in July [Ad Att. i 16; Ad Fam. viii 4]. From B.C. 153 the magistrates, whose names were solemnly announced (renuntiatio) at the end of the elections, mostly entered upon' their office on January 1st. (See articles on the individual magistrates.) Just as on this occasion they swore to keep the laws, so at the end of their term of office, which was a year, except in the case of the censors, the dictator, and the magister equitum, (q.v.), they affirmed on oath before a contio, that they had done nothing contrary to the laws. The officials elected to an office vacated before the end of the year (suffecti) simply held it for the remainder of that year. The only thing that could legally compel a magistrate to resign before the end of his time was a formal error in the taking of the auspices at the elections. The magistrates received no salaries whatsoever, but they were indemnified for official expenses within the town (e.g. for the games) or without it; those officials more especially who were going to the provinces as procurators received a sufficient sum from the treasury for their equipment and the support of themselves and their suite. Under the Empire the old magistracies continued to exist, though their authority was considerably limited; cp, the several articles, and for their election, see COMITIA (end). Besides these, numerous new offices came into existence, especially the various praefecti (q.v.), some of whom received an actual salary. The magistracies were completely remodelled by Diocletian and Constantine, especially with regard to their pay; all imperial officials received salaries, while the municipal did not. Cp. the several articles mentioned in the beginning.
 
CENTURIA 13.18%

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In the Roman army of the regal period the centuria was a division of 100 cavalry soldiers. In the half-military constitution of Servius Tullius the word was applied to one of the 193 divisions into which the king divided the patrician and plebeian popolus according to their property, with the view of allotting to each citizen is due share of civil rights and duties. Of the 193 centuriae 18 consisted of cavalry soldiers (100 each) belong in to the richest class of citizens. The next 170, whose members were to serve as infantry, fell into five classes. The first 80 included those citizens whose property amounted to at least 100,000 asses. The second, third, and fourth, containing each 20 centuries, represented a minimum property of 75,000, 60,000 and 25,000 asses respectively. The fifth, with 30 centuries, represented a minimum of 12,500, 11,000 or 10,000 asses. These 170 centuriae were again divided into 85 centuries of iuniores, or men from 18-45 years of age, who served in the field; and 85 of seniores, citizens from 46 to 60 years of age, who served on garrison duty in the city. Besides these there were 2 centuries of mechanics (fabrum), and 2 of musicians (cornicinum, and tubicinum). The centuriae fabrum were enrolled between the first and second class: the centuriae cornicinum and tubicinum between the fourth and fifth. The 193d centuria consisted of citizens whose income fell below the minimum standard of the rest, and who were called proletarii or capite censi. These last had originally no function beyond that of voting at the assembly of the citizens in the comitia centuriata, and were not liable to military service. But in later times the richer among them were admitted to serve in the army. A fresh division of centuriae was made at every census. The military equipment of each citizen, and his position in battle array, was determined by the class to which his property entitled him to belong. (See LEGION.) On the political position of the different classes see COMITIA (2). In military pariance centuria meant one of the 60 divisions of the legion, each of which was commanded by a centurio.
 
PARRICIDE 12.16%

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A term used among the Romans for the murder of any relative with whom one is united by bonds of blood or duty, but sometimes also for treason and rebellion against one's country. In earlier times the examination in trials for homicide was conducted by two quoestores parricidii, on whom it was also incumbent to bring the accusation before the comitia for trial. Sulla transferred the decision in all cases of parricide to a standing tribunal (see QUAeSTIO PFRPETUA, which had also to try cases of assassination and poisoning. The punishment for parricide was drowning in a leathern sack (culleus), into which were sewn, besides the criminal, a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape [Cicero, Rosc. Am. 70; Juvenal viii 214]. The murder of relations in other degrees of relationship was punished by exile (interdictio aquoe et ignis). See EXILIUM.
 
VIGINTISEXVIRI 12.13%
The collective name given at Rome to twenty-six officers of lower rank (magistrutus minores). They were divided into six different offices, and were originally nominated by the higher officers to be their assistants, but were subsequently chosen by the people at the comitia tributa, and it was by this appointment that they first became magistrates proper. The term included (1) Iudices decemviri (ten-men judges), or decemviri (st)litibus iudicandis (ten-men for the decision of disputed suits), originally named by the tribunes to inquire into those civil suits in which their assistance had been invoked in certain appeals from the decision of the consuls. Afterwards the decision of such cases was left to them by the consuls from the very commencement. In time their relations with the tribunes grew less close, and they became judicial magistrates, who were probably chosen in the comitia tributa, under the presidency of the proetor urbanus. Of their functions in detail, little more is known from the time of the Republic than that they decided actions for freedom, and that they made the arrangements for the trials heard before the court of the centumviri. This latter duty they lost in the last days of the Republic, but it was restored to them by Augustus. (2) Quattuorviri iuri dicundo (four men for pronouncing judgment), whose duty it was to pronounce judgment at law in the ten towns of Campania, like the proefecti iuri dicundo, who were nominated by the praetor in the other municipalities; they survived only till the time of Augustus. (3) Tresviri nocturni (three men for night-service), originally servants of the consuls, who were responsible for the peace and safety of Rome by night, especially in respect of danger by fire. When to this duty was added that of investigating criminal charges, they became regular magistrates under the title tresviri capitales. In this capacity they had. to track out escaped criminals, to examine prisoners under the authorization of the higher magistrates, to inspect the public, prison, and to superintend the carrying out of capital sentences and of corporal punishments. Hence prison-warders and executioners were placed under them. Under the Empire it was also their duty to burn offensive books. 1 (4) Tresviri monetales (three men for the mint), who had, under the Republic, the superintendence of the coinage of gold and silver, under the Empire that of the copper currency only. (5) Quattuorviri viis in urbe purgandis (four men for cleansing the streers in the city). And (6) Duoviri viis extra urbem purgandis (two for cleansing the streets outside the city), who were under the direction of the aediles. Under Augustus the duoviri last named disappeared as well as the quattuorviri iuri dicundo, and the collective name for the under - magistrates became vigintiviri (twenty men). These were chosen from the knights, and the office of the vigintivirate served as the preliminary step to the quaestorship.
 
AUSPICIA 12.00%

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In its proper sense the word means the watching of signs given by birds. But it was also applied to other signs, the observation of which was not intended to obtain answers about future events, but only to ascertain whether a particular proceeding was or was not acceptable to the deity concerned. It must be remembered that, according to Roman ideas, Jupiter gave men signs of his approval or disapproval in every undertaking; signs which qualified persons could read and understand. Any private individual was free to ask for, and to interpret, such signs for his own needs. But to ask for signs on behalf of the State was only allowed to the representatives of the community. The auspicia publica populi Romani, or system of public auspicia, were under the superintendence of the college of augurs. (See AUGUR.) This body alone possessed the traditional knowledge of the ceremonial, and held the key to the correct interpretation of the signs. The signs from heaven might be asked for, or they might present themselves unasked. They fell into five classes: (1) Signs given by birds (signa ex avibus). These, as the name auspicia shows, were originally the commonest sort, but had become obsolete as early as the 1st century B.C. (For the ceremonial connected with them, see AUGUR.) (2) Signs in the sky (ex coelo). The most important and decisive were thunder and lightning. Lightning was a favourable omen if it appeared to the left of the augur, and flashed to the right; unfavourable, if it flashed from right to left. (See AUGUR.) In certain cases, as, for example, that of the assembling of the comitia, a storm was taken as an absolute prohibition of the meeting. (3) Signs from the behaviour of chickens while eating. It was a good omen if the chicken rushed eagerly out of its cage at its food and dropped a bit out of its beak; an unfavourable omen if it was unwilling, or refused altogether, to leave its cage, or flew away, or declined its food. This clear and simple method of getting omens was generally adopted by armies in the field, the chickens being taken about in charge of a special functionary (pullarius). (4) Signs given by the cries or motion of animals, as reptiles and quadrupeds, in their course over a given piece of ground (signa pedestria or ex quadrupedibus). (5) Signs given by phenomena of terror (signa ex diris). These might consist in disturbances of the act of auspicatio, such as the falling of an object, a noise, a stumble, a slip in the recitation of the formula; or a disturbance occurring in the course of public business, such as, for instance, an epileptic seizure taking place in the public assembly; an event which broke up the meeting. The two last-mentioned classes of signs were generally not asked for, because the former were usually, the latter always, unlucky. If they made their appearance unasked, they could not be passed over, if the observer saw them or wished to see them. Every official was expected to take auspices on entering upon his office, and on every occasion of performing an official act. Thus the words imperium and auspicium were often virtually synonymous. The auspicia were further divided, according to the dignity of the magistrate, into maxima ("greatest") and minora ("less"). The greatest auspicia were those which weretaken by the king, dictator, consuls, praetors, and censors; the lesser were taken by aediles and quaestors. If two magistrates, though collegoe (colleagues) were of unequal dignity-supposing, for instance, that a consul and praetor were in the same camp-the higher officer alone had the right of taking the auspices. If the collegoe were equal, the auspices passed from one to the other at stated times. No public act, whether of peace or war (crossing a river, for instance, or fighting a battle), could be undertaken without auspices. They were specially necessary at the election of all officials, the entry upon all offices, at all comitia, and at the departure of a general for war. They had, further, to be taken on the actual day and at the actual place of the given undertaking. The whole proceeding was so abused that in time it sank into a mere form. This remark applies even to the auspices taken from lightning, the most important sign of all. For the flash of lightning, which was in later times regularly supposed to appear when a magistrate entered upon office, was always (after the necessary formalities) set down as appearing on the left side. Moreover, the mere assertion of a magistrate who, had the right of auspicium that he had taken observations on a particular day, and seen a flash of lightning, was constitutionally unassailable; and was consequently often used to put off a meeting of the comitia fixed for the clay in question. Augustus, it is true, tried to rehabilitate, the auspicia, but their supposed religious foundation had been so thoroughly shaken, that they had lost all serious significance.
 
TRIBUNI MILITUM 11.10%
The superior officers of the Roman legions, six in number, two of whom always held the command for two months on alternate days. They were appointed before the levy took place, as they themselves had to be in office at that time. Originally they were nominated by the consuls; afterwards partly by them and partly by the people, inasmuch as the people elected twenty-four out of the number of candidates in the comitia tributa for the four legions which were levied regularly every year, while the consuls retained the appointment for the remaining legions. They were not as a rule taken from veteran centurions, but for the greater part from young men of senatorial or equestrian rank, who had served their first campaign in the train or on the staff of a general, and then began their political career with this office. As a mark of distinction, all of them wore the gold ring of the equestrian order. They also wore a narrow or broad purple stripe on their toga, according as they were of equestrian or senatorial rank respectively. In the time of the Empire, they always led the legion on the march and in battle. They did not, however, as under the Republic, rank immediately below the commanders-in-chief, but under the legatus legionis, the commander of the legion and its auxiliary troops.
 
PERDUELLIO 10.93%
The Roman term for all acts whereby an individual within the State showed himself an enemy, perduellis, of the established constitution. It included attempts at despotic power, usurpation or abuse of magisterial powers (e.g. the execution of a citizen), violation of the sanctity of the tribuni plebis, etc. In the time of the kings, the king himself tried crimes of the kind, or handed over the decision to two deputies appointed in each instance by himself, duo viri capitales or perduellionis, from whom an appeal lay to the people; after Servius Tullius, to the comitia centuriata. Under the Republic duo viriwere still appointed as presiding judges, till this gradually fell into disuse, and trials of the kind came in general to be dealt with by the popular court. In earlier times the penalty was death by hanging on a tree, by throwing from the Tarpeian Rock, or by beheading; later, banishment, and after the tribunes brought cases of perduelliobefore the omitia tributa, fines as well. From the latter half of the 2nd century B.C. the less important cases began to be treated as offences of maiestas; and by Caesar's Julian law, 46 B.C., all cases of perduellio were included under this name. (See also MAIESTAS.)
 
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