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PRAETEXTA OR PRAETEXTATA 100.00%
A class of Roman tragedies, which found its materials, not in the Greek myths, but, in the absence of native legendary heroes, in ancient and contemporary Roman history. The name was derived from the fact that the heroes wore the national dress, the toga praetexta, the official garb, edged with purple, of the Roman magistrates. Naevius introduced them, and, following his example, the chief representatives of tragic art under the Republic, Ennius, Pacuvius, and Accius, composed, in addition to tragedies imitated from Greek originals, independent plays of this kind, which were however cast in the form they had borrowed from the Greeks. We also hear of some plays of this class written by poets of imperial times. The solitary example preserved to us is the tragedy of Octavia, wrongly ascribed to Seneca (q.v.), which perhaps may date from 1 A.D. (Cp. TOGATA.)
 
MAGISTER EQUITUM 69.86%
The assistant of the dictator, nominated by him immediately after his own appointment, and bound to obey him unconditionally, representing him in his absence, or when otherwise prevented. He owed his name ("Master of the Horse") to the fact that it was part of his office to command the cavalry in battle, while the dictator was at the head of the infantry. As the insignia of his magistracy he had the sella curulis, the praetexta, and six lictors.
 
TOGATA 59.89%
[The general term for a play with an Italian plot and surroundings, including proetextatoe (tragedies) and tabernarioe (comedies). See Diomedes, p. 489, Keil, who makes it clear that the term togata is not confined to comedy, and that Horace, De Arte Poetica 288, is wrong in distinguishing togata from proetexta, as comedy from tragedy.] (See COMEDY, 2, andPRAeTEXTA.) [H.N.]
 
AEDILES 40.45%
The two Plebeian Aediles were appointed B.C. 494 at the same time with the Tribuneship of the Plebs, as servants of the Tribunes, and at first probably nominated by them till 471, when, like them and under their presidency, they began to be elected by the whole body of the Plebs. They took their name from the temple (aedes) of the plebeian goddess Ceres, in which their official archives were kept. Beside the Custody of the plebi-scita, and afterwards of the senatus-consulta, it was their duty to make arrests at the bidding of the tribunes; to carry out the death-sentences, which they passed? by hurling thecriminal down from the Tarpeian rock; to look after the importation of corn; to watch the traffic in the markets; and to organize and superintend the Plebeian and Roman Games. Like the tribunes, they could only be chosen from the body of the Plebs, and wore no badge of office, not so much as the toga praetexta, even after they became an authority independent of the tribunes.
 
ACCIUS, OR ATTIUS 38.57%
A Roman poet, who was born 170 B.C. of a freedman and freedwoman, at Pisaurum in Umbria, and died about 90 B.C. He was the most prolific and, under the Republic, the most highy esteemed of tragic poets, especially for his lofty, impassioned' style and powerful descriptions. His talents seem to have secured him a respectable position in Roman society, which he maintained with full consciousness of his merits. His poetical career can be traced through a period of thirty-six years, from B.C. 140, when he exhibited a drama under the same aedfles as the octogenarian Pacuvius, to B.C. 104. Of his tragedies, the titles and fragments of some fifty are preserved. Two of these treat of national subjects (see PRAeTEXTA), viz., the Brutus and the Decius The former dealt with the expulsion of the Tarquins; the latter with the heroic death of Decius at Sentinum, B.C. 295. The rest, composed after Greek models, embrace almost all cycles of legend, especially the Trojan, which is treated in a great variety of aspects. Accius likewise handled questions of grammar, literary history, and antiquities in the Alexandrine manner and the fashion of his own time and in many different metres. These works (the Didascalica in at least nine books; the Pragmatica on dramatic poetry and acting, etc.) have also perished.
 
AEDILES 20.66%
The Curule Aediles, from B.C. 366, were taken at first from the Patrician body alone, soon after from Patricians and Plebeians by turns, and lastly from either. Elected yearly in the comitia tributa under the presidency of a consul, they were, from the first, officers of the whole people, though low in rank; they sat in the sella curulis, from which they took their name, and wore as insignia the toga praetexta. As in rank so in the extent of their powers they stood above the Plebeian Aediles, being entitled to exercise civil jurisdiction in market business, where the latter could only impose, a fine. The functions of the two were very much alike, comprising: (i) the superintendence of trade in the market, where they had to test weights and measures, and the quality of goods; to keep down the price of provisions, both by prohibitive measures, especially against regraters of care, and by the purchase and liberal distribution of food (cura annonae); and, as regards the money-market, to prosecute those who transgressed the laws of usury; (ii) the care of the streets and buildings within the city and the circuit of a mile outside, by cleansing, paving, and improving the streets, or stirring up those who were bound to do it; by seeing that the street traffic was unimpeded; by keeping in repair the temples, public buildings, and works, such as sewers and aqueducts, and seeing that these latter and the fire-apparatus were in working order; (iii) a superintendence of health and morals, including the inspection of baths, taverns, and low houses, the putting down of all that endangered public order and decency, e.g. games of hazard, breaches of sumptuary laws, introduction of foreign religions, etc.; (iv) the exhibition of Games (of which the Roman and Megalensian devolved on the curule, the Plebeian on the plebeian aediles), the supervision of festivities at the feriae Latinae and at games given by private men. The cost of the games given by themselves they defrayed partly out of a sum set apart by the State, but utterly inadequate to the large demands of later times; partly out of the proceeds of fines which were also spent on public buildings, and partly out of their own resources. Thus the aedileship became an expensive luxury, and its enjoyment less and less accessible to men of moderate means. Ambitious men often spent incredible sums in getting lip games, to win the people's favour with a view to higher honours, though the aedileship was not necessary as a stepping-stone to these. In Cicero's time the legal age for the curule Ledileship was thirty-seven. From B.C. 366 their number was unchanged, till Caesar in B.C. 44 added two more, the Plebeian Aediles Ceriales, to whom alone the cura annonae and the management of the ludi Ceriales were entrusted. Under the Empire the office of aedile lost much in importance by some of its functions being handed over to separate officers, especially by the transference of its jurisdiction and its control of games to the praetors; and it fell into such contempt, that even Augustus had to make a tenure of it, or the tribuneship, a condition of eligibility to the praetorship; and succeeding emperors often had to fill it by compulsion. In the 3rd century A.D. it seems to have died altogether.
 
MAGISTRATUS 12.36%
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.
 
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