Little Dictionary of Roman Institutions


Karl Maurer,, (office) Carpenter 215, (phone) 972-721-5289



3          L i t t l e  P o l i t i c a l  D i c t i o n a r y  (assemblies, magistrates, social groups, etc.)


page:       App.:                                         A P P E N D I C E S:

39        A            Lawcourts

42        B            Roman Army

44        C            Provinces

50        D            Religious Offices

52        E            Festivals and Ludi

54        F            The Cursus Honorum

60        G            Sulla's Legislation (81-80 BC)

62        H            ‘Ambitus’ or Electoral Bribery

64        I            Magistrates' Decrees (Edicta)

67        J             Roman Dating and Proper Names

R e p u b l i c  v e r s u s  P r i n c i p a t e:

69        K             ‘Division of Powers’ in the Republic

73        L            ‘Principate’ & ‘Patronate’ in the Republic (Eric Voegelin)

76        M            Relation Between Republic and Principate

78        N            (I) Character & Strategy of the Principate; (II) of Augustus  (Gibbon)

88        O            Syme & Meier on the Disintegration of the Republic

C h r o n o l o g i e s:

91        P            83 - 48 BC: Career of C. Pompeius Magnus

96        Q            44 - 43 BC: Caesar’s Murder to Cicero’s Murder

103      R            44 - 2 BC: Wars, Treaties, Other Main Events

107      S            43 - 2 BC: How Octavian Became the Emperor Augustus

P o t t e d  B i o g r a p h i e s:

110      T            63 BC: Persons Involved in Catiline Conspiracy

113      U              44 - 30 BC: Officers in the Civil Wars


116      Y            F a s t i  C o n s u l a r e s,  BC 150 - 26

121      Z            M a p s  o f  t h e  F o r u m  R o m a n u m




P r e f a c e


            This Little Roman Dictionary has two purposes:  (I) Τo undergraduates taking Roman history courses or Latin reading courses, who need to know what a legatus is, a senatus consultum, a tribune, etc., it tries to give quick but sufficiently detailed information.  What such readers need is not a five-word ‘definition’ such as they could get from a lexicon, but a more complete description that lets them sense what the thing really was.  And (II) for more thoughtful readers, who wish to get a picture, rough but right in its main features, of the entire ‘machinery’ of the late Republic or the early Empire (for example, so that they can compare it with governments of the present day), it should contain food for thought.  For them I inserted the many cross-references and Appendices, and made some entries in the Political Dictionary rather long and dense.

            Most entries were written more for brief reference than for continuous reading; but you will find that they do give a rough initial impression of the Roman state as a whole, if you read them consecutively, in these groupings (I here include only the items that seem best for this purpose): 


            (ASSEMBLIES) Centuria, Comitium, Comitia (all 4), Senatus, Senatus Consultum Ultimum, Tribuni Plebis, Tribus. 

            (SOCIAL GROUPS) Equites, Factio, Nobilitas, Publicani, Patron & Client (with Appendix L, ‘Patronate’ & ‘Principate’), Senatus (again), Tribuni plebis.  (Here the most important item by far is ‘Patron & Client’--it is the key to everything.)

            (OFFICES) Aediles, Censores, Dictator, Edictum, Imperium, Praetores, Princeps Senatus, Prorogatio (with App. F), Quaestores (with Aerarium), Tresviri, Tribuni Plebis (again), Vigintiviri; and on all the offices, App. F (Cursus Honorum), and App. H (Ambitus). 

         Then, the other Appendixes.


            Most entries describe institutions etc. mainly as they were in the last decades of the Republic or in the early Empire, because that is the background of most of the Latin authors read in colleges.  But there was drastic change even in the brief space between those two periods (for summaries and analysis of the changes, see esp. App. M, N, O and S); and in order not to confuse the two periods or blur the focus, I usually marked descriptions of the Empire: F ...  E.

            For brevity’s sake I deliberately exclude purely topographical entries--with one exception, for the Comitium, since even a brief description of that place tells much about the very nature of the Republic.

S i g n s,  A b b r e v i a t i o n s


 F ...  E = "this pertains all or mainly to the Principate",. little or not at all to the Republic (see App. M). 

§ = section; e.g. "see App. A § A" = "see Appendix A, section A." 

App. = Appendix. 

c. (circa) = 'about', 'approximately'; e.g. "born c. 81 B.C." = "born about 81 B.C. (we don't know exactly)"

cf. (confer) = 'compare'

e.g. (exempli gratia, lit. "for the sake of an example") = "for example"

fin., ad. fin. (ad finem).  Here fin. = "at the end", ad fin. = "towards the end" e.g. "see Imperium fin." = "see the entry for Imperium, at the very end"; "see Imperium ad fin." = "see the entry for Imperium near the end ".

ibid. (ibidem) = "in the same place (which I just cited)”

id. (idem (opus)) = "the same work (which I just cited)”

i.e. (id est) = "that is" or "that is to say"

init., ad init. (ad initium) = "at the beginning" or "towards the beginning" (used like "fin." & "ad fin."). 

loc. cit. (locus citatus) = "the passage which I just cited"

op. cit. (opus citatum) = "the work which I just cited"

q.v. (quod videas, 'which see') = "see the entry for", e.g. "...Imperium (q.v.)" = "see under Imperium". 

s.v. (sub voce), pl. svv. (sub vocibus) = "under the heading(s)", e.g. "see s.v. Imperium" or "Imperium (see s.v.)" = "see under Imperium".  "App. P s.v. 49 BC" = "that part of App. P which is headed '49 BC'". 


A b b r e v i a t e d  R e f e r e n c e s


Brunt = P. A. Brunt, Social Conflicts in The Roman Republic (NY 1971). 

Ca= Brian Campbell, The Roman Army, 31 BC-AD 337 (London 1994). 

Carc. = Jérôme Carcopino, Daily Life in Ancient Rome, translated by E. O. Lorimer (Yale Univ. 1940). 

EB = The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition (London 1911). (The famous 11th edition., often far superior to any later edition., has long been out of print, but is now online at

FC I & FC II: Filippo Coarelli, Il Foro Romano (Rome 1983, 1992)

Gruen = E. S. Gruen, The Last Generation of the Roman Republic (Berkeley 1974). 

J = A. H. M. Jones (ed.), A History of Rome Through the Fifth Century, Vol. 1: The Republic  (NY 1968). 

J2 = A. M. H. Jones, Augustus (N.Y./ London 1970).  

J3 = A. M. H. Jones, The Decline of the Ancient World (NY/London 1966).  (Its Appendix IV, p. 377-389, is a useful glossary, with page references, of technical terms of the late empire). 

OCD = Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Oxford 1970), ed. N. G. L. Hammond and H. H. Scullard. 

R = Roman Civilization / Sourcebook II: The Empire (Harper 1966), ed. N. Lewis, M. Reinhold. 

S = H. H. Scullard, From The Gracchi to Nero (Routledge: 1958-1982). 

RR (see "Syme"). 

Sandys = J. E. Sandys, Latin Epigraphy (Cambridge 1927). 

Smith = William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (London 1975), online at:

Sta. =  E. S. Stavely, Greek and Roman Voting and Elections (Cornell Univ. 1972)

Suolahti = Jaako Suolahti, The Junior Officers of the Roman army in the Republican Period (Helsinki 1955) 

Syme = RR = Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution (Oxford 1939). 

T = L. R. Taylor, Roman Voting Assemblies (U. of Michigan: 1966). 

T II = L. R. Taylor, Party Politics in the Age of Caesar (Berkeley 1949). 


LATIN PROSE TEXTS are usually referred to by book number + chapter (or letter) number + sentence (or section) number.  E.g. "Livy 8.15.9" = Livy, (Annals,) book VIII, chapter 15, sentence 9", or "Pliny Ep. III.2.1" = Pliny, Epistles, book III, letter 2, sentence 1".  (The sentence numbers are sometimes skipped, and may differ from edition to edition.)



L I T T L E  P O L I T I C A L  D I C T I O N A R Y


If a common term seems likely to be looked up yet I did not wish to write separately about it, I sometimes make an entry containing only references (e.g. Decemviri); but note that some legal offices are only in Appendix A; some military, only in App. B; some religious, only in App. D; some provincial city offices, only in App. C § C.


AERARIUM (from aes, aeris: money): the treasury; i.e. (a) the physical treasury, located in the Temple of Saturn in the SW end of Forum (near the Capitol), containing the public coin and bullion, the standards of the legions, copies of the laws and senate decrees engraved on brass, etc.; and (b) the money alone (obtained by taxation, supporting public expenditure).  The treasurers were 2 quaestores (q.v.) answerable to the Senate, which controlled the state money. F Under the emperors.  From 28-23 BC the treasurers were 2 Praefecti aerarii, from 23 BC Praetores ad aerarium, later again quaestores.   The AERARIUM MILITARE , overseen by 3 Praefecti aerarii militaris, was a separate fund for the military (esp. military pensions) established by Augustus in AD 6, funded by special taxes (on which see App. C § E).  E

            For more on the treasurers see Praefectus ( § 'Under the Emperors'), Praetors ( § 'Under Augustus'), and Quaestors, and see App. F (careers E and G). 


AEDILES (from aedes, aedium: temple, perhaps because the first aediles had care of the Temple of Ceres where the plebeian archives were kept):  4 junior magistrates, elected yearly in comitia tributa for 1-year term.  Endowed with power to fine offenders, they have (a) care of the city, i.e.  >> oversee repair of temples, sewers, aqueducts; >> oversee paving and cleaning of streets; >> make and enforce traffic laws; >> enforce regulations for fires, and fight fires; >> superintend baths and taverns; (b) care of market and grain, that is, they >> enforce market regulations (e.g. investigate the quality of goods, and weights and measures); >> supervise wheat supply (cura annonae, e.g. buy and store cheap grain for times of scarcity); (c) care of games, i.e. they superintend public games, or games given by private persons (as e.g. at funerals); (d) juridical activity (in the Comitia populi tributa: see s.v.), e.g. they >> enforce sumptuary laws; >> punish gamblers and usurers; also >> punish those who have too much public land (ager publicus) or keep too many cattle on state pastures.  And they have (e) "the care of public morals generally, including the prevention of foreign superstitions" (EB s.v. Aedile).  (See also Cicero Legg. iii.3.7.  For an exact descripton of aediles' duties under Caesar, see J # 98.)

            Each year there were two pairs: 2 AEDILES PLEBEII (of unknown very early date, and till 367 the only two) elected annually by the concilium plebis (see Comitia).  They were at first assistants to the the tribuni plebis, and like them had sacrosanctity (see Tribuni plebis).  Later also 2 AEDILES CURULI (instituted 367, originally for patricians only, but later for plebeians in alternate years)--elected annually by the Com. populi tributa.  Curuli ranked higher than plebeii, sat in curule chairs (see s.v. imperium), had sole responsiblity for certain games, and could issue edicts on market regulations (see Edictum); but in the late Republic there was little other difference between the duties of the two pairs.  Finally, Caesar in 44 added 2 AEDILES CEREALES responsible for the grain supply.

            Under the Republic, the aedileship was not required in the cursus honorum (App. F), yet was politically important in that aediles could hold games at their own expense and so win immense popularity (as did e.g. Caesar, who borrowed huge sums for this). 

            F Under the emperors the office, though now required in the cursus, slowly faded; the aediles lost their cura annonae in 22 BC, their overseeing of aqueducts in 11 BC, their management of the games in 2 BC, and the fire service in AD 6.  Their care of games went to the Praetors (as did also their juridical functions), the other three jobs to Praefecti (q.v.).  In the 3rd century AD the office disappeared.  E


CENSORS (from censere, 'assess'), 2, always former consuls, elected in Comitia centuriata (q.v.) in March every 5 years to hold office for 18 months (with reelection forbidden).  Est. c. 443 B.C. to make up & maintain the census.  The census was held every 5 years (= lustrum, lit. a ritual "cleansing") in May, in the Campus Martius, where citizens enrolled; it was needed for determining property status, for the military levy, for taxation, for assigning citizens to tribes and centuries for voting.

            Although they have no imperium (q.v.), censors have great real power.  (a) They determine a person's tribe and century, hence his voting status, hence the actual power of his vote (see Tribus and Centuria).  This also involves expelling unworthy persons for immorality (see "f" below) or failing to meet ancestral or property requirements.  (b) They assess a person's estate and so determine his taxes, and his type of military and political service.  (c) They select the Senate (lectio Senatus), which in practice means striking unworthy or impoverished persons from the list of senators (so e.g. in 70 B.C. they struck 64 names from the senate; in 60 BC added many).  (d) They review the knights, i.e. expel unworthy knights (see Equites).  (e) They issue state contracts for building repair and for tax collection (see Publicani; also Senate s.v. Functions).  (f) They oversee public morals.   On entering office, they issue edicta (q.v.) stating what moral offenses they will punish; e.g. offenses against the family; giving false information; illegality such as serving in office out of order; breaches of political duty.  "Certain professions, such as that of an actor or gladiator, also incurred their stigma" (EB s.v.).  Punishment is enforced by magistrates with imperium, but might be reversed by subsequent censors; it is called infamia and includes expulsion from the Senate; (for a knight) being deprived of one's public horse; expulsion from tribe or century. (By the 2nd c. AD, expulsion from tribe usually meant relegation to an urban tribe--see Tribus.)

            For more about Censors see especially J # 37 ( = Livy 24.18).  See below Princeps Senatus, also Equites (3rd par.), and Senatus s.v. "under the emperors"; also App. S s.v. 28 BC and 19 BC. 


CENTUMVIRI: see Appendix A, § A fin.


CENTURIA (lit. 'division of 100'):  M i l i t a r y:  smallest military unit (each legion of 6,000 men had 60; see App. B).  C i v i l i a n:  A voting unit in the comitia centuriata (q.v.).  Both things--the military unit, the assembly--were traditionally ascribed to king Servius Tullius, but may date from 450 or later.  In assembly the centuries were ranked according to property qualifications determined by the census (see Censor).  I here list the original, "Servian" centuries (which lasted till 241 -- see below) in their voting order, which was roughly from the wealthiest to the poorest.  Here iuniores are citizens 17-46 years old, seniores 46-60 years old.  Note that here "cavalry" and "foot-soldiery" no longer mean real soldiers, and "century" no longer means 100 men; e.g. according to Cicero the "1 century" of proletarii had more men than in all the "centuries" of Class I together (Sta. 126.  The table is based on M. Cary & H. Scullard, A History of Rome, 1975, p. 80; cf.  T 84):

Equites equo publico (cavalry)  = 18 centuries (18 votes)                                (wealthiest; has senators)

        (Property Classes i, ii, iii = heavy-armed foot soldiery, 'pedites':)

Classis i = 40 cent. seniorum + 40 iuniorum = 80 centuries (80 votes)         (estate of 100,000 asses)

Classis ii = 10 cent. seniorum + 10 iuniorum = 20 centuries (20 votes)         (of 75,000 asses)

Classis iii = 10 cent. seniorum + 10 iuniorum = 20 centuries (20 votes)        (of 50,000 asses)

        (Classes iv, v = light-armed foot-soldiery:)

Classis iv = 10 cent. seniorum + 10 iuniorum = 20 centuries (20 votes)        (of 25,000 asses)

Classis v = 15 cent. seniorum + 15 iuniorum = 30 centuries (30 votes)        (of 11,000 or 12,500) 

        (Unarmed, noncombatant:)

1 cent. proletarii + 4 craftsmen (fabri, etc.) = 5 cent. (5 votes)         ('infra ratem', not worth assessing)    


So, 193 centuries = 193 votes.  Note that all this is very "undemocratic" in at least six ways: (1) Seniores have half the centuries but form less than a third of the population.   (2) The wealthy (see Equites) have disproportionately many centuries.  (3) The wealthy centuries are smaller; thus, since each century = 1 vote, a wealthy man's vote is worth more.  (4) The wealthy vote first; and since a simple majority is needed (i.e. 97 votes), an assembly can be dissolved after equites and classis I have voted!  (5) The "centuries" have no reference to place of domicile; in the late Republic, when many country people had to come great distances, this favors wealthy urban voters (Sta. 138). (6) Votes were published continuously during the voting, and the earliest heavily influenced the later.

            The wealthy knew very well how "plutocratic" and oligarchic this system was and liked it.  According to Cicero, "Servius so disposed the centuries in the classes that the votes were under control of the rich and not of the masses.  He accepted the principle, to which we must forever adhere in the Republic, that the majority should not have the strongest voice...  He who had most to gain from the well-being of the state could use his vote to greatest effect" (Cicero Rep. 39-40, translation of  Sta. 128).

            At some time not long after 241 when the last two tribes were added (see Tribus), there was a "democratic" reform  (a) The centuries were correlated in some way to the 35 tribes (see s.v. Tribus), so that all members of a century belonged to the same tribe, and conversely each tribe had centuries of all property classes, and  (b) procedure was emended so that voting was in this order (table based on T 84):

1) Centuria praerogativa (chosen by lot from iuniores)                                       = 1 vote (century)

2) Classis 1 = 35 seniorum + 34 iuniorum + 12 equitum + 1 of artisans                   = 82 votes     

3) "Sex suffragia" = 6 cent.(Titienses Ramnes Luceres priores posteriores)                 = 6 votes

4) Classes 2-5 (+ ? 20 cent. apiece?) + 4 unarmed centuries (?40 apiece?) = 104 votes (so 193 in all)


(a) Making centuries tribal must have helped country landowners (i.e. this partly repairs flaw # 5 above); for, since each century had but one vote, "a mere handful of visitors from a distant corner of Italy who happened to be present when an assembly was held and who belonged to the same tribe would have been in as strong a position to influence the outcome... as several thousands of city dwellers" (Sta. 138).  And (b) the procedural change means, among other things, that the first class + equites no longer = a majority: the voting must go farther down (thus partly repairing flaws # 2 and 3).  But the gain to "democracy" is minimal.  The loss to the first class of 10 centuries is more than outweighed by the centuria praerogativa (lit. 'the century asked before'), since its vote heavily influenced all the others (T 87).

   F Under Augustus the comitia centuriata became a mere rubber stamp, because of a preliminary process called "destinatio".  In AD 5 he added 10 new centuries of senators and knights, called the "centuries of Gaius and Lucius Caesar"; in 19 AD were added 5 more, the "centuries of Germanicus".  (For a Latin document describing the arrangements, see the "Tabula Habana" in T. 159 ff., translated in Sta. 233 ff.)  These 10 or 15 centuries "voted first, and 'destined' 12 praetors and two consuls.  Then followed the voting of the centuriate assembly" (J2 p. 88).  This preliminary vote, silently influenced by the emperor, was probably much more "influential" even than the centuria praerogativa had been.   Not long afterwards, all assemblies simply disappeared--see Comitia fin.  E


F COHORTES URBANAE:  Police force instituted by Augustus, commanded by the Praefectus Urbi (q.v.) consisting of 3 cohorts containing 500 to 1,500 men each (the numbers are uncertain and disputed.  More certain is that by Flavian times there were 4 cohorts having 1,000 men each).  The men were paid half as much as Praetorian Guardsmen, and were often "promoted" into the Guards.  "Additional cohorts were stationed at Puteoli, Ostia, and Carthage (all important for the shipment of corn to Rome), and at Lugdunum where there was a mint" (Ca. p. 38.).  They were used e.g. for "maintenance of the public peace and of order at the spectacles...  (The Prefect) should also have soldiers stationed at various points for the purpose of maintaining the public peace and to report to him whatever occurs anywhere"  (Justinian's Digest, quoted in R pp. 26-7).  For other bodies used as police, see under Vici and Vigiles.  E

            For COHORTES PRAETORIAE see Praetorian Guard.


COMITIA (from plural of Comitium, q.v.), 4 main ones: assemblies of the Roman people, having functions elective, legislative and judicial  (though most judicial activity gradually passed to the public courts--see App. A, § B, D.)  They resolved by majority vote on measures framed and proposed by the magistrates, who convened them.  "Majority vote" means (a) that the measure iself is passed if a majority of tribes, or centuries, vote for it, and (b) that the single vote of each tribe, or century, is determined by a majority vote within it.  (So in a huge urban tribe, an individual vote is worth little.)

            Voting at first was oral; written ballot was introduced in 139 B.C. for centurial & tribal elections; in 137 for tribal trials; in 107 for centurial trials.

            Debate occurs, but not in the Assembly itself, but in prior meetings, contiones, at which the magistrate presents his bill by edict (see Edictum) and asks for opinions.  An assembly does not propose a measure or frame it, and cannot emend it.  The presiding magistrate does all that; the assembly merely votes.  (For descriptions of how a magistrate could control things, see T p. 83, Sta. 206 ff.)  Also, any new law proposed in assembly "1", "2" and probably "4" below (I use these numbers just for ease of reference) must be ratified by the Patres in the Senate, before the assembly votes on it (see Patricii, Senatus).  

            A law said to be passed "by the People" can refer to any of these assemblies (in the late Republic esp. "4"), but not properly to "3".  That has only Plebs, and "by the People" includes the Patricians (q.v.).  Roman historians do not distinguish between "3" and "4"; but we know that "4" existed, from the fact that some tribal bills were introduced by magistrates (not tribunes) and passed by the whole people.      

            (1)  COMITIA CURIATA: oldest assembly, based on the original organization of the people by curiae ("parishes", 10 per each of the three original tribes--see Curia and Tribus).  It gradually lost its powers to the comitia centuriata; in the late Republic it consisted merely of 30 lictors representing the 30 curiae; but though a mere form it did still:  >> pass lex curiata which perhaps confirmed the appointment, or ratified the imperium (q.v.), of dictator, consul, praetor (or perhaps, instead, it merely confirmed their right to take the auspices--Sta. 123);  >> (under Pontifex) confirm priests, adoptions (adrogatio, often involving a change from plebeian status to patrician or vice versa), making of wills.

            >>> Meeting place: Comitium (or Capitol).  >>> Presiding officer: consul, praetor, or pontifex

            (2)  COMITIA CENTURIATA (from c. 450): based on organization of the people by centuriae (q.v.).  Votes of the old and wealthy had more weight.  For elections the most important assembly; in other things, because its procedure was so cumbersome and so undemocratic (see Centuria), it came to be rarely used.  From 70 B.C. to 50 the only law it is known to have passed was that recalling Cicero from exile in 57 (see T. II, 60 ff.).  >> Elections of magistrates cum imperio (see Imperium) and censors (q.v.).  >> Legislation: after 218 does very little except declare war and peace, and confirm censors.  >> Trials in capital cases, in which it could inflict death penalty; esp. for perduellio (older form of treason, later replaced by maiestas, which came to have its own special court--see App. A, § B). 

            >>> Meeting place: outside Pomerium, us. Campus Martius.  >>> Presiding officer: for legislation and elections, consul (if at election time there is no consul, an interrex, q.v.); for trials, praetor.

            (3)  COMITIA PLEBIS TRIBUTA (so called after 287; at first 'concilium plebis'; often also 'comitia tributa'): plebeian assembly (patricians excluded), organized by tribes (q.v.).  >> Elections of tribuni plebis & plebeian aediles (qq.v.). >> Legislation of any type; esp. plebiscita (see below).  >> Trials of crimes against the state if non-capital (i.e. if punishable only by fine; see App. A); also, could pronounce sentence of outlawry (aquae et ignis interdictio) on anyone already exiled. 

            >>> Meeting place: for elections: Campus Martius; for legislation and trials: after 145 BC usually the Forum.  >>> Presiding officer: tribunus plebis or plebeian aedile.

            Plebiscita are any measures proposed by tribuni plebis.  From perhaps 449 B.C. they were recognized as valid laws if they had prior sanction of patrician senators (see patrum auctoritas s.v. Senatus); in 287 the lex Hortensia made them unconditionaly valid.  After Gracchan reforms they became a challenge to senatorial authority, so in 88 and 81 Sulla reimposed the condition of patrician sanction; in 70 that was again abolished (see App. G, App. P s.v.  70 BC.  On plebiscita see also s.v. Tribuni plebis.)  

            (4) COMITIA POPULI TRIBUTA (& 'comitia tributa') organized by tribes (q.v.), founded at unknown date (perhaps c. 450) apparently in imitation of com. plebis tributa, but admitting patricians.  >> Elections of quaestores (q.v.), aediles curules (q.v.), tribuni militum (q.v.).  >> Legislation of any type.  >> Trials of crimes against the state if non-capital (i.e. if the only penalties are fines). 

            >>> Meeting place: (for elections) Campus Martius or (for legislation and trials) the Forum.  >>> Presiding officer: consul, praetor or (for trials) curule aedile.


Voting procedure in 4 and 3:  in elections, tribes vote simultaneously (results announced by tribes in order determined by lot); in legislation, tribes vote consecutively, in an order determined by lot.  If  a tribe is represented by fewer than 5 voters, the presiding magistrate appoints men from another tribe to vote in it.


   F Under the emperors.  Under Augustus the Comitia centuriata still elected consuls and praetors; but the result was somewhat predetermined both by the ten centuries voting first (see Centuria fin.) and because Augustus, exploiting his right as consul to nominate successors, "endorsed" his own favorite candidates.  A few elections in his reign were hotly contested; but e.g. in AD 7 and 14 he seems to have nominated only as many candidates as there were magistracies (Sta. 223).  "The election of such candidates seems by the end of the reign to have become automatic--their names were perhaps put to the vote separately before the rest, in which case they could hardly fail" (J2 p. 89).

            The assemblies' last known law is an agrarian law of AD 98; as for election of magistrates, in AD 14 Tiberius transferred those to the Senate (Tac. Annals 1.15; see Senatus).  Perhaps some vestiges, of which we have no record, did survive; then "as in the comitia curiata of the later Republic, the centuries and tribes are likely to have been represented by lictors who attended merely to witness the renuntiatio of the presiding magistrate; and it is noteworthy that already in the principate of Tiberius the magnificent marble saepta which had been constructed under Caesar and Augustus to house the voters on the Campus Martius were being used for such purposes as the display of wild animals" (Sta. 220).  

            Authentic provincial elections lasted till iii AD (see Decuriones; App. C § C).  E


COMITIUM ('meeting place', from cum + eo, a coming together): a space at the NW end of the Forum where, in the early Republic, the two Comitia met (see “Comitia” I & II). 

            From c. 590 BC it was a templum, a sanctified square space, oriented N-S.   In c. 580 the first Curia Hostilia was built by Hostilius the third king of Rome.  In c. 500 BC (shortly after the Republic was founded) a speaker's platform was added on the south side (from c. 380 called the 'Rostra', on which see below).  In c. 350-250, under influence of Greek cities in S. Italy, it was made circular.

            From c. 350 BC till 80, perhaps in imitation of Greek comitia in S. Italy, it was  circular, hollow and tiered (FC I 158-9; 152).  Its dimensions can be guessed pretty exactly.  On its NW rim was the Urban Praetor’s wooden tribunal; on its North-central rim, the southern doors of the old Senate House (i.e. the Curia Hostilia which, unlike the present Curia, was oriented exactly North-South, and was where the present church of SS. Martina e Luca is); on its NE rim, perhaps the Peregrine Praetor’s tribunal (i.e. from 242 BC on: id. 158). Thus the two praetors’ tribunals formed the “cornua comitii”.  Edging its SW rim (i.e. directly south of the Urban Praetor’s tribunal) was curved low platform, the Graecostasis, from which foreign ambassadors could watch the Comitia.  Round its S-central rim were the Rostra, another curved, low platform decorated with beaks of captured beaks (and with columnae rostratae made from some of them) from which a speaker could speak either northward into the Comitium, towards the Senate House, or southward into the Forum.  (The act of a magistrate turning south to address the Forum is said to have been a revolutionary event, that happened first in 145 BC: id. 158; Plutarch C. Gracch. 5).

            Thus, till the first century BC, the Comitium was the very heart of the city.  How crowded, the space around it!  In it the two oldest assemblies met; round its rim were Senate House, Praetors’ tribunals, the ambassadors’ lodgings, the Rostra and Forum.  Adjacent to the Curia’s west wall was the Basilica Porcia, just west of that was the little prison (carcer), and somewhere near that was the tribunal of the tresviri capitales (see FC II 52, and see here Vigintiviri).  Lastly, somewhere between Curia and prison were the benches of the Tribuni plebis (id. 56).

            By the mid 1st century BC it had lost important functions.  The assemblies had long since moved to the Forum and the Campus.  About 74 BC, after Sulla instituted the Quaestiones perpetuae (on which see App. A), the Praetors’ tribunals too were moved, to the eastern side of the Forum (to near the SE corner of the Basilica Aemilia, where the puteal Libonis was: id. 166-180; 193 ff.).  Finally, in c. 42 BC the Rostra were transferred by Caesar to the extreme west of the Forum (the foot of the Capitoline) where, enlarged by Augustus, they remained during the Principate.

            In the late Republic it was sometimes covered with awnings.  But before c. 263 BC when a sundial taken from Catania was put in the Forum, the Comitium itself, with the monuments surrounding it, formed a giant sundial; so that by watching the shadows, etc., the Consul’s herald or Urban Praetor’s could announce 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and sunset (FC I 138 ff. )  For example, it was noon when the herald saw the sun “inter rostra et Graecostasin”; sunset when a shadow fell “a columna Maenia ad carcerem”. 

            (For map & discussion see FC passim, esp. I 138-42, II 23 ff.  See map here p. 84)


CONCILIUM: (A) Under the Republic, any assembly (and sometimes also = consilium, q.v.), but especially the Comitia plebis tributa (q.v.) = Concilium plebis.  

            F (B) Under the Emperors, used especially of an annual provincial assembly, of delegates from all the cities and tribes of some one Roman province, or some group of provinces (such as that of the three Gauls at Lugdunum).  In the eastern provinces concilia were authorized in 29 BC (where at first they had an ethnic basis -- e..g. that of Asia, τὸ κοινὸν τῶν Ἑλλήνων τῆς Ἀσίας); in the west, in 12 BC.  A concilium convened at a central place in the province.  Its president was usually its chief priest (its flamen or sacerdos--see App. D).  "The principal business was the maintenance of the imperial cult [hence each meeting had religious ceremonies, games, etc.], review of the administration of the governor and procurators, and appeals to the emperor on behalf of the entire province" (R p. 64). 

            "From the time of Tiberius (the concilia) were authorized to approach the Princeps or Senate direct without the intervention of the governor, and to complain about, and even initiate, the prosecution of, governors guilty of maladministration" (S 262).  They also became a means whereby upper-class provincials obtained Roman citizenship, for themselves and their descendents.  E


CONSILIUM: The advisory body of any magistrate; e.g. the Senate is technically the consilium of the consuls, or the provincial curia is the consilium of the duoviri (see s.v. decuriones) etc.; but the word is used especially when the magistrate (or later, the emperor) is acting as a judge; so it often means "jury".


CONSULES ("partners", from consalio; or "deliberators" from consulo), 2, elected annually (for dates, see table below) in the comitia centuriata (q.v.), from candidates proposed by the senate; chief executives, in collaboration with the Senate.  In time of peace the two consuls normally took turns, presiding over the senate in alternate months; but either could veto any act by the other.  "CONSUL SUFFECTUS", temporary consul, appointed in case of a consul's death, illness or resignation.   A "CONSULAR" is a former consul.

            H i s t o r y:  By tradition the office dates from the founding of the Republic in 509.  But perhaps at first the two chief magistrates were called "praetors" (q.v.), not called "consuls" till 366 BC when the third, "urban"  praetorship was created (see Praetor).  In 5th and early 4th centuries, consuls had many powers (especially juridical) which they later lost to praetors and quaestors.  At that time patricians dominated the consulship; after the Licinian plebiscite in 367, at least one consul had to be Plebeian.  (Oddly this law seems largely ignored till 342.)   No record survives of a law requiring one cos. to be patrician; but the Fasti show that for 200 years after 342, at least one cos. was always in fact patrician. 

            It is important to remember that the consulship--a prize at which many aimed but very few got--was coveted not only for itself but also because: (a) it led next year to the wealth, military power and clientela given by prorogatio (q.v.); (b) consulars dominated the senate (see "Senatus, Procedure"); and (c) in effect the office 'ennobled' a family forever (see s.vv. Senatus, fin.; Nobilitas; Patricii). 

            P o w e r s  [except for the headings, all here is quoted from Smith s.v. Consul]

            IN ROME: So long as they were in the city of Rome, they were at the head of the government and the administration, and all the other magistrates, with the exception of the tribunes of the people, were subordinate to them.  S e n a t e: They convened the senate, and as presidents conducted the business; they had to carry into effect the decrees of the senate, and sometimes on urgent emergencies they might even act on their own authority and responsibility. They were the medium through which foreign affairs were brought before the senate; all despatches and reports were placed in their hands, before they were laid before the senate; by them foreign ambassadors were introduced into the senate, and they alone carried on the negotiations between the senate and foreign states.   A s s e m b l y:  They also convened the assembly of the people and presided in it; and thus conducted the elections, put legislative measures to the vote, and had to carry the decrees of the people into effect (Polyb. vi.12). The whole of the internal machinery of the republic was, in fact, under their superintendence, and in order to give weight to their executive power, they had the right of summoning and arresting the obstreperous (vocatio and prensio, Cic. in Vat. 9, p. Dom. 41), which was limited only by the right of appeal from their judgment (provocatio); and their right of inflicting punishment might be exercised even against inferior magistrates."

            ABROAD: "But the powers of the consuls were far more extensive in their capacity of supreme commanders of the armies, when they were without the precincts of the city, and were invested with the full imperium. When the levying of an army was decreed by the senate, the consuls conducted the levy, and, at first, had the appointment of all the subordinate officers — a right which subsequently they shared with the people; and the soldiers had to take their oath of allegiance to the consuls. They also determined the contingent to be furnished by the allies; and in the province assigned to them they had the unlimited administration, not only of all military affairs, but of every thing else, even over life and death, excepting only the conclusion of peace and treaties (Polyb. vi.12)."

            MONEY: "The treasury was...under control of the senate; but in regard to expenses for war the consuls do not appear to have been bound down to the sums granted by that body, but to have availed themselves of the public money as circumstances required; the quaestors, however, kept a strict account of the expenditure (Polyb. vi. 12, 13, 15; Liv. xliv.16). But when in times of need money was to be taken from the aerarium sanctius, of which the keys seem to have been in the exclusive possession of the consuls, they had to be authorised by a senatus consultum (Liv. xxvii.10)."

            P o w e r s  l i m i t e d  in 3 main ways [1-2 quoted from Smith s.v.]: (1) "by each of the consuls being dependent on his colleague who was invested with equal rights; for, if we except the provinces abroad where each was permitted to act with unlimited power, the two consuls could do nothing unless both were unanimous (Dionys. x.17; App. ii.11), and against the sentence of one consul an appeal might be brought before his colleague; nay, one consul might of his own accord put his veto on the proceedings of the other (Liv. ii. 18, 27, iii.34; Dionys. v.9; Cic. leg. iii.4). But in order to avoid every unnecessary dispute or rivalry, arrangements had been made from the first, that the real functions of the office should be performed only by one of them every alternate month (Dionys. ix.43); and the one who was in the actual exercise of the consular power for the month, was preceded by twelve lictors, whence he is commonly described by the words "penes quem fasces erant" (Liv. viii.12, ix.8)."  (2) By "the certainty that after the expiration of their office they might be called to account... Many cases are on record, in which after their abdication they were accused and condemned not only for illegal or unconstitutional acts, but also for misfortunes in war, which were ascribed either to their carelessness or want of ability (Liv. ii.41, 52, 54, 61, iii.31, xxii.40, 49, xxvi.2-3, xxvii.34; Cic. De Nat. Deor. ii.3; Val. Max. viii.1 §4). The ever increasing arrogance and power of the tribunes did not stop here, and we not unfrequently find that consuls, even during the time of their office, were not only threatened with punishment and imprisonment, but were actually subjected to them (Liv. iv.26, v.9, xlii.21, Epit. 48, 55; Cic. de leg. iii.9, in Vat. 9; Val. Max. ix.5 §2; Dion Cass. xxxvii.50, xxxviii.6, xxxix.39). Sometimes the people themselves opposed the consuls in the exercise of their power (Liv. ii.55, 59)."  Lastly (3) by the senate, which controls funds, can criticize a consul's conduct, may or may not decree a triumph, and defines and controls his appointment as proconsul (this last is very important--see s.v. Prorogatio).  Also, the senate often heavily modifies the bill which a consul wishes to proprose (either in senate or assembly).  For though, formally, senators are the consul's concilium, he needs their support, and most often pays close attention to their wishes.

            F Under the emperors. After AD 14 consuls were 'elected' by the Senate (in reality appointed by the emperor: see Comitia fin., Senate fin.).  There was great pressure for the office, so after c. 5 B.C. the two consules ordinarii, who entered office on 1 January and gave their names to the year, held office only for 6 months and were replaced by consules suffecti (so, four consuls per year); later still, each pair held office for 2-4 months only.  "They had very little to do but preside in the Senate, but the office retained its glamour, and was the gateway to the rich proconsulships of Africa and Asia" (J2 86).  Their official functions were these [all this is quoted from Smith s.v.]:  "(1) They presided in the senate, though, of course, never without the sanction of the emperor. (2) They administered justice, partly extra ordinem (Tac. Ann. iv.19, xiii.4; Gell. xiii.24), and partly in ordinary cases, such as manumissions or the appointment of guardians (Ammian. Marcell. xxii.7; Cassiod. vi.1; Suet. Claud. 23; Plin. H.N. ix.13).  (3) They let out the public revenues, a duty which had formerly been performed by the censors (Ov. ex Pont. iv.5, 19); (4) They conducted the games in the Circus and of public solemnities in honour of the emperors, for which they had to defray the expenses out of their own means (Suet. Nero 4; xi.193, &c.; Cassiod., l.c., and iii.39, v.42, vi.10).  E


SCHEMATIZATION of consul's powers:  Legislative:  A cos. >> convenes the senate (i.e. "consults" it--see Senatus, s.v. 'Procedure'); >> convenes assemblies, i.e. frames and propose legislation (most often, bills that had already been approved by the Senate); >> "nominates" his successor, who must then be ratified by a vote of the people.  In the late Republic this merely meant announcing the new candidates for consul, setting the election date, and conducting the voting.  But sometimes a consul would refuse to "nominate" someone, or when counting the vote, would refuse to recognize the votes for someone, and he could set an election date which was inconvenient for someone; so nominatio was a slight but real power.  See Sta. 143 ff.  Judicial:  Till the quaestiones (q.v. in App. A § B) were set up in the mid 2nd century, a cos. could >> set in motion, via the quaestors, criminal proceedings for non-political crimes.  Also often >> has jurisdiction as a commissioner, entrusted by Senate or Assembly with a special problem (see e.g. Tresviri).  Executive:  >> executes laws and decrees of assemblies or senate; in so doing  >> coerces those who interfere.  So also he can >> spend public money paid to him by his quaestor.  Finally (as part of his executive power)  Martial: >> Commander-in-chief in war.  Note that though a consul's 1-year term begins on 1 Jan., his 1-year military command begins on 1 March; thus in effect he exercises imperium for 14 months. 


                DATES OF CONSULAR ELECTIONS  (Smith):


From B.C. 509 to 493

on the Ides of September.

From B.C. 493 to 479

on the Kalends of September.

From B.C. 479 to 451

on the Kalends of Sextilis.

From B.C. 451 to 449

on the Ides of May.

From B.C. 449 to 443 or 400

Ides of December.

From B.C. 400 to probably till 397

Kalends of October.

From B.C. 397 to 329 (perhaps 327)

Kalends of Quintilis.

From B.C. 327 to 223


From B.C. 223 to 153

Ides of March.

From B.C. 153 till the end,

the Kalends of January.




"The day on which the consuls entered on their office determined the day of the election, though there was no fixed rule, and in the earliest times the elections probably took place very shortly before the close of the official year, and the same was occasionally the case during the latter period of the republic (Liv. xxxviii.42, xlii.28, lxiii.11). But when the first of January was fixed upon as the day for entering upon the office, the consular comitia were usually held in July or even earlier, at least before the Kalends of Sextilis."


CONSULAR TRIBUNES (Livy 4.6 ff) = "tribuni militum" with consular power, variable in number but usually 6 per year, to be elected instead of consuls, in whatever year the current chief magistrates should decide to have them for the next year.   Despite protests of patricians, who preferred the consulship, which they could more easily dominate, there were cons. tribunes, many plebeian, in 58 of the 70 years between 444 and 366 when they were abolished (viz. in 444, 438, 433-2, 426-4, 422, 420-414, 409-393, 391-367).


CONTIONES, public meetings preceding an assembly vote: see Comitia; App. A § D.


 F  CURATOR:  Under the Emperors, a civil servant--normally a senator--appointed for some years to the cura (overseeing) of some special task like aqueducts, grain, roads, the Tiber, which in the Republic had been overseen by elected magistrates (especially quaestors and aediles).  (Sandys 224:)

            Curatorship normally held by ex-quaestors: Curator actorum senatus (senate record keeper); by ex-praetors or ex-consuls: Curator viarum (care of roads), Curator rei publicae (financial overseer of a provincial--esp. eastern--city; see App. F, career G, n. 1; similar to a corrector, on which see App. F, career-type III); by ex-consuls: Curator alvei Tiberis et riparum et cloacarum urbis (care of the Tiber river-bed; sewers), Curator aquarum et Miniciae, Curator Miniciae.  (See App. F, career-type II, career E--the quotation from Pliny, in which he expresses joy at being promoted to a curatorship.)  E


CURIA, & CURIALIS (cogn. with Quiris -itis, from the Sabine town of Cures, which united with Rome):  On curialis see Decuriones.  Curia means: (I) parish: originally Romulus divided the Romans into 30 parts or curiae, 10 for each tribe (see Tribus; each tribe contained 30 gentes).  Hence (II) a voting unit  (a) in the old Comitia curiata (q.v.), and (b) in the assemblies of provincial towns.  (III) The senate itself, both (a) in Rome and (b) in provincial towns.   Note that provincial governments (described s.v. Decuriones and in App. C § C) used the word for two different things; on the one hand, their senates were curiae, on the other, their assemblies voted by curiae in the other sense.  (IV) The senate house in Rome (on which see Comitium). 


CURSUS HONORUM, i.e. stages of a political career: see Appendix F.


DECEMVIRI: see Vigintiviri; App. D ad fin.;  App. P s.v. 59 BC.


DECURIAE (see J2 124; T. II, 53 and 201), Engl. decuries: ‘pools’ of men from which could be drawn jurors (called iudices or selecti) for public courts and, probably, judges for the civil courts (on these courts and on trials, see App. A § B).  The first decuries were wholly senatorial.  Since senators tended to let accused senators off too lightly--and perhaps also so that knights could play a larger role in the state--C. Gracchus in 123 BC made them wholly equestrian.  But they too favored their own kind (especially in cases of provincial extortion--see Publicani), so in 81 BC, Sulla made the jurors again senators.  His scheme was overthrown in 70 BC (q.v. in App. P) by the Lex Aurelia, as a result of which there were three decuriae, of 300 men each from Senators, Knights, and tribuni aerarii (q.v.), distributed among the tribes.  Later Caesar abolished the panel of tribuni aerarii.    

            F Under the emperors.  Augustus again changed the scheme; he established 3 decuriae of 1,000 men each.  They were largely equestrian; they formed a kind of inner core of the much wider class of all equites, i.e. free citizens posessing over 600,000 sesterces.  "Senators certainly still served, but apparently in the three decuries of equites, where they would have been a very small minority" (J2 124). 

            "Furthermore, in AD 4 (Augustus) created a fourth decury, with a smaller property qualification (200,000 sesterces), to try minor cases.  These clearly were judges in private suits, and their creation implies that the selection of judges was confined to the decuries" (J2 129).

            Appointed by the Emperor, since he had usurped censorial power (or more rarely by the consuls, who were given temporary censorial power for the purpose), any judge or juror could be dismissed for misconduct.  The decuriate was burdensome, and at first Augustus "had some difficulty getting men to serve" and "had to lower the qualifying age from 35 to 30" (J2 124).  But later, there was some "pressure for places--since after a regulation of 23 A.D. membership seems to have conferred the gold ring and the right to sit in the 14 rows" (OCD s.v. Equites--q.v.), and so Caligula added a 5th decuria.   E


DECURIONES: (I) Cavalry officers--see App. B.  (II) The presidents of decuriae (the 300 subdivisions of the curiae = parishes--see Curia).  (III) Members of the Curia--i.e. senate, council--of a district or city other than Rome.  (See J3 282 ff, R 480 ff., EB s.v.)   Under the Republic and the emperors alike, the decuriones (also called curiales, also often in Engl. "city councillors") were normally appointed for life at the 5-year census--under the Republic, by the chief magistrate; under the emperors, by census officials called quinquennales (q.v.).  A town might have from 100 to 300 decurions, 100 being normal (but there were fewer in the late empire, from causes given below).  Normally, they were all ex-magistrates, and their qualifications of wealth, age, status, reputation were the same as those required for the magistracies (on these magistracies see Appendix C, § C).  Like the Senate at Rome, they formed the consilium of the local magistrates, who in some towns were bound by law to follow their proposals.  In the late Republic they had certain special privileges, e.g. the right to appeal to Rome in criminal cases.   

            F Under the emperors, decurions "in practice controlled the public life of the community.  Local administration and finance, the sending of deputations and petitions to Rome or to the provincial governors, the voting of honorary decrees and statues, fell to them, since the popular elections played little part except at the magisterial elections" (OCD s.v.).  In the early 3rd century AD their Curia began to nominate the candidates for magistracies, thus in effect controlling its own membership (J3 241); and by the early 4th century the popular assemblies had disappeared altogether (id. 242). 

            Decurions also collected the local taxes for Rome, and were personally liable for any deficiencies.  Because of this the decurionate began to be shunned (R 446 ff.), and the emperors had to make it compulsory.  It " became a hereditary, inescapable munus of the wealthy, who degenerated from a ruling class to a tax-collecting caste, known as curiales" (OCD s.v.)   Only a few kinds of person were normally exempt; e.g. Roman senators, equestrian officials, tax-farmers, doctors, professors, priests, soldiers.

            Thus, by some emperors, decurions were forbidden to join the priesthood (R 481) or army (R 480, J3 36), but could sometimes escape into a magistracy, or into an imperial post that made one an eques or a comes (J3 245), or into the Senate (though this too was forbidden by some emperors).  "The richest and most influential decurions desired promotion, and had powerful patrons to support them.  Their colleagues on the council did not wish to offend the leading men of the city, who could be dangerous enemies if crossed and useful patrons if they succeeded in their ambition, and were in any case not reluctant to see them go and thus succeed to their influence in the council" (J3 p. 152-3; cf. p. 244-5).

            Most decurions were landowners, but not all were wealthy.  If a town was poor, so were some of its decurions (especially in the late empire, when the wealthiest had managed to "escape" as described above); a good example is St. Augustine's father, a decurion of Tagaste in Numidia, who had to borrow money for his son's education as a rhetor (Confessions II.iii.5).  E


DICTATOR, a temporary supreme executive, to rule for six months in a military or civil emergency.  He is nominated by a consul (on advice of the senate) and confirmed by a lex curiata.  He at once appoints a magister equitum to whom he delegates imperium of praetorian rank.  A dictator has imperium maius  (q.v.); is not subject to veto (see Tribuni Plebis) or appeal; his other power is equal to (and overrides) that of both consuls (so he has 24 lictors to a consul's 12).  His most important power, one that prefigures that of the emperors, is that he can legislate "without the people's cooperation or approval" and is "exempt from the restrictions and qualifications of ordinary legislation" (OCD s.v. Lex).

            The office was potentially dangerous, and found to be inefficacious in war on account of its 6-month time-limit.  Gradually it was abandoned save for minor purposes. e.g. celebrating festivals, holding elections.   It is last attested in 202 B.C.; its place was taken by the Senatus Consultum Ultimum (q.v.).

            The later "dictatorships" of Sulla (see App. G, and Q s.v. 81 BC) & Caesar were illegal (e.g. each lasted more than 6 months), and so deeply hated and mischievous that in 43 Antony as consul got the name and office formally abolished forever (thus e.g. the "2nd Triumvirate" avoided it--see Tresviri).


DUOVIRI: see App. D ad fin.; App. C § C.


EDICTUM (edico, announce, proclaim): "The higher Roman magistrates (praetores, aediles, quaestores, censores; in the provinces the governors) had the right to proclaim by edicts (ius edicendi) the steps which they intended to take in the discharge of their office.  Such edicts were put up in the forum on an album [i.e. a whitened billboard].  Legally they ceased to be binding when the magistrate left his post (normally after a year) but customarily they were confirmed by his successors" (OCD s.v.).  

             Praetors' edicts were "not didactic or dogmatic formulations of law, but rather announcements of what... (the praetor) would grant in such and such circumstances, or direct orders to do, or prohibitions against doing, certain things" (EB s.v. Roman Law, III, ii.   See below, 'Under the emperors', for an example).  Praetors'  edicta had over leges the great advantage that "they could be dropped, resumed or amended by a new praetor" (ibid.).  As the body of edicts built up, most praetors would only slightly modify those of their predacessors.  Probably "the edict attained considerable proportions in the time of Cicero; for he mentions that, whereas in his youth the XII Tables had been taught to the boys in school, in his later years these were neglected, and young men directed instead to the praetors' edicts for their first lessons in law" (ibid.).  

            Consuls' edicts e.g. gave the full texts of proposed laws, and the day for voting, or listed some or all of the candidates for election, and the day for voting.  Judicial edicts (whether by consul or praetor) "gave details of the identity of the accused, the nature of his crime, the penalty prescribed" (Sta. 143).     Provincial governors' edicts "must have varied according to circumstances, being in all cases composites of provisions... borrowed from the edicts of praetors", which were modified to suit the new circumstances.  Curule aediles' edicts were "very limited: their most important provisions having reference to open sales of slaves, horses and cattle, and containing regulations about the duties of vendors...  They also had cognizance of certain delicts comitted in the streets and markets.  As the aediles had no imperium their restricted jus edicendi may have been conferred on them by custom or statute" (EB loc. cit.). 

            F Under the emperors all officials and especially the praetors soon ceased to innovate in their edicts.  "There was a greater imperium than theirs..., before which they hesitated to lay hands on the law with the boldness of their predacessors."  They increasingly made only minor "amendments rendered necessary by the provisions of some senatusconsult that affected the jus honorarium" (EB loc. cit., IV, i). 

            An example is in Pliny, Epistles, V.9.  A praetor had issued a "brief edict, in which he warned all plaintiffs and defendents that he would strictly enforce the following senatus consultum: 'All persons who have any business (in court) are commanded, before they proceed, to swear that they have not given, promised, or given surety for, any (money) to any (advocate) for his advocacy'."  On hearing of this, a different praetor, presiding over a session of the centumviral court (see App. A), "unexpectedly called a recess, in order to deliberate whether he should follow the example."   The whole city, Pliny says, was criticizing the edict ("Who is this creature trying to reform the city's morals?" etc.) or praising it ("At last, a praetor who actually reads the senatus consulta" etc.); no one knew which view would prevail.   E

            On edicts see also s.vv. Praetors; Aediles; App. C § D; App. P s.v. 65 BC, 67 BC.


EQUITES ('horsemen', 'cavalry'; 'knights').  M i l i t a r y.   In the early Republic the army had 18 cavalry "centuries" = divisions of 100 men (with subdivisions of turmae, squadrons of 30 men each).  Since cavalry service was expensive, these centuries (which were also voting units in the Comitia centuriata--q.v., and see Centuria) were generally the wealthiest citizens.  Despite that, the state provided each eques with money for 2 horses (one for himself, one for his groom); so they were called equites publico equo.  

            The 6 oldest centuries were probably all patrician (see Patriciae), the 12 others plebeian.  Those original 6 were called in later times sex suffragia, "the six votes", 2 from each original tribe: Titienses Ramnes Luceres priores posteriores.  Beginning in 392 (at the siege of Veii, acc. to Livy) there were also equites privato equo, i.e. equites who provided their own horses, and voted in class I (see Centuria).

            Equites were chosen first by the consuls; after 443 BC, by the censors, who reviewed them every 5 years at a ceremony in the Forum, and expelled any who were unfit, immoral, etc. (see Censors).

            But Rome increasingly depended for its cavalry on the allies (see App. B s.v. auxilia), and in the late Republic the equites were no longer a military but only a social and, sometimes, legal entity.

            C i v i l.  For voting purposes (see Centuria), equites were merely the first property class; that is, in the late Republic, an eques was any person whose estate was worth over 400,000 sesterces.  (Compare with that an average soldier's pay which, after Caesar doubled it, was 900 sesterces per year.  The two figures are in the same ratio as a modern salary of $20,000 and a fortune of $8,888,889!)  In that respect, the equites included senators, but there were differences (on which see below).  As a class, they had certain symbolic privileges such as the angustus clavus (tunic with narrow purple stripe), a gold ring, the right to the first 14 rows in theaters, and some more real privileges (on which see below).

            Equites versus senatores.   If an eques became a senator, he remained one for life, but the rest of his family remained merely equites, nor did senatorial status pass to his descendents.  (This changed under Augustus--see below, "Under the emperors".)  But though equites and senatores thus overlapped, various factors contributed to make them seem two distinct groups: (A) the patrician origin of the senate, as a result of which it retained a certain patrician character; (B) the fact that certain noble families had senators in every generation, so that they were in effect "senatorial" families with "senatorial" attitudes; (C) various laws such as the lex Claudia of 218 BC which , to prevent "conflicts of interest", forbade senators to own large ships, to engage in trade or in usury, or to make bids for public contracts (e.g. the building and tax contracts, on which so many equites got rich; see Censor); (D) a lex Sempronia of 123 BC, by which C. Gracchus excluded senators from his equestrian juries (App. A § B, D).   Senators were largely a landlord class, and were "public" officials, whereas equites were "private" capitalists; and the two groups often came in sharp conflict.  Here is what two modern authors say about the difference:


Thus, at the time of the Gracchi, these equites-publicani formed a close financial corporation of about 30,000 members, holding an intermediary position between the nobility and the lower classes, keenly alive to their own interests, and ready to stand by one another when attacked.  Although to some extent looked down upon by the senate as following a dishonourable occupation, they had as a rule sided with the latter, as being at least less hostile to them than the democratic party.  To obtain the support of these capitalists, Gaius Gracchus conceived the plan of creating friction between them and the senate, which he carried out by handing over to them the control (a) of the jury-courts, and (b) the revenues of Asia.  (J. H. Freese in EB s.v. Equites)


The image of equites as tawdry businessmen should long since have been exploded.  They included influential men of affairs, landowners, bankers, and tax farmers, many of them representatives of the municipal aristocracy throughout Italy.  In wealth and even in influence, individual equites might often surpass their senatorial counterparts... The difference rested in dignitas and access to honores.  The equester ordo constituted essentially that part of the Roman upper classes which had not served in the halls of the senate....  Sulla's expansion of the senate opened up positions that enabled numerous individuals to abandon equestrian origins and take on senatorial status....   But the gates swung wide open only at a certain level.  The bulk of the new men spent their senatorial careers among the pedarii.  (Gruen 208.  On "pedarii" see Senatus, Procedure)


On the equites' role as jurors--an activity over which they did, indeed, clash with senators--see App. A § B, also App. G; on their tax farming--also a cause of tension--see Publicani, and App. C § E.

            F Under the emperors.  Under Augustus the two orders became at last distinct.  Senatorial status, now semi-hereditary, required a fortune of 1,000,000 sesterces, equestrian 600,000.  He divided all equites into six squadrons called turmae, headed by six  seviri equitum Romanorum (usually young men of senatorial birth who had not yet been Quaestor).  Also, he organized some of them into four panels of jurors = Decuriae (q.v.).  Beyond this, there was a change of status.  An equestrian career, though still not as prestigious as a senatorial, often far excelled it in actual political power.  Equestrian Procuratores (q.v.) governed provinces, and the highest Praefecti (q.v.) were among the most powerful officials in the empire.  For the equestrian career under the emperors see App. F, § III, illustrated by career F.  E


FACTIO ("faction"), the commonest Roman word for "political party"; significantly, almost always a mere term of abuse.  The main reason is that Rome in fact had no "parties" in the positive modern sense; that is, no permanent alliances of all persons who share a political program, based on an ideology; rather, there were transient alliances between individual nobles (or families), based on no ideology.  That is why politicians in the late Republic (those about whom we know the most, e.g. Pompey, Lepidus, Caesar, Crassus, Clodius, Antony, Octavian) kept strangely "switching sides" in a way that would bring ridicule on a modern politician.  Stavely puts it this way (Sta. 191-2, my emphasis):


The Roman candidate did not represent the interests of a large group embracing much of the population, he was not pledged to the support of specific policies, and normally he did not even attempt to associate himself in the eyes of the electorate with a particular creed.... Indeed, if we are to trust the advice supposedly given by Quintus Cicero to his brother... the taking of any political stand during the campaign was to be studiously avoided for fear of making enemies.... The Roman had but one principal object in his canvass--to ensure that those committed to his personal following attended the comitia in sufficient numbers to assure him victory.


            Stavely thinks (ibid.) that this oddity of Roman politics had two main causes: (1) the physical distances that separated candidates and voters, in the later Republic.  On the one hand, it was impossible to contact the majority of voters; on the other, for coming to Rome to vote they normally needed some reason stronger that a mere political program.  And (2) "Roman campaigning practice was moulded as early as the fifth century BC, in days when any direct personal appeal by a member of the governing class would certainly have been regarded [i.e. by his fellow patricians] as a form of treachery" (Sta 193).

            So each candidate needed not a program but simply (a) large numbers of clients and (b) strategic alliances with other nobles, who also had large numbers of clients.  One's own alliance was called an amicitia, or something nobler like boni viri or concordia ordinum or "the patriots"; that of one's enemies was branded a factio, and charged with sedition, treason, oligarchy, etc.  Thus e.g. Sallust Jug. 31.15 (on the "senatorial oligarchs") "They stick together.  This among good men is friendship; among evil men it is a faction" ("haec inter bonos amicitia, inter malos factio est"), and Cicero Rep. 3.14, "a factio is when certain people hold the government on account of riches, or family, or power".

            The reason for the nastiness of this word for "the other party" is that--as those quotations show--throughout the Republican period, politicians feared that Rome might become a too narrow oligarchy.  Their fear intensified in the late Republic, when certain amicitiae did in fact use violence.  The word "faction" was needed for amicitiae like those of the 'Gracchans', the 'Marians', the 'Sullans', the first and second 'triumvirates'.  And since those deadliest "factions" always made appeals to the populace (were popularis), they themselves applied the word to their opponents, the whole "senatorial faction" itself!

            On a rather strange use of factio, in ch. 1 of Augustus' Res Gestae, see App. R fin.


FASTI: "The old calendar of dies fasti and dies nefasti for legal and public business [i.e. days on which business could and could not be conducted], which received definite publication by Cn. Flavius in 304 B.C. (Livy 9.46.5), came to cover also lists of eponymous magistrates (fasti consulares), records of triumphs (fasti triumphales), and priestly lists (fasti sacerdotales)" (OCD s.v.).  Parts of these lists are still extant, or can be certainly reconstructed; for Republican magistrates see above all T. R. S. Broughton, Magistrates of the Roman Republic.  (For other bibliography see OCD s.v.  In App. Y below is a list of consuls from BC 150 to 26; RR 525 ff. lists them from 80 BC to AD 14.)


IMPERIUM ("command"; cf. imperator): "supreme administrative power, involving command in war and the interpretation and execution of law (including the infliction of the death penalty) which belonged at Rome to the kings and, after their expulsion, to consuls, military tribunes with consular power (from 445 to 367 B.C.), praetors, dictators, and masters of the horse" (OCD s.v.; my emphasis).  Add also promagistrates (see Prorogatio); also some holders of special commissions (e.g. tresviri, q.v.); perhaps also curule aediles (on the doubt about them see Edictum).  Imperium also gives the right to convoke the senate; to sit in a curule chair (sella curulis); to be attended by lictores (q.v.) bearing fasces that symbolize coercitio, the power to punish.

            "Imperium maius": a dictator's imperium overrides a consul's, a consul's a praetor's--etc.; greater imperium is symbolized by a greater number of lictors (dictator has 24, consul 12, praetor 6, etc. -- see under Lictores), and by how the lictors of a lesser magistrate lower their rods to salute a greater.   F "Imperium maius proconsulare" was given to Augustus by a special law (App. S s.v. 23 BC).  It seems to have meant two things: (a) in a senatorial province, the Emperor's imperium overrode that of any Proconsul (see e.g. J2. 53); (b) in an imperial province, the Emperor was formally the Proconsul; that is why his governors, even when they were in fact ex-consuls, were called mere Legati (q.v. and see Prorogatio).  Imperium maius proconsulare was also given to Pompey (App. P s.v. 67 BC); also to Agrippa (BC 18; see App. U fin.), Germanicus (in East, AD 17), Tiberius (AD 13). E

              By a lex Valeria of 300 B.C., imperium domi ('at home') was limited by the right of appeal to the people (see App. A, § C).  Imperium militiae could be exercised only outside Rome, and was gradually restricted to a promagistrate's own province (but see below on imperium maius proconsulare.  On promagistrates see Prorogatio).  It was often prolonged for years; e.g. Caesar's in Gaul (for ten years) or those of Pompey (App. P passim).  On these so-called "imperia extra ordinem" see Gruen 534-543. 

            According to Pierre Grimal (7-9) imperium is not merely violence or constraint.  "(The word) designates a transcendent force, at once creative and ordering; able to act on reality, to make it obedient to a will.  For example a farmer who, on the earth he owns, forces crops to grow, or prunes from the vine its superfluous sprays, keeping only the shoots on which grapes will form, exercises his imperium [cf. Vergil, G. I, 99].  Any constraint in it is creative, not something that exists for its own sake.  Imperium is never a gratuitous tyranny."  Thus the source of all imperium is Rome's protector and fosterer, Juppiter Optimus, who confers it on his representatives: on the king (or later the Emperor) and on magistrates of the Roman people.  (For like the king, the magistrates seek Juppiter's will in their rites, and so have a direct relation with him.) 

            "Joined to the imperium were the laws.  They were two springs of power, parallel and complementary.  A law voted by the people is a rule accepted once for ever.  It refers to specified circumstances and imposes solutions.  In contrast, imperium operates in the face of the unforeseen. It is something living, modifiable, and complementary to the law.  But it cannot substitute for law; the authority of that rests on the maiestas of the people."


INTERREX ("king for the time being"): Originally (perhaps even  prior to the Etruscan kings) he was a patrician "appointed by the senators on the death of a king to exercise provisional authority.  Later, in the event of the death or resignation of both consuls before the conclusion of their year of office, interreges were successively appointed from each of the senatorial decuriae for five days until the auspices were taken and the new consuls elected... The interrex had to be a patrician and a senator.  He exercised all the functions of the consulship and was escorted by 12 lictors." (OCD; see also J 156).  Normally, he offered only two candidates for the consulship; the voters were merely requested to confirm them.


LEGATUS (lit. 'chosen', from lego).  Late Republic generally:  (I) Ambassador chosen by the senate.  Also, (II) a person of senatorial rank chosen by a provincial governor to assist him; a provincial legate could have powers pro praetore (see Prorogatio; also App. C, § A), conferred either by a governor or by the senate, and so could assume military command.  Under Caesar in particular: Commander of legion or detachment, or used like praefecti for special tasks.

            F Under the Emperors, a legateship was normally a senatorial (not an equestrian) post; e.g. (A) (praetorian or consular rank) Legatus Augusti censibus accipiendis (= Censitor = census and tax assessor).  (B) (praetorian rank) legatus legionis = commander of a legion.  (C) legatus (Augusti) pro praetore = governor of any imperial province that has at least one legion in it.  (D) legatus (Augusti) pro praetore = any special imperial commissioner. 

            Note that B and C are identical--i.e. the legatus legionis is also the legatus Augusti pro praetore--in any province that has just one legion.  (The sole exception is Africa.  After Caligula, command of its one legion--the iii Augusta--was kept distinct from the governorship.)  If the province has more than one legion, then A is subordinate to B.   For more about B, see Prorogatio ad fin. E


LICTORES (perhaps from ligo, to bind a criminal, or from licere, to summon): the attendents--each on his left shoulder bearing a bundle of fasces (rods) with an axe in the middle--who accompanied magistrates with imperium (q.v.)--a custom borrowed from the Etruscans.  The fasces symbolized a magistrate’s power to punish; the axe, his power to inflict death. 

            Lictors were of humble birth (often freedmen of the magistrate they served), grouped in guilds called decuriae.  “In Rome they wore the toga, perhaps girded up; on a campaign and at the celebration of a triumph, the red military cloak (sagulum); at funerals, black...  They were the constant attendants, both in and out of the house, of the magistrate to whom they were attached.  They walked before him in Indian file, cleared a passage for him (summovere) through the crowd, and saw that he was received with the marks of respect due to his rank [see e.g. Suet. Caes. 80.3].  They stood by him when he took his seat on the tribunal; mounted guard before his house, against the wall of which they stood the fasces; summoned offenders before him, seized, bound and scourged them, and (in earlier times) carried out the death sentence” (EB s.v.).   Suetonius (Caes. 44.2) says that Caesar when dictator used his lictors as police to enforce his sumptuary laws; they used to enter and search people's houses and confiscate forbidden goods.

            A Dictator was preceded by 24 lictors bearing both rods and axes; the Consul presiding in Rome for the month, by 12 bearing only axes (the other cos. had only a Herald, until his month came round); a Praetor, when in Rome, by 2 (bearing only axes), but when abroad by 6 (bearing rods & axes); a quaestor, by none at home, but when abroad, if serving pro praetore, by 6.  Any promagistrate had normally 6.

            There were also 30 Lictores Curiati, who summoned the curiae to the comitia curiata; and when these meetings became purely formal, their votes were represented by the 30 lictors (Smith).  “Lictors were also assigned to private individuals at the celebration of funeral games, and to the aediles at the games provided by them and the theatrical representation under their supervision” (EB).


MAGISTER EQUITUM: see s.v. Dictator.


NOBILITAS (from nobilis, lit. "known person").  For modern historians (e.g. Syme) and often in ancient usage, nobiles are members of families who have produced consuls; the nobilitas, the aggregate of such families.  So the nobilitas included patricians (q.v.) and plebeians equally.  "Their control of the office [of the consulship] during the Republic's last generation amounted to a near exclusivist monopoly: fifty-four of sixty-one consular posts...  Nearly half of all known praetors in the Ciceronian age were nobiles, and almost 80 % possessed precursors in the senate.... Nobiles account for more than 40% of the recorded number [of aediles], men of senatorial blood for more than 70%...  Approximately 30% of the tribunes derived from consular houses", even though that office was plebeian.  "The Roman voter performed in habitual ways.  A practiced aristocracy, relying on patronage and heritage, remained secure" (Gruen 209-210).  Other statistics (T. p. 105): From 218 B.C. to 49 only 12 consuls had nonconsular ancestry, and in the last 40 years of the Republic, only Cicero.


PATRES and PATRUM AUCTORITAS: see s.v. Senatus, and Comitia, # 3


PATRON & CLIENT [[all quoted from E.B. s.v.:]]  (Lat. patronus, from pater, father; clientes or cluentes, from cluere, to obey), in Roman law.  Clientage appears to have been an institution of most of the Graeco-Italian peoples in early stages of their history; but it is in Rome that we can most easily trace its origin, progress and decay. Until the reforms of Servius Tullius, the only citizens proper were the members of the patrician and gentile houses; they alone could participate in the solemnities of the national religion, take part in the government and defence of the state, contract quiritarian marriage, hold property, and enjoy the protection of the laws. But alongside of them was a gradually increasing non-citizen population composed partly of slaves, partly of freemen, who were nevertheless not admitted to burgess rights. To the latter class belonged the clients, individuals who had attached themselves in a position of dependence to the heads of patrician houses as their patrons, in order thereby to secure attachment to a gens, which would involve a de facto freedom. Mommsen held that the plebs consisted originally of clients only; but the earliest records of Rome reveal the possibility of a man becoming a plebeian member of the Roman state without assuming the dependent position of clientship; and long before the time of Servius Tullius the clients must be regarded as a section only of the plebeian order, which also contained members unattached to any patronus.

            [Patron's duties] The relationship of patron and client was ordinarily created by what, from the client’s point of view, was called adplicatio ad patronum, from that of the patron, susceptio clientis—the client being either a person who had come to Rome as an exile, who had passed through the asylum, or who had belonged to a state which Rome had overthrown. According to Dionysius and Plutarch, it was one of the early cares of Romulus to regulate the relationship, which, by their account of it, was esteemed a very intimate one, imposing upon the patron duties only less sacred than those he owed to his children and his ward, more urgent than any he could be called upon to perform towards his kinsmen, and whose neglect entailed the penalty of death (Tellumoni sacer esto). He was bound to provide his client with the necessaries of life; and it was a common practice to make him a grant during pleasure of a small plot of land to cultivate on his own account. Further, he had to advise him in all his affairs; to represent him in any transactions with third parties in which, as a non-citizen, he could not act with effect; and, above all things, to stand by him, or rather be his substitute, in any litigation in which he might become involved.

            [Client's duties] The client in return had not only generally to render his patron the respect and obedience due by a dependant, but, when he was in a position to do so and the circumstances of the patron required it, to render him pecuniary assistance. As time advanced and clients amassed wealth, we find this duty insisted upon in a great variety of forms, as in contributions towards the dowries of a patron’s daughters, towards the ransom of a patron or any of his family who had been taken captive, towards the payment of penalties or fines imposed upon a patron, even towards his maintenance when he had become reduced to poverty. Neither might give evidence against the other—a rule we find still in observance well on in the 1st century B.C., when C. Herennius declined to be a witness against C. Marius on the ground that the family of the latter had for generations been clients of the Herennii (Plut. Mar. 5). The client was regarded as a minor member (gentilicius) of his patron’s gens; he was entitled to assist in its religious services, and bound to contribute to the cost of them; he had to follow his patron to battle on the order of the gens; he was subject to its jurisdiction and discipline, and was entitled to burial in. its common sepulchre.

            And this was the condition, not only of the client who personally had attached himself to a patron, but that also of his descendants; the patronage and the clientage were alike hereditary. The same relationship was held to exist between. a freedman and his former owner; for originally a slave did not on enfranchisement, become a citizen; it was a de facto freedom merely that he enjoyed; his old owner was always called his patron, while he and his descendants were substantially in the position of clients, and often so designated.

            [Early History]  In the two hundred years that elapsed before the Servian constitutional reforms, the numerical strength of the clients, whether in that condition by adplicatio, enfranchisement or descent, must have become considerable; and it was from time to time augmented by the retainers of distinguished immigrants admitted into the ranks of the patriciate. There seems also to have been during this period a gradual growth of virtual independence on the part of the clients, and it is probable that their precarious tenure of the soil had in many cases come to be practically regarded as ownership, when a patron had not asserted his right for generations. The exact nature of the privileges conferred on the clients by Servius Tullius is not known. Probably this king guaranteed to the whole plebeian order, including the clients, the legal right of private ownership of Roman land. At the same time he imposed upon the whole order the duty of serving in the army, which was now organized on a basis of wealth. The client had previously been liable to military service at the command of the gens. Now he was called upon to take his part in it as a member of the state. As a natural corollary to this, all the plebeians seem to have been enrolled in the tribes, and after the institution of the plebeian assembly (concilium plebis) the clients, who formed a large part of the order, secured a political influence which steadily increased. It is not certain how soon they acquired the right to litigate in person on their own behalf, but their possession of this right seems to be implied in the XIL Tables, and may have been granted them at an earlier date.

            At any rate after 449 B.C. there were no disabilities in private law involved in their status. The relation of patron and client, it is true, still remained; the patron could still exact from his client respect, obedience and service, and he and his gens had still an eventual right of succession to a deceased client’s estate. But the fiduciary duties of the patron were greatly relaxed, and practically little more was expected of him than that lie should continue to give his client his advice, and prevent him faIling into a condition of indigence; sacer esto ceased to be the penalty of protection denied or withheld, its application being limited to fraus facta, which in the language of the Tables meant positive injury inflicted or damage done.

            [Late Republic] So matters remained during the 4th, 3rd and 2nd centuries. In the 2nd and 1st a variety of events contributed still further to modify the relationship. The rapacity of patrons was checked by the lex Cincia (passed by M. Cincius Alimentus, tribune in 204 BC.), which prohibited their taking gifts of money from their clients; marriages between patron and client gradually ceased to be regarded as unlawful, or as ineffectual to secure to the issue the status of the patron father. At the same time the remaining political disabilities of the clients were removed by their enrolment in all the tribes instead of only the four city tribes, and their admission to the magistracy and the senate. Hereditary clientage ceased when a client attained to a curule dignity; and in the case of the descendants of freedmen enfranchised in solemn forms it came to be limited to the first generation.

            Gradually but steadily one feature after another of the old institution disappeared, till by the end of the 1st century it had resolved itself into [a] the limited relationship between patron and freedman..., and [b] the unlimited honorary relationship between the patron who gave gratuitous advice on questions of law and those who came to consult him.... To have a large following of clients of this class was a matter of ambition to every man of mark in the end of the republic; it increased his importance, and ensured him a band of zealous agents in his political schemes.

            F [The Empire] But amid the rivalries of parties and the venality of the lower orders,.... clients had to be ‘purchased’ with something more substantial than mere advice. And so arose that wretched and degrading clientage of the early empire, of which Martial, who was not ashamed to confess himself a first-rate specimen of the breed, has given us such graphic descriptions; gatherings of idlers, sycophants and spendthrifts, at the levees and public appearances of those whom, in their fawning servility, they addressed as lords and masters, but whom they abused behind their backs as close-fisted upstarts—and all for the sake of the sportula, the daily dole of a dinner, or of a few pence wherewith to procure one.

            With the middle empire this disappeared; and when a reference to patron and client occurs in later times it is in the sense of counsel and client, the words patron and advocate being used almost synonymously.  It was not so in the days of the great forensic orators. The word advocate, it is said, occurs only once in the singular in the pages of Cicero. But at a later period, when the bar had become a profession, and the qualifications, admission, numbers and fees of counsel had become a matter of state regulation, advocati was the word usually employed to designate the pleaders as a class of professional men, each individual advocate, however, being still spoken of as patron in reference to the litigant with whose interest he was entrusted. It is in this limited connexion that patron and client come under our notice in the latest monuments of Roman law. E


PATRICII, Patricians: the origin of this caste is conjectural (e.g. perhaps an elite class under the Etruscan kings; or perhaps even a pre-Etruscan, Latin aristocracy); in any case it was legally defined (or redefined) in the early 5th century, to exclude "PLEBEIAN" families from many offices (a movement generally called la serrata, "the closing").  In the early Republic patricians held most higher magistracies and (till the lex Ogulnia, 300) all important religious offices.  Even in later times, only patricians could appoint the Interrex (q.v.), be Rex sacrorum or (probably) Princeps senatus (q.v.), and give or withhold patrum auctoritas (see Senatus) to decisions of the centuriate and curiate assemblies.

            In 450 they were prohibited by law from marrying Plebeians (repealed in 445; but intermarriage remained rare).  You could not become, but only be born, a patrician; it depended on your gens.  (I.e. until Augustus; by a lex Saenia of 30 BC--see App. S--he and later emperors had the right to create new patricians.)  The Patrician caste was mainly a religious, social and legal-political, not an economic, entity.  Often in the 5th- and 4th-century "struggle of the orders", prominent plebeians did manipulate popular economic discontent, to alarm the patriciate, and break their monopoly of power.  But even in early times, some plebeian families were immensely rich (e.g. the regal Marcii; or in later times e.g. Pompey).  The all-powerful patriciate was gradually replaced by a senatorial aristocracy of Patrician-Plebeian nobiles (see Nobilitas).  This happened in part by mere decline in numbers (due e.g. to wars): in the fifth century there were 50 patrician gentes; in c. 367, 22; at the end of the Republic, 14.


PLEBISCITUM: see s.v. Comitia, # 3 and s.v. Tribuni Plebis


POMOERIUM: "Ritual boundary of the city of Rome, following the line of the ancient Servian walls, which divided the civilian area within (domi) from the military area without (militiae).  A proconsul, whose imperium was only valid militiae, lost it on crossing the pomoerium" (J2 p. 185)


PONTIFEX: see Appendix D


PRAEFECTUS.  (I) C i v i l.  (a) Praefectus urbi at Rome: "The temporary deputy in Rome of the absent king or consuls, not often needed after the institution of praetors, except once a year when all regular magistrates attended the Latin festival on the Mons Albanus" (OCD).  At first held by men of consular rank, later by much younger men.  (b)  Praefecti = judges delegated by the Urban Praetor to the municipia (see App. C, section B), to help local officials to administer justice; as e.g. those sent in 318 B.C. to Capua and Cumae.  Those sent annually to Campania after the revolt of 215-211 BC took sole charge of local jurisdiction.  Such praefecti were abolished some time between 89 (see below) and 44 BC.

            (II) M i l i t a r y  (cf. App. B).  Young equestrian officers.  Until the Social War of 91-87 BC, there were used mainly as commanders of allied cavalry.  Each ala socium had 6 praefecti of whom 3 were Roman (see App. B, auxilia).  But generals often used them for other purposes, e.g. to command town garrisons, or fortresses, or infantry auxilia, or fleets, or for special missions.   They were comparable in rank and status to tribuni militum, but on the one hand, less esteemed because never elected (see Tribuni militum) but only appointed, yet on the other hand, often more flexible and experienced, because of the variegated tasks they were given.   Before 218 (when 2nd Punic War began) there were probably no more than 20 praefecti per year; between then and 90 BC, there were perhaps 100 per year; after 89 (when praefecti socium ceased to exist) there were probably fewer than 50 (figures from Suolahti).  During the civil wars, 48-30 BC, their numbers and importance hugely increased in each army, because of a huge increase in mercenary auxilia.   It was partly this that led to their importance in the Principate.

            F Under the emperors.  As Augustus reorganized the army and provincial administration, trying to create permanent structures, he found praefecti especially useful in that unlike tribuni militum, they had never been elected magistrates, and few were senators.  They had always tended to be knights appointed to special tasks by the commander-in-chief--and he was now the Emperor. 

            Of the many new prefectures only five were  s e n a t o r i a l  (Sandys 225):  (1) (for senators of praetorian rank) Praefectus aerarii militaris (overseer of funds for the military), (2) (praetorian rank) Praefecti aerarii (Saturni) (2, under Agustus, till 23 BC, prefects of the  state Treasury, which was located in the Temple of Saturn), (3) (praetorian) Praefectus alimentorum (in charge of special fund for poor children); (4) (praetorian or aedilician) Praefectus frumenti dandus ex senatus consulto (grain distribution); (5) (consular) Praefectus Urbi ("police chief" and later judge: see below).

            The five highest of the many  e q u e s t r i a n  prefectures were more important than any of the senatorial, except the Praefectus urbi, and were the highest posts of any kind that a knight could attain: (a) Praefecti Classis (2, commanders of the imperial fleets, at Ravenna and Misenum); (b) Praefectus Vigilum (chief of fire brigade--see Vigiles); (c) Praefectus Annonae (grain commissioner--since grain was no longer controlled by the aediles); (d) Praefectus Aegypti (governor of Egypt--see below); (e) Praefecti Praetorii (usually 2, sometimes 1 or 3, prefects of the Praetorian Guard, q.v.--and see below).

            The Praefectus urbi first became formidable during Tiberius' long absence from the city in AD 26-37.  He had imperium and commanded a huge police force (several thousand men--see Cohortes urbanae).  He had legal jurisdiction, which extended to 100 miles outside Rome.  This began as a court for petty crime, and for slaves and rioters; but under Nero it began to overshadow the public courts (see App. A); and by the 3rd cent. AD it had practically superseded those.  (For description of the prefect's jurisdiction and of his extremely powerful court see Justinian's Digest in R p. 26-7; also J2 126 ff.)

            The Praefectus Aegypti had proconsular imperium; his 3 legions, each also led by an equestrian praefectus, were until 197 AD the only legions commanded by equestrians (see Prorogatio, fin.). 

            The Praefecti praetorii were members of the emperor's council and could affect imperial policy (or even the change of emperor--see Praetorian Guards).  During the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD they acquired vast judicial power, including appellate jurisdiction for provinces both imperial and senatorial, to within 100 miles of Rome (i.e. it began where the Urban Prefect's jurisdiction stopped). E


F PRAESES, "guardian": (under the Emperors) synonymous with the other terms for "governor" (for which see Prorogatio ad fin.), but in the later empire it began to replace those.  Thus, for example, in the Vulgate Bible, made by Jerome in the late fourth century, this is the normal word for governor.  E


PRAETORS, elected annually in comitia centuriata, second executive power after Consuls; had 6 lictors to a consul's 12. Perhaps originally the consuls themselves were praetors (from prae-ire, "precede"), and military in character.  But the earliest named in ancient sources is the Praetor Urbanus created in 366; he assumed consuls' power in the city when those were absent, and like them could summon Senate and comitia or supervise the defense of Rome.   But chiefly he supervised civil jurisdiction in the city (see App. A § A).  In c. 242 B.C. was added Praetor Peregrinus who supervised lawsuits in which foreigners were involved.  In 227 the number was increased to 4, to provide for gov't of Sicily and Sardinia; in 197 to 6, to include gov't of Spain.  In those provinces their power, military as well as civil, approached that of consuls.  There remained 6 till 81 BC when Sullan reform stipulated 8 praetors, all to be in their first year judges at Rome, in their second, governors of provinces.  At all periods, any residing at Rome could summon and preside over assemblies.

            On the law praetors see App. A, §§ A & B.  They were often powerful, in a way not unlike our Supreme Court, since each on entering office published an edict outlining the principles of his jurisdiction (see Edictum).  They consulted experts in jurisprudence (private iurisprudentes, iurisconsulti--see App. A § A) but had latitude in interpreting the laws, and power "to assist, supplement or correct them" (J p. 187). 

            The Urban and Peregrine praetors’ tribunals were at first on the north rim of the Comitium, flanking the Curia; but after about 75 B.C. they were moved--together with some of the Quaestiones perpetuae--into the east end of the Forum (FC II 190-8).  Each “tribunal” was probably a wooden platform, surrounded by wooden tiers (gradus) for spectators.   On special occasions, or in bad weather, or if some mischief happened to the scaffolding (as when the mob burned it on the deaths of Clodius and Caesar) poceedings could be moved indoors into one of the basilicas.

            F Under Augustus the praetors increased to 12.  They retained their legal duties, and from 22 BC they managed the games (instead of the aediles), and from 2 BC two of them managed the treasury (aerarium--instead of the quaestors).  For these reasons and because it led to many propraetorian posts, the office was still coveted.  But under ensuing emperors it withered, overshadowed by imperial offices (for praetors' edicts under the emperors see Edictum), and by the courts of Praetorian Prefects and Praefectus Urbi (for both, see Praefectus, last paragraph).  E


PRAETORIAN GUARD (COHORS PRAETORIA) (Ca. p. 38 ff.):  I n  R e p u b l i c: simply the guard stationed at a general's headquarters--the praetorium, so called because a general was usually a governor with powers pro praetore.   I n  c i v i l  w a r s  the term began to be used of any general's bodyguard.  "Augustus transformed this practice by establishing in 27 BC an elite unite with superior emoluments, shorter service and more elaborate uniform than the legionaries, to act as his permanent bodyguard" (Ca. p. 38).  F U n d e r   e m p e r o r s.  Augustus had 9 "Praetorian cohorts" specially loyal to him, each of 1,000-1,500 men (or 500--the number is much disputed), 3 stationed in Rome (in civilian dress, so as not to alarm the senators, who were not used to troops in the city), 6 in nearby towns.  In AD 23 the infamous prefect Sejanus persuaded Tiberius to station them all in fortified barracks on the eastern edge of Rome, and it was probably then (Ca. p. 38) that they were increased to 12 cohorts.  Domitian reduced them to 10 cohorts of 1,000 men apiece, each commanded by a prefect.  Their importance lies in the fact that, apart from the cohortes urbanae (q.v.), they were normally the only regular troops stationed in Italy.  One consequence is that they could sometimes make or unmake an emperor; so in AD 44 (the accession of Claudius), in 68-69, and in the late 2nd century.E


PRINCEPS SENATUS, chosen, or renewed, every five years by the censors.  A patrician of unimpeachable record and morals, usually an ex-censor, he had precedence in the senate.  The word PRINCEPS (in the singular) was also used (not formally) of the most prominent man in the state; thus at different times of Pompey; of Caesar; of Cicero.  Hence later an unofficial title of the emperors.


F PROCURATOR (an "agent for" someone).  Under the Republic, merely the steward of a great family.  Under the emperors, procuratores were connected mainly with finances; but their duties were very various, and there were 6 main kinds (OCD s.v.):  (1) Proc.  of minor imperial province (= governor; see Prorogatio and App. C § A).  (2) Proc. of an imperial province governed by a legatus (q.v., and see Prorogatio): equivalent to a quaestor in a senatorial province: he collects revenues, pays troops etc.  (3) Proc. in senatorial province: administrator of the Emperor's own revenues (i.e. of the imperial fiscus, which was always distinct from the aerarium) and property in that province.  (4) Proc. of imperial estates in Africa.  (5) Proc. for special tasks which in the Republic had belonged to elected officials (esp. Aediles, Quaestors): e.g. aqueducts, roads, annona (grain), the mint, the post, the census, libraries, the imperial games.  (6) Proc. for collecting indirect taxes (on which see App. C § E).

            Procurators 2, 3, 6, in charge of vast sums, were somewhat independent of the governor.  He was formally their superior, but often powerless to control their rapacity.

            The procuratorships, usually held by knights, more rarely by freedmen, rapidly multiplied until by the late 2nd century AD there was even a sort of cursus honorum (see Appendix F, career-type III).  There were 4 groups differentiated by salary-level: sexagenarii (had salary of 60,000 sesterces), centenarii (100,000), ducenarii (200,000), (more rarely) trecenarii (300,000).  They were sometimes assistants to the higher Curatores or Praefecti; for example, procurators helped the Praefectus alimentorum (see Praefectus).  For a detailed list of their tasks see Sandys 224, 226-9. E


PROROGATIO (from prorogo: 'prolong') = imperium pro magistratu, i.e. the offices of PROCONSUL (pro consule , lit. "in place of a consul", i.e. "functioning as if a consul"), PROPRAETOR (pro praetore) and PROQUAESTOR (pro quaestore) (J # 123).  Prorogatio was originally invented for, and used only in, a emergency, when a consul's term of office had expired in the midst of a campaign (etc.); so that the people voted to extend his term by this device.  He retained his imperium (q.v.) even though a new consul had been elected.  The  first recorded instance is 326 B.C., when Senate and Comitia tributa extended the term of the dictator Publilius Philo, as he conducted the siege of Naples.   But as the provinces multiplied, since there were not enough praetors for them, this became a routine device for providing governors of provinces; and it was also used for any special commission (e.g. Pompey's against the pirates) that might last more than a year.  (On such special commissions, see Imperium fin.). 

            At first, a "proconsul" was always an ex-consul, a "propraetor" always an ex-praetor.   But after Sulla, all governors--even if they were only ex-praetors--were ranked "Proconsul" (so they had 12 lictors instead of the 6 that a Propraetor would have); and under the emperors (see below) there were other modifications.  Also, sometimes--e.g. during the Punic wars, whenever there were too few commanders--even a legate or civilian could be made Propraetor.

            Some unmilitary ex-consuls disliked serving abroad (see list in Gruen 22 n. 43).  Hence, Sullan reform tried to make it mandatory.  But in the late republic, an ex-consul could thus accumulate immense wealth, clientele and hence political, and military, power (e.g. Caesar in Gaul, Pompey in Spain, Africa and Asia).  It became almost the main "reward" of the consulship or the praetorship.  To mitigate the danger, in 52 Pompey as consul got passed a law requiring a 5-year gap between magistracy and promagistracy.  Under the Principate that law was reenacted; ex-consuls probably had to wait ten years. 

            F Under the emperors, provinces were either "senatorial" or "imperial" (see App. C, § A) and this affected the promagistrate's title.  A  s e n a t o r i a l  governor was called Proconsul whether he was actually an ex-consul or not (see App. F, careers B, D, G.  Consulars got the two richest provinces, Asia and Africa; ex-praetors, the others).  As in the Republic, the normal term of office was a year, since there always were a great many ex-consuls and ex-praetors waiting for provinces.  An  i m p e r i a l  governor was a Legatus Augusti pro praetore, if the province had legions in it; if it had no legions, he was a Praefectus or a Procurator.  (In any imperial province, the "proconsul" is formally the Emperor himself; so the governors are his legati, etc.)  Appointed directly by the emperor, most held office for 3 years; but a few remained in office for decades under several emperors. 

            If the imperial province had at least two legions, its Legatus was an ex-consul.  If it had 1 legion, its Legatus was an ex-praetor.  If it had no troops at all or only auxilia (on which see App. B) its governor (its legatus) could be an equestrian Praefectus or Procurator.   (So at times in the Mauretanias, Judaea, Cappadocia, Thracia, Noricum, Raetia.  Judaea at the time of Christ was adjunct to the greater province of Syria; "²gemÅn"at Matt. 27 is ambiguous but an inscription calls Pontius Pilate "Praefectus Judaeae".) 

            In two places, equestrian Praefecti did command legions: the Praefectus Aegypti had 3 legions (each led by its own praefectus), and after AD 198 (when it became a province) Mesopotamia had 3 newly created "Parthian" legions under a praefectus.  E


PROVINCIA (etym. unsure; a false popular etym. was pro + vincere).  (A) Any major magistrate's sphere of authority, within which he exercises his right of imperium.  Each year, before the elections, the Senate determined what each magistrate's exact tasks were going to be (e.g. what tasks the various quaestors would have); once elected, the new magistrates (e.g. all the new quaestors) drew lots for the jobs thus defined.  Later (B) the word meant especially a sphere of authority outside Rome, a "province" in the modern sense, a foreign territory governed by Rome (usually by means of prorogatio, q.v.): see App. C.


PROVOCATIO (provocatio ad populum, legal right of  "appeal to the people"): see App. A, § C.


PUBLICANI: Equestrian tax-farmers, called publicani because they paid what they collected in publicum, into the public treasury (see aerarium.  Note that in the New Testament, Luke 3.13, 19.2, 19.8, Matt, 22.15, etc., the hated "publicans" are not these tax-farmers themselves but their hirelings, portitores, collectors of provincial portaria, on which see App. C, § E).   Every 5th year the censor (q.v.) "placed all the sources of public revenue in the hands of certain individuals or companies, who on payment of a fixed sum into the treasury, or on giving adequate security for such payment, received the right to make what profit they could out of the revenues during the five years that should elapse before the next censorship.  The assignment was made to the highest bidder at a public auction held by the censor.  The same system was applied to the public works, the publicanus (or company)... being paid a certain sum, in return for which he took entire charge of a certain department in the public works" (EB s.v.).

            In the provinces, where they were much hated, they normally collected much more tax than was due and pocketed the difference.  They could be almost incredibly rapacious, and often went their rounds accompanied by soldiers.   Many Romans themselves at all periods felt uneasy about them.  Some governors colluded with them; others tried to check them but feared to alienate them, since equites dominated the lawcourts at Rome (and between 123 and 81 BC even controlled them--see Equites: 'Equites vs. Senatores').  "Cicero, though always a friend to the equites, admitted in 70 that avaricious governors had to toady to the publicans and that many had suffered for acting against the interests and wishes of the order (Against Verres II, 3, 74)" (Brunt 87-8).  As Livy put it (quoted in S 261), "Where the publicani are, there is no respect for public law and no freedom for the allies."  See Appendix C, § E. 


QUAESTIO (i.e. quaestio perpetua): a standing public court; see. App. A § B


QUAESTORES ("investigators"), 20 per year in the late Republic, usually young men, elected annually in comitia populi tributa (q.v.), mainly to be concerned with public funds.  "They were allocated by lot [see Provincia], two to the treasury at Rome..., one to each consul, four to the fleet, later to minor administrative posts, and one to each provincial governor.  They drew from the treasury their chief's allowance, and spent it on his orders, returning the balance to the treasury" (J # 99). 

            History: At first 2, one appointed by either consul to be his assistant; after 447, both were elected in assembly.  In 421 (when Plebeians were admitted) 2 "quaestores urbani" were added for the Treasury (see aerarium); in 267, 4 "quaestores classici" were added, and stationed in 4 port cities, probably for the fleets.  More were added for the provinces (one per province).  A provincial quaestor had charge of all money from Rome, and was often the army paymaster, but sometimes commanded a legion in battle (see e.g. Caesar BG I.52).   Normally second-in-command to the governor, he governed the province in the governor's absence.   Finally, in 81 Sulla added one for the water supply, and fixed the total at 20. 

            Political status: "By the late 2nd century B.C., ex-quaestors were regularly enrolled in the Senate by the next censors.  Sulla made the office compulsory in the cursus honorum, fixed 30 as the minimum age and made entry to the Senate automatic" (OCD).   

            (The quaestores parricidi, "inquisitors of murder", mentioned in the 12 Tables may have been ordinary quaestors, endowed with juridical powers later lost, or may have held a distinct magistracy.)

            F Under the emperors the two Urban Quaestors were removed from the Aerarium (that duty given to the older, more experienced Praetors; later, to imperial civil servants); but there were added 2 quaestores Caesaris (= q. Augusti = q. Imperatoris) attached to the emperor (see e.g. App. F, career E), 2 for each consul, and 1 for each senatorial province; the latter still had financial duties.  E


QUATTUORVIRI: = IV-viri: see Vigintiviri; also App. F career F, App. C § B.


F QUINQUENNALES: Imperial provincial census officials; see s.vv. Decuriones, Appendix C, par. C. E


SENATUS (lit. 'council of elders'; cf. Gk. γερουσία).   C o m p o s i t i o n:  originally 300 (Sulla made them 600; Caesar 900; the triumvirs over 1,000; Augustus in 18 B.C. 600), either patricians (q.v.) or plebeians (conscripti = adscripti).  Members were chosen--at first by the consuls, later (after c. 310 B.C.?) by the Censors (q.v.)--from ex-magistrates; after the Gracchi, also from ex-tribuni plebis.  Thus conflict between senate and magistrates was fairly rare, as they had the same interests and connections; for election to magistracy needed wealth and good family (see Tribuni plebis, § 'Who they were'); also, few magistrates wanted wholly to antagonize a body in which they themselves would soon sit for the rest of their lives.   The senate's immense prestige was due mainly to two facts: (a) it contained most of the men who had been elected to public office, and (b) it was a permanent body, more enduring than the annual magistracies and the constantly changing assemblies.  "In experience and prestige its individual members were often superior to the consuls of the year" (EB s.v.).

            Formally, in the Comitia centuriata, senators belonged to the ordo equester (see Centuriae, the first line in the first table).  But between senators and knights there were in fact sharp differences, on which see the entry for Equites.  Eventually Augustus decreed for them a higher property qualification (1,000,000 sesterces) than the equites (600,000).  They provided nearly all candidates for public office and, except during the four decades between the Gracchi and Sulla, both most civil judges and most judges and jurors in the public courts (see Decuriae and see App. A § B, C).  They wore a tunic with a broad stripe (the latus clavus, distinct from the knights' angustus clavus), and special shoes.   

            The senate is itself dominated by the wealth, auctoritas and strategic alliances of nobiles, i.e. members of consular families (see Patriciae).  Though strictly not a legislative body, it dominates the Roman state and gives it, as Syme says, a strikingly "feudal" character even in the late Republic. 

            (On the changes by Sulla see App. G.  Some think that he weakened the senate's authority, by killing many of its more experienced members, by creating too many new and ignorant senators, and by giving membership to all ex-quaestors.  There was in fact a change--see Gruen 201, on names in the post-Sullan senate that survive and are identifiable.  Though 101 of them can be identified with senatorial families, including 45 of consular, 17 of praetorian, 99 seem to be "new men", novi homines.  But as Gruen says, this did not necessarily eviscerate the senate; the newcomers mostly remained pedarii [see below] and the nobiles dominated just as before). 

            P r o c e d u r e: The senate was convened by consuls, praetors, and (later) tribuni plebis, in that order of precedence.  The convening magistrate would address the house, then ask for opinions (or he might ask for opinions first without himself giving a speech).  He normally called on speakers in strict order of rank: ex-censors, -consuls, -praetors, -aediles, -tribunes; lastly pedarii who had not held a magistracy higher than the quaestorship; and within each rank the patricians first.  (The lower ranks were called on only if it seemed expedient, and if time allowed).  A person called on would either support the motion or propose motions of his own.  Until Augustus there was no time limit, and once called upon, a senator could (as e.g. sometimes Cato notoriously did) "filibuster" or talk interminably about anything he liked.  Whenever, as often, there was more than one motion, the consul would call for separate votes on each--putting them in his own way and order.  The resolution finally arrived at--a decretum, senatus consultum, or senatus auctoritas, or patrum auctoritas--was valid if not vetoed by tribuni plebis (q.v.).  

            Pedarii were so called because normally, not called on, they never got to use their voices--only their feet, in order to vote.  The house voted by dividing, all those in favor of the bill going to one side of the room.  Often, to show which side they favored, they did this even during the debate (Sta. 227).

            Senatus auctoritas is in effect a decree rejected by a tribune or the people; senatus consultum is one not thus interfered with; on patrum auctoritas see below. 

            F u n c t i o n s.  Originally the Senate was merely the consuls' consilium.  They appointed its members and could dismiss it at will.  It had no formal legislative, juridical or executive power, and in the late Republic this lack of formal power proved its ruin (see App. K, § Tribuni Plebis).  Still, by Cicero's time it had immense "de facto" power, by mere custom and force of authority.  Its chief functions: 

            (Quasi-formal executive power)  >> "Advised" the convening magistrate, whether in domestic or in foreign matters; but this "advice" took the form of senatus consulta, which, although they were not laws, were normally regarded as binding on everyone including the magistrates. >> Defined in advance magistrates' duties for the coming year (see Provincia), and established what equipment they would get. 

            (Quasi-legal power in state emergencies)   >> Recommended that a Dictator (q.v.) be nominated.   >> Passed the senatus consultum ultimum (q.v.).   >> Appointed the interrex (q.v.) when needed.

            (Control of public funds and lands)  >> Controlled the aerarium (q.v.), i.e. through the quaestors dispersed public money to magistrates, funds for triumphs, funds for public works to censors (see below on "Judicial" functions).   >> Granted or withheld rights to occupy public land. 

            (Provinces)  >> Defined provinces for, and assigned them to, promagistrates (see Prorogatio).

             (Foreign relations)  >> Sent and received foreign embassies.  >> Framed alliances, treaties, etc., which then the assemblies merely ratified.  >> Controlled the external relations of the "free" cities (see App. C.B.1).  >> Determined the rate of tributum (q.v. in App. C, E).       

            (Powers in war) >> Chose or extended military commissions; fixed the number of levies; criticized the conduct of the war; negotiated with the enemy. 

            (Approval of legislation)  >> Invalidated laws by showing flaws in procedure.  >> Ratified laws of Comitia curiata or centuriata (in earlier times, of the tribal assemblies also), by a decree of the patrician senators only, called patrum auctoritas.  But after perhaps 339 this approval was given to measures before they were voted on; and because of that, and because the senate became increasingly plebeian, it seems to have become a mere form, till Sulla in 89 tried to revive it (see App. G).   

            (Judicial power)  >> Investigated (but till Augustus, did not try) crimes of treason, conspiracy, murder.   >> Received, and ajudicated on, appeals against bad contracts granted by censors.  >> Normally (i.e. except between the Gracchi and Sulla) provided jurors for the public courts (App. A § B). 

            F U n d e r   t h e  e m p e r o r s,  senators were chosen not by the censors but by the Emperor exercising censorial powers (see App. S s.v. 28 BC and 19 BC), and senatorial status became for the first time hereditary (see s.v. Equites).  The senate was now entrusted with needed but mostly dull, routine business of senatorial provinces; the ordinary affairs of Rome and Italy.   In Augustus' reign, bills were "recommended" to it by a "drafting committee" consisting of the Emperor plus the consuls plus "one from each college of magistrates, and fifteen other senators chosen by lot, changing every six months.... This preparatory committee was fully representative of the Senate and no doubt expedited business, but it must have tended to reduce the full Senate to a rubber stamp" (J2 p. 93).   Senate attendence, therefore, became sparse and the emperors had to introduce fines for absenteeism.

            The imperial senate did have several new functions: >> After c. 20 BC, as a court convoked by the consuls, it tried political crimes (e.g. treason) and any crimes committed by persons of senatorial rank (e.g. extortion by a provincial governor--see App. A, § E, and J2 96, 124 ff.  Vivid concrete descriptions of such trials are in Pliny Ep. II.2, II.11, III.4,  III.9).  >> After AD 14 it elected consuls and praetors.  (But the "elected" magistrates knew very well that they had been, in effect, appointed by the emperor and even gave speeches of thanks to him; see e.g. Pliny Ep. II.1, III.13, VI.27.)  >> "From the time of Tiberius onwards it was the senate that did the work of legislation, for the simple reason that the comitia were no longer fit for it.  And very active it seems to have been.  This may have been due to some extent that so many professional jurists, aware from their practice of the points in which the law required amendment, possessed seats in the imperial council, where the drafts of the senatusconsults were prepared" (EB s.v. Roman Law, IV, i).  In other words, replacing the leges once passed in the assemblies, senatus consulta began to have the status of laws of the Roman people.  E


SENATUS CONSULTUM ULTIMUM = decretum ultimum =  sen. consult. de re publica defendenda: a declaration by the senate of a state of public emergency, purporting to authorize specified magistrates, who were not to be subject to veto or appeal, to suppress all public enemies: "senatus decrevit darent operam consules ne quid respublica detrimenti caperet", "the senate has decreed that the consuls should see to it that the state suffers no harm" (Sallust Cat. 29).  It amounted to a declaration of martial law.  The magistrate was usually the consul; the "enemies" were usually not specified. 

            In the late decades of the Republic, this emergency device more or less replaced the Dictatorship, which had fallen into disuse.  Unfortunately, the S.C.U. was only dubiously constitutional, and some of the "authorized" magistrates were later fiercely prosecuted by tribunes (as Opimius by Decius, Rabirius by Labienus, Cicero by Clodius--see below) for executing Roman citizens without trial or appeal to the people (see Provocatio in App. A).  Their excuse, of course, was always that their victims were not "citizens" at all but plain traitors.  But the S.C.U. set a dangerous precedent: it seems to influence the terrible powers later granted to Sulla (App. G), Caesar, and the "2nd Triumvirate" (see Tresviri).

            Most scholars now doubt that it was used in 331 BC (poisoning epidemic: Livy 8.18) and 186 BC (against the Bacchanalia: Livy 39.18).  Probably it was first used by Opimius against C. Gracchus in 123 (after killing Gracchus himself Opimius put to death 3,000 of his followers; in 120 he was prosecuted for this but acquitted); then against Saturninus in 100 B.C. (see R 59 f.) (in 63 Rabirius was prosecuted, and "acquitted" only by dissolution of the assembly), against Lepidus in 77, against Catiline in 63 (in 58 Cicero was prosecuted), against Q. Metellus Nepos in 62, after the murder of Clodius in 52, against Caesar in 50, against Antony and Dolabella in 43.  (See Appendix P s.v. the years 77, 63, 62, 52 and 50, and Appendix Q s.v. Jan. 43.)


SEVIRI = sexviri or VI-viri: see Equites fin.


TRESVIRI (less correctly TRIUMVIRI), a board of three; either (A) one of various permanent minor boards (see Vigintiviri, items a and c) or (B) a board appointed by the People to deal with an important special problem--e.g. (often) IIIviri. agris dandis adsignandis or IIIviri coloniae deducendae = land commissioners; (once, for debt problems, 216 B.C.) IIIviri. mensarii; (A.D. 4) IIIviri legendi senatus. 

            The famous "tresviri rei publicae constituendae" or "Second Triumvirate" of Octavian, Antony, Lepidus, formed 27 Nov. 43 by a lex Titia (for 5 years, & then renewed), more resembled Sulla's or Caesar's dictatorship than it did a normal triumvirate.  They had imperium maius (see Imperium), had inappellable criminal jurisdiction, and could pass laws "without the people's approval or cooperation".  (See Dictator--the remarks there about a Dictator's legislation apply also to these tresviri,  who might well have been Dictators, if Antony had not abolished that office.  See also App. S s.v. 43 BC.)

            The so-called "First Triumvirate" of Caesar, Pompey, Crassus was not a triumvirate at all, but only a secret (at first) political agreement.  Though not strictly illegal, that little factio scandalized many Romans, because they had no political parties (see Factio) and no tradition of secret "deals".


TRIBUNI AERARII: Originally, probably, army paymasters; in the late Republic, men whose census class was 300,000 sesterces (whereas knights were 400,000); on their role as jurors, see s.v. Decuriae.


TRIBUNI MILITUM, at first 24 young men, 'senior' officers of the 4 legions (i.e. 6 per legion), ranked as magistrates and elected in the comitia populi tributa.  Attached to the legion itself, not to its subdivisions, they "never functioned as mere tactical sub-commanders" (OCD).  In that respect they differed from the less specialized praefecti (q.v.).  In 218 BC when the 2nd Punic War began, the number of legions and hence of tribuni militum began to increase (perhaps from 24 to about 120 yearly); but the new tribuni were nominated by the commander-in-chief; only those of the four "legiones urbanae" were still elected by the people (tribuni militum a populo).  By Caesar's time, tribuni militum were mainly of equestrian but non-senatorial origin.  They declined in importance with the rise of the legati (q.v.).

            F Under the emperors 5 of each legion's 6 tribunes were equestrian, appointed not elected, and the post was part of the equestrian cursus.  "By the late first century AD it had been established that [equestrian military] posts were held in a certain order--prefect of  a cohort, military tribune..., prefect of an ala--and although equites were not obliged to hold all three posts (tres militiae), some spent many years in various military assignments" (Ca. 56; for an inscription showing this see App. F, career F.  For a curious "snapshot" of a tribune at work see Acts, 22.24 -23.30, Lysias Claudius rescuing St. Paul).  E

            Note that these tribuni militum of either type--elected or nominated--should not be confused with the earlier "consular tribunes" (q.v.), even though those, too, are sometimes termed tribuni militum.


TRIBUNI PLEBIS (or PLEBI), 1st created 500-450 B.C., ten by 449.  Elected for 1 year (i.e. Dec. 10th -Dec. 9th) by the concilium plebis (see below & see s.v. Comitia plebis tributa) and charged with defence of the lives and property of the plebeians.  They had no imperium; the office originally derived from no statute, but only from an oath taken by fellow plebeians to uphold them.   

            Their powers were immense; e.g.: >> sacrosanctitas, i.e. no magistrate could arres them; no one could injure them without becoming an outlaw; in courtesy, people rose in their presence.  >> auxilium, the power to protect any plebeian from magisterial coercion.  >> intercessio, the power to veto any act performed by any magistrate, including laws, senatus consulta, elections.  (They could even veto other tribuni plebis--see next paragraph.  Only a Dictator was above their veto.)  >> Power to summon the plebs to assemblies (see Comitia plebis tributa).  >> Power to elicit, from those assemblies, laws binding on everyone, called plebiscita (see Comitia plebis tributa.  Probably, plebiscita were at first petitions, via the consuls, to the comitia centuriata; but after 287 they had the force of law).  >> coercitio, the power--which could go as far as inflicting death--to enforce both the plebiscita and their own rights.  Finally, after c. 216 BC,  >> the power to convoke the Senate and elicit senatus consulta (q.v.)..

            Their history & nature.  Their power was revolutionary (the office is associated with the First Secession of the plebs in 494); its full acknowledgement "coincided with the recognition of plebiscita as laws with binding force (c. 287 B.C.).  The tribunes were first admitted to listen to the debates of the senate; in the second century [viz. by the lex Atinia of c. 149 B.C] the tribunate became a sufficient qualification for entrance into the senate."  The senate gradually ceased to fear the tribunate; for it could persuade a tribune to veto another tribune's veto, and it could use the tribunician veto as a tool in controlling magistrates (see below: "Who they were").  The magistrates themselves could use the same weapon.  In the late Republic many nobiles used it (Julius Caesar, for example, often bribed tribunes to introduce or veto legislation); it became so important that Augustus relied on tribunicia potestas as one of the two pillars of his principate (the other being his proconsular imperium).

            "From the time of [C.] Gracchus the tribunician veto was curtailed by special clauses of laws and senatus consulta.  Sulla excluded the tribunes from the magistracies of the Roman People and abolished or curtailed their power of moving legislation and their judicial powers.  In 75 B.C. they were readmitted to the magistracies, and in 70 the tribunician power was restored to its full extent" (OCD).

            "Who" they were.  (Gruen 181-9)  This office was "plebeian"; still, in the last 20 years of the Republic, of 113 known tribunes, only a third are not from senatorial families.  13 are from praetorian families, and 33 even from consular families (some, to be sure, second-rate or newly consular).  Those from non-senatorial familes tend to be protégés of prominent men (Pompey, Caesar, etc.).  All ex-tribunes became senators, and "almost all settled down to perfectly conventional careers" (Gruen 189).  

            For more about this office see App. K ad fin.

            F Under the Principate, till iii AD it was still part of the Plebeian cursus honorum (see App. F), and tribunes retained sacrosanctitas, and did still give legal aid to people in distress, but they could not veto, or introduce legislation.  The emperors had usurped tribunician power for themselves (and even used it for dating, so that e.g. "in the 3rd year of my tribunician power" = "in the 3rd year of my reign").   See Pliny Ep. 1.23 where he advises a friend who has just been elected tribune that a tribune can regard his prestigious office either as a responsible post or as a mere empty honor.  E


TRIBUS, tribes, originally 3 (Tities, Ramnes, Luceres) and ethnic; but new tribes were added as Rome, conquering its neighbors in wars, annexed more territory, and by 241 B.C. they were 35 in number and territorial.  4 were urban, 31 rural; some socially more prestigious than others

            "Territorial" means that you own property in your tribe's area.  But N.B. three quirks: (1) "Once determined, (a tribe) appears to have been hereditary until the censors noticed, or were told, that it was no longer appropriate" (Appian, The Civil Wars, tr. John Carter, p. 404); thus e.g. a country person who moves to Rome may keep his rural tribe, until some alert or hostile censor reassigns him; (2) in the late Republic--esp. after the enfranchisement of the Itali in the 80's--tribes were no longer single geographical units.  E.g. Cicero's tribe had at least five sections: one near Rome, one round Arpinum, one in Umbria, one in Samnite territory, one in the toe of Italy; and (3) enfranchized foreigners were at first confined to the large urban tribes (later, to ten tribes), in order to restrict their voting power.  (Also, perhaps, in order to restrict the electoral advantage they would give certain nobles at Rome, who were their patrons.)  The Italians resented this, and it was a chronic tension.

            You had to belong to a tribe, and from Cicero's time it was included in your full legal name.  Tribes were the units for census, taxation and the military levy; after 89, also for juries (see App. A § B). 

            Two assemblies were organized by tribes, the Comitia plebis tributa and the comitia populi tributa (see Comitia), and after 241 even the Comitia centuriata had a tribal element (see Centuria).  In the two tribal assemblies, since each tribe cast but one vote (determined by a majority vote of the tribe),  if your tribe was small, your vote was worth more.  Thus the tribal assemblies--though ostensibly "democratic" --favored not the city plebs but the small country landowners, who were fewer.  Hence "popularis" tribunes normally avoided rural votes, by holding no legislative assemblies just before or after the electoral assemblies (Sta. 148, 200); for country people normally came to Rome only for the elections.

            Like the Itali mentioned above, freedmen were confined to the urban tribes (till 188 B.C.: T. 65).  But people could often get transferred from urban to rural tribes (T. II 53 ff.); sometimes by lawsuits--for if you got someone convicted of a crime, you could transfer to his tribe (T. II 112 f.)

            In 312 a notorious patrician Censor, Appius Claudius Pulcher, proposed that landless people should be allowed to register in tribes of their choice.  Naturally, this was fiercely resisted, esp. by small landowners.  For them it was hard to come to Rome to vote; they did not wish that their tribes should be dominated by landless people residing in Rome who could vote (& influence other voters) more easily.  Appius' measure was repealed in 304 by the censors Fabius Rullianus and Decius Mus.

            Note, lastly, that voting by tribes, which dominated legislation in the late Republic, required from politicians a certain geographical alertness.  In assembly a candidate, or a legislator, must control his own tribe and at least 17 others (since there were 35).  This means at least three things: (a) he must must form alliances with nobles from other tribes; (b) he must have good relations with political "bosses" at the various tribal headquarters in Rome; (c) he must travel!  For example, Cicero's six villas, scattered throughout Italy, were not only for pleasure (though he did enjoy and use them); they were also, very probably, an attempt to extend his influence to other tribes. 


VICI and VICOMAGISTRI:  R e p u b l i c.  Both Rome itself and many towns were divided into wards or precincts (vici) each run by annually elected presidents (vicomagistri), chiefly for the cult of the Lares of the crossroads (Lares compitales) and the organizing of the festivals for that (ludi compitales).  But in the late Republic they became in effect political clubs, and in the disturbances of 60 BC were suppressed by a senatus consultum; in 58 they were revived by Clodius (see App. P s.v. 58 BC).

            F E m p e r o r s.  "For everyday police duties Augustus in 8 B.C. divided Rome into 265 vici or wards, in each of which four vicomagistri were annually appointed from among the inhabitants" (J2 140).  The vicomagistri were lower-class people; in the later empire, they were all freedmen.  They also managed the cults of the Lares Augusti and the genius of the Emperor; and until 6 AD, when Augustus organized the Vigiles (q.v.), they were also responsible for fighting fires.  E


VIGINTIVIRI (or before Augustus VIGINTISEXVIRI): 20 (before Augustus 26) magistratus minores, took over some duties of the too busy Praetor Urbanus (see Praetor; see also S 457 n. 24; J # 93 fin.).  They included these 4 groups (acc. to Scullard the first two were more important politically at least in later times): (a) tresviri monetales (mint-officials, supervised issuing of money); (b) quat(t)uorviri viarum curandarum (care of roads); (c) tresviri capitales alias tresviri nocturni (superintendents of capital sentences; police, prison, executions; their tribunal was on the edge of the Comitium, between the prison and the Praetor’s tribunal); (d) decemviri stlitibus iudicandis (had jurisdiction over disputes about a citizen's freedom).


F VIGILES (lit. "watchmen", those who keep vigil, the Night Patrol), a fire brigade formed by Augustus in AD 6, "possibly 3,920 strong, rising to 7,840 by AD 205, recruited from freedmen who served for six years, organized in seven cohorts commanded by tribunes, under the general direction of the praefectus Vigilum" (Ca. 38-9).   They not only detected fires but also arrested burglars (J2 140) and were thus a supplementary police.

            The praefectus vigilum "tries incendiaries, housebreakers, thieves, robbers, and harborers of criminals, unless the individual is so vicious and notorious that he is turned over to the Praefectus urbi.  And since fires are generally caused by the negligence of occupants, he either punishes with beating those who have been unduly careless in the use of fire, or he suspends the sentence of beating and issues a severe reprimand.... He has also been assigned jurisdiction of those who take care of clothing in baths for a fee" (Justinian's Digest as quoted in R 27; this of course pertains largely but to the later empire.  Most of these duties, including care of the baths, had previously belonged to the aediles, q.v.).   E


F VIR CLARISSIMUS (or clarissimus vir, abbr. V.C. or C.V.), a formal courtesy title for a member of the senatorial order.  Of the many similar epithets used under the Republic, all were used loosely except that one; the others came to have exact meanings only only in the later empire.  E.g. from the 2nd half of the 2nd c. AD, there were three grades of knights: VIR EMINENTISSIMUS = the Praetorian Prefect; VIR PERFECTISSIMUS = any of the other highest prefects, or the highest procurators; VIR EGREGIUS = a lesser equestrian official, or the son or wife (puer egregius, femina egregia) of one of the higher officials.  In the 3rd and 4th centuries there was an inflation which I skip here as too tedious and trivial.  (E.g. egregius disappears, replaced by perfectissimus, which became ubiquitous.  "In 384 there were three classes of perfectissimus; and the title was given even to clerks of the treasury; meanwhile the praesides [governors] and duces [military commanders on the frontier] were promoted to the title of clarissimi" -- Sandys 194.  How inane, the honors of an imperial bureaucracy!  "Vir perfectissimus"!)   E

Appendix A:  T h e  L a w c o u r t s

See OCD s.vv. iudex, advocatus, quaestio, iurisprudens, etc.; EB s.v. Roman Law; J2 124-130.


In Rome evolved roughly two kinds of court, the Civil (civile) for offenses against private citizens (cives), and “Public” or Criminal, for offenses against the state or the gods.  They overlapped; for if an offense against a citizen seemed sufficiently evil and dangerous (e.g. murder; still worse, parricide), it seemed a public crime.  But the more obviously “civil” law--protecting citizens in their status, property, etc.--came to be confined to the Praetors’ courts (A below); the criminal, to the Public courts (B snd C below ).


(A)  C i v i l  c o u r t s  for legal disputes between citizens.  A civil trial had two stages: (1) In iure, before a magistrate: the two parties come formally before the Urban Praetor (or if foreigners, Peregrine Praetor; or if the trial is in the provinces, before the governor) and with him (a) define and formulate the issue (this formulation is called the formula) and (b) agree to the iudex (judge) chosen by the Praetor (or governor).  This agreement is called litis contestatio.  Then the parties go with it

            (2) apud iudicem, before the judge (or “in iudicium”).  The iudex (also called iudex privatus, also arbiter, and very like an arbiter in the modern sense) is not a specialist in law, but any private person empowered by the magistrate to give judgement.  The judge was often, though not always, taken from the decuriae, q.v.  He must accept the duty; can refuse only on grounds of sickness, old age, etc.  Using the already formulated definition of the case, he hears the pleadings of the parties and their advocates and gives verdict, from which there is no appeal (no provocatio--see section D below). 

            This second stage, unlike the first, is "informal", follows no set forms and is in no set place.

            Like the iudex, the advocate (advocatus) is not a specialist in law (though he ought to know some law and usually does) but a patron and/or orator.  Even the presiding magistrate (praetor) need not be a legal specialist; both he and the iudex consult legal experts (iurisprudentes, alias iurisconsulti, iurisperiti).

            Alternative to the iudex were the centumviri, a court of 105 jurors (3 from each of the 35 tribes; but under the emperors, 180 jurors) often divided into panels, convened by praetors; it met in the Basilica Iulia and seems to have dealt with civil cases pertaining to ownership, kinship, inheritance.  (See Pliny Ep. II.14 for a description of this court--the callow young advocates, the claqueurs, etc.)


(B)  P u b l i c  c o u r t s, iudicia publica, for trying crimes against the state or the public good. In the early Republic, public trials, held only for the gravest crimes (treason, desertion, parricide, etc.), were in the assemblies (C below).  But in the last two centuries B.C. (esp. after Sulla, who practically abolished assembly trials) special permanent courts, quaestiones perpetuae, were set up, each headed by a praetor, each to deal with a particular offence: de sicarii et venefici (murder; carrying weapons in public), falsi (forgery), maiestas (treason), repetundae (extortion, i.e. by a provincial governor; this was Cicero's court when he was praetor), ambitus (electoral corruption), peculatus (embezzlement of public money).

            Though in effect Public courts, these were still technically “civil” courts, ruled by praetors, not by a magistrate in assembly.  But instead of appointing a iudex, the praetor tried the case himself, and he had a jury, representing the public. A court was assigned 75 jurors (judices) for graver crimes, 51 for lighter.  The juries were drawn by lot from standing pools--decuriae (q.v.)--of  several hundred potential jurors, and both parties had some say in the selection (i.e. could challenge this or that juror, as today). 

            There was no public prosecutor.  A citizen indicting another went first to the magistrate (praetor or, sometimes, non-praetorian iudex quaestionis) to get permission to prosecute before his court.  (If two people wished to prosecute the same person, that had to be resolved first--see e.g. Cicero's 1st Verrine oration, Divinatio in Caecilium.)  The verdict was decided by majority vote of the jury, the sentence was passed by the magistrate, and there was no appeal.

            According to Taylor (T II, 112 ff.) a successful prosecutor got (a) the condemned man's citizenship (i.e. if the prosecutor was not a citizen), (b) enrolment in the condemned man's tribe (if it was better than his own--see Tribus), and (c) (if a senator) the condemned man's seniority rights in the senate.


(C)  A s s e m b l y  T r i a l s.  "(The comitia) never during the Republican period lost the right of criminal jurisdiction, in spite of the fact that so many spheres of this jurisdiction had been assigned in perpetuity to standing commissions (quaestiones perpetuae).  This power of judging exercised by the assemblies had in the main developed from the use of the right of appeal (provocatio) against the judgements of the magistrates.  But it is probable that, in the developed procedure, where it was known that the judgement pronounced might legally give rise to the appeal, the magistrate pronounced no sentence, but brought the case at once before the people.  The case was then heard in four separate contiones.  After these hearings the comitia gave its verdict" (EB--A.H.J. Greenidge--s.v. Comitia).


(D) Re  P r o v o c a t i o.  Under the Republic (for the Emperors see E below), there was appeal only "to the People" (provocatio ad populum).  Thus there was no appeal from decisions of the public courts, or from decisions of assembly trials, because, after all, those already were appeals to the people.   Appeal was possible only from civil courts, and only in the first stage (A.1 above).  Jones puts it this way (J2 128-9):


There was under the Republic only a very rudimentary form of appeal.  A litigant who thought the formula [see above, A.1.a] unfair or the iudex prejudiced could appeal from the praetor to a tribune of the plebs, or to an equal or greater power, i.e. another praetor or consul.  A tribune, having no power of jurisdiction, could in response only veto the case until the praetor altered his formula or chose another iudex.  A consul, and probably also a praetor, could not only veto the proceedings, but try the case himself.  In the provinces, where the governor had no colleagues, it was only possible for an aggrieved litigant to ask for revocatio Romae, and there was nothing to make the governor send his case to Rome.  Both in Italy and in the provinces, it would seem, appeals lay only from the magistrate--the praetor or the governor--and no appeal was possible from the judge: at any rate none are recorded in our sources.


F (E)  U n d e r  t h e  e m p e r o r s  arose four powerful new courts, which at first were alternatives to the quaestiones but which gradually replaced those: (a) the  "c o n s u l a r"  court = the Senate convened by the consuls; (b) the  i m p e r i a l  court = the Emperor sitting with his council (consilium, q.v.); (c) the two  p r a e f e c t s'  courts.  On (c) see Praefectus, last paragraph (on the Praefectus Urbi and the Praefecti Praetorii).  Courts (a) and (b) were "courts of voluntary jurisdiction.  It was for the accuser to request the consuls or the emperor to take the case, and they might refuse" (J2 125). 

            Court (a) tried political crimes (e.g. treason) and crimes committed by persons of senatorial rank (e.g. provincial extortion; also, restitution of provincial damages--but for simple restitution there was a simplified procedure: see J2 96; Pliny Ep. II.11 init., 12).  It was probably instituted early in the reign of Augustus, perhaps to avoid having the senatorial order wash its dirty linen in puiblic.  Most often, especially under really evil emperors like Domitian, the senators well knew in advance what verdict they were expected to produce, so that the entire proceedings were mere tedium, shame, fear, humiliation. 

            Court (b) seems to have tried anything that specially interested the Emperor.  It was "probably based on the consular imperium which (Augustus) enjoyed from 19 BC and was thus strictly parallel with the court of the consuls and the Senate" (J2 126).

            Right of appeal under Augustus.  (J2 129-30:) "By far the most important change... was the vast extension of appeal.  Appeals now ran not only from the magistrates but from iudices privati, both from Italy and from the provinces.  They could go to the Senate, or more strictly the consuls, who had a maius imperium over the praetors and provincial governors, but the vast majority went to Augustus, presumably in virtue of his maius imperium over other proconsuls, his superior imperium over his own legati pro praetore, and the consular imperium which he acquired in 19 B.C.  The volume of appeals became so great that he had to delegate them, those from Italy to the urban praetor, those from the provinces to a consular appointed for each.  The facility of appeal must have remedied many injustices and reversed many erroneous decisions."   But it was also a great nuisance for the emperor, "who was as much a victim of overwork as the ordinary judges... Though Trajan would call and hear only one case a day, it nevertheless wasted the greater part of his time" (Carc. 189, 190; Pliny, Ep. VI.31).  E


(F) The lawcourts in general. A passage by Carcopino, about the Romans' addiction to lawsuits, concerns the late 1st century AD, but is true also of the late Republic; it seems worth quoting here for its vividness:


In the Rome of the opening second century the sound of lawsuits echoed throughout the Forum, round the tribunal of the praetor urbanus by the Puteal Libonis, and round the tribunal of the praetor peregrinus between the Puteal of Curtius and the enclosure of Marsyas; in the Basilica Iulia where the centumviri assembled; and justice thundered simultaneously from the Forum of Augustus, where the praefectus urbi exercised his jurisdiction, from the barracks of the Castra Praetoria where the praefectus praetorio issued his decrees, from the Curia [Julia] where the senators indicted those of their peers who had aroused distrust or displeasure, and from the Palatine, where the emperor himself received the appeals of the universe in the semicircle of his private basilica, which the centuries have spared.   (Carc. 187; on the praefecti see Praefectus)

Appendix B: R o m a n  A r m y  (Under Caesar)

The topic of course is vast; the present page, nothing but approximate definition of key terms.

U n i t s:

            CENTURY = 100 men at full strength: 60 centuries per legion.

            MANIPLE = 2 centuries = 200 men (really 120-200): 30 maniples per legion.  Commanded by centurion of right-hand century.  Usu. drawn up for battle in three lines.  Gradually replaced by cohors.

            COHORT = 3 maniples (6 centuries; but 1st Cohort has only 5) = 600 men at most (but 1st Cohort double in size): 10 cohorts per legion.   The ten cohorts were all ranked.  Standard (signum) carried by signifer.  Replaced maniple as tactical unit probably during Marian reforms.

            LEGION = 10 cohorts = 6000 men (real avg. 4000) with a bronze or gold eagle   

O f f i c e r s (see also Dictionary s.vv. Legatus, Praefectus, Tribuni militum):

            CENTURIO: Commander of century: 60 of them per legion.  Centurion--usually promoted from the ranks, but sometimes a knight--fought in the ranks beside his men, and usually could be promoted only to a higher grade of Centurion.  The six in each cohort but the first were called: pilus prior, pilus posterior, princeps prior, princeps posterior, hastatus prior, hastatus posterior.  The highest ranking centurion, the primopilus, the first centurion of the first century of the first cohort, carried the eagle.  Centuriones primorum ordinum, i.e. the six of the First Cohort, were often summoned to council of war along with legates and tribunes.  Centurions often amassed money enough to become knights (Gruen 383).  Under the emperors they sometimes rose to the procuratorship and equestrian governorships.

            LEGATUS: Special assistant chosen by provincial governor.  Caesar, when they were competent for this, used them as legion-commanders in battle (appointed not permanently, but just before battle), or appointed them to command detachments from the main army.

            PRAEFECTUS FABRUM: the title means "chief of the [2 centuries of] armourers", but by Caesar's time the fabri had ceased to exist; the Praef. fabrum was merely A.D.C. to the commander-in-chief.   He was often in charge of the booty taken in war.  There were also PRAEFECTI EQUITUM: cavalry commanders (see Dictionary s.v. Praefectus) and PRAEFECTI CLASSIS.

            QUAESTOR (q.v.): Paymaster & quartermaster; if competent, led legion in battle.

            TRIBUNUS, 6 per legion, took turns commanding it, except in battle (in Caesar's army, usually a legate or a quaestor was given comand of the legion just before battle.  See Tribuni militum).

            "N.C.O."s (under the emperors): "During the period between Hadrian and the Severan dynasty, a clear distinction emerged between immunes and principates, who received either pay and a half or double pay for the special duties they carried out in the century, as tesserarius (password officer), optio (orderly), and signifer (standard-bearer), or on the staff at headquarters, as aquilifer (bearer of the eagle standard), imaginifer (bearer of the emperor's portrait),  commentariensis (clerk attached to an officer with judicial responsibilities)" (Ca. p. 28).  Some of these perhaps were close to promotion to Centurion.

            Re the  A U X I L I A  = "auxiliary troops".   When fighting foreign powers like Carthage, Macedon, Parthia, Romans discovered that they themselves were weak in cavalry and in light-armed troops.  They began to recruit these (or draft them by force, or accept them instead of tribute) from foreign countries.  So e.g. Caesar obtained cavalry from Gaul and Germany (the German, he found, were much better), archers from Crete, slingers from the Balearic Islands.   In early imperial times, the two main sources of supply were the Gauls (Belgica, Lugdunensis) and Spain (Baetica), later also Pannonia. 

            "By the end of Augustus' reign auxiliaries may have been as numerous as legionaries, being organized in cavalry alae containing about 500 men (subdivided into turmae), part-mounted cohorts containing about 120 cavalry and 490 infantry, and infantry cohorts containing about 500 men (subdivided into centuries)  A development perhaps dating from the reign of Vespasian saw the creation of some larger units containing between 800 and 1,000 men" (Ca. p. 34).

            Auxilia were usually commanded by young equestrian Praefecti or (more rarely) Tribuni (the proportion is illustrated in App.  V, career F); the commander of a turma was a Decurio.   An auxiliary was paid less than a Roman legionary (from one-third to two-thirds as much); but after 25 years service (sometimes earlier) he was awarded Roman citizenship, for himself and his descendents.  By this means, huge numbers of foreigners became citizens.  In the late empire, the alae and cohortes became assimilated to the regular army.

Appendix C:  T h e  P r o v i n c e s


Provincial matters are described in the Dictionary s.vv. Concilium (regional assemblies), Decuriones (on local provincial government and social classes); Prorogatio (on titles and powers of governors); Provincia (definition of the word itself).  For provincial courts, see Appendix A, s.v. Provocatio and Right of appeal under Emperors.


            (A)  P r o v i n c e s  &  l e g i o n s  (l a t e  2 n d  c.  A.D.)   In the following list--given simply to give some rough immediate picture of the Empire at its fullest--I make use of a late 2nd-century inscription, which lists the then locations of 33 legions.*    Beginning with Belgica in the north, I list provinces in a roughly counterclockwise circle round the map (this scheme works perfectly except in Asia Minor and Greece), except that I put the four Mediterranean islands separately at the end.   Some provinces were Senatorial, the others Imperial (on that important distinction see Prorogatio, and see e.g. R #8 = Dio 53.12-15).  I underline the senatorial provinces; in boldface I print the imperial provinces containing legions.    A number = the number of legions that were in that province at the time of the inscription.  A number like "Moesiae 2+3" means "Upper Moesia had 2 legions, Lower Moesia 3 legions": 


Belgica, Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Aquitania, Gallia Narbonensis, Tarraconensis 1 (= N. Spain), Lusitania, Baetica (= S. Spain), Mauretaniae, Africa, Numidia 1, Cyrenaica (includes Crete), Egypt (incl. Libya) 1, Arabia Nabataea 1, Syria Palestina (= Judaea) 2, Syria 3, Mesopotamia 2, Cappadocia 2, Cilicia, Bithynia et Pontus (imperial after M. Aurelius), Galatia (incl. Pisidia), Asia, Thracia,  Achaia (incl. Epirus), Macedonia, Dalmatia, Moesiae 2+3, Dacia 1, Pannoniae 3+1, Noricum 1, Raetia 1, Germaniae 2+2, Britannia 3; (islands) Sardinia, Corsica, Sicilia, Cyprus. 

("Numidia" was sometimes part of Africa. "Cilicia" part of Syria & Cappadocia till 72 AD. Arabia, Mesopotamia, Dacia were provinces created by Trajan.  Cappadocia includes Armenia Minor, which until Vespasian had been a province. For statuses--inperial, senatorial--and boundaries of provinces under Augustus, see especially J2 100-109.)


Italy has one legion (at Albanum near Rome, as we know from other sources).  Otherwise all legions are in imperial provinces, and all but two of them fall into two long lines, along the empire's far-eastern and dangerous northern boundaries.  (For maps showing this for AD 14 and AD 200, see Ca. p. 86-87.)   Senatorial provinces, of course, were normally the securest and needed no legions.


* The inscription, given in Ca. p. 84, is a bare list (made for unknown reasons) of the legions in geographical order from west to east, starting with those in Britain.  As Campbell says, most of it seems to reflect the early reign of Marcus Aurelius, who reigned AD 161-180; but someone later added five legions which come at the end, out of order--viz. those in Mesopotamia (wh. had no legions til 197), Noricum, Raetia, and Italy (where "II Parthica" was not stationed till 202).  Since I thus depend on a hybrid list, my figures (and the map in Ca. p.87) may have a few anomalies.  But legions did not often change position, and the overall picture must be roughly accurate.  For the locations and brief histories of all the legions, see the fascinating entry in the OCD s.v. Legion.


            (B)  P o l i t i c a l  S t a t u s e s  o f  C i t i e s  and  C i t i z e n s h i p.  Every Eastern province, the more civilized sections of Western provinces, and Italy itself outside Rome, were organized largely in the form of cities.  None were ever completely subject to the governors and imperial officials, but they were very various, and some were much less autonomous than others.  I list the main types at the time of Augustus (see S 263-4):

            (1) Civitates foederatae (comprising especially Greek cities, both in Greece and in Italy), "free" allied cities; under the Republic, the most privileged kind of ally.  They kept not only their ancestral institutions but even, sometimes, their own coinage, and originally were, like the colonies of (2) below, immune from tribute.  After rebellions some were made stipendarii, and the privileges of all were steadily eroded; but e.g  even in 111 AD a Roman Governor, who wished to examine the accounts of the city of Apamea, could still be told that no Roman had ever yet looked at them (Pliny Ep. X.47).

            (2) Colonies (in AD 20 perhaps 80 in all), the most privileged cities, normally possessing citizenship and the ius Italicum, which means immunity from land and poll taxes (see § E below) to which all other cities (except at first the foederati) were subject.  "Augustus only gave (the ius Italicum) to genuine citizen colonies, mostly his eastern foundations" for veterans (OCD s.v.).  Later it was given to some few other cities--but sparingly, since of course this kind of immunity reduced the imperial income.

            (3) Municipia (at first only in Italy, later in a few other places), towns which possessed Roman citizenship, at first in part (civitas sine suffragio), later in full (in Italy, this happened mainly in 89 and 90 BC, after the Social War).  Except in foreign affairs, they were self-governing, but subject to occasional or annual visits by Roman magistrates (Praefecti, q v. init.).  At first they were governed by aediles, praetors, dictators or octoviri, later mainly by quattuorviri (who evolved into the 2 duoviri and 2 aediles described in § C below).  Under the emperors municipia became common in the western provinces (where of course they constantly sought to obtain the status of colonies); they were rare in the east till much later.

            (4) Latin Cities (at first only in Italy; later in Gaul, Spain, Africa), cities posessing the ius Latii.  That entailed a ius provocatio (right of appeal: see App. A § C) but no citizenship; but individuals could attain that by holding local magistracies (ius civitatis per honorem adipiscendae), and after Hadrian, even by holding the decurionate (see § C below).  All such cities naturally sought to become municipia.

            (5) Stipendarii, the majority of cities in any province, not Roman citizens, subject to full taxation of every kind and possessing none of the special privileges of the others.

            Thus, cities of type 2 alone paid no tribute.  Types 2, 3, 4, comprising maybe 20% of all cities, were probably "not subject to orders of the governor.  He must have had jurisdiction, but presumably the city was free from interference in its internal affairs" (J2 98).

            Full Roman citizenship was possessed only by cities of types 2 and 3 above; but it could be obtained in other cities by individuals.  Upper-class persons obtained it, for themselves and their descendents, by serving on provincial concilia (q.v.), or by holding local magistracies, or by direct grants individually; under the Emperors, lower-class provincials obtain citizenship largely by serving 20 years (or later, a smaller time) in the army auxilia (see App. B, auxilia).  By such means the franchise spread rapidly, and "within a century after Augustus, the equestrian service and the Senate were freely open to provincials from almost any province" (OCD s.v. Provincia).   Finally, in AD 212 "the constitutio Antoniniana conferred citizenship upon all free inhabitants of the empire, without, however, affecting the status of their communities" (OCD s.v. Citizenship, Roman).

            Mistreated provincials could find a patronus at Rome to help them sue the governor (after his return to Rome) for extortion (repetundae) in a public court (see App. A § B); in the Principate, they could complain directly to the Emperor (see Concilium and see App. A fin.), or find a patronus (consul, praetor, tribune, etc.) to institute a Senate trial.  (See App. A fin. s.v. Consular courts; J2 p. 96-7; also section D below.)  But these things were time-consuming, and the sending of witnesses to Rome was so costly that it could impoverish a town.  The best protection was getting Roman citizenship.  


            (C)  P r o v i n c i a l  c i t y  m a g i s t r a t e s  under the emperors (see J3 240-2, S 264) came to have a certain uniformity throughout the empire (except often in the east, where the cities tended to be older and more idiosyncratic).  Local government consisted of (a) the local magistrates elected annually on 1 March, (b) a local assembly which elected those magistrates (voting usually by "wards" or curiae), and (c) a local senate or council (which often was also called a curia--the two usages should not be confused).  The senate consisted of 100 to 300 ex-magistrates called decuriones (q.v.), alias curiales, who were chosen from among ex-magistrates at the five-year census by the census officials (quinquennales -- this office was often performed by the duoviri, on which see below).

            L o c a l  magistrates normally included 2  duoviri iure dicendo = chief executives, who usually also had judicial and censorial powers, 2 aediles for market, streets, drains etc.; 2 quaestores = treasurers.  As was said above, in some cities the holding of a magistracy brought Roman citizenship for the holder and his descendents.  (See e.g. the decree in R 321.  For amusing specimens of local magistrates' election slogans, painted on walls at Pompeii, see R 326 f.).  But magistrates often had to pay for public works out of their own pockets; so in the later empire, these offices began to be shunned (very much in the way that the decurionate was, for the same reasons--see Decuriones). 

            I m p e r i a l  officials (formally appointed by, and serving, the Emperor, even if elected locally) supplemented the local magistrates; they included e.g. curatores civitatis = imperial financial officers; an exactor civitatis to organize collection of imperial taxes; sometimes an ideologus to collect money from sources other than taxes, "such as fines and confiscated or unclaimed property" (R 379); a praepositus pagorum in charge of the rural districts attached to a city; a defensor civitatis providing inexpensive justice for the poor; a corrector to rearrange the affairs of this or that troubled "free" city (B.1 above). 


            (D)  G o v e r n o r s.  For their titles and sources of authority, see Dictionary s.v. Prorogatio.  Under the Republic, each new province was first defined by a lex provinciae, i.e. the decree of a Roman general, in consultation with a special commission of 10 senators sent out from Rome.  This was later ratified by the assembly at Rome and amounted to the province's constitution.  Within its framework each subsequent governor, on entering office, issued an edict outlining the principles of his own policy.  (On edicts see Edictum.  There are governors' edicts among the documents in R ch. V, e.g. p. 374, 375 ff., 386.)  No governor, and later not even the emperor, lightly changed preceding arrangements.  For example, the edicts of  Pompey, made in  63 BC, were still respected (changed only slightly and cautiously) 170 years later by the governor Pliny, and by the emperor Trajan whom he constantly consulted (see Pliny, Epist., book X passim; e.g.  X.114, 115; on Pompey see App. P s.v. 59 BC).

            As was said in § C above, the government of a province was partly local, partly in the hands of imperial officials not subject to the governor; but imperial tax-collection (§ E below) belonged either to him and his officials or to the rapacious publicani (§ E below) with whom he could collude; and major criminal jurisdiction belonged to the governor sitting with his council (consilium: see J2 127 ff., and see also App. A fin., and see the note below on the New Testament); often he made a circuit of the province, meeting litigants at appointed places called conventus.  He was helped by a Quaestor (q.v.) who had charge of official money from Rome, but was, in all periods, normally his close friend and accomplice; by one to three Legati (q.v.) to whom he could delegate authority, by a staff of civil servants, by his personal retinue (his cohors), and by Romans living in the province (who enjoyed special rights denied to natives). 

             A Republican governor's authority was absolute, his freedom huge, the temptation to rape the province, by extortion or collusion in cruel taxation, often irresistible.  If his province contained legions, he was even tempted to make new conquests (as e.g. Caesar in Gaul); this was later forbidden by law. 

            Under the early emperors, taxation was less arbitrary (§ E below), and governors were both more closely watched and more often held accountable; but as Jones says (J2 99), "how far the standards of conduct improved... it is impossible to say.  There was, it is true, a higher probability of conviction if (the governors) were brought to trial, which may have deterred some, but there is no reason to believe that the character of the Roman nobility changed suddenly for the better after 27 B.C.  They were still grossly extravagant and looked to the provinces to pay their debts and re-establish their fortunes.  The civil war had not made them any less brutal.  Seneca (On Anger II, 5, 5) tells a grim anecdote of the blueblooded Valerius Messalla Volesus, proconsul of Asia about A.D. 12, who, having executed 300 persons in one day, exclaimed (in Greek), as he walked proudly among the corpses: 'What a royal deed!'  Volesus was in fact condemned by the Senate.  Under Tiberius eight provincial governors were prosecuted, and nearly all condemned.  Of these five <two> were proconsuls and three legates of Augustus; which does not suggest that the standard of conduct was markedly higher in the imperial provinces".   This remained true under later emperors--for accounts of trials (all resulting in conviction) see e.g. Pliny, Ep. II.11, III.4, esp. III.9.

            "Snapshots" of imperial governors' courts are given, of course, in the New Testament, e.g. at Matt. 27 (trial of Jesus) and Acts 22.24 - 26.32 (trial of St. Paul).  "The headquarters of the procurator [i.e. the governor, the Praefectus of Judaea] were at Caesarea, Acts 23:23, where he had a judgement seat, Acts 25:6, in the audience chamber, Acts 25.23, and was assisted by a council, Acts 25:12, whom he consulted in cases of difficulty.  He was attended by a cohort as a bodyguard, Matt 27:27, and apparently went up to Jersualem at the time of the high festivals, and there resided at the palace of Herod, in which was the praetorium or 'judgment hall.'  Matt. 27:27; Mark 15:16; comp. Acts 23:25" (William Smith and F.N. and M.A. Peloubet, A Dictionary of the Bible, Philadelphia, 1884, s.v. "Procurator").


            (E)  I m p e r i a l  t a x e s.  (S 261, J2 118 f.; I quote from the latter:)  "Under the late Republic provinces fell in two classes, those which like Spain and Gaul paid stipendium, and those like Sicily and Asia which paid tithe and pasture dues.  Stipendium was a fixed money contribution, imposed on each community.  It was more or less arbitrarily assessed, for no provincial census is ever mentioned under the Republic, and must often have been very inequitable, some cities being under-assessed and others too heavily burdened.  The stipendia were probably directly collected by the governor or his quaestor from the city governments.  The tithe was ideally fairer, since it ought to have varied according to the actual crop harvested each year by each landowner, but it was necessarily, since the yield varied from year to year and was unpredictable, farmed to contractors (publicani), who took advantage of their political influence to extract vastly greater sums than were really due.  For the publicani were leading members of the equestrian order, which the Senate normally wished to placate and which moreover dominated the court of provincial extortion" (see Dictionary, Publicani). 

            Under the Emperors, tithe and stipendium disappeared, replaced by taxes of two basic kinds:

            (1)  D i r e c t  taxes -- based on assessments made by quinquennales (local census officials) at the five-year provincial censuses which Augustus instituted -- consisted of the tributum soli, a land tax, "which probably also took in other capital assets, such as houses and ships" (J2 119) and the tributum capitis, poll tax, "paid in some provinces by all adults and in others only by adult males" (ibid.).  "As the amount was known in advance it was collected not by contractors but by the city authorities" (J2 119.   On these authorities, see § C above and Dictionary s.v. Decuriones).  In the imperial provinces, tributa were overseen by an equestrian Procurator, "who was largely independent of the governor: there might often be friction or enmity between the two men" (S261).

            (2) I n d i r e c t  taxes = vectigalia (OCD s.v.; S 261) included (a) portaria, customs dues levied at harbors, piers, city gates (25% at the frontiers, 2.5% at provincial boundaries); (b) the quinta et vicesima venalium mancipiorum, a 4% tax on slave sales (this paid for the vigiles, q.v.); (c) the vicesima hereditatum (5% inheritance tax, paid only by Roman citizens; this was one reason for increasing the number of citizens); (d) misc. things such as grain for the governor and his staff; food and housing for travelling dignitaries and soldiers (who often extorted these illegally--in Egypt there have been found many papyrus letters complaining of this). 

            Most indirect taxes were still at first farmed out to publicani, but they were often more carefully supervised than before--in senatorial provinces, by the quaestors; in imperial provinces, by imperial officials (e.g. by equestrian procuratores, q.v.)

            In the later empire, to facilitate collection of direct taxes, property owners were permanently tied to their land and decurions (q.v.) to the decurionate, and very many peasants and middle-class people, unable to pay their taxes (which often were very inequitably assessed), literally fled, abandoning land, house, possessions, so that the emperors repeatedly passed futile laws forbidding this.



TWO ANECDOTES ABOUT THE 'MILKING' OF THE PROVINCES (quoted from E. Badian, Roman Imperialism in the Late Republic, Blackwell 1968: Cornell Univ. Press 1971,  p. 84-5; cf. Cicero Ad Atticum VI, 1, 5 ff.) -- they can be taken as perfectly typical for the late Republic: 

            "We all know about the noble Brutus: Cicero [in 50 BC when governor of Cilicia] was as shocked as each student still is when it first dawned on him.  Brutus' loan to Cyprian Salamis had been made when he was on the island as a private man, and a young man at that (not yet quaestorian), under his uncle M. Cato in 58/6.  And since such laws were illegal under the lex Gabinia, he charged 48% interest instead of the legal 12% and used two procuratores as men of straw.  When the Salaminians fell into arrears, one of these men, Scaptius, went to Cicero's predacessor Ap. Claudius, got himself appointed prefect, was given a force of cavalry and proceeded to Cyprus to squeeze money out of the boulê of Salamis--to such effect that (we are told) five of them starved to death while he held them besieged in the council chamber.  But that failed to get him any money, and as a result, Cicero had to take cognizance of the affair.  He refused to reappoint Scaptius prefect (we hear incidentally that this gave great offence, since such appointments were regarded as normal and were expected by the great men in Rome interested in such business), but ordered the Salaminians to pay--which they were willing to do, at the legal rate of interest.  At this point Scaptius produced a senatus consultum that Brutus had procured and that (a) gave legal exemption from the lex Gabinia to this whole transaction; and (b) gave similar exemption from the maximum interest rate and ordered the contract to stand as signed (i.e. at 48%, instead of 12%)". 

            Even Atticus begged Cicero to give Scaptius a troop of horse for the purpose!  Not wishing to be part of this (it was contrary to his own edict as governor), but not venturing to offend Atticus and Brutus, he managed to put the matter off, for his successor to deal with.  Badian remarks, "It is to Cicero's credit that he acted even as he did; and it is clear that few others would have done so".  In 50 B.C. the amount to be recovered was 200 talents; so Brutus might originally lent only 12 talents.

            "The same Brutus had also lent Ariobarzanes money; no doubt... the King needed it to pay Pompey.   But Ariobarzanes really could not pay this additonal debt: he was bakrupt and in fear of his life!  Even so, Brutus was so persistent that Cicero--who, no doubt, did not want to appear quite unreasonable to his Roman friends and enemies--managed to squeeze no less tha 100 talents out of him over six months: proportionately more (he tells us) than Pompey had got (200 talents in six months)" (id. p. 86)

Appendix D:  C h i e f  R e l i g i o u s  O f f i c e s


            In Rome church and state were not separate, and there was no separate priestly caste; rather, "a magistrate was usually a priest as part of his official functions" (OCD s.v. "Priests"), and many non-magistrates were part-time priests.  Originally, most priesthoods were patrician; in later times plebeians had a share in all, but some belonged more to the senatorial order, others more to the equestrian:

            Senatorial (Sandys 111): augur, flamen, frater arvalis, lupercus, pontifex, quindecimvir sacris faciundis, salius, septemvir epulonum, sodalis Augustalis; virgines Vestales.

            Equestrian (Sandys 227): haruspex, lupercus, (sacerdos) Laurens Lavinas, tubicen sacrorum populi Romani Quiritium.

            These offices are of basically two kinds: the minor ones organized as Sodales, the major organized as Collegia.  Sodales included the Fetiales, "who had charge of the ius fetiale and made treaties and declared war; the Salii, priests of Mars, active in March and October, at the opening and closing of the campaigning season; the Luperci, executants of the ritual of the ritual of the Lupercalia in February; and the Fratres Arvales, celebrants of agricultural rites, associated later with the cult of the imperial house" (quoted from OCD s.v. Sodales).  More important were the colleges:

            (1)  Pontifices, a college of priests--orignally 3, but by Caesar's time 16--who advised magistrates in religious matters.  Pontiffs were coopted (i.e. chosen by other pontiffs) till 104 BC, later elected by the people; under the emperors, again coopted.  Originally all patrician, but by lex Ogulnia of 300 BC half plebeian.  Each pontiff (except the Pontifex Maximus) was a flamen dedicated to a different God; there were 3 major flamines for Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus, and 12 minor, dedicated to Volturna, Pales, Furrina, Flora, Falacer, Pomona, Volcanus, Ceres, Carmentis, Fortunus (the other two are unknown).

            In charge was the Pontifex Maximus, official head of the state religion, who was elected in the Comitia populi tributa (q.v.) by 17 of the 35 tribes (hence, unlike regular magistrates, never by a majority of the people), the 17 tribes being chosen by lot.  The Pontifex did business in the Regia (a small old temple in the Forum).  When consulted by a magistrate, he consulted his colleagues; the college issued decreta (pronouncements) which had authority but not the force of law, and which were enforced not by the pontiffs themselves but by the magistrates.  

            In early Rome the college had another function: the pontiffs alone knew legal procedure, until 304 BC when it was published.

            (2) Augures, a college of diviners--originally 3, eventually 16.  "Their business was not to foretell the future, but to discover by observation of signs (auguria), either casually met with (oblativa) or watched for (impetrativa), whether the gods did or did not approve a particular action" (OCD s.v.).  Signs came from birds, from sacred chickens (ex tripudiis--when they ate so greedily that the food dropped from their mouths--a good omen), from animals (e.g. when opened in sacrifice), or from events in the weather. 

            P o l i t i c a l  i m p o r t a n c e.  "An augur was regularly present in the assemblies to advice the presiding officer, either by directing attention to an omen he had chanced to see himself or by urging the magistrate to take account of an omen reported by someone present" (T II p. 83).  He also could declare a proceeding invalid, by finding some fault in the taking of the auspicia.  Those are the signs which had to be consulted by a consul or praetor before an election, an assembly, a military movement, etc.  The auspicia, and with them the augurs, were often a mere political tool.  By appealing to bad omens a magistrate could postpone or declare invalid any assembly, election, or piece of legislation which he disliked.  "Thus when Pompey, consul and augur, was conducting the praetorian elections in 55, he declared, after [his enemy] Cato had been chosen for office by the centuria praerogativa, that he had heard thunder" (T II p. 81; she there gives many other examples).

            (3) Quindecemviri sacris faciundis (after 51 BC; before that duoviri till 367 BC, then decemviri, then 16 under Caesar); at first patrician, after 367 half plebeian.  Originally custodians of the Sibylline books, later supervisors "of all foreign cults recognized or tolerated in Rome on the authority of those books" (OCD s.v.).

            (4) Minor Colleges: collegia compitalicia concerned with worship of the Lares at the crossroads (compita); collegium Capitolinorum responsible for the Capitoline games; collegium Mercatorum in charge of worship at the temple of Mercury.

Appendix E:   M a i n  R e p u b l i c a n  F e s t i v a l s  &  L u d i


            Ludi solemnes (or ludi publici) were originally religious festivals, feriae, each lasting only a day and including e.g. a religious rite, a banquet, a religious mimic dance (origin of the later plays) and horse races.  They began to expand, and increase in number, especially toward the end of the third century; till by the last decades of the Republic there were eight major festivals, each of which had become a week or ten days long and mainly took place (though it still had a religious element) in the circus and amphitheater.  A festival included:

            (I) ludi scaenici, i.e. plays, both Greek (in translation) and Roman, staged at first in flimsy wooden structures, later in stone theaters.  They are said to have begun in 364 BC, when Etruscans were brought in to perform a mimic religious dance with flute music, to appease the gods' anger during a plague.

            (II) ludi circenses, shows and contests in circus, amphitheater and stadium.  They included mainly (a) chariot races in the circus of bigae, trigae, quadrigae (i.e. chariots drawn by 2, 3 & 4 horses); (b) gladiators (who were normally prisoners of war or criminals) in Circus, Forum or Saepta; and (c) venationes = hunts of, or fights with or of, wild beasts such as elephants, tigers, lions, boars, bulls, etc.  Less important were (e) Greek-style athletic and musical contests, common only in the last decades of the Republic; and (f) naval spectacles, Naumachia, first staged by Julius Caesar in 46 BC (probably in the Campus Martius), and common only in the Empire.


"The ludi in the Circus began with a procession from the Capitoline Hill into the Forum, along the Via Sacra, into the Vicus Tuscus and entering the Forum Boarium through the Velabrum.  On reaching the Circus, the procession passed round the spina, stopping to sacrifice and to salute the Emperor.  At the head of the procession was the consul or other presiding magistrate, carried in a biga (or quadriga), dressed in the toga picta and the pallium.  This is clearly a survival of the time when the ludi circenses formed part of a triumph.  After the parade round the arena, the president took his seat in his box (pulvinar) and gave the signal for the start with his mappa." (Sandys, CLS 794)


            Under the Republic the annual ludi publici were produced by Roman magistrates, with funds from the treasury -- to which they often added from their own pockets (despite frequent state attempts to stop that).  They are distinct from the ludi privati (e.g. ludi funebres), also called "munera", which any private person might get permission to give wholly with his own money; the private munera were mostly scaenica (e.g. Terence's Hecyra was performed at one) but could also include gladiators, etc.  Grimal (240) says that these are "an ancient Italic tradition, very alive among the Etruscans, by which dancing and mime were used to evoke a whole mystic world and at the same time to provoke happiness, a joy in living".

            In the Republic's last decade, the ludi publici alone (i.e. ignoring private and extraordinary ludi, and any prolongations, on which see below) consumed 76 days of the calendar (55 of those given to plays -- no doubt because the circus was much more expensive); by A.D. 354 (according to the Calendar of Philcalus) it came to fully 175 days!  Moreover, "the duration of the games was often prolonged beyond the normal limits.  The religious character of the celebration was never forgotten.  If there was the smallest omission, the slightest deviation or mishap, the proceedings had to be recommenced from the beginning"  (Sandys, CLS 787).  The main state festivals at the end of the Republic were these:


Many dates are only approximate and some descriptions suspect (a) because of the vagaries & uncertainties of the Roman calendar and (b) because of  ambiguity, confusion,  or silence in ancient sources.


        JANUARY: 1 New Year's Day after Caesar's reform of the calendar. New consuls (elected in Dec.) were sworn in on this day. To thank Juppiter for his protection and guard in the past year, bulls were given as sacrifices to him.  Day sacred to Juppiter, Juno, and Janus.  Sacrifice day for Fortuna.  3 Festival of Pax (peace) from the time of Augustus on.  6 Festival for Proserpina.  8 Sacred day for Justicia.  9 ● Agonalia for Janus (also 9th May).  Janus, for whom January is named, is the 2-faced (or sometimes 4-faced) god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. The Romans associated Janus with the Etruscan deity Ani.  11 Sacred day for Juturna, wife of Janus (also sister of Turnus), goddess of springs and wells; she had a found in the Forum near the Temple of Vesta.  11 & 15 Carmentalia for Carmenta goddess of childbirth, mother of Evander, inventor of the alphabet (her name from carmen = song, and she is one of the Camenae); the Vestal Virgins drew water from her spring at the Porta Carmentalis.  Carmenta was invoked as Postvorta and Antevorta, epithets which had reference to her power of looking back into the past and forward into the future. The festival was chiefly observed by women.  12 Compitalia, also called Ludi Compitalicii, a festival celebrated once a year in honour of the lares compitales, to whom sacrifices were offered at the places where two or more ways meet. This festival is said by some writers to have been instituted by Tarquinius Priscus... Dionysius ascribes its origin to Servius Tullius, and says... that the sacrifices consisted of honey-cakes (πέλανοι) presented by the inhabitants of each house, and that the persons, who assisted as ministering servants at the festival, were not free-men, but slaves, because the lares took pleasure in the service of slaves, ... and that the slaves on this occasion had full liberty to do what they pleased. We further learn from Macrobius (Saturn. i.7) that the celebration of the compitalia was restored by Tarquinius Superbus, who sacrificed boys to Mania, the mother of the lares; but this practice was changed after the expulsion of the Tarquins, and garlic and poppies offered in their stead.  15 Feast of the Ass (Sacred to Vesta).. 16 Concordia honored today.  17 day sacred to Felicitas.              24-26 - Feriae Sementivae (from semen: seed) spring feast honoring Tellus (mother Earth) and (on Feb. 2) Ceres.


FEBRUARY: 2 Festival of Juno Februa (the purifier: see Dec. 15).  9 Feast of Apollo.  12 A day holy to Diana.  13-21 Festival of Parentalia, honoring the dead. It began at dawn on February 13th and ended with the Feralia on February 21st. All temples were closed during the Parentalia, marriages forbidden, public business suspended; Romans placed flowers milk and wine on their parents graves.  13-14 Orgiastic festival of Juno Februata = Februalis (februum originally a Sabine word for purification and expiation)  14 Day sacred to Juno-Lupa.  15 Lupercalia, an ancient festival antedating Rome, honoring Faunus ("the kindly", like Greek εὔανδρος = Evander), alias Lupercus, and also with his wife Luperca (identified with the she-wolf who suckled Romulus & Remus). The priests gathered at the Lupercal, a cave at the bottom of the Palatine Hill, sacrifice a goat, and annoint 2 young priests called Luperci on their foreheads with the blood. The blood was wiped away with milk by other priests, and the young men laughed at them. The Lupercii them skinned the sacrificed goat and ripped the hide into strips which they tied around their naked waists. They then got drunk, and ran around Rome striking everyone they met with goatskin thongs. Young women who were touched in this manner were thought to be specially blessed, especially in regards to fertility and procreation. This running about with thongs of goat-skin was also a symbolic purification of the land, and that of touching persons a purification of men, for the words by which this act is designated are februare and lustrare (Ovid. Fast. ii.31; Fest. s.v. Februarius). The goat-skin itself was called februum, the festive day dies februata, the month in which it occurred Februarius, and the god himself Februus.  The act of purifying and fertilizing, which, as we have seen, was applied to women, was without doubt originally applied to the flocks, and to the people of the city on the Palatine (Varro, de Ling. Lat. v. p60, Bip.).  The festival survived until A.D. 494, when it was changed by pope Gelasius into the feast of the Purification of the Virgin -- then on February 14, now on February 2.  17 ● Festival of Fornacalia, for Fornax, goddess of ovens; a baking festival.  Quirinalia in honor of Quirinus (from co-viri "men together"); he embodied the military and economic strength of the Roman populus collectively. He also watched over the curia "senate house" and comitia curiata "tribal assembly" (those words are cognate with his name).  18 Rites of Tacita ( = Muta), goddess of Silence, kept by girls (see Dec. 21).  19 Birthday of Minerva.  21 Feralia, festival of the dead (of all souls) = the closing festival of the Parentalia. During the Feralia, families would picnic at the tombs of their deceased family members and give their dearly departed libations.  22 C(h)aristia (χαρίστεια, χαριστήρια) or C(h)ara Cognatio, an annual family feast during which all existing feuds were settled, and offerings given to the household deities.  23 Terminalia in honor of Terminus, god of boundaries.  His statue was merely a stone or post stuck in the ground to distinguish between properties. On the festival the two owners of adjacent property crowned the statue with garlands and raised a rude altar, on which they offered up some wheat, honeycombs, and wine, and sacrificed a lamb or a sucking pig; then they sang the praises of the god. The public festival was celebrated at the sixth milestone on the road towards Laurentum, doubtless because this was originally the extent of the Roman territory in that direction.  Offerings of grain and honey were given by the children, and the adults would offer wine. Everyone was dressed in white, and kept silent throughout the offerings. A picnic feast was held at the end of the ritual.  24 Regifugium or Fugalia, the king's flight, a festival in commemoration of the flight of king Tarquinius Superbus from Rome. The day is marked in the Fasti as nefastus. Several ancient as well as modern writers have denied that the day had anything to do with the flight of king Tarquinius and think that it derived their name from the symbolical flight of the Rex Sacrorum from the comitium; for this king-priest was generally not allowed to appear in the comitium, which was destined for the transaction of political matters in which he could not take part. But on certain days in the year, and certainly on the two days mentioned above, he had to go to the comitium for the purpose of offering certain sacrifices, and immediately after he had performed his functions there, he hastily fled from it; and this symbolical flight is said to have been called Regifugium.  27First Equiria (the 2nd on March 14th), horse races in honor of Mars.  Priests performed rites purifying of the army. Celebrants held horse races on the Campius Martius (field of Mars), and drove a scapegoat out of the city of Rome, expelling the old and bringing in the new.


MARCH: 1   Roman new year (before Caesar reformed the calendar).  The sacred fire of Vesta was renewed by the Vestal Virgins.  Feriae Martis in honor of Mars.  Matronalia.  Roman women would visit the temple of Juno Lucina (goodess of childbirth) on the Esquiline. At home, women received gifts from their husbands and daughters, and Roman husbands were expected to offer prayers for their wives. Women were also expected to prepare a meal for the household slaves (who were given the day off work), as Roman men did at the Saturnalia. In late Roman times, young women would also receive gifts from their admirers.  During Matronalia the Vestal Virgins gave offerings of their hair to Juno in her sacred groves near Rome. Pregnant women would unbind their hair and clothing.  5 Navigum Isidis (Blessing of the Vessel of Isis).  6 Day honoring the gods of one's household.  7 Junonalia.  11 Day sacred to Hercules.  14Second Equirria in honor of Mars (see Feb. 27).  ● Festival of Veturius Mamurius.  15 Festival of Attis and Cybele.  Day of Anna Parenna, goddess of the year, and the River Nymphs.  Guild festival.  Guilds who's members practiced the arts of Minerva had a festival on this day. This was mainly a plebean festival, and was celebrated at Minerva's temple in Rome. Weapons used for war were purified during this festival.  15-16 Bacchinalia, mystic festival of Bacchus (from c. 200 BC; in 186 BC the Senate tried to ban it), at first performed only by women.  17 Liberalia, a fertility festival celebrated in rural areas. Most towns created a large phallus and carted it through the countryside and into the town center where it stayed until the beginning of the next month. The phallus was decorated by a virtuous woman with flowers, which ensured a good crop at the next harvest.  19-23 Quinquatria (so-called because it lasted 5 days) honoring Minerva.  On the first day, sacrifices and oblations were offered, though no blood was spilled, on the next three days were plays and gladiatorial displays, and on the fifth and final day a solemn procession was held through the streets of the city.   The scholars and pedagogues were also given a holiday at this time, and it was customary for them to offer up sacrifices to Minerva, who was their patron goddess. The school-masters would also receive gifts from their pupils when they resumed lessons at the end of the holiday; all of these gifts would be accepted in the name of Minerval (sic).  The festival was also associated with the opening of the campaign season; during this time the arms, horses and trumpets of the Army would be ceremoniously purified at Rome.  22 Procession of the Tree-Bearers.   23 Tubilustriurn, when the sacred trumpets of war were purified to Mars. It was to bring success in the coming battle season.   24 Day of Blood.  25 Hilaria (Festival of Joy).  28 Festival of the Sacrifice at the Tombs.  30 Festival of Janus and Concordia  ● Festival of Salus Publica Populi Romani ("goddess of the public welfare of the Roman people").  There was a temple devoted to her on the Quirinal Hill, built in 302 BC.  Salus was depicted with snakes and a bowl in many artistic representations of her.  31 Feast of Luna

        APRIL: 1Veneralia honoring Venus.  Women removed jewelry from the statue of the goddess, washed her, and adorned her with flowers, and similarly bathed themselves in the public baths wearing wreaths of myrtle on their heads. It was generally a day for women to seek divine help in their relations with men.   Also Fortuna Virilis, women's festival.  3 Proserpina's rise from the underworld.  Day (sunset-sunset) sacred to Bona Dea.  4-10 LUDI MEGALENSES = Megalesia = Festival of Magna Mater (Cybele)organized by the curule aediles.  It began with a ceremonial offering of herbs at the temple of Magna Mater.  The ludi were mostly plays, with 1 Circus day.  5 Festival of Fortuna.  11 "Diana's Bread" baked today.  12-19 LUDI CEREALES = Cerealia, dedicated to Ceres, goddess of grain.  Public ludi organized by the plebeian aediles had 4 days of plays, 1 day with a chariot race in the Circus Maximus that doubled as the closing of the Megalesia. During the festivities all participants were required to wear white (Ovid Fasti, 4.494). Private rituals usually included an offering of milk, honey, and wine to Ceres.  13 Festival of Libertas.  15 Fordicalia or Fordicia, a festival of Tellus Mater (mother earth).  A pregnant cow was sacrificed to her and she was considered pregnant with seeds. The unborn calf was taken to the Grand Vesta in Rome, where the priestess of Vesta burned it in Vesta's sacred flame (considered to be the flame of the earth). The ashes of the burned fetus were kept safe for later use during the Parilia.  21 Paralia = Palilia: originally, festivals for Pales, goddess of herds and herdsmen, involving ritualistic cleansing of sheep/cattle pens and animals.  The shepherd would sweep out the pens and smudge the animals and pens with burning sulfur. In the evening, the animals were sprinkled with water, and their pens were decorated with garlands. Fires were started, and in were thrown olives, horse blood, beanstalks without pods, and the ashes from the Fordicalia fires. Men and beasts jumped over the fire three times to purify themselves further, and to bring them protection from anything that might harm them (wolves, sickness, starvation, etc.). After the animals were put back into their pens the shepherds would offer non-blood sacrifices of grain, cake millet, and warm milk to Pales.  The festival in April was for smaller livestock, while the one in July was for larger animals.  (In the city of Rome the festival must, at least in later times, have been celebrated in a different manner; its character of a shepherd-festival was forgotten, and it was merely looked upon as the day on which Rome had been built, and was celebrated as such with great rejoicings).  22 Festival of Juppiter and Juno.  23 Vinalia, festival of the vine. The first wines of the year were tasted, and libations were made in honour of Juppiter. It was also a special day for prostitutes, who payed homage to Venus.  25 Robigalia intended to protect corn from blight. During Robigalia, in a special grove outside of the city walls, offerings were given to Robiga.  Robiga (meaning green or life) along with her brother, Robigus, were the fertility gods of the Romans.  28   LUDI FLOREALES = Floralia, organized by the curule aediles, dedicated to Flora, goddess of flowers and vegetation, this day was considered by the prostitutes of Rome to be their own. While flowers decked the temples, Roman citizens wore colorful clothing instead of the usual white, and offerings were made of milk and honey to Flora. There were 4 days of plays (it was customary for the assembled people on this occasion to demand the female actors to appear naked on the stage, and to amuse the multitude with their indecent gestures and dances) and one of wild beast hunts in the Circus.


MAY: 1 Day sacred to Maia, to whom a pregnant cow was sacrificed.  Feast for Lares Praestites, especially at their temple along the Via Sacra.  2 ● Day sacred to Elena.  3 ● Women's Festival of Bona Dea (= Fauna, daughter of Faunus), goddess of fertility, healing, virginity and women, who had a temple on the Aventine.   No men were allowed to participate.  The sick were tended to in the gardens outside her temples, where medicinal herbs were grown by priestesses.  (All this pertains to the public festival; for the secret festival, see Dec. 4).  4 Megalesia (Festival of Cybele).  9 agonalia for Janus (see also Jan 9th).  9, 11, 13 Lemuria = Lemuralia.  The lemures or larvae or were the spectres of the dead; they were the malignant version of the lares. They were said to wander about at night and to torment and frighten the living.  On these days black beans were offered to the Larvae in the hopes of propitiating them; loud noises were also used to frighten them away.  15 Day of Maia and Vesta.  Sacrifice day to the Tiber River.    Mercuralia, in honor of Mercury.  Merchants would sprinkle their heads, their ships and merchandise, and their businesses with water taken from the well at Porta Capena.  17 Festival of Dea Dia.  18 Day sacred to Apollo.  23 Rosalia (Festival of Flora).  27 Secular Centennial Games.  29 Festival of Ambarvalia.  Feast of Mars


JUNE: 1 Festival of Carna.  Day sacred to Tempestas.  3  Festival of Bellona.  7-15 Vestalia.  7th Day of Vesta Asperit.  8 Festival of Mens.  9 Festival of Vesta.  11 Day sacred to Fortuna.  13 Quinquatrus Minusculae of Minerva (see March 19-24).  16 Festival of Ludi Piscatari.  18 Festival of Anna.  19 Day of all Heras.  20 ● Day of Summanus, god of nocturnal thunder (as opposed to Jupiter, the god of diurnal thunder). His temple stood at the Circus Maximus, and every June 20th cakes were offered to him as propitiation.  23 day of bad omens: anniversary of the battle of Lake Trasimene, where a Roman army is destroyed by Hannibal.  24 Fors Fortuna, a great public holiday; the Romans rowed down the River Tiber to two shrines just outside Rome, where sacrifices were made for Fortuna. This was followed by picnicking and drinking for the rest of the day.  27 Festival of Initium Aestatis.  30 Day of Aestas


JULY: 2 Feast of Expectant Mothers.  4 Day of Pax.  5 Populifugia in honor of Juppiter.  6th-13th LUDI APOLLINARES for Apollo, instituted at Rome during the second Punic war, four years after the battle of Cannae (B.C. 212), at the command of an oracle contained in the books of the ancient seer Marcius...  They were instituted partly to obtain the aid of Apollo in expelling the Carthaginians from Italy, and partly to preserve, through the favour of the god, the republic from all dangers. The oracle suggested that the games be held every year under the praetor urbanus, and that ten men should sacrifice according to Greek rites.  The games were mostly plays, with 1 day in the Circus Maximus; the spectators were adorned with chaplets, and each citizen gave a contribution towards defraying the expenses.  Matrons performed supplications, the people took their meals in the propatulum with open doors.  7 Feriae Ancillarum.  Sacerdotes publicae to Consus (see 27 Aug.)   Parilia Festivals for Pales, goddess of herds. (see under April 21).  8 Nonae Caprotinae = Caprotinia (Nones of the Wild Figs) ancient Roman feastsin honor of the female slaves. During this solemnity they ran about, beating themselves with their fists and with rods. None but women assisted in the sacrifices offered at this feast.  9Populifugia, festival of the people's flight, was celebrated on the Nones of July, in commemoration of the flight of the people, when the inhabitants of Ficulea, Fidenae, and other places round about, appeared in arms against Rome shortly after the departure of the Gauls, and produced such a panic that the Romans suddenly fled before them. But Macrobius (Saturn. iii.2) says that the Populifugia was commemorated the flight of the people before the Tuscans, while Dionysius (ii.56) refers its origin to the flight of the people on the death of Romulus.  19 Sacred drama day for Aphrodite and Adonis.   19 & 21 Lucaria, "Feasts of Clearings", a  feast, solemnized in the woods, where the Romans, defeated and pursued by the Gauls, retired and concealed themselves; it was heldin a wood between the Tyber and the road called Via Salaria.  23 Neptunalia an obscure archaic two-day festival in honour of Neptune as god of waters, celebrated at Rome in the heat and drought of summer. It was one of the dies comitiales, when committees of citizens could vote on civil or criminal matters. About the ceremonies nothing is known, except that the people used to build huts of branches and foliage (umbrae, according to Festus, under " Umbrae.  25   Furrinalia  venerated all those who searched for underground water sources.


AUGUST: 8 Festival of Venus (sunset-sunset).  12th Businessmen and traders paid ten percent of their profits to Mercury's shrine on this day. Mercury was known for his cunning and sly practices. The money was used for a feast which took place in public on this day.  13 Festival of Hecate.  15 Festival of Vesta.  17 Festival of Diana  Portunalia, in honor of Portunus = Portunes = Portumnes, a god of keys and doors and livestock. He protected the warehouses where grain was stored. Probably because of folk associations between porta "gate, door" and portus "harbor", the "gateway" to the sea, Portunus later became conflated with Palaemon and evolved into a god primarily of ports and harbors. In the Latin adjective importunus his name was applied to untimely waves and weather and contrary winds, and the Latin echoes in English opportune and its old-fashioned antonym importune, meaning "well-timed' and "badly-timed". Hence Portunus is behind both an opportunity and importunate or badly-timed solicitations.  On August 17 keys were thrown into a fire for good luck in a very solemn and lugubrious manner. His attribute was a key.   19 Vinalia Rustica held to ask Juppiter not to send storms, hail, heavy rains, or floods before the grapes could ripen and be harvested.  Instituted on occasion of the war of the Latins against Mezentius; in the course of which war, that people vowed a libation to Jupiter of all the wine in the succeeding vintage. On the same day likewise fell the dedication of a temple to Venus (whence some authors have fallen into a mistake, that these Vinalia were sacred to Venus).  21 Heraclia.   Consualia feast of the granary god Consus, who was sometimes represented as a wheat seed.  His altar was beneath the ground near the Circus Maximus in Rome and unearthed only during the Consualia. Mule or horse races were the main event. Horses and mules (both sacred to Consus) were crowned with chaplets of flowers, and forbidden to work.  The festival was superintended by the Flamines of Quirinus (Mars), helped by the Vestals. The main priestess at the regia wore a white veil.  (Consus was eventually identified with Neptunus Equester, the alias and counterpart of Poseidon Hippios. Poseidon/Neptune had been associated with the animal since archaic times.  For his female counterpart see the Opiconsivia on 25 August and the Opalia on 19 December.)   On this day also the rape of the Sabine women took place under Romulus. 23  Festival of Nemesea.   Vertumnalia. for Vertumnus.             Vulcanalia for Vulcan with games in the circus Flaminius, where the god had a temple . The sacrifice consisted of fishes which the people threw into the fire. It was also customary on this day to commence working by candlelight, which was probably considered as an auspicious beginning of the use of fire. It was on the day of this festival that the consul Q. Fulvius Nobilior was severely defeated by the Celtiberians in B.C. 153; so it became an ater dies.   24 Festival of Mania.  25 Opiconsivia, fstival of Ops (Rhea).  27 Day sacred to Consus.  Volturnalia dedicated to Volturnus, 'god of the waters,' god of fountains. He was a tribal river god later identified as god of the Tiber river. He was the father of the nymph Juturna, who was first identified with a spring in Latium near the Numicus River and later with a pool near the temple of Vesta in the Forum of Rome. Both were honored on this day with feasting, wine-drinking, and games.  30 Festival of Charisteria

            SEPTEMBER: 5-19 LUDI ROMANI = Ludi Magni organized by at first by the consuls, later by the curule aediles, in honor of Jupiter, are said to have been established by Tarquinius Priscus on the occasion of his conquest of the Latin Apiolae (Livy I.35, 9); though Dionysius (vii. 71) and Cicero (de Div. i. 26, 55) refer the establishment to the victory over the Latins at Lake Regillus. At first they lasted for one day only; a second day was added on the expulsion of the kings in 509 B.C., a third after the first secession, 494 B.C. From 191 to 171 they lasted ten days, and shortly before Caesar's death they appear to have been a fifteen-day festival...  There was the Epulum Jovis on the 13th, and the Equorum probatio on the 14th. The games in the circus lasted from the 15th to the 19th.  9 Festival of Asclepigenia.  13 Festival of Lectisternia.  A cow was sacrificed at the temple of Juppiter, and the Senate and all the magistrates had a banquet there. Statues of Juppiter, Juno and Minerva were dressed and placed on the couches with the humans, so they could share the banquet.  14 Feast of the Holy Cross.  30 Meditrinalia, festival of Meditrina.  (end of Sept.?) The Septmontium (see "end of Dec.")


OCTOBER: 1 Day sacred to Fides.  3 Feast of Dionysus.  4 Jejunium Cereris (day of fasting; originally it was in the spring).  5 Festival of Mania.  7 Day sacred to Victoria.  9 Day of Felicitas.  11 Festival of Vinalia or Meditrinalia, an obscure festival in honor of the new vintage, which was offered in libations to the gods for the first time each year. The festival may have been so called from medendo, because the Romans then began to drink new wine, which they mixed with old and which served them instead of physic.  12 Day sacred to Fortuna Redux.  13 Fontinalia festival of Fontus, the son of Juturna and Janus. He was the god of wells and springs.  15 Winter's Day .  19 Armilustrium, festival in honor of Mars, the god of war. On this day the weapons of the soldiers were ritually purified and stored for winter. The army was assembled and reviewed in the Circus Maximus, garlanded with flowers and the trumpets (tubae) played as part of the purification rites. The Romans gathered with their arms and armour on the Aventine Hill, and held a procession with torches and sacrificial animals. The dancing priests of Mars known as the Salii may also have taken part in the ceremony.  (Armilustrium also refers to a large open space on the Aventine Hill where the festival was held.)


NOVEMBER: 1 Pomonia (Feast of Pomona, goddess of fruit trees.  4-17 Ludi Plebeii, festival for Juppiter including races, games and performances at the theatre. On 13th, there was a banquet, the Epulum Jovis, a sumptuous feast given by senators and magistrates for Jupiter.  The gods were formally invited, and attended; for the statues were brought in rich beds, furnished with soft pillows, called pulvinaria. Thus accommodated, their godships were placed on their couches at the most honourable part of the table, and served with the rich dainties, as if they were able to eat; but the epulones, or ministers, who had the care and management of the feast, performed that function for them.  8 Festival of the Mania.  13 or 15 Festival of Feronia, Juno, Minerva, Juppiter.  Feronia was a rural goddess to whom woods and fountains were sacred....  Feronia originated as an Etruscan goddess. Some Latins believed her to be a fertility goddess, and revered her in order to secure a good harvest. She was also served as a goddess of travel, fire, and waters. ... She had a temple at the base of Mt. Soracte in Capena (Fiano Romano), another important one in Anxur (Terracina, Southern Latium) and one on the Campus Martius in the center of Rome, in what is now Largo di Torre Argentina.  Slaves regarded Feronia as a goddess of freedom, and believed that sitting on a holy stone in one of her sanctuaries would set them free. According to another tradition, at Terracina the slaves who had just been freed would go to the temple and, with their shaved heads, received the “Pileus” (a hat that symbolized their liberty). 24  Brumalia was a feast of Bacchus, celebrated among the Romans during the space of thirty days from Nov. 24. Instituted by Romulus, who during this time used to entertain the senate. Indications were taken of the felicity of the remaining part of the winter.  25 Day sacred to Proserpina.  29 Festival of Saturnus


DECEMBER: 3 - Festival of Bona Dea, 'Good Goddess' believed to protect women. The rituals were conducted secretly in the house of the consul, and males were strictly forbidden; dancing, drinking and worshipping sacred objects may have been involved.  Even paintings or drawings of men or male animals were forbidden, along with the words "wine" and "myrtle" because Bona Dea had once been beaten by her father with a myrtle stick after she got drunk.  4 Festival of Minerva.  5 Faunalia for Faunus.  10 Festival of Lus Mundi.  11   Agonalia for Sol Indiges.  16 Festival of Sapientia.  17, 17-24 Saturnalia honoring Saturn lasted at first a day, later a week.  It involved conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) in front of the temple of Saturn, and untying the ropes that bound his statue during the rest of the year; there were also holidays and customs celebrated privately; e.g. a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (especially little waxen images, sigillaricia) and a special market. Even slaves were allowed to gamble. It was a time to be merry. The toga was not worn and the pilleus (freedman's hat) was worn by everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment and treated their masters with disrespect. The slaves celebrated a banquet, before, with, or served by the masters.  18 Eponalia honoring Epona, goddess of horses, donkeys, mules, and a fertility goddess.  'Epona' derives from the Gallic word for horse, and her worship was introduced in the 3rd c. BC by the Gallic cavalry).  19 Opalia to Ops, the husband of Consus (see Consualia in August) and the goddess of the seed for sowing, stored underground; hence also goddess of wealth or plenty.  Since her abode was inside the earth, Ops was invoked by her worshippers while sitting, with their hands touching the ground (Macrobius, Saturnalia, I:10).  21 Divalia = Angeronalia, The priests offered sacrifice in the temple of Volupia, the goddess of pleasure, in which stood a statue of Angerona, with a finger on her mouth, which was bound and closed (Macrob i.10; Pliny, N.H. iii.9; Varro, LL. vi. 23). She was worshipped as Ancharia at Faesulae, where an altar belonging to her has been discovered.  In art, she was depicted with a bandaged mouth and a finger pressed to her lips, demanding silence.   23 Larentalia honored either (acc. to some) the Lares or (acc. to others) Acca Larentia, nurse of Romulus & Remus, wife of Faustulus, goddess of the dead, also known as Dea Tacita ("the silent goddess"). Goddesses Mutae Tacitae were invocated to destroy a hated person: in this inscription (Année epigr. 1958, 38, 150) someone asks "ut mutus sit Quartus" and "erret fugiens ut mus".  25 Dies Natalis Invicti Solis (Birthday of the Invincible Sun God).  Also somewhere in the last days of Dec.  was the Septimontium, a dies feriatus for the montani, the inhabitants of the seven ancient hills or rather districts of Rome, who offered on this day sacrifices to the gods in their respective districts. These sacra were, like the paganalia, not sacra publica, but privata.





(Conjoined names are listed twice; e.g. 'Attis & Cybele' under both ' Attis' and' Cybele'.  So also equivalent names, e.g. Muta and Tacita.)


Acca Larentia, Dec. 23.                                                                                                

Adonis, July 19.

Aesclepigenia, Sept. 9.

Aestas, June 27, 30.

Ancillae, feriae of, July 7.

Angeronalia, Dec. 21.

Anna Parenna, March 15.

Anna, June 18.

Aphrodite and Adonis, July 19.

Apollo, Feb. 12; July 6-13; May 18.

Apollinares: July 6-13.

Ambarvalia, May 29.

Armilustrium, Oct. 19.

Ass, feast of, , Jan. 15.

Attis and Cybele, March 15.

Bacchus & Bacchinalia, March 15-16.

Bellona, June 3.

Blood, day of, March 24.

Bona Dea, April 3; May 2; Dec. 3.

Brumalia, Nov. 24.

C(h)aristeria, Aug. 30.

C(h)aristia = C(h)ara Cognatio, Feb. 22.

Caprotinia: July 8.

Carmenta & Carmentalia, Jan. 11.

Carna, June 1.

Ceres & Cerealia, April 12-15.

Ceres (jejunium), Oct. 4.

Compitalia = Compitalicii, Jan. 12.

Concordia & Janus, March 30.

Concordia, Jan. 16.

Consus & Consualia, July 7; Aug. 22, 27.

Cybele & Attis, March 15.

Cybele, April 3, May 4.

Dea Dia, May 17.

Diana, Feb. 12, Aug. 17.

Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, Dec. 25.

Dionysus, Oct. 3.

Divalia = Angeronalia, Dec. 21.

Elena, May 2.

Epona & Eponalia, Dec. 18.

Epulum Iovis, Nov. 13.

Equiria, Feb. 27, March 14.

Expectant Mothers, July 2.

Fauna, May 2.

Faunus & Faunalia, Dec. 5.

Februa, Februalis, Februata, Feb. 2.

Felicitas, Oct. 9; Jan. 17.

Feralia, Feb. 21.

Feriae Ancillarum, July 7.

Feriae Martis, March 1.

Feriae Sementivae, Jan. 24-26.

Feronia, Nov. 13.

Fides, Oct. 1.

Flora & Floralia, May 23, April 28.

Fontus & Fontinalia, Oct. 13.

Fordicalia = Fordicia, April 15.

Fornax and Fornacalia, Feb 17.

Fors Fortuna, June 24.

Fortuna, Jan. 1, June 11.

Fortuna Redux, Oct. 12.

Fortuna Virilis, April 1.

Fortuna, April 5.

Fugalia = Regifugium, Feb. 24.

Furrinalia, July 25.

Hecate, Aug. 13.

Hera, June 19.

Heraclia, Aug. 21.

Hercules, March 11.

Hilaria, March 25.

Initium Aestatis, June 27.

Isis, March 5.

Janus & Concordia, March 30.

Janus, Agonalia for, Jan. 9, May 9.

Jejunium Cereris, Oct. 4.

Juno Februa(ta), Feb. 2 , Feb 13-14.

Juno-Lupa, Feb. 14.

Junonalia, March 7.

Juppiter and Juno, Apr. 22.

Juppiter, July 5; Nov. 13.

Juppiter, Juno, & Janus, Jan. 1.

Justicia, Jan. 8.

Juturna, Jan. 11.

Lake Trasimene, June 23

Lares & Larentalia, Dec. 23

Lares & Penates, March 6.

Lares Praestites, May 1.

Larvae, May 9, 11, 13.

Lectisternia, Sept. 13.

Lemures and Lemuralia, May 9 ff.

Liberalia, March 17.

Libertas, April 13.

Lucaria, July 19 & 21.


LUDI CEREALES, Cerealia, April 12-15.


LUDI MAGNI, Sept. 5-19.


Ludi Piscatari, June 16.

LUDI PLEBEII, Nov. 4-17.

LUDI ROMAN, Sept. 5-19.

Luna, March 31.

Lupercalia, Feb. 15.

Lus Mundi, Dec. 10.

Magna Mater, April 3.

Maia and Vesta, May 15.

Maia, May 1.

Mania, Aug. 24; Oct. 5; Nov. 8.

Mars, March 1, March 23, May 29, Oct. 19.

Matronalia, March 1.

Meditrina & Meditrinalia, Sept. 30.

Megalesia, April 3; May 4.

Mens, June 8.

Mercury & Mercuralia, May 15; Aug. 12.

Minerva, Mar. 19-23; June 13; Feb. 19; Dec. 4.

Muta (dea) = Tacita, Feb 18.

Navigum Isidis, March 5.

Nemesea, Aug. 23.

Neptune & Neptunalia, July 23.

Nonae Caprotinae = Caprotinia, July 8.

Ops & Opalia, Dec. 19.

Ops & Opiconsivia, Aug. 25.

Pales & Palilia (Paralia), April 21; July 8.

Parentalia, Feb. 13-21.

Pax , Jan. 3.; July 4.

Plebeii ludi, Nov. 4-17.

Pomona, Nov. 1.

Populifugia, July 5 & 9.

Portunus & Portunalia, Aug. 17.

Proserpina, Jan. 6; April 3; Nov. 25.

Quinquatria, March 19-23.

Quinquatrus Minusculae, June 13.

Quirinus & Quirinalia, Feb. 17.

Regifugium = Fugalia, Feb. 24.

Rex sacrorum, Feb. 24.

Rhea, Aug. 25.

Robigus & Robigalia, April 25.

Rosalia, May 23.

Salus Publica Populi Romani, March 30.

Sapientia, Dec. 16.

Saturn & Saturnalia, Dec. 17-24.

Saturnus, Nov. 29.

Secular Centennial Games, May 27.

Sementivae (feriae), Jan. 24-26.

Septimontium, end Sept.; end Dec.

Sol indiges, Dec. 11.

Sol invictus, Dec. 25.

Summanus, June 20.

Tacita = Muta, Feb. 18, Dec. 23.

Tellus, April 15.

Tempestas, June 1.

Terminus & Terminalia, Feb. 23.

Tiber river, May 15.

Tombs (sacrifice at), March 28.

Tree-bearers (procession of), March 22.

Tubilustriurn, March 23.

Venus & Veneralia, April 1; Aug. 8.

Vertumnus & Vertumnalia, Aug. 23.

Vesta & Vestalia, June 7-15.

Vesta and Maia, May 15.

Vesta, March 1; June 9; Aug. 15.

Veturius Mamurius, March 14.

Victoria, Oct. 7.

Vinalia = Meditrinalia, Oct. 11.

Vinalia, April 23; (rustica) Aug. 19.

Volturnus & Volturnalia, Aug. 27.

Volupia, Dec. 21.

Vulcan & Vulcanalia, Aug. 23.

Winter's Day, Oct. 15.

Appendix  F:   C u r s u s  H o n o r u m


I.e. the stages of a typical political career.  "Q.v." and "s.v." refer to the Dictionary entries.  Throughout this appendix I omit the priesthoods, on which see App. D.   On (I) below see OCD s.v. Cursus honorum., S 224 ff.; Sandys 110-117, 222-229; R 121-4;  on (II) see Sandys 225 ff., 114-115; R  124-7.


(I)  S e n a t o r i a l  c u r s u s, also called certus ordo magistratuum.  The sequence of offices, the intervals between them (normally 2 years), and the minimum ages were fixed by law mainly in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC (esp. by the Lex Villia Annalis of 180 BC, and by Sulla--on whom see App. G).   At first only (3) & (5) were mandatory before the consulship. 

            Note that (6) and (8) are not elected magistrates and that those two are not formally stages in the cursus (see § II below); I include them here because a typical career includes them.  

            (1) Tribunus militum (q.v.) or other military service (normally 10 years--from age 17 to age 27).  Under the Emperors only (till the 3rd century) the Tribunatus militum is mandatory before Quaestorship.

            (2) Vigintiviri (q.v.), member of.  Mandatory (in late Rep., under emperors) before Quaestorship.  

            (3) Quaestor (q.v.), (age 26-39 in the Republic, 30 under Sulla, 25 in the Principate.)  After Sulla, mandatory before praetorship.  After Sulla, quaestorship automatically makes one a senator.

            (4.a) Tribunus plebis or (4.b) Aedile (qq.v.).  Mandatory for plebeians only; patricians may skip.

            (5) Praetor (q.v.) (age 30 fixed by Sulla).  

            (6) "Praetorian post", namely (a) Legatus Legionis = commander of provincial legion, or (b) Legatus on staff of provincial governor, or (under Emperors) (c) Legatus Augusti pro praetore, i.e. governor of lesser imperial province, or (d) Proconsul of lesser senatorial province. 

            (7) Consul (q.v.) (after Sulla, age 42.  Emperors often ignored the age limit.)

            (8) "Proconsular post", e.g. Praefectus Urbis, or governor of major province (Proconsul, Propraetor, etc.  For the rather complex exact nomenclature for governors, see s.vv. Legatus, Prorogatio.)

            (9) Censor (q.v.) (the summit of a career in the Republic, unimportant in the Principate).

            (10) Dictator (q.v.)  (Republic only, and even there very rare--see Dictator)  


(II)  O t h e r  S e n a t o r i a l  P o s t s,  those filled by imperial appointment, not by election.  Some were listed above as I.6, I.8.  Not part of the regular cursus, they are held between or after regular magistracies.  Most are for ex-consuls or ex-praetors indifferently, but four require ex-consuls: Praefectus urbi, Proconsul of Asia or Africa, Curator aquarum, Iuridicus per Italiam regionis:

            (a) Censitor = Legatus Augusti censibus accipiendis (q.v.)

            (b) Comes (in late empire, includes many kinds of office both civil and military)

            (c) Corrector = Gk. διορθωτής, praetorian official (2nd c. and later) to regulate the affairs of a "free" eastern, or later western, city that had been immune from interference by a Roman governor.

            (d) Iuridicus, "a judicial functionary of praetorian rank in Italy--except Rome and its environs--nominated by the emperor", first attested in 163 AD (quote from OCD s.v.).

            (e) Legatus (q.v.) of four kinds (including the three listed in I.6 above)

            (f) Curator (q.v.), six kinds

            (g) Praefectus (q.v.), five kinds (including that listed in I.9 above)

            (h) Praeses (q.v.) = governor

            (j) Proconsules (consular rank for Africa & Asia; praetorian elsewhere--see Prorogatio).


(III)  E q u e s t r i a n  C a r e e r  under Emperors.   At first "the number of posts was very small--about 40 in all" (J2 138).  Jones denies that there was any pattern of promotion--but see e.g. below, Career F.

            (i) Praefectus cohortis, then Tribunus militum, then praefectus alae.   (See Praefectus, Tribunus.  These three posts are sometimes called the "tres militiae")

            (ii) (Pro)curator (q.v.), i.e. imperial administrator, usually financial, but sometimes a governor 

            (iii)  Praefectus (q.v.) of fleet, police, grain, Egypt, Praetorian Guard. 


            I now give, in chronological order, seven real careers.  B, E, F, G are from inscriptions; those are all imperial, because Republican inscriptions of this kind are very rare.  All are senatorial except F.  (But "senatorial" and "equestrian" careers were not always distinct.  Also, even if a career is "senatorial", the man may have begun life as a knight, like Tacitus in D or Pliny in E.) 

            Numbers and letters in the left margin refer to items in the above three lists.  I give dates if they are known.  Note that whenever a specific legion is mentioned (e.g. in careers E, F, G), you can usually figure out its probable location by consulting the list in the OCD s.v. Legio.  


(A) Career of Julius Caesar. Born BC 100, died 44.  In italics I put his priesthoods, which are not stages in the Cursus.  The

            Dictatorship--q.v.--was revolutionary, but otherwise, on the surface at least, this is a normal patrician Cursus:

=>       BC 81 f. Military service in Asia, and (75-4) against pirates

=>     75 (for life)  Pontifex

(1)        71             TRIBUNUS MILITUM

(3)        69             QUAESTOR in Spain

(4.a)     65             CURULE AEDILE

=>   63 (for life)             Pontifex maximus

(5)        62             PRAETOR

(6.a)     61             PROPRAETOR in Spain

(7)        59 etc.  CONSUL

(8)        58             PROCONSUL of Cisalpine Gaul & Illyricum

(11)     48, etc.            DICTATOR


(B) Career of L. Aquillius Florus. From Augustan inscription: Sandys 111-12, = C.I.L. iii.551, Dessau i 928. Dates unknown.  He seems the L. A. Fl. mentioned by J. Pollini in K. Raaflaub, M. Toher, Between Republic & Empire, 351-2, as one who minted coins for Augustus,18 B.C.. 2 other Aqu. Flori, father & son, were partisans of Antony executed by Octavian after Actium:Dio 51.2.6.

(2)             Decemvir stlitibus iudicandis (see Vigintiviri, type d)

(1)             TRIBUNUS MILITUM legionis nonae...

(3)             QUAESTOR imperatoris Caesaris Augusti

(cf. 6)            PROQUAESTOR provinciae Cypri

(4.a)             TRIBUNUS PLEBIS

(5)             PRAETOR

(8)             PROCONSUL Achaiae.


(C) Career of Gn. Julius Agricola  Born AD 40 (at Forum Julii; educated at Massilia), died 93; father-in-law of Tacitus.

            (Held quaestorship 1 yr. before, praetorship 2 yrs. before, the proscribed age--favored as a man with children.)

(1)        61 AD            TRIBUNUS MILITUM in Britain (Boudicaa uprising);

(3)        64             QUAESTOR in Asia (under Salvius Titianus)

(4.a)     66             TRIBUNUS PLEBIS

(5)        68             PRAETOR (last year of Nero's reign)

  ?        68             Commissioner for recovery of temple property

  ?        69             Recruiting officer for Mucianus

(6a)      70-73             Legatus legionis XX, in Britain (under Cerialis, gov. there 71-4)

            73             made Patrician

(6c)      74-77             Legatus (i.e. gov.) of Aquitania

(7)        77             CONSUL Suffectus (for some months); betrothed daughter to Tacitus

(8)        78             "Legatus Augusti Pro Praetore" (i.e. propraetor = gov.) in Britain


(D) Career of Cornelius Tacitus  Born c. 56-7 AD in Gallia Narbonensis, father equestrrian; died not long after 115

(1)        77            TRIBUNUS MILITUM; m. Agricola's daughter; made senator by Vespasia

(3)        81-2?            QUAESTOR (under Titus?)

(4)        83-4?            TRIBUNUS PLEBIS? or AEDILE? (under Domitian? emperor 81-96)

(5)        88            PRAETOR  (under Domitian)

=>       88?            quindecimvir sacris faciundis. (In 88 the XVviri organized Secular Games)

(6?)      89-93?            ? Propraetor ?  or Legatus legionis?

(7)        97            CONSUL SUFFECTUS (co-consul with emperor Nerva)

(8)      112-113  PROCONSUL Asiae (under Trajan)


(E) Career of C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus (Pliny the Younger) c. AD 61 - c. 112.  The family was equestrian, from Comum.  Inscription from Comum: Sandys 199 = C.I.L. v 5262 = Dessau i 2927.  Restoration is that of Mommsen. "||" = line-division in the original.  In italics I type letters not in the original (for like all inscriptions this one is full of abbreviations).



* On the augurate see App. D.  ** "sevir" = "sexvir": see. "Equites" ad fin.  Below, stages 1 to 5 & g were under Domitian.


(1)        81             TRIBUNUS MILITUM legionis III Gallicae (stationed in Syria)

(2)        ?            DECEMVIR stlitibus iudicandis

(3)        ?            TRIBUNUS PLEBIS

(4)        89-90?  QUAESTOR Imperatoris (i.e. of Domitian, personally picked by him)

(5)        93            PRAETOR (permitted by Domitian to be praetor a year before legal age)

g        c. 94-96            praefectus aerari militaris

g      c. 98-100            praefectus aerari Saturni (under Nerva)

(7)        100             CONSUL (nominated by Trajan)

f         c. 104-6            curator alvei Tiberis*

f         c. 104-7            three times in judicial Consilium (q.v.) of Trajan

(8)      c. 110            LEGATUS AUGUSTI, i.e. governor in Pontus & Bithynia (made imperial province by Trajan)


* Pliny in his Epist. V. 2, written while he was Curator alvei Tiberis, announces that his friend Cornutus Tertullus has been appointed Curator via Aemiliae: "I feel such inexpressible joy, both for his sake and mine; for his, because though he .. is far removed from all ambition, still, this extra honor should give him pleasure, and for mine, because I take more pleasure in my own honor when I see that one given to Cornutus.  For to have the same status as a good man is even more pleasant than being promoted." -- etc., etc.   To his legateship most of Ep. bk. X is devoted.


(F) Career of  C. Minicius Italus. From inscr. of 105 AD, Aquileia (at head of Adriatic). Sandys 114-115; transl. Ca. 60-61.

            The inscription seems to list offices in ascending order of importance--whether also in strict chronology is unknown.  Curiously, we also have an extant papyrus letter from this person, concerning recruits: P.Oxy.1022, transl. in Ca. p.13.

             Quattuorvir iure dicendo ["member of Board of Four for Jurisdiction"--perhaps in Aquileia]. 

            (I) Praefectus cohortis V Gallorum equitatae1.  Praefectus cohortis I Breucorum equitatae civium Romanorum.  Praefectus cohortis II Varcianorum equitatae.  Tribunus militum legionis VI Victricis.  Praefectus equitum alae I singularium2 civium Romanorum, donis donatus a divo Vespasiano corona aurea, hasta pura.3 

            (II) Procurator provinciae Hellesponti.   Procurator provinciae Asiae quam mandatu principis [i.e. Trajan] vice defuncti proconsulis rexit.4  

Procurator provinciarum Luguduniensis et Aquitanicae, item provinciae Lactoricae [N.E. of Aquitania]. 

            (III) Praefectus Annonae.  Praefectus Aegypti (AD 103)


1 "Prefect of the fifth part-mounted cohort of Gauls" etc.--"part-mounted" is how Campbell always translates equitatus, an adj. not in Lewis and Short.  2 On "equites singulares" see Ca. p. 34: they were single cavalry units (probably equal in strength to regular auxiliary alae) attached as bodyguard to important officers, legionary legates, procurators, proconsuls, imperial legates.  3 "Hasta pura" means "untipped spear", a common decoration for bravery (see Ca. p. 104 ff.)  4 I.e. after being procurator of Asia (see Procurator--type 3), he served as its acting proconsul, "perhaps after the execution of the proconsul Sextus Vettulenus Civica Cerealis on the orders of Domitian in AD 88" (Ca. p 61).


(G) Career of L. Barbuleius.  2nd century A.D.; Sandys 112 f.  Date of consulship in relation to other offices conjectural:

(2)        ?            Triumvir capitalis (see Vigintiviri, type c)

(1)        ?            Tribunus legionis IX

(3)    after 117             QUAESTOR Ponti et Bithyniae (after 117 A.D.)

(4.b)     ?            AEDILIS plebis

(5)        ?            PRAETOR

f           ?             Curator viarum 

f           ?            Curator rei publicae Narbonensis1

(5)        ?            Legatus legionis XVI    

f           ?            Logistes Syriae1

(8)        ?            PROCONSUL Siciliae2 

g          ?            Praefectus aerarii Saturnii3

(7)      c. 131            CONSUL

f           ?            Curator operum locorumque publicorum4

(8, j)   c. 138            Legatus propraetore Cappodociae

(8, j)     ?            Legatus propraetore Syriae, in quo honore decessit.


1 "logistes" is Greek for "examiner" = official who oversees finances of an Eastern city = Latin "curator rei publicae" .  2  "exceptional" for non-consulars acc. to Sandys; but see Prorogatio (and App. C § A: Sicily is a senatorial province.)  3 This post never has ex-consuls--so Sandys puts the consulship later (the inscription, as usual, lists that first as greatest honor).   4 This post given to ex-praetors of long standing or recent ex-consuls; we don't know if he held it before or after consulship.


(H) Career of Aurelius Prudentius Clemens.  Born AD 348 at Tarraco (Spain, province of Tarraconensis), d. after 405, a great Christian poet.  Of his life and career little is known apart from what is said in the following poem, which is the "Preface" to his collection of hymns ("Praefatio ad hymnos").  But in this one can sense a civil and military "cursus" very like the others listed in this Appendix  I quote it here for that reason, and also simply for pleasure.  Translation mine:


Two score, then ten more years

I have existed; now a seventh further

turns on its hinge--and still my sun revolves.


The last is near, and God

now builds the day that is next-door to dotage.

In that whole time what good thing have I done?


First childhood wept beneath

the hiss of switches.  Then the toga taught one

tainted with vice to lie and trick the law.


Then flippant insolence

and crude lust (to recall them shames me now)

made a youth wear the mud and filth of evil.


Law-quarrels furnished weapons

to a soul's darkness.  Even nasty setbacks

increased its mean and stubborn need to win.


Then twice in famous cities

I held the reins of state, used moderation,

made law for good men, frightened the convicted.


At length a prince's virtue

promoting me above the soldiery

bade me stand nearer, next in rank to him.


While life, flying, brought all this

white hair came, like a sudden witness, saying

I had forgotten the old consul Salia,


Since whom how many winters

my birthday has revolved, how many roses

it found in frostless fields, my snowy head shows


Stanza 1 means that P. is 57 years old.  "Turns on its hinge" means the summer solstice, so his birthday must have come in June.  Salia, mentioned in the penult. stanza, was consul in 348.  So this was written in June, 405 A.D.  Stanza 2 "toga" means the 'toga uirilis' put on at age 16, when he began to learn rhetoric (this law students normally did for two years) & the lawyer's craft (on 4th-century legal careers see J3 286).  Stanza 7 "prince" probably = the emperor Theodosius who reigned 379-95 (in most of those years, he ruled even over the western empire).  "Soldiery" ("militia") probably means not the military but the minor civil service (J3 199); "next in rank to him" (ordine proximo) could mean that P., promoted from the career civil service to higher office (e.g. a governorship) was made "comes primi ordinis" (J3 271, 278).

Appendix G:  S u l l a ' s  L e g i s l a t i o n,  81-80 B.C.


            This is a mere naked list of the most striking of Sulla’s measures.  I put a minimum of ‘editorial comment’ because it is now very hard to see this or that law’s motives or, sometimes, even its exact nature.  I do try to group the items intelligibly, to show some overall shape in this legislation--but I should warn you that even some of these groupings (and their headings, and the brief comments) could be disputed.         

            Note also that some of the most important measures were soon repealed--see e.g. App. P under 75, 70 B.C.

            Also, not listed here are Sulla’s three most fateful measures--those that most helped to wreck first his own constitution and then the Republic itself:

            (A) the decision to march with an army on Rome (imitated by Marius, Cinna, Caesar, Octavian--etc.);

            (B) the decision to institute proscriptions (i.e. lists of so-called traitors who could be murdered, & their goods confiscated--later imitated by the scoundrels of the Second Triumvirate); and

            (C) the ruthless land bills, in which, in order to punish his enemies and reward his soldiers and cronies, he confiscated lands throughout Italy, esp. Etruria.  (Imitated by Pompey, Caesar, Octavian, etc., etc.  For a glimpse of the lasting mischief Sulla’s own allocations made, see e.g. Cicero ad fam. 13.4.)

S e n a t e  strengthened (& also broadened):

            (1) senatus auctoritas is needed for proposals to assembly (this he had enacted as cos. in 88).  

            (2) Senate increased from 300 (or rather 150--which is what it had shrunk to in the civil war) to 600.  (This is partly so that there will be enough jurors--see 12.  But among his 600 senators were 300 equites.) 

            (3) All ex-quaestors to be senators (this lessens power of Censors; keeps the enlarged senate full; makes the senate elected, in effect, by the people).

T r i b u n a t e  (& so, Populares) weakened:

            (4) Tribunes lose judicial powers, i.e. their right to bring ex-magistrates to trial in the assembly (all trials to be under Praetors in quaestiones--see 11).

            (5) Tribunes cannot veto: they keep ius auxilii (the right to protect individuals against magisterial action), but intercessio (anulling by veto a decree of the Senate) is limited to protecting individual plebeians. 

            (6) Tribunes are afterwards ineligible for any higher office.  (Thus, ambitious populares, demogogues, will avoid the tribunate, as a political dead-end.)  

C u r s u s  h o n o r u m  regulated:

            (7) No one may hold the same office twice within 10 years. 

            (8) Quaestors must be at least 30 years old, Praetors 39, Consuls 42, and  offices must be held in that order. 

            (9) Quaestors increased to 20 (this needed for the enlarged Senate). 

            (10) Praetors increased from 6 to 8, and each given a standing court (see 11).

L a w c o u r t s  made more aristocratic:

            (11) 7 standing courts, quaestiones perpetuae (see App. ??), cover all major crimes, and replace assembly trials.   Note that this means (a) drastic loss of power for the Tribunes, since they had always been able to impeach ex-magistrates in the assembly; and (b) increased power for Praetors (& hence for Senators generally--see 12). 

            (12) Jurors must be drawn from the Senators (not the Knights as before).

P r o v i n c e s  more strictly controlled:

            (14) Each ex-Consul and ex-Praetor will govern a province (there are now 10 provinces, and 8 ex-praetors + 2 ex-consuls yearly). 

            (15) Lex de maiestate (treason): no promagistrate may start a war or march outside his province. (This is to stop men from terrorizing Rome with an army--a thing Sulla himself had done, and Pompey would soon do.)

R e l i g i o u s  O f f i c e s  given to aristocrats:

            (16) Augural and pontifical colleges to use cooption, not election by the people.

U r b a n  r a b b l e  suppressed  (cf. also 4-6 above):

            (17) Freedmen confined to the four urban tribes (since those are larger, and since each tribe has but 1 vote, an urban vote counts less--see Dict. s.v. Centuria). 

      (18) Old custom abolished of fixed low grain prices for the poor.   

Appendix H: A m b i t u s,  o r  E l e c t o r a l  B r i b e r y


            SUMMARY OF KNOWN BRIBERY LEGISLATION  (This outlines pp. 214-24 of Eric Gruen's The Last Generation of the Roman Republic, Berkeley 1974, but I emend several of his points.  In these matters much is conjectural).


            In 82 Sulla instituted the bribery court (quaestio de ambitu), and passed a lex Cornelia de ambitu; its only known provision is that it banned the convicted from campaigning for ten years.

            In 67 Piso passed a harsh lex Calpurnia ( = lex Acilia) de ambitu which imposed a fine, expelled the convicted from the senate, and banned him from all office-holding.  It also had penalties for the divisores, i.e. the plebeians who actually distributed the bribes.

            In 67 or 66 (??) a lex Fabia de ambitu (a) restricted the number of sectatores (followers, attendants) permitted to 'accompany' a candidate (Cic. Mur. 71), and perhaps (b) banned, as deceitful, the use of nomenclatores -- i.e. slaves who went round with the candidate and whispered to him the names of everyone he met, so he could greet them (see App. D, & my note on Mur. 77)

            In 64 and 63 two senatus consulta de ambitu "perhaps cracked down further on the use of attendants" (Gruen 218 citing Cic. Mur. 71), and tightened the penalities, both for candidates (exile for life) and for the divisores.  Here too, perhaps, we should locate the SC quoted in Pro Murena 67:  "You say that on my motion a senatus consultum was passed, that if (people) had gone by a bribe to meet the candidates, if hired men ('conductos') followed (the candidates), if place(s) at the gladiators were given indiscrimately by tribes, and if dinners were given likewise indiscrimately, that is seen [i.e. is regarded] to have been done against the lex Calpurnia". 

            In 63 came Cicero's lex Tullia de ambitu which (a) confirmed the lex Calpurnia, (b) added exile for ten years, and (c) forbade anyone to give gladitorial shows within two years of his being a candidate, unless he was required to do so by a testator's will. (Gruen 222-3, appealing to Cic. Mur. 47 and 67, thinks that this lex also defined "bribery" more exactly.  But Mur. 67, quoted above, seems to decribe not the lex but a prior senatus consultum -- which Cicero disliked.)

            The topic of electoral bribery seems so revealing of the nature of the Republic, that in order to give a sharper picture of it, I here quote most of Long’s analysis of it:


                AMBITUS (G. Long in Smith s.v.) The offence of ambitus was a matter which belonged to the judicia publica, and the enactments against it were numerous. The earliest enactment that is mentioned simply forbade persons "to add white to their dress," with a view to an election (B.C. 432; Livy iv.25). This seems to mean using some white sign or token on the dress, to signify that a man was a candidate. The object of the law was to check ambitio, the name for going about to canvass, in place of which ambitus was subsequently employed. Still the practice of using a white dress on occasion of canvassing was usual, and appears to have given origin to the application of the term candidatus to one who was a petitor (Cretata ambitio, Persius Sat. v.177, Polybius x.4; ed. Bekker).  A Lex Poetelia (B.C. 358; Livy vii.15) forbade candidates canvassing on market days, and going about to the places in the country where people were collected. The law was passed mainly to check the pretensions of novi homines, of whom the nobiles were jealous. By the Lex Cornelia Baebia (B.C. 181) those who were convicted of ambitus were incapacitated from being candidates for ten years (Livy xl.19; Schol. Bob. p361). The Lex Acilia Calpurnia (B.C. 67) was intended to suppress treating of the electors and other like matters: the penalties were fine, exclusion from the senate, and perpetual incapacity to hold office (Dio 36.21). The Lex Tullia was passed in the consulship of Cicero (B.C. 63) for the purpose of adding to the penalties of the Acilia Calpurnia (Dio 37.29; Cic. pro Murena 23). The penalty under this lex was ten years' exile. This law forbade any person to exhibit public shows for two years before he was a candidate. It also forbade candidates hiring persons to attend them and be about their persons. In the second consulship of M. Licinius Crassus and Cn. Pompeius Magnus (B.C. 55) the Lex Licinia was passed. This lex, which is entitled De Sodalitiis, did not alter the previous laws against bribery; but it was specially directed against a particular mode of canvassing, which consisted in employing agents (sodales) to mark out the members of the several tribes into smaller portions, and to secure more effectually the votes by this division of labour. This distribution of the members of the tribes was called decuriatio (Cic. pro Plancio, c18). It was an obvious mode of better securing the votes; and in the main is rightly explained by Rein, but completely misunderstood by Wunder and others. Drumann (Geschichte Roms, vol. iv p.93) confounds the decuriatio with the coitio or coalition of candidates to procure votes. The mode of appointing the judices in trials under the Lex Licinia was also provided by that lex. They were called Judices Editicii, because the accuser or prosecutor nominated four tribes, and the accused was at liberty to reject one of them. The judices were taken out of the other three tribes; but the mode in which they were taken is not quite clear. The penalty under the Lex Licinia was exile, but for what period is uncertain. The Lex Pompeia (B.C. 52), passed when Pompeius was sole consul for part of that year, appears to have been rather a measure passed for the occasion of the trials then had and contemplated than any thing else. It provided for the mode of naming the judices, and shortened the proceedings. When C. Julius Caesar obtained the supreme power in Rome, he used to recommend some of the candidates to the people, who, of course, followed his recommendation. As to the consulship, he managed the appointments to that office just as he pleased (Suet. Caes. 41). The Lex Julia de Ambitu was passed (B.C. 18) in the time of Augustus, and it excluded from office for five years (Dio 54.16; Suet. Oct. 34) those who were convicted of bribery. But as the penalty was milder than those under the former laws, we must conclude that they were repealed in whole or in part. Another Lex Julia de Ambitu was passed (B.C. 8; Dio 55.5) apparently to amend the law of B.C. 18. Candidates were required to deposit a sum of money before canvassing, which was forfeited if they were convicted of bribery. If any violence was used by a candidate, he was liable to exile (aquae et ignis interdictio).   (...)

                The laws that have been enumerated are probably all that were enacted, at least all of which any notice is preserved. Laws to repress bribery were made while the voting was open; and they continued to be made after the vote by ballot was introduced at the popular elections by the Lex Gabinia (B.C. 139). Rein observes that "by this change the control over the voters was scarcely any longer possible; and those who were bribed could not be distinguished from those who were not."  One argument in favour of ballot in modern times has been that it would prevent bribery; and probably it would diminish the practice, though not put an end to it. But the notion of Rein that the bare fact of the vote being secret would increase the difficulty of distinguishing the bribed from the unbribed is absurd; for the bare knowledge of a man's vote is no part of the evidence of bribery. It is worth remark that there is no indication of any penalty being attached to the receiving of a bribe for a vote. The utmost that can be proved is, that the divisores or one of the class of persons who assisted in bribery were punished (Cic. pro Plancio 23, pro Murena 23). But this is quite consistent with the rest: the briber and his agents were punished, not the bribed. When, therefore, Rein, who refers to these two passages under the Lex Tullia, says: "Even those who received money from the candidates, or at least those who distributed it in their names, were punished," he couples two things together that are entirely of a different kind. The proposed Lex Aufidia (Cic. ad Att. i.16) went so far as to declare that if a candidate promised money to a tribe and did not pay it, he should be unpunished; but if he did pay the money, he should further pay to each tribe (annually?) 3000 sesterces as long as he lived. This absurd proposal was not carried; but it shows clearly enough that the principle was to punish the briber only.   (...)


(excerpted from Smith s.v. Edictum)


The Jus Edicendi, or power of making edicts, belonged to the higher magistratus populi Romani, but it was principally exercised by the two praetors, the Praetor Ubanus and the Praetor Peregrinus, whose jurisdiction was exercised in the provinces by the praeses. The curule Aediles also made many edicts, and their jurisdiction was exercised (under the empire at least) in the provinciae populi Romani by the quaestors (Gaius 1.6). There was no edict promulgated in the provinciae Caesaris. The tribunes, censors, and pontifices also promulgated edicts relating to the matters of their respective jurisdictions. The edicta are enumerated by Gaius among the sources of Roman law, and this part of the Roman law is sometimes called in the Pandect, Jus Honorarium, apparently because the edictal power belonged to those magistrates only who had the honores... As the edicts of the praetors were the most important, the jus honorarium was sometimes called jus praetorium; but, properly, the jus honorarium was the term under which was comprehended all the edictal law.

            Edictum signifies, generally, any public notice made by a competent authority (Tac. A. 1.7; Liv. 31.6, 2.30). But is specially signifies, under the republic, a rule promulgated by a magistratus, which was done by writing it on an album, and placing it in a conspicuous place, "Unde de plano recte legi potest." From this circumstance, the Edict was considered to be a part of the jus scriptum. As the office of a magistratus was annual, the rules promulgated by a predecessor were not binding on a successor, but he might confirm or adopt the rules of his predecessor, and introduce them into his own Edict, and hence such adopted rules were called edictum tralatitium (Cic. ad Att. 3.23, 5.21,; ad fam. 3.8; in Verr. i.45), or vetus, as opposed to edictum novum. A repentinum edictum was that rule which was made (prout res incidit) for the occasion (In Verr. iii.14). A perpetuum edictum was that rule which was made by the magistratus on entering upon office, and which was intended to apply to all cases to which it was applicable, during the year of his office: hence it was sometimes called also annua lex. It was not called perpetuum because the rules were fixed, but because each praetor published his edict upon entering on his office, and thus there was a perpetuum (continuous) edictum. Until it became the practice for magistratus to adopt the edicta of their predecessors, the edicta could not form a body of permanent binding rules; but when this practice became common, the edicta (edictum tralaticium) soon constituted a large body of law, which was practically of as much importance as any other part of the law. ...

            The jus edicendi may have been a remnant of the kingly prerogative. However this may be, the edictal power was early exercised, and so far established, that the jus praetorium was a recognised division of law in and before the time of Cicero (in Verr. i.44), in whose age the study of the Edict formed a part of the regular study of the law (de Leg. 1.5, 2.23). The edict of the aediles about the buying and selling of slaves is mentioned by Cicero (de Off. iii.17); the Edictiones Aedilitiae are alluded to by Plautus (Capt. iv.2, v.43); and an edict of the Praetor Peregrinus is mentioned in the Lex Galliae Cisalpinae, which probably belongs to the beginning of the eighth century of the city. The Lex Cornelia, B.C. 67, provided against abuses of the edictal power, by declaring that the praetors should decide in particular cases, conformably to their perpetual edict. The edicts made in the provinces are often mentioned by Cicero. They were founded on the edictum urbanum, though they likewise comprehended rules applicable only to the administration of justice in the provinces, and do far they were properly edictum provinciale. Thus Cicero (ad Att. vi.1) says, that he promulgated in his province two edicta; one provinciale, which, among other matters, contained every thing that related to the publicani, and another, to which he gives no name, relating to matters of which he says, "ex edicto et postulari et fieri solent". As to all the rest, he made no edict, but declared that he would frame all his decrees (decreta) upon the edicta urbana. It appears, then, that in the time of Cicero the edicta already formed a large body of law, which is confirmed by the fact, that, in his time, an attempt had been already made to reduce it into order, and to comment on it. Servius Sulpicius, the great jurist and orator, the friend and contemporary of Cicero, addressed to Brutus two very short books on the Edict, which was followed by the work of Ofilius; though we do not know whether the work of Ofilius was an attempt to collect and arrange the various edicta, like the subsequent compilation of Julian, or a commentary like those of many subsequent jurists (“Ofilius edictum praetoris primus diligenter composuit”).

            The object of the Edict, according to the Roman jurists, was the following (Papinianus, ):— "Adjuvandi vel supplendi vel corrigendi juris civilis gratia propter utilitatem publicam:" the Edict is also described as "viva vox juris civilis." It was, in effect, an indirect method of legislating, and it was the means by which numerous rules of law became established. It was found to be a more effectual, because an easier and more practical way of gradually enlarging and altering the existing law, and keeping the whole system in harmony, than the method of direct legislation; and it is undeniable that the most valuable part of the Roman law is derived from the edicts. If a praetor established any rule which was found to be inconvenient or injurious, it fell into disuse, if not adopted by his successor. The publicity of the Edict must also have been a great security against any arbitrary changes, for a magistratus would hardly venture to promulgate a rule to which opinion had not by anticipation already given its sanction. Many of the rules promulgated by the Edict were merely in conformity to existing custom, more particularly in cases of contracts, and thus the edict would have the effect of converting custom into law. This is what Cicero seems to mean (de Invent. ii.22), when he says that the Edict depends in a great degree on custom.

            As to the matter of the Edict, it must be supposed that the defects of the existing law must generally have been acknowledged and felt before any magistratus ventured to supply them; and in doing this, he must have conformed to the so-called natural equity (Jus Naturale or Gentium). Under the emperors, also, it may be presumed, that the opinions of legal writers would act on public opinion, and on those who had the jus edicendi. Hence, a large part of the edictal rules were founded on the so-called jus gentium; and the necessity of some modifications of the strict rules of the civil law, and of additional rules of law, would become the more apparent with the extension of the Roman power and their intercourse with other nations. But the method in which the praetor introduced new rules of law was altogether conformable to the spirit of Roman institutions. The process was slow and gradual; it was not effected by the destruction of that which existed, but by adapting it to circumstances. Accordingly, when a right existed, or was recognised, the praetor would give an action, if there was none; he would interfere by way of protecting possession, but he could not make possession into ownership, and, accordingly, that was effected by the law [Usucapio]: he aided plaintiffs by fictions, as, for instance, in the Publicana actio, where the fiction was, that the possessor had obtained the ownership by usucapion, and so was quasi ex jure Quiritium dominus ; and he also aided parties by exceptiones, and in integrum restitutio .

            The old forms of procedure were few in number, and they were often inconvenient and failed to do justice. Accordingly, the praetor extended the remedies by action, as already intimated in the case of the Publicana actio. This change probably commenced after many of the legis actiones were abolished by the Aebutia lex, and the necessity of new forms of actions arose. These were introduced by the praetors, and it is hardly a matter of doubt that in establishing the formulae they followed the analogy of the legis actiones. It is the conclusion of an ingenious writer (Rhein. Mus. für Juris, i. p51, Die Oeconomie des Edictes, von Heffter), "that the edict of the praetor urbanus was in the main part relating to actions arranged after the model of the old legis actiones, and that the system is apparent in the Code of Justinian and still more in the Digest."

Appendix J: Roman  D a t i n g  and  P r o p e r  N a m e s

(On dating see Gildersleeve & Lodge, Latin Grammar, pp. 491-2)


            D a t i n g.  YEARS (anni) are reckoned "anno urbis conditae" (abbr. "A.U.C."), or "anno post Romam conditam" (abbr. "A.P.R.C."), i.e. from the founding of the Republic.  Since that is traditionally 754/3 B.C., to get the year B.C. you subtract the given date from 754; e.g. "a.u.c. 693" = 61 B.C.   To get the year A.D. you subtract 753; e.g. "a.u.c. 767" = 14 A.D.

            MONTHS (menses) are Ianuarius, Februarius, +Martius, Aprilis, +Maius, Junius, +Julius (= Quintilis), Augustus (Sextilis), September, +October, November, December.  (On my sign "+" see below. These month names were originally adjectives.  The noun they modify, mensis--abbr. "m.", may or may not be expressed.) 

            DAYS (dies).  You count backwards from three points in the month: Kalendae (Calends = 1st day), Nonae (Nones = 5th or 7th), Idus (Ides = 13th or 15th):


                                                In March, July, October, May

                                                The Ides are on the 15th day,

                                                The Nones the 7th: all besides

                                                Have 2 days less for Nones and Ides.


"The day before" = pridie + acc. (pridie Kalendas Ianuarias = Dec. 31, pridie Idus Ian. = Jan 12).  Longer intervals = ante diem tertium, quartum, etc. + acc.; so e.g. iii Kal. Ian = a.d. iii Kal. Ian. = ante diem tertium Kalendas Ianuarias = "two days before the Calends of January".  (For "from... to..." you just put "ex" and "ad" before the whole thing: "ex ante diem ii Nonas Iunias usque ad pridie Kal. Septembris" = "from June 3 to August 31".)

            So to turn Roman dates to English,

            for NONES & IDES add 1 to date & subtract the given number; e.g. "a.d. viii Id. Ian" (13 + 1 - 8) = Jan. 6. 

            for CALENDS add 2 to days of preceding month and subtract the given number; e.g. "a.d. xiv Kal. Oct." (30 + 2 - 14) =  Sept. 18.

            The year is in the genitive.  So e.g. the date of Cicero Ad Atticum I.13: Romae vi K Febr. a. 693 =  Romae (ante diem) sextum Kalendas Februarias anni 693 = Rome, Jan. 25th of the year 61 B.C.


            N a m e s.  A Roman name has PRAENOMEN = name of individual in family + NOMEN = family ('gentile') name + COGNOMEN; + (frequently) 2nd COGNOMEN (from iv A.D. called agnomen). 

            An adopted person usually took his adoptive parent's nomen & cognomen plus a 2nd cognomen consisting of his former family name + -ianus.  E.g. C. Octavius became C. Julius Caesar Octavianus.  

            Praenomina ran in families; each aristocratic family tended to use only one or two. 

            A b b r e v i a t i o n s  o f   p r a e n o m e n: A. = Aulus, App. = Appius , C. = Gaius, Cn. = Gnaeus, D. = Decimus, K. = Kaeso, L. = Lucius, M. = Marcus, M'. = Marius, Mam. = Mamercus, Num. = Numerius, P. = Publius, Q. = Quintus, Ser. = Servius, Sex. = Sextus,  Sp. = Spurius, T. = Titus, Ti. / Tib. = Tiberius.  The abbreviation "f." = filius.  E.g. "M. Cicero S. D. L. Lucceio Q. F." = "Marcus (Tullius) Cicero salutem dat Lucio Lucceius Lucii filius".

            The cognomen has often a meaning, taken from a person's physical traits (e.g. Pulcher) or from an event in his life (e.g. Scipio Africanus because he conquered Africa, or Metellus Creticus because he conquered Crete).   Such a cognomen can then be inherited, and certain cognomina are used to distinguish one branch of a family from another (e.g. Claudius Pulcher vs. Claudius Nero or Claudius Marcellus).  

            In the late Republic, aristocrats often either (a) drop their nomen, and proudly use their distinguished cognomen as if that were a nomen--e.g. L. Sulla (omitting Cornelius), P. Scipio (omitting Cornelius), C. Caesar (omitting Julius), or else (b) they put the cognomen first, as a new praenomen; e.g. Ti. Claudius Nero signed himself Nero Claudius Drusus.   Practice (a) is not confined to aristocrats.  E.g. Agrippa signed himself "M. Agrippa", omitting his rather uncouth-looking gentile name, Vipsanius. 


When you're trying to find somebody in an index, beware of confusion.   Note that, especially when a man is very famous, most books and some reference works (e.g. the OCD) may refer to him by a famous cognomen--e.g. C. Julius Caesar is "Caesar", D. Junius Brutus is "Brutus"--while yet most indexes (the most recent, nearly always) list him under his nomen.  So e.g. to find Brutus you may have to look under "Junius", to find Atticus, look under "Pomponius" --etc.

Appendix K:  D i v i s i o n  o f  P o w e r s  in the Republic


            Unlike our own republic, the Roman republic seems less an artefact than a mere growth--long, slow, half-conscious.  It had no single purpose, and thus no clear theoretical structure.  It is impossible to get an overall view of it unless we schematize it in some way.  I here schematize it with reference to the five-fold division of powers into which our own republic is much more clearly divided.  This falsifies, in that Roman government had no such blueprint.  It had various, conflicting purposes; it seems "designed" in part for justice, in part for oligarchy and empire.  Yet this exercise is not arbitrary.  Insofar as Roman government defies this scheme, the scheme itself becomes a sort of lens, by which I can more vividly glimpse the strange reality:


(I) E l e c t o r a l  power (i.e. lawful power to elect most of the officials of II and III): the comitia.  (Here one could also list anything connected in any way with elections--e.g. the magistrates, because they summoned the assemblies; the Censors, because they helped shape the assemblies--etc.  But to do that abandons the whole scheme.) 


(II) L e g i s l a t i v e  power,  i.e.

            (a) power to invent and frame laws: magistrates cum imperio (consul, praetor, etc.); tribuni plebis; extraordinary magistrates (e.g. dictator; promagistrates in provinces). 

            (b) power to pass laws: 3 main assemblies; extraordinary magistrates

            (c) power to approve or invalidate laws: senate; tribuni plebis; augurs. 

            (d) power to interpret, define, supplement laws: senate; augurs; censors; praetors.

(III) E x e c u t i v e  power, i.e. power to enforce laws:

            (a) must act within the law: magistrates sine imperio (aediles, etc.),  Army. 

            (b) may act outside laws: magistrates cum imperio (consul, quaestor, praetor etc.). 

            (c) may even create laws: extraordinary magistrates (dictator, promagistrates in their provinces)


(IV) J u d i c i  a l  power, i.e. power to judge violations of laws (internal threats to law): 

            (a) In crimes against state: comitia; later quaestiones.  Also extraordinary magistrates.

            (b) In crimes against the person: private courts; later quaestiones.  Extraordinary magistrates.


(V) M a r t i a l,  i.e. power to define and repel external threats to law (i.e. declare war and peace):  Senate


            One glimpses at once the huge differences in structure, and hence implicitly in purpose, between Roman government and ours.  Many things strikingly violate the principle of "separation of powers".  The comitia  have powers both electoral and judicial; the magistrates cum imperio, powers both legislative and executive; the extraordinary magistrates, powers of almost every kind.  And such a table hides as much as it reveals.  The most striking example of this, perhaps, is the Senate:


            THE SENATE fits easily, in a modern way, into only one of these branches (the last), but has a really decisive influence in all five.  (Or rather, it did till the last decades of the Republic--see below under "Defects of the Republic".)  It influences (I), elections, because the senatorial order largely produces, then supports, the candidates for office (for political "parties" hardly existed--see the Dict. s.v. factio), and does so carefully, jealously--since every consul, praetor, quaestor or (later) tribune will end up in the senate.  It dominates (II), legislation, in that there everything but the actual voting is in the hands of those same senate-bound magistrates; for it is they who, as magistrates, frame the laws, etc. (and see Appendix D s.vv. augurs, auspicia).  It totally dominates (III), the executive branch, first by providing the candidates for most executive magistracies, then by defining their tasks, by supplying their funds, by criticizing them, and (by no means least) by creating the promagistrates and extraordinary constitution-making magistrates (e.g. dictators).  It dominates (IV), the judicial process, in that it provides in effect (a) the praetors (or other presiding magistrates), (b) the iurisprudentes and (except for brief periods in the late Republic) (c) the juries themselves.  Element (V), the martial, the Senate dominates utterly. 

            And it dominates every one of these branches still further by this fact: that a typical aristocratic, senatorial career included all the branches; so that one could say: only a senator had a detailed, concrete, comprehensive view of the government.     

            The Senate thus for centuries dominated the whole state; and though not utterly undemocratic--for its members are taken from ex-magistrates, and any Roman citizen may stand for a magistracy--the Senate itself is always in actual fact a pretty extreme oligarchy. 

            Partial exceptions to that occurred under the censor Appius Claudius (312 B.C.), under Julius Caesar, under the triumvirs, and under Augustus.  For they made many new senators, often from "new families" (i.e. from mere knights, mere provincials, and worse), and it is in part precisely this that justifies Syme's phrase, "the Roman Revolution".  But not for one minute did any even of those revolutionaries really want "democracy" (by which they would have meant mob-rule); and generally the common citizenry, though of course they wanted government for the people, did not want it of or by the people.  This is proven by the election results (see Dictionary s.v. Nobilitas, the statistics of Gruen and Taylor).


            OLIGARCHY, NOT DEMOCRACY.   The state is thus largely oligarchic, both because of the nature of the senate and because the democratic elements are largely concentrated in (I) and (II) above and in one institution, the Assemblies.   Element (I) in the above table, the electoral process, is "democratic" in that any free male citizen may stand for office, but undemocratic in that (a) wealthy voting units are fewer and less populous, and so more decisive; and (b) candidates, needing both money and fame, tend to be senatorial nobiles.  Element (II), the legislative process, is democratic in that all free male citizens may vote, but undemocratic in that (a) wealthy voting units are fewer (etc.); (b) everything except the actual voting is almost wholly in the hands of nobiles.

            We can say that the oligarchy strengthened itself (avoided thinness and brittleness) by accepting new members from below if they plainly enough deserved it (Cicero, for example--and "recruits" like him were much more numerous in the earlier Republic) but nevertheless remained an oligarchy.


            DEFECTS OF THE REPUBLIC.   If we see the Roman republic as a kind of fortress that secured safety for the maximum number, and dominance for a certain privileged few who as leaders "deserved" that, we have to see it as marvellously successful, considering how long it flourished, and how many peoples it conquered!  Very grave defects emerge if we see it in a different way, as a machine "designed" to secure, for all citizens, rule by law rather than rule by persons.  (I.e. rule by just law.  For a law which favors persons is no better than rule by persons.)   Considered thus, as a device for securing rule by law, the Republic has these most striking flaws:

            (A) Executives  are often given too much illegal power.  This means two things: (1) In emergencies, Romans suspend the law altogether, and entrust the state to persons who may act illegally.   Such are either consuls (given freedom by the Senatus consultum ultimum) or extraordinary magistrates (e.g. dictator, tresviri reipublicae constitutendae).  Presumably these men with special powers act "for everybody's good"; but either (a) they do not or (b) they do try to, but use methods so bloody that the state never recovers (e.g. Sulla); and either way, they set bad precedents.  And (2) in the provinces, promagistrates have such powers that a province is really an autocracy.  This is bad both for the provinces (they were plundered and taxed often rather incredibly) and for Rome.  A Roman noble who, like Pompey or Caesar, has wealth and clientelae from all Spain, or all Gaul, or all Asia, can then overawe his rivals in the city itself (a thing he does with the help of bought tribunes, on which see below).

            Naturally, there is a good side both to (1) and to (2).  One reason why Roman republican government was wonderfully tough and flexible, so that it lasted seven centuries, was precisely these crude but effective emergency devices; another reason, that whole provinces were entrusted to the ablest, most experienced men.

            (B) Too many very important powers were never defined by law at all, only by custom.  (Or to say it another way, there was no written constitution.  By the end of the first century, it should have been plain that they should have one!)  For example, all the powers possessed by the Senate.  Normally, for all the reasons stated above, the Senate dominated, and had a stabilizing (even if unjust) influence, because custom was so strong among the Romans that it had a force akin to, and sometimes greater than, that of law.  But in crises, when custom was broken by bold men--either by "noble" but unrealistic reformers (e.g. the Gracchi) or by the ambitious (e.g. Pompey, Caesar) or by mere special interests--the Senate (and its tools, the magistrates) turned out to be, legally at least, powerless! 

            Whenever the Senate's lack of legal power was exposed, there existed no sufficient counterbalance to revolutionary interests, when those operated under cover of legality, and made use of the tribuneship (which was itself "legal" but also revolutionary--see D below).  The Republic was destroyed, partly by revolutionaries, operating quite "legally" through the tribuneship--e.g. the Gracchi, Marius, Cinna, Pompey, the First Triumvirate, the Second Triumvirate--and partly by the Senate's defenders using bloody methods (e.g. Sulla).  Related to this, and partly perhaps even its cause, is that:

            (C) There is no really representative assembly.  On the one hand, the Centuriate Assembly is too oligarchic (and also cumbersome); on the other, the Tribal Assemblies, too often easily filled full of an urban rabble, can too easily be manipulated or bullied by tribunes.  Because of that and because of  B above:

            (D) Tribuni plebis have much too much power.  They can suspend all public business (by the veto), overawe the magistrates (by threatening prosecution, etc., or by simple violence), and dominate legislation (because they dominate the tribal assemblies.  Clodius is a good example of all three things). 

            In origin, the tribuneship was revolutionary; for it came to exist neither by a law passed nor by custom, but through military strikes by the plebeians.  It was then slowly, very grudgingly acknowledged by the Senate and the Centuriate Assembly.  It was eventually "tamed" by the Senate, in part by the simple device of allowing ex-tribunes to be senators.  But this taming was never complete, and the office remained dangerous.  To me it seems a kind of structural flaw in the Republic, long overlooked, because the full powers of the tribunate were not revealed until the Gracchi (and not clearly seen even then).  In the late Republic the tribunate was a deadly weapon in the hands of any great, ambitious general, who on the one hand could threaten Rome with his army (full of troops loyal to him alone), and on the other could get the tribunes to have him voted powers that were "legal" (because passed in the tribal assembly) but revolutionary.

            Perhaps an instructive exercise would be: Imagine yourself a Sulla, a Dictator granted full powers reipublicae constituendae.  How would you curb the tribunate, so as to keep whatever in it is valuable (for it is surely valuable; for without plebiscita the state seems really too oligarchic), but so as to deprive it of its power to do the fatal damage it did?  (For Sulla's own solutions, which in fact did not "work" well, see Appendix G.  Perhaps in truth nothing would "work".)

Appendix L: 'P r i n c i p a t e'  &  'P a t r o n a t e'  i n  t h e  R e p u b l i c


(from Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, Univ. of Chicago 1952, pp. 92 ff.  He is summarizing Anton von Premerstein, Vom Werden und Wesen des Prinzipats, ed. Hans Volkmann ["Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akadamie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-hist. Abt., Neue Folge," Heft 15] Munich, 1937.)


(One often feels slightly astonished by the apparent suddenness with which, in the years after Actium, Rome lost her ancient traditions of a free people.  But I think that one secret key to this, one clue to the ease with which Augustus assumed such power, lies in this--after all rather strange--old institution of the Patronate, summarized here by Voegelin.  In brief, simply, Augustus became the sole “patron”.)


In earlier republican history the term "princeps" designated any leading citizen.  At the core of the institution was the patronate, a relationship created through the fact of various favors--political aid, loans, personal gifts, etc.--between a man of social influence and a man of lesser social rank in need of such favors.  Through tendering and accepting such favors a sacred bond under sanction of the gods was created between the two men; the accepting man, the client, became the follower of the patron, and their relationship was governed by 'fides', by loyalty.  In the nature of the case, the patron had to be a man of social rank and wealth.  The formation of a consierable clientele would be the privilege of members of the patricio-plebeian nobility; and the most important senators of consular rank would at the same time be the most powerful patrons.  Such patrons of highest official rank were the 'principes civitatis'; and... one could be a leader of of unquestioned superiority if one belonged to one of the old patrician families and held the position of a 'princeps senatus' and perhaps, in addition, that of the 'pontifex maximus'.  Roman society, thus, was a complicated network of personal followerships--hierarchichally organized in so far as the principes were rivals in the struggle for high offices and for political power in general [Premerstein 15 f.].  The substance of Roman politics in the late republic was a struggle for power among wealthy leaders of personal parties, based on the patrocinial relationship.  Among such leaders, then, agreements were possible, the so-called 'amicitiae'; and the breach of agreement led to formal feuds, the 'inimicitiae', preceded by mutual accusations, the 'altercatio', which in the period of the civil wars assumed the form of propaganda pamphlets to the public detailing the infamous conduct of the opponent.  Such 'inimicitiae' were distinguished from formal wars, from a 'bellum justum' of the Roman people against a public enemy.  The last war of Octavianus against Antony and Cleopatra, for instance, was juridically conducted with great care as a formal war against Cleopatra and as an 'inimicitia' against Antony and his Roman clintele [ibid. p. 37].

            The transformation of the original principate into a few giant party organizations was caused by the military expansion of Rome and the ensuing social changes.  The wars of the third century, with their conquests in Greece, Africa, and Spain, had raised an insolvable problem of logistics.  The overseas territories could not be conquered and held by armies that were to be renewed by annual levies; it proved impossible to transport the old contingents home every year and to replace them by new ones.  The provincial armies of necessity had to become professional, with ten and twenty years of service.  The returning veterans were a homeless mass that had to be taken care of by land allotments, by colonization, or by permission to reside within the city of Rome with the attendant privileges.  For obtaining such benefits the veterans had to rely on their commanders who were principes, with the result that whole armies became part of the clientele of a princeps.  If anything is significant for the evolution of late republican Rome, it is the fact that the class discipline of the nobility held out for a whole century before the powerful new party leaders turned against the Senate and transformed the political life of Rome into a private contest among themselves.  Moreover, with the enormous enlargement of the clienteles, and their increase by armed forces for warfare and street fights, it became necessary to formalize the previously formless relationships through special oaths by which the client was bound in 'fides' to his patron.  On this point the sources are particularly scanty, but it is possible nevertheless to trace such oaths in increasing numbers and varieties after 100 BC [26 ff.  For examples, see note at the end on TESSERAE].  And, finally, the structure of the system was determined by the heriditary character of the clientele.  The inheritance of the clinetele was a factor of considerable importance in the course of the civil wars of the first century BC.  In his early struggle with Antony, for instance, Octavianus had the great asset of Caesar's veteran colonies in Campania which had become his clientele as Caesar's heir [24].  And the settlement of inherited soldier clienteles even determined the theater of war.  The Pompeians, for instance, had to be fought down in Spain because the Magnus had colonized his soldiers in the Iberian Peninsula [16 ff.].

            The emergence of the principate, thus, may be described as an evolution of the patronate -- which for the rest continued to exist in its modest form well into the imperial period [see end note]. When the patron was a 'princeps civis', the clientele would become an instrument of political power, and with the inclusion of veteran armies it would become an instrument of military power in rivalry with the constitutional armed forces.  Political influence, wealth, and military clientele determined and increased one another mutually in so far as the political position secured the military command, necessary for the conquest of the provinces and their profitable exploitation, while the exploitation of the provinces was necessary for supporting the clinetele with spoils and land, and the clientele was necessary to hold political influence.  With the reduction of the competitors to a few great party leaders the breaking point of constitutional legality was reached, especially when the Senate and the magistrates themselves were divided between the clienteles of the protagonists.  In the life of each of the great party leaders of the first century there came the time when he had to decide upon his transgression of the line between legality and illegality--the most famous of these decisions being Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon [24 ff.].  And Octavianus, a cool and calculating politician, chose to conduct his last war with Antony as an 'inimicitia' because a declaration of Antony as a public enemy could have provoked the same declaration against himself, since both consuls and part of the Senate were in Antony's camp.  The mutual declaration as public enemies would have split Rome, as it were, into two hostile states fighting each other; and the shaking of the Republic to its constitutional foundations might have had the same disastrous results as the parallel situation in the death struggle between Caesar and Pompey--with the murder of the victorious leader in the year after his triumph at the hands of republican sentimentalists.  The principate, thus, evolved through the reduction of the great patrocinial principes to the three of the triumvirates, then to Antony and Octavianus, finally to the monopolization of the position of the victor of Actium [57].

            The representative order of Rome after Actium was a skilful combination of the old republican constitution with the new existential representation of the empire people by the princeps.  The direct relationship between the princeps and the people was secured through the extension of the clientele oath to the people at large.  In 32 BC Octavianus, before entering on his struggle with Antony, had exacted such an oath from Italy and the western provinces, the so-called conjuration of the West; it was an oath of loyalty rendered to Octavianus 'pro partibus suis', that is, to him as the leader of a party [42 ff.  See also Appendix S].  Considering the extension of the oath to the eastern provinces, which must have taken place after Actium, no sources are available [52].  Nevertheless, the oath to the princeps in the form of 32 BC became a permanent institution.  It was sworn again to the successors of Augustus on occasion of their ascent to power [56 ff.], and beginning with Caius Caligula it was renewed annually [60 ff.].  The patrocinial articulation of a group into leader and followers had expanded into the form of imperial representation.

*     *     *

PATROCINIAL TESSERAE.  Archaeology has uncovered many tesserae (i.e. square tablets of wood, stone or bronze) recording patronage agreements, which provincials would conclude formally with a Roman noble.  Here are two such bronze tablets (in the first, in parentheses I expand the abbreviations).

(1) Dessau, ILS 6098.  Date 6 A.D.  Found at Pollenza (= Pollentiae) in 'the greater of the Balearic Islands' = Majorca off the east coast of Spain. Bocchoritanus = 'belonging to Boccharum', ancient Majorcan city.  Egerunt: 'made the motion', i.e. sponsored the bill, in the assembly at Boccharum.

M(arco) Aemilio Lepido [et] L(ucio) Arrunt(io)


k(alendis) Mais,

ex insula Baliarum maiore senatus

populusque Bocchoritanus M(arcum) Atilium

M(arcum) M(arci) f(ilium) Gal(lum?) Vernum patronum coopta-

verunt; M(arcus Atilius) (Marci) f(ilius) Gal(lus) Vernus senatum

populumque Bocchoritanum in fidem

clientelamque suam suorumque recepit.


Q(uintus) Caecilius Quinctus,

C(aius) Valerius Icesta


(2) Dessau, ILS 6100.  Date, 27 A.D.  From the villa of the Silii Aviolae in Cisalpine Gaul, near modern Brescia.  Other tablets found there record similar agreements between this family and two other African cities. Themetra was a town in Africa, modern Tunisia (and note the Phoenician = Carthaginian names).   sufes (a Phoenician word) = chief magistrate of the Carthaginians, akin to a consul. 

M. Crasso Frugi L. Calpurnio

Pisone cos.

III non. Febr.

civitas Themetra ex Africa hospitium

fecit cum C. Silio C. f. Fab. Aviola, eum

liberos posterosque eius sibi liberis

posterisque suis patronum cooptaverunt.

C. Silius C. f. Fab. Aviola civitatem Theme-

trensem liberos posterosque eorum

sibi libieris posterisque suis in fidem

clientelamque suam recepit.

Egerunt Banno Himilis f. sufes; Azdrubal Baisilecis f.

Iddibal Bostharis f., leg(ati).

App. M:   R e l a t i o n  B e t w e e n  R e p u b l i c  a n d  P r i n c i p a t e


            The change from Republic to Principate was real and drastic, yet often so subtle that, unless one is closely attentive, one seems to be reading about the same institutions.  Due in part to the caution of Augustus, in part to general Roman conservatism, the Principate oddly disguised itself.  It used all the old names and forms (for decades, very few new ones were coined), with the result that although the political reality had changed utterly, the different structure of that new reality is largely hidden, or is at least hard to extract from the nomenclature.  (Often that is hard even for experts.  The apparent facts are analyzed in App. S, "How Octavian became the Emperor Augustus".  The late empire of course did coin new terms, especially of minor offices; see e.g.  the large glossary in J3 p. 377-389.)


            Thus the aristocratic cursus honorum survived largely intact.  See the careers listed in Appendix F; e.g. that of Tacitus, who even under the Flavians could still be Tribunus Militum, Quaestor, Tribunus plebis, Praetor, Propraetor, Consul, Proconsul.   If Tacitus, doing what he did for Agricola, were to state his own "curriculum vitae", that is all that he himself would list.  Yet when reading this "CV" one feels that one scarcely knows his actual life; whereas from a Republican cursus one gets a sharp sense of what the man actually did--every item is packed with meaning.


            For Edward Gibbon’s penetrating analysis of the basic change, see App. N.  I here try to summarize it more briefly.  The changes could be said to have two aspects, one political, one social.


            Politically, the central facts are (a) that the Assemblies, which in the Republic had been the ultimate source of all power, vanished (see s.v. comitia, last paragraph), and (b) most magistrates, once elected in those assemblies, slowly lost most of their functions.  They lost them sometimes directly to the Emperor (most strikingly, the Tribuni plebis, q.v., fin.), but more often to imperial bureaucrats.  Those officials were not elected but selected, and their terms had often no time-limits (on these appointees see especially under Curator, Procurator, Legatus, Praefectus). 


            The new offices were almost always more specialized.  In the late Republic the aediles, for example, had so many and such various tasks that a dictionary entry for Aediles is hard to organize.  As Rome became more complex, they performed too many tasks, increasingly badly.  It was mainly because the aediles were bad at preventing fires that Augustus created a separate fire brigade (see Vigiles); because they were bad at finding grain in certain years of dearth, that he had to create a Curator annonae--and so on.  Thus, the increasing specialization can be justified; but an accidental effect is that each office became duller and small-minded, pedantic bureaucrats multiplied.  Worse, the overall cursus honorum was immensely impoverished, and no longer trained senators (as it had done, for better or worse) in all the machinery of government.  The price paid for efficiency was a duller upper class and a complex, petrifying autocracy.  


            One major institution that did at first retain many important functions was the Senate.  (For examples of its important and careful legislation under the emperors, see many primary documents in J.)  Because the senatorial order alone had experience in governing, the first emperors found its cooperation indispensable, and made concessions to it.  Even Augustus had to revise or shelve legislation that the Senate resisted too fiercely (e.g. some of his moral and marriage legislation).   Still, the Senate's function changed profoundly (it no longer simply ran the state), and its composition changed, both because the emperors--not the senatorial Censors--controlled admission to it and because of the decline or the civil-war ruin of aristocratic families. 


            That brings us to the social change.  The withering of the old aristocracy troubled Augustus, though it was his Principate that mainly caused it.  By giving money to needy patrician families (i.e. to save them from being ejected from the senatorial order), by preserving (at least outwardly) their cursus honorum, by careful revisions of the senate roll, and by the rather absurd device of creating new "Patricians" (sheer formalism!) he and some later emperors tried in vain to arrest the social "revolution" (as Syme rightly calls it--see App. O, first section) that was really caused by autocracy.  As a result of those attempts, the social change was often quiet and slow, but it went very deep, in that most of the old and famous, fiercely ambitious, "dynastic" families soon vanished forever.


            What perhaps changed least, or slowest, were (a) the military (App. B), (b) the priesthoods (App. D) and (c) local government, i.e. dozens of offices and institutions too small or little known to seem worth listing in the Dictionary.  The authenticity of local elections under the emperors can be inferred, for example, from the many late tomb inscriptions which have--carved in the very stone!--requests and warnings to the candidates, that they not use the tomb for their advertisements, and from elections slogans painted on walls at Pompei.


            It was Ronald Syme perhaps who best expressed what seems the most striking characteristic of the Romans, in Republic and Principate alike (RR 315):


The Romans as a people were possessed by an especial veneration for authority, precedent and tradition, by a rooted distaste for change unless change could be shown to be in harmony with ancestral custom, 'mos maiorum'--which in practice meant the sentiments of the oldest living senators.  Lacking any perception of the dogma of progress--for it had not yet been invented--the Romans regarded novelty with distrust and aversion.  The word 'novus' had an evil ring.

Appendix N: (Part I)  C h a r a c t e r  o f  t h e  P r i n c i p a t e,

(Part II)  C h a r a c t e r  &  S t r a t e g y  o f  A u g u s t u s


(Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,

Chapter III: The Constitution In The Age Of The Antonines)


            (PART I) The obvious definition of a monarchy seems to be that of a state, in which a single person, by whatsoever name he may be distinguished, is intrusted with the execution of the laws, the management of the revenue, and the command of the army. But, unless public liberty is protected by intrepid and vigilant guardians, the authority of so formidable a magistrate will soon degenerate into despotism. The influence of the clergy, in an age of superstition, might be usefully employed to assert the rights of mankind; but so intimate is the connection between the throne and the altar, that the banner of the church has very seldom been seen on the side of the people.

            A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies, form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against enterprises of an aspiring prince.   Every barrier of the Roman constitution had been levelled by the vast ambition of the dictator; every fence had been extirpated by the cruel hand of the triumvir. After the victory of Actium, the fate of the Roman world depended on the will of Octavianus, surnamed Caesar, by his uncle's adoption, and afterwards Augustus, by the flattery of the senate. The conqueror was at the head of forty-four veteran legions, conscious of their own strength, and of the weakness of the constitution, habituated, during twenty years' civil war, to every act of blood and violence, and passionately devoted to the house of Caesar, from whence alone they had received, and expected the most lavish rewards. The provinces, long oppressed by the ministers of the republic, sighed for the government of a single person, who would be the master, not the accomplice, of those petty tyrants. The people of Rome, viewing, with a secret pleasure, the humiliation of the aristocracy, demanded only bread and public shows; and were supplied with both by the liberal hand of Augustus. The rich and polite Italians, who had almost universally embraced the philosophy of Epicurus, enjoyed the present blessings of ease and tranquillity, and suffered not the pleasing dream to be interrupted by the memory of their old tumultuous freedom. With its power, the senate had lost its dignity; many of the most noble families were extinct. The republicans of spirit and ability had perished in the field of battle, or in the proscription . The door of the assembly had been designedly left open, for a mixed multitude of more than a thousand persons, who reflected disgrace upon their rank, instead of deriving honor from it.

            The reformation of the senate was one of the first steps in which Augustus laid aside the tyrant, and professed himself the father of his country. He was elected censor; and, in concert with his faithful Agrippa, he examined the list of the senators, expelled a few members, whose vices or whose obstinacy required a public example, persuaded near two hundred to prevent the shame of an expulsion by a voluntary retreat, raised the qualification of a senator to about ten thousand pounds, created a sufficient number of patrician families, and accepted for himself the honorable title of Prince of the Senate, which had always been bestowed, by the censors, on the citizen the most eminent for his honors and services.          

            But whilst he thus restored the dignity, he destroyed the independence, of the senate. The principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.  Before an assembly thus modelled and prepared, Augustus pronounced a studied oration, which displayed his patriotism, and disguised his ambition. "He lamented, yet excused, his past conduct. Filial piety had required at his hands the revenge of his father's murder; the humanity of his own nature had sometimes given way to the stern laws of necessity, and to a forced connection with two unworthy colleagues: as long as Antony lived, the republic forbade him to abandon her to a degenerate Roman, and a barbarian queen. He was now at liberty to satisfy his duty and his inclination. He solemnly restored the senate and people to all their ancient rights; and wished only to mingle with the crowd of his fellow-citizens, and to share the blessings which he had obtained for his country."

            It would require the pen of Tacitus (if Tacitus had assisted at this assembly) to describe the various emotions of the senate, those that were suppressed, and those that were affected. It was dangerous to trust the sincerity of Augustus; to seem to distrust it was still more dangerous. The respective advantages of monarchy and a republic have often divided speculative inquirers; the present greatness of the Roman state, the corruption of manners, and the license of the soldiers, supplied new arguments to the advocates of monarchy; and these general views of government were again warped by the hopes and fears of each individual. Amidst this confusion of sentiments, the answer of the senate was unanimous and decisive. They refused to accept the resignation of Augustus; they conjured him not to desert the republic, which he had saved. After a decent resistance, the crafty tyrant submitted to the orders of the senate; and consented to receive the government of the provinces, and the general command of the Roman armies, under the well-known names of Proconsul and Imperator.  But he would receive them only for ten years. Even before the expiration of that period, he hope that the wounds of civil discord would be completely healed, and that the republic, restored to its pristine health and vigor, would no longer require the dangerous interposition of so extraordinary a magistrate. The memory of this comedy, repeated several times during the life of Augustus, was preserved to the last ages of the empire, by the peculiar pomp with which the perpetual monarchs of Rome always solemnized the tenth years of their reign.

            Without any violation of the principles of the constitution, the general of the Roman armies might receive and exercise an authority almost despotic over the soldiers, the enemies, and the subjects of the republic. With regard to the soldiers, the jealousy of freedom had, even from the earliest ages of Rome, given way to the hopes of conquest, and a just sense of military discipline. The dictator, or consul, had a right to command the service of the Roman youth; and to punish an obstinate or cowardly disobedience by the most severe and ignominious penalties, by striking the offender out of the list of citizens, by confiscating his property, and by selling his person into slavery.

            The most sacred rights of freedom, confirmed by the Porcian and Sempronian laws, were suspended by the military engagement. In his camp the general exercise an absolute power of life and death; his jurisdiction was not confined by any forms of trial, or rules of proceeding, and the execution of the sentence was immediate and without appeal.

            The choice of the enemies of Rome was regularly decided by the legislative authority. The most important resolutions of peace and war were seriously debated in the senate, and solemnly ratified by the people. But when the arms of the legions were carried to a great distance from Italy, the general assumed the liberty of directing them against whatever people, and in whatever manner, they judged most advantageous for the public service. It was from the success, not from the justice, of their enterprises, that they expected the honors of a triumph. In the use of victory, especially after they were no longer controlled by the commissioners of the senate, they exercised the most unbounded despotism. When Pompey commanded in the East, he rewarded his soldiers and allies, dethroned princes, divided kingdoms, founded colonies, and distributed the treasures of Mithridates. On his return to Rome, he obtained, by a single act of the senate and people, the universal ratification of all his proceedings.

            Such was the power over the soldiers, and over the enemies of Rome, which was either granted to, or assumed by, the generals of the republic. They were, at the same time, the governors, or rather monarchs, of the conquered provinces, united the civil with the military character, administered justice as well as the finances, and exercised both the executive and legislative power of the state.

            From what has already been observed in the first chapter of this work, some notion may be formed of the armies and provinces thus intrusted to the ruling hand of Augustus. But as it was impossible that he could personally command the regions of so many distant frontiers, he was indulged by the senate, as Pompey had already been, in the permission of devolving the execution of his great office on a sufficient number of lieutenants. In rank and authority these officers seemed not inferior to the ancient proconsuls; but their station was dependent and precarious. They received and held their commissions at the will of a superior, to whose auspicious influence the merit of their action was legally attributed.

             They were the representatives of the emperor. The emperor alone was the general of the republic, and his jurisdiction, civil as well as military, extended over all the conquests of Rome. It was some satisfaction, however, to the senate, that he always delegated his power to the members of their body. The imperial lieutenants were of consular or praetorian dignity; the legions were commanded by senators, and the praefecture of Egypt was the only important trust committed to a Roman knight.

            Within six days after Augustus had been compelled to accept so very liberal a grant, he resolved to gratify the pride of the senate by an easy sacrifice. He represented to them, that they had enlarged his powers, even beyond that degree which might be required by the melancholy condition of the times. They had not permitted him to refuse the laborious command of the armies and the frontiers; but he must insist on being allowed to restore the more peaceful and secure provinces to the mild administration of the civil magistrate. In the division of the provinces, Augustus provided for his own power and for the dignity of the republic. The proconsuls of the senate, particularly those of Asia, Greece, and Africa, enjoyed a more honorable character than the lieutenants of the emperor, who commanded in Gaul or Syria. The former were attended by lictors, the latter by soldiers.

            A law was passed, that wherever the emperor was present, his extraordinary commission should supersede the ordinary jurisdiction of the governor; a custom was introduced, that the new conquests belonged to the imperial portion; and it was soon discovered that the authority of the Prince, the favorite epithet of Augustus, was the same in every part of the empire.

            In return for this imaginary concession, Augustus obtained an important privilege, which rendered him master of Rome and Italy. By a dangerous exception to the ancient maxims, he was authorized to preserve his military command, supported by a numerous body of guards, even in time of peace, and in the heart of the capital. His command, indeed, was confined to those citizens who were engaged in the service by the military oath; but such was the propensity of the Romans to servitude, that the oath was voluntarily taken by the magistrates, the senators, and the equestrian order, till the homage of flattery was insensibly converted into an annual and solemn protestation of fidelity. Although Augustus considered a military force as the firmest foundation, he wisely rejected it, as a very odious instrument of government. It was more agreeable to his temper, as well as to his policy, to reign under the venerable names of ancient magistracy, and artfully to collect, in his own person, all the scattered rays of civil jurisdiction. With this view, he permitted the senate to confer upon him, for his life, the powers of the consular and tribunitian offices, which were, in the same manner, continued to all his successors. The consuls had succeeded to the kings of Rome, and represented the dignity of the state. They superintended the ceremonies of religion, levied and commanded the legions, gave audience to foreign ambassadors, and presided in the assemblies both of the senate and people. The general control of the finances was intrusted to their care; and though they seldom had leisure to administer justice in person, they were considered as the supreme guardians of law, equity, and the public peace. Such was their ordinary jurisdiction; but whenever the senate empowered the first magistrate to consult the safety of the commonwealth, he was raised by that decree above the laws, and exercised, in the defence of liberty, a temporary despotism.

            The character of the tribunes was, in every respect, different from that of the consuls. The appearance of the former was modest and humble; but their persons were sacred and inviolable. Their force was suited rather for opposition than for action. They were instituted to defend the oppressed, to pardon offences, to arraign the enemies of the people, and, when they judged it necessary, to stop, by a single word, the whole machine of government. As long as the republic subsisted, the dangerous influence, which either the consul or the tribune might derive from their respective jurisdiction, was diminished by several important restrictions. Their authority expired with the year in which they were elected; the former office was divided between two, the latter among ten persons; and, as both in their private and public interest they were averse to each other, their mutual conflicts contributed, for the most part, to strengthen rather than to destroy the balance of the constitution.

            But when the consular and tribunitian powers were united, when they were vested for life in a single person, when the general of the army was, at the same time, the minister of the senate and the representative of the Roman people, it was impossible to resist the exercise, nor was it easy to define the limits, of his imperial prerogative.   To these accumulated honors, the policy of Augustus soon added the splendid as well as important dignities of supreme pontiff, and of censor. By the former he acquired the management of the religion, and by the latter a legal inspection over the manners and fortunes, of the Roman people. If so many distinct and independent powers did not exactly unite with each other, the complaisance of the senate was prepared to supply every deficiency by the most ample and extraordinary concessions. The emperors, as the first ministers of the republic, were exempted from the obligation and penalty of many inconvenient laws: they were authorized to convoke the senate, to make several motions in the same day, to recommend candidates for the honors of the state, to enlarge the bounds of the city, to employ the revenue at their discretion, to declare peace and war, to ratify treaties; and by a most comprehensive clause, they were empowered to execute whatsoever they should judge advantageous to the empire, and agreeable to the majesty of things private or public, human of divine.

            When all the various powers of executive government were committed to the Imperial magistrate, the ordinary magistrates of the commonwealth languished in obscurity, without vigor, and almost without business. The names and forms of the ancient administration were preserved by Augustus with the most anxious care. The usual number of consuls, praetors, and tribunes, were annually invested with their respective ensigns of office, and continued to discharge some of their least important functions. Those honors still attracted the vain ambition of the Romans; and the emperors themselves, though invested for life with the powers of the consul ship, frequently aspired to the title of that annual dignity, which they condescended to share with the most illustrious of their fellow-citizens.

            In the election of these magistrates, the people, during the reign of Augustus, were permitted to expose all the inconveniences of a wild democracy. That artful prince, instead of discovering the least symptom of impatience, humbly solicited their suffrages for himself or his friends, and scrupulously practised all the duties of an ordinary candidate.

            But we may venture to ascribe to his councils the first measure of the succeeding reign, by which the elections were transferred to the senate.  The assemblies of the people were forever abolished, and the emperors were delivered from a dangerous multitude, who, without restoring liberty, might have disturbed, and perhaps endangered, the established government.  By declaring themselves the protectors of the people, Marius and Caesar had subverted the constitution of their country. But as soon as the senate had been humbled and disarmed, such an assembly, consisting of five or six hundred persons, was found a much more tractable and useful instrument of dominion. It was on the dignity of the senate that Augustus and his successors founded their new empire; and they affected, on every occasion, to adopt the language and principles of Patricians. In the administration of their own powers, they frequently consulted the great national council, and seemed to refer to its decision the most important concerns of peace and war. Rome, Italy, and the internal provinces, were subject to the immediate jurisdiction of the senate. With regard to civil objects, it was the supreme court of appeal; with regard to criminal matters, a tribunal, constituted for the trial of all offences that were committed by men in any public station, or that affected the peace and majesty of the Roman people. The exercise of the judicial power became the most frequent and serious occupation of the senate; and the important causes that were pleaded before them afforded a last refuge to the spirit of ancient eloquence. As a council of state, and as a court of justice, the senate possessed very considerable prerogatives; but in its legislative capacity, in which it was supposed virtually to represent the people, the rights of sovereignty were acknowledged to reside in that assembly. Every power was derived from their authority, every law was ratified by their sanction. Their regular meetings were held on three stated days in every month, the Calends, the Nones, and the Ides. The debates were conducted with decent freedom; and the emperors themselves, who gloried in the name of senators, sat, voted, and divided with their equals. To resume, in a few words, the system of the Imperial government; as it was instituted by Augustus, and maintained by those princes who understood their own interest and that of the people, it may be defined an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth. The masters of the Roman world surrounded their throne with darkness, concealed their irresistible strength, and humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed.

            The face of the court corresponded with the forms of the administration. The emperors, if we except those tyrants whose capricious folly violated every law of nature and decency, disdained that pomp and ceremony which might offend their countrymen, but could add nothing to their real power. In all the offices of life, they affected to confound themselves with their subjects, and maintained with them an equal intercourse of visits and entertainments. Their habit, their palace, their table, were suited only to the rank of an opulent senator. Their family, however numerous or splendid, was composed entirely of their domestic slaves and freedmen.

            Augustus or Trajan would have blushed at employing the meanest of the Romans in those menial offices, which, in the household and bedchamber of a limited monarch, are so eagerly solicited by the proudest nobles of Britain.  The deification of the emperors is the only instance in which they departed from their accustomed prudence and modesty. The Asiatic Greeks were the first inventors, the successors of Alexander the first objects, of this servile and impious mode of adulation.  It was easily transferred from the kings to the governors of Asia; and the Roman magistrates very frequently were adored as provincial deities, with the pomp of altars and temples, of festivals and sacrifices.   It was natural that the emperors should not refuse what the proconsuls had accepted; and the divine honors which both the one and the other received from the provinces, attested rather the despotism than the servitude of Rome. But the conquerors soon imitated the vanquished nations in the arts of flattery; and the imperious spirit of the first Caesar too easily consented to assume, during his lifetime, a place among the tutelar deities of Rome. The milder temper of his successor declined so dangerous an ambition, which was never afterwards revived, except by the madness of Caligula and Domitian. Augustus permitted indeed some of the provincial cities to erect temples to his honor, on condition that they should associate the worship of Rome with that of the sovereign; he tolerated private superstition, of which he might be the object; but he contented himself with being revered by the senate and the people in his human character, and wisely left to his successor the care of his public deification. A regular custom was introduced, that on the decease of every emperor who had neither lived nor died like a tyrant, the senate by a solemn decree should place him in the number of the gods: and the ceremonies of his apotheosis were blended with those of his funeral.  This legal, and, as it should seem, injudicious profanation, so abhorrent to our stricter principles, was received with a very faint murmur, by the easy nature of Polytheism; but it was received as an institution, not of religion, but of policy. We should disgrace the virtues of the Antonines by comparing them with the vices of Hercules or Jupiter. Even the characters of Caesar or Augustus were far superior to those of the popular deities. But it was the misfortune of the former to live in an enlightened age, and their actions were too faithfully recorded to admit of such a mixture of fable and mystery, as the devotion of the vulgar requires. As soon as their divinity was established by law, it sunk into oblivion, without contributing either to their own fame, or to the dignity of succeeding princes.  

            In the consideration of the Imperial government, we have frequently mentioned the artful founder, under his well-known title of Augustus, which was not, however, conferred upon him till the edifice was almost completed. The obscure name of Octavianus he derived from a mean family, in the little town of Aricia.   It was stained with the blood of the proscription; and he was desirous, had it been possible, to erase all memory of his former life. The illustrious surname of Caesar he had assumed, as the adopted son of the dictator: but he had too much good sense, either to hope to be confounded, or to wish to be compared with that extraordinary man. It was proposed in the senate to dignify their minister with a new appellation; and after a serious discussion, that of Augustus was chosen, among several others, as being the most expressive of the character of peace and sanctity, which he uniformly affected. 

            Augustus was therefore a personal, Caesar a family distinction. The former should naturally have expired with the prince on whom it was bestowed; and however the latter was diffused by adoption and female alliance, Nero was the last prince who could allege any hereditary claim to the honors of the Julian line. But, at the time of his death, the practice of a century had inseparably connected those appellations with the Imperial dignity, and they have been preserved by a long succession of emperors, Romans, Greeks, Franks, and Germans, from the fall of the republic to the present time. A distinction was, however, soon introduced. The sacred title of Augustus was always reserved for the monarch, whilst the name of Caesar was more freely communicated to his relations; and, from the reign of Hadrian, at least, was appropriated to the second person in the state, who was considered as the presumptive heir of the empire.

*          *            *            *            *


(PART II) (CHARACTER & STRATEGY OF AUGUSTUS).  The tender respect of Augustus for a free constitution which he had destroyed, can only be explained by an attentive consideration of the character of that subtle tyrant. A cool head, an unfeeling heart, and a cowardly disposition, prompted him at the age of nineteen to assume the mask of hypocrisy, which he never afterwards laid aside. With the same hand, and probably with the same temper, he signed the proscription of Cicero, and the pardon of Cinna. His virtues, and even his vices, were artificial; and according to the various dictates of his interest, he was at first the enemy, and at last the father, of the Roman world.26 When he framed the artful system of the Imperial authority, his moderation was inspired by his fears. He wished to deceive the people by an image of civil liberty, and the armies by an image of civil government.

            (I). The death of Caesar was ever before his eyes. He had lavished wealth and honors on his adherents; but the most favored friends of his uncle were in the number of the conspirators. The fidelity of the legions might defend his authority against open rebellion; but their vigilance could not secure his person from the dagger of a determined republican; and the Romans, who revered the memory of Brutus,27 would applaud the imitation of his virtue. Caesar had provoked his fate, as much as by the ostentation of his power, as by his power itself. The consul or the tribune might have reigned in peace. The title of king had armed the Romans against his life. Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom. A feeble senate and enervated people cheerfully acquiesced in the pleasing illusion, as long as it was supported by the virtue, or even by the prudence, of the successors of Augustus. It was a motive of self-preservation, not a principle of liberty, that animated the conspirators against Caligula, Nero, and Domitian. They attacked the person of the tyrant, without aiming their blow at the authority of the emperor.

            There appears, indeed, one memorable occasion, in which the senate, after seventy years of patience, made an ineffectual attempt to re-assume its long-forgotten rights. When the throne was vacant by the murder of Caligula, the consuls convoked that assembly in the Capitol, condemned the memory of the Caesars, gave the watchword liberty to the few cohorts who faintly adhered to their standard, and during eight-and-forty hours acted as the independent chiefs of a free commonwealth. But while they deliberated, the praetorian guards had resolved. The stupid Claudius, brother of Germanicus, was already in their camp, invested with the Imperial purple, and prepared to support his election by arms. The dream of liberty was at an end; and the senate awoke to all the horrors of inevitable servitude. Deserted by the people, and threatened by a military force, that feeble assembly was compelled to ratify the choice of the praetorians, and to embrace the benefit of an amnesty, which Claudius had the prudence to offer, and the generosity to observe.28

            (II). The insolence of the armies inspired Augustus with fears of a still more alarming nature. The despair of the citizens could only attempt, what the power of the soldiers was, at any time, able to execute. How precarious was his own authority over men whom he had taught to violate every social duty! He had heard their seditious clamors; he dreaded their calmer moments of reflection. One revolution had been purchased by immense rewards; but a second revolution might double those rewards. The troops professed the fondest attachment to the house of Caesar; but the attachments of the multitude are capricious and inconstant. Augustus summoned to his aid whatever remained in those fierce minds of Roman prejudices; enforced the rigor of discipline by the sanction of law; and, interposing the majesty of the senate between the emperor and the army, boldly claimed their allegiance, as the first magistrate of the republic. During a long period of two hundred and twenty years from the establishment of this artful system to the death of Commodus, the dangers inherent to a military government were, in a great measure, suspended. The soldiers were seldom roused to that fatal sense of their own strength, and of the weakness of the civil authority, which was, before and afterwards, productive of such dreadful calamities. Caligula and Domitian were assassinated in their palace by their own domestics:* the convulsions which agitated Rome on the death of the former, were confined to the walls of the city. But Nero involved the whole empire in his ruin. In the space of eighteen months, four princes perished by the sword; and the Roman world was shaken by the fury of the contending armies. Excepting only this short, though violent eruption of military license, the two centuries from Augustus29 to Commodus passed away unstained with civil blood, and undisturbed by revolutions. The emperor was elected by the authority of the senate, and the consent of the soldiers.30 The legions respected their oath of fidelity; and it requires a minute inspection of the Roman annals to discover three inconsiderable rebellions, which were all suppressed in a few months, and without even the hazard of a battle.31

            In elective monarchies, the vacancy of the throne is a moment big with danger and mischief. The Roman emperors, desirous to spare the legions that interval of suspense, and the temptation of an irregular choice, invested their designed successor with so large a share of present power, as should enable him, after their decease, to assume the remainder, without suffering the empire to perceive the change of masters. Thus Augustus, after all his fairer prospects had been snatched from him by untimely deaths, rested his last hopes on Tiberius, obtained for his adopted son the censorial and tribunitian powers, and dictated a law, by which the future prince was invested with an authority equal to his own, over the provinces and the armies.32 Thus Vespasian subdued the generous mind of his eldest son. Titus was adored by the eastern legions, which, under his command, had recently achieved the conquest of Judaea. His power was dreaded, and, as his virtues were clouded by the intemperance of youth, his designs were suspected. Instead of listening to such unworthy suspicions, the prudent monarch associated Titus to the full powers of the Imperial dignity; and the grateful son ever approved himself the humble and faithful minister of so indulgent a father.33


                26: As Octavianus advanced to the banquet of the Caesars, his color changed like that of the chameleon; pale at first, then red, afterwards black, he at last assumed the mild livery of Venus and the Graces, (Caesars, p. 309.) This image, employed by Julian in his ingenious fiction, is just and elegant; but when he considers this change of character as real and ascribes it to the power of philosophy, he does too much honor to philosophy and to Octavianus.

                27: Two centuries after the establishment of monarchy, the emperor Marcus Antoninus recommends the character of Brutus as a perfect model of Roman virtue. Note: In a very ingenious essay, Gibbon has ventured to call in question the preeminent virtue of Brutus. Misc Works, iv. 95. - M.

[See The Capitol: When the throne was vacant by the murder of Caligula, the consuls convoked that assembly in the Capitol.

                28: It is much to be regretted that we have lost the part of Tacitus which treated of that transaction. We are forced to content ourselves with the popular rumors of Josephus, and the imperfect hints of Dion and Suetonius. 

                *: Caligula perished by a conspiracy formed by the officers of the praetorian troops, and Domitian would not, perhaps, have been assassinated without the participation of the two chiefs of that guard in his death. - W.

                29: Augustus restored the ancient severity of discipline. After the civil wars, he dropped the endearing name of Fellow-Soldiers, and called them only Soldiers, (Sueton. in August. c. 25.) See the use Tiberius made of the Senate in the mutiny of the Pannonian legions, (Tacit. Annal. i.)

                30: These words seem to have been the constitutional language. See Tacit. Annal. xiii. 4. Note: This panegyric on the soldiery is rather too liberal. Claudius was obliged to purchase their consent to his coronation: the presents which he made, and those which the praetorians received on other occasions, considerably embarrassed the finances. Moreover, this formidable guard favored, in general, the cruelties of the tyrants. The distant revolts were more frequent than Gibbon thinks: already, under Tiberius, the legions of Germany would have seditiously constrained Germanicus to assume the Imperial purple. On the revolt of Claudius Civilis, under Vespasian, the legions of Gaul murdered their general, and offered their assistance to the Gauls who were in insurrection. Julius Sabinus made himself be proclaimed emperor, &c. The wars, the merit, and the severe discipline of Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines, established, for some time, a greater degree of subordination. - W

                31: The first was Camillus Scribonianus, who took up arms in Dalmatia against Claudius, and was deserted by his own troops in five days, the second, L. Antonius, in Germany, who rebelled against Domitian; and the third, Avidius Cassius, in the reign of M. Antoninus. The two last reigned but a few months, and were cut off by their own adherents. We may observe, that both Camillus and Cassius colored their ambition with the design of restoring the republic; a task, said Cassius peculiarly reserved for his name and family.

                32: Velleius Paterculus, l. ii. c. 121. Sueton. in Tiber. c. 26.

                33: Sueton. in Tit. c. 6. Plin. in Praefat. Hist. Natur

Appendix O: Syme and Meier on the Decline of the Republic  


I here quote excerpts from both these modern historians, not because they are necessarily right, but as a stimulus to thought.  Both writers are much given to aphorisms; sometimes these seem brilliantly right (especially Syme’s, written in his Tacitean prose), but sometimes (for example, whenever they write of Cicero) they seem on second thought pure rubbish. 


RONALD SYME (from The Roman Revolution, Oxford, 1938)


            (RR 38) (CHARACTER OF THE ‘ROMAN REVOLUTION’).  The basis of power at Rome stands out clearly -- the consulate, the armies and the tribunate: in the background, the all-pervading auctoritas of a senior stateman.  Augustus, the last of the dynasts, took direct charge of the greater military provinces, and exercised indirect control over the rest; and he arrogated to himself the power of the whole board of tribunes.  Proconsulare imperium and tribunicia potestas were the two pillars of the edifice.

            The principes strove for prestige and power, but not to erect a despotic rule upon the ruins of the constitution, or to carry out a real revolution.  The constitution served the purposes of generals or of demagogues well enough.  When Pompeius returned from the East he lacked the desire as well as the pretext to march on Rome; and Caesar did not conquer Gaul in the design of invading Italy with a great army to establish a military autocracy.  Their ambitions and their rivalries might have been tolerated in a small city-state or in a Rome that was merely the head of an Italian confederation.  In the capital of the world they were anachronistic and ruinous,  To the bloodless but violent usurpations of 70 and 59 B.C. the logical end was armed conflict and despotism.  As the soldiers were the proletariat of Italy, the revolution became social as well as political.


            (RR 152) (THE SENATORIAL OLIGARCHY).  The realities of Roman politics were overlaid with a double coating of deceit, democratic and aristocratic.  In theory, the People was ultimately sovran, but the spirit of the constitution was held to be aristocratic.  In fact, oligarchy ruled through consent and prescription.  There were two principles of authority, in theory working in harmony, the libertas of the People and the auctoritas of the Senate: either of them could be exploited in politics, as a source of power or as a plea in justification.

            The auctoritas of the Senate was naturally managed in the interests of the party in possession.  Further, the discretionary power of the Senate, in its tendering of advice to magistrates, was widened to cover a declaration that there was a state of emergency, or that certain individuals by their acts had placed themselves in the position of public enemies.  A popularis could protest the misuse of this prerogative, but not its validity."


            (153-4) (THE TRUE NATURE OF A ‘POPULARIS’ STATESMAN)  It was easier to formulate an ideal than a policy.  The defenders of the Senate's rule and prerogative were not, it is true, merely a narrow ring of brutal and unenlightened oligarchs.  Again, there were to be found honest men and sincrere reformers among the champions of the People's rights -- but hardly the belief and conviction that popular sovranty was a good thing in itself.  Once in power, the popularis, were he Pompeius or were he Caesar, would do his best to preserve the dangerous and anachronistic liberties of the people.  That was the first duty of every Roman statesman.


            (RR 154)  (POLITICAL CANT & PROPOGANDA)  The political cant of a country is naturally and always most strongly in evidence on the side of vested interests.  In times of peace and prosperity it commands a wide measure of acquiescence, even of belief.  Revolution rends the veil....  As commonly in civil strife and class war, the relation between words and facts was inverted. [ref. to Thuc.3.82.3]  Party-denominations prevailed entirely, and in the end success or failure became the only criterion of wisdom and of patriotism [ref. to Dio, 46.34.5].  In the service of faction the fairest of pleas and the noblest of principles were assiduously enlisted.  The art was as old as politics, its exponents required no mentors.  The purpose of propaganda was threefold -- to win an appearance of legality for measures of violence, to seduce the supporters of a rival party and to stampede the neutral or non-political elements.

            (RR 156) "The decisive act in a policy of treason may be described as 'laying the foundations of settled government'; and the crown of the work is summed up in the claim that the Free State has been 'preserved', 'established' or 'restored'. "


            (RR 141) (ON CICERO)  Cicero in alarm confessed the ruinous alternatives: 'If Octavianus succeeded and won power, the acta of Caesar would be more decisively confirmed than they were on March 17th; if he failed, Antonius would be intolerable.' [ad Att. 16.15.3]


            (RR 146) (ON CICERO)  The private virtues of Cicero, his rank in the literature of Rome,, and his place in the history of civilization tempt and excuse the apologist, when he passes from the character of the orator to defend his policy..  It is presumptuous to hold judgement over the dead at all, improper to adduce any standard other than those of a man's time, class and station.  Yet it was precisely in the eyes of contemporaries that Cicero was found wanting, incompetent to emulate the contrasted virtues of Caesar and of Cato, whom Sallustius, an honest man [!!], and no detractor of Cicero [??], reckoned as the greatest Romans of his time.  Eager to maintain his dignitas as an orator and a statesman, Cicero did not exhibit the measure of loyalty and constancy, of Roman virtus and aristocratic magnitudo animi that would have justified the exorbitant claims of his personal ambition.


            (RR 53) (UNREALIZED INTENTIONS) (apropos of ‘what Caesar would have done’) "No statement of unrealized intentions is a safe guide to history, for it is unverifiable and therefore the most attractive form of misrepresentation".


C. MEIER (from "Formation of the Alternative in Rome"

in Kurt Raaflub and Mark Toher, edd., Between Republic and Empire, U. Cal. Berkley, 1990, 54-70.)


            (58-9): "As it turned out, the difficult external problems of the Republic (for example, the wars against the Cimbri and Teutones, Mithridates, or the pirates) could only be solved effectively by exceptional individuals* who expected certain returns for their acheivements, such as distribution of farmland for their veterans.  As a result, these individuals became exceedingly powerful.  Although, with the possible exception of Caesar, they had nothing against the rule of the senate, the senate had something against them -- understandably, since the senate's leadership and responsibility for the Republic fundamentally depended upon equality within the oligarchy or at least its influential groups.  Such equality was threatened when individuals became too powerful.  Moreover, after the first bitter experiences the norms that were accepted as valid within the senate became so narrow that eventually only mediocrity was cultivated and respected.  The more the Republic depended on great individuals the more they were resisted.  The more they were resisted, the more they had to strive to win futher power, and the more dangerous they became.  In this struggle the institutions were worn down, and paradoxically, Pompeius and Caesar were actually compelled to become increasingly powerful, chiefly by the actions of those who tried to uphold the authority of the senate."


* Why???  What makes these "difficult external problems" more "difficult" than nightmarish struggles like the Gallic or Punic or Phyrric wars?!  For that reason, this seems one of those ‘explanations’ that really explain nothing. 

                Also, is the last sentence really right?  Is it not, perhaps, pure rubbish?  For perhaps what "compelled" these "great men" to violence was rivalry with one another, not rivalry with the Senate.

                There is another factor also: simple envy.  Envy of greatness seems a constant, at all times and places.  It seems so much just like the law of gravity that you cannot say it is the "cause" of anything. 

                Also, so far as I can see, it does actually apply to Cato or to Cicero.  It is true that both men were very vain!  Yet neither had a lust for mere power. Cato had many terrible faults, but since ALL his contemporaries thought that at heart he did want the rule of law, we should probably think it too.  And Cicero really did want the concordia ordinum that he said he did.  (And I suppose many did -- but the others we never hear about, because they were not "players".) 

                The cause may have been futile; but as Syme's own introduction beautifully says  (viii) "Yet it is not necessary to praise political success or to idealize the men who win wealth and honours through civil war."

                Syme is sarcastic and harsh about both Cicero and Cato.  He thinks that they played power politics just like the others; that they allied with the very dynasts whom they professed to oppos (for example, it was Cato’s decision to make Pompey sole consul -- RR p. 39); and that these dynast then crushed them (a thing Syme describes not without a grim enjoyment).  But after all -- what else could Cato and Cicero have done?  Shut themselves up in their houses, and write philosophy? 

Appendix P : 83 - 48 B.C.: Career of Cn. Pompieus Strabo “Magnus”


"The whole career of Pompeius was violent and illicit, from the day when the youth of twenty-three raised a private army, through special commands abroad and political compacts at home, designed to subvert or suspend the constitution, down to his third consulate and the power he held by force and lost in war" (Syme 316).  "General History" omits Caesar's Gallic wars.  Underlined,  facts pertaining to Clodius.




(u marks illegality or innovation)







(in italics are each year's consuls)


84 Cinna died.  Pompey, a Picene, is now 23 years old. 

==> u P. raises 3 illegal legions for Sulla in Picenum.

==> He marries Sulla's step-daughter Aemilia.              




Coss. C. Norbanus, L. Scipio Asiagenus.  Sulla  from east lands at Brindisi w. 40,000 troops incl. many emigre nobles; joined by Crassus, Pompey, Metellus.  At Capua he routs Norbanus; at Teanum routs Scipio. Winters in Campania.  (Meanwhile Murena begins 2nd war with Mithridates.)



In Senate P. is ==> u granted imperium for Sicily, even though he has never been praetor or consul. 

==> In Sicily he defeats the Marian cos. Cn. Papirius Carbo.

==> In Africa he beats Ahenobarbus (Cinna's son-in-law).  Troops hail him Imperator. u Sulla v. reluctantly grants him a triumph (strange triumph--since it is for defeating Romans, in civil war).





C. Marius (Jr.), Cn. Papirius Carbo.  Sulla besieges Marius Jr. near Praeneste.  Defeats Marius (who commits suicide) and Italians, at Colline gate.  Sulla Dictator legibus scribendis et reipublicae  constituenendae, by lex Valeria. Proscriptions: 90+ senators (15 consular), 2,600 knights (Appian 1.104).  Their sons, grandsons barred from office & senate, estates confiscated.  10,000 of their slaves freed as "Cornelii".  Sulla's 23 legions get lands taken from hostile Italian towns.







M. Tullius Decula, Cn Cornelius Dolabella.  Sulla Dictator.  (See Appendix G)







L. Cornelius Sulla Felix, Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius.  Sulla resigns Dictatorship (now or in 79.  Dies 79). 







P. Servilius Vatia, Appius Claudius Pulcher.


==> P. supports popularis Lepidus for cos.





Q. Lutatius Catulus (opt..), M. Aemilius Lepidus.  Agitation to restore tribunician power. Coss. sent to suppress Etrurian revolt: Lepidus joins rebels (= folk disenfranchized by Sulla: Gruen 10-16)



==> u Given propraetorian imperium; besieges Lepidus' legate M. Junius Brutus at Mutina; u Brutus surrenders Pompey puts him to death. 

==> Routs Lepidus at Cosa in Etruria; Lepidus flees, dies; survivors join Sertorius in Spain.

==> u gets procos. imperium to help Metellus fight Sertorius.






D Junius Brutus, Mam. Aemilius Lepidus Livianus.  Lepidus (Cisalpine procos.) joined by Cinna Jr., M. Brutus.  Senatus consultum ultimum.  Lepidus marches on Rome; beaten by procos. Catulus at Mulvian gate, then by Pompey; dies in Sardinia.


( S e r t o r i u s,  a Sabine-born soldier of Marius, in 88 seeks tribuneship, is frustrated by Sulla.  In 83 praetor; helps the consuls against Sulla. In 82 propraetor of Spain.  81 onwards, attacked by troops sent from Rome.  Is driven from Spain by Sullan general; later returns to help Spain against 'Sullan' Rome.  Organizes mock 'gov't in exile'.  Those who hate Sullan gov't flock to him.  In 80 defeats Fufidius gov. of further Spain; in 80 cos. Metellus sent to fight him--there are ups and downs.  In 77 Sertorius is reinforced by remnants of Lepidus' army, brought from Sardinia.  The consuls of 77 refuse to go fight him; Pompey sent instead.  In 72 Sert. is killed by one of his own officers, Peperna.)







Cn. Octavius, C. Scribonius Curio





L Octavius, C. Aurelius Cotta. The Lex Aurelia lets tribunes hold higher office.  Grain dearth; riot.  Trib. L. Opimius uses veto, defying Sullan law.  He is fined (& ruined) but in each following year other tribunes return to the attack.



P.'s demands for troops & money finally met by coss.




L. Licinius L. f. Lucullus, M. Aurelius M. f. Cotta.  Opimius fined, ruined for abusing office.



==> P. wins popularity by favoring restoration of powers to Tribunate.




M. Terentius Varro Lucullus, C Cassius Longinus.  Tribune Licinius Macer demands reform.  Riots.  Wheat dole for 40,000 (lex Terentia Cassia). 

     L. Lucullus relieves Cyzicus, beats Mithridates.   Spartacus & slaves rout cohorts under praetors.



==> Defeats, kills Peperna (who had murdered Sertorius) thus ending Spanish war.  He & Lucullus triumph.

==> By lex Gellia Cornelia grants Rom. citizenship to many Spaniards (e.g. Balbus).  Recalled to fight Spartacus.





L. Gellius Poplicola, Cn. Corn. Lent. Clodianus.  Spartacus w. 70,000 men defeats coss. & procos. of Cis. Gaul (at Mutina).  Cretan pirates beat M. Antonius. Crassus special procos. against Spartacus.



==> Returns to Italy with his army.  In Etruria catches stragglers of Spartacus; claims to have defeated Spartacus.            ==> Granted triumph by senate (Crassus gets only ovation).           Supports tribune M. Lollius Palicanus.





P. Corn. Lentulus Sura, Cn. Aufidius Orestes

Crassus & M. Lucullus (recalled from Macedon)

defeat Spartacus &  120,000 slaves). Tribune M. Lollius Palicanus agitates for restored tribunate.



==> u Cos. 6 years too young.  Subverts Sullan const.; he & Crassus (a) get tribunician powers restored (Caesar  supports this);  (b) revive censorship (& the censors, the consuls of 72, expel 64 senators); (c) by lex Aurelia, juries of Senators, equites, tribuni aerarii (not senators only).





Pompey, Crassus.  Lucullus takes Tigronarte, capital of Armenia.  Verres convicted.  Vergil born. 

Lex Plotia agraria: land to Spanish veterans.  L. Aurelius Cotta sponsors lex Aurelia (see left column).






Q. Hortensius, Q. Caecilius Metellus Creticus. (69-68) Lucullus' successes against Mithridates. 






L. Caecilius Metellus, Q. Marcius Rex. 



==> u Tribune A. Gabinius passes lex Gabinia giving Pompey 3-year imperium infinitum by sea to fight pirates & authority = to that of all provincial governors for 50 miles inland; + 6000 talents, 500 ships, 120,000 foot, right to appoint 24 legates!  (See Dict. s.v. Imperium maius.) (All this a dangerous precedent: tribunes 'solving' a problem that the senate could not.)





C. Calpurnius Piso, M.' Acilius Glabro.  Cornelian law: praetors must follow their own edicts (see Appendix on Edicta).  Bithynia, Pontus given to Acilius Glabro.




==> Pirate campaign finished.  ==> u Tribune C. Manilius passes lex Manilia giving P. Cilicia, Bithynia, Pontus and command against Mithridates; and he is to retain the extraordinary powers given by the Gabinian law!





M. Aemilius Lepidus, L. Volcacius Tullus.  Asia, Cilicia etc, taken from Lucullus.  Cicero praetor; gives speech epro lege Manilia


==> Campaigns in Caucasus




L. Aurelius Cotta, L. Licinius Murena (after 2nd election. 1st invalid: Paeta, Sulla condemned for bribery.  In 2nd, optimate coss. refused to accept Catiline's candidacy).  Catiline prosecuted by Clodius.  Crassus censor; proposes (in vain) citizenship for transpadanes; also proposes (in vain) annexation of Egypt. 



==> Defeats Mithridates near Dasteira (now Nicopolis). 

==> Invades Armenia where Tigranes comes to terms




L. Julius Caesar, C. Marcius Figulus.  Caesar (backed by Crassus) prosecutes whoever killed the Sullan proscribed.  Caesar Pontifex.  Crassus, Caesar wish to annex Egypt.  They back Catiline for cos. but Cicero elected.



==> (63-2) Makes Eastern settlement (ratified in 59): founded or restored 39 Gk. city states in Asia and Syria, 11 in Bithynia-Pontus. 




M. Tullius Cicero, C. Antonius. Catiline conspiracy.  S.C.U.  Land bill (rogatio Servilia) of Crassus & Caesar is blocked by Cicero.  Praetor P. Cornelius Lentulus passes Lex Plotia agraria for P.'s & Metellus' veterans




==> (Dec.) Home from the east, P. lands at Brindisi.  Unexpectedly, dismisses troops. Divorces 2nd wife Mucia (angering her brothers Metellus Celer & Nepos).  Offers marry Cato's niece but is rebuffed.




D. Junius Silanus, L. Licinius Murena.  Trib. Q. Metellus Nepos proposes bill to get P. elected cos. in absentia: another tribune, Cato, to vetoes this. Riots.  Senate passes S.C.U. Tribune Cato gets dole of 73 extended to all citizens.



==> Triumphs. (25 Jan. Cic. Att. 1.13: "P.,..about whom you wrote that when he no longer dared to blame me he began praising me, loves me excessively, kisses me, praises me openly -- but in such a way that his envy is obvious. There is in him nothing warm-hearted, nothing simple, nothing politically illustrious, nothing honest, brave, free."





M. Pupius Piso Calpurnian., M. Valer. Messalla Niger.  (May) Clodius tried for profaned bona dea festival; Cic. testifies against him; jury bribed by Crassus acquits him.


==> Seeks (a) ratification of Eastern settlement, (b) land for vets.  Optimates resist. P. supports cos. candidacy of Caesar (in mid year back from Spain)





Q. Caecilius Metellus Celer, L. Afranius (Picene a protege of Pompey's, dull, idle, inept; Metellus hostile to Pompey).   Clodius quaestor in Sicily.


==> u  "1 s t  T r i u m v i r a t e"  of Pompey, Caesar, Crassus.

==>Trib. Vatinius gets P's East. settlement ratified, Caesar gets land for P.'s veterans (lex Julia: see other column).  P. and Crassus head the land comission.

      (July) Cic. writes to Atticus (2.19) that the triumvirate is generally hated.  P. & Caesar hissed in the theaters.  (2.21) P. seems scared & bewildered, "the boni are his enemies, the very scoundrels (ipsi improbi) not his friends".  Cicero (a) pities him but (b) fears him.

==> P. marries Caesar's daughter Julia. 




C. Julius Caesar, (opt.) M. Calpurnius Bibulus

Agrarian bills carried (vetoing tribunes driven off by force): veterans + 20,000 poor get lots from public land (ager Campanus exempted) & bought land: comission of Decemviri.  Vatinian Law makes Caesar 5-yr. procos. of Cis. Gaul & Illyricum; Senate adds Trans. Gaul.  (March)   Caesar as pontifex gets Clodius adopted into plebeian gens (so he can run for tribune). Meanwhile, optimate cos. Bibulus is hugely popular, because he tries to veto Caeasar's and Pompey's popularis measures; when prevented by force, retreats to his house to observe omens, and issues edicts which C. & P. ignore.



==> Trib. Clodius so often and so violently attacks P. that he retreats for months to his own house.





L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, A. Gabinius.  Gabinius had served Sulla, then Pompey in East;       both consuls favor Triumvirs.



C l o d i u s  tribune: gets (a) free grain for all citizens; (b) collegia (political clubs) legalized; (c) legislation allowed even on dies fasti; repeal of leges Aelia et Fufia (so that henceforth the magistrates cannot stop public business by observing omens); (d) censors prohibited from removing anyone from Senate, except by a definite accusation.  Also (e) the province of Syria next year to go to Gabinius, Macedonia to Piso (this is in return for their help against Cicero); (f) exile of Cicero; dispatch of Cato to Cyprus (to organize it as a new province)



==> u On Cicero's proposal, P. given 5-year imperium (procos.) with 15 legates, for the grain supply (this after food riots in July, Sept., Aug.) 




P. Corn. Lentulus Spinther, Q. Caec. Metellus Nepos.  Riots.  Clodius sues Milo for vis.  8 Aug.: Lentulus & P. get Cicero recalled by com. centuriata.



==> u (April)  L u c a  conference: triumvirate renewed: (a) Caesar's Gallic command to be renewed; (b) P., Crassus to be coss. in 55, then to get Spain (P. for 5 years) & Syria.

==> P. opposes Cicero's agrarian agitation. 

==> P. baffled (& often even fears for his life) by attacks on him & Milo by populares & Clodius, abetted by many of the nobles (Cato, Bibulus, Curio, Servilius.  But Clodius gets too violent; the optimates fear him even more than they do P.).  P. summons a bodyguard from Picenum.                   





Cn. Corn. Lentulus Marcellinus, L. Marcius Philippus.  Ptolemy affair: Pompey, Corn. Spinther, Crassus.  (April) Cicero attacks Caesar's agrarian bill.  Clodius (aedile) & Milo fight in streets.  (Nov.)  Clodius' gang attacks Cicero; next day tries to  burn Milo's house.  Prosecution by Clodius etc.  of tribunes Milo, Sestius, Cispius & aedile Bestia (all helped Pompey & Cicero in 57).  Cicero, Pompey, Milo successfully defend them.  Senate dissolves political clubs.



==> u P granted 5-year procos. imperium in Spain, which he governs not in person but by legates. (This a very mischievous precedent--it was exactly the device later used by                the emperors.  See App. R, Dictionary s.v. Legatus.)

 ==> (Aug.) P. opens his new theatre. 

 ==> P. bloodied by violence at elections of aediles.                




Pompey, Crassus (had been joint coss. in 70)  In Jan. interregunum: elections are delayed by an obstructive tribune.  P. & Crassus then drive off by force an opposing candidate, Ahenobarbus.  Vatinius by bribes defeats Cato for Praetorship.  Caesar given 5-yr. imperium in Gaul. More riots.  Gabinius gov.  of Syria restores Ptolemy. 



[ From here on, Pompey begins to fade; the double columns are worth little, and so I abandon them. ]



               54  L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Appius Claudius Pulcher (arrogant aristocrats). The 53 elections are delayed by bribery inquiries: it seems, the consuls sold their support to Memmius and Calvinus.  Cato now praetor. 

                Crassus is sent to Syria to relieve Gabinius.  Gabinius on return is sued for treason, bribery, extortion.  Obligation to Pompey forces Cicero to defend Gabinius & Vatinius on charges of bribery; but both are condemned.

                ==> (Sept.) Death of Julia, P.'s wife = Caesar's daughter.  This and Crassus' departure for Syria weaken the triumvirate.



                53   Cn. Domitius Calvinus, M. Valerius Mesalla Rufus.  The consuls (both later Caesarian) are not elected till July because of obstruction by tribunes, esp. Lucilius Hirrus (a Pompey partisan), Q. Pompeius Rufus (later sent to prison by Senate--see 52 BC) who agitate for dictatorship to be given Pompey.   Milo runs for 52 consulship but Clodius' riots make elections impossible.

                 (9 June) Crassus' disaster at Carrhae (as a result of which Cicero gets his augurship). 

                ==> P. marries Cornelia, daughter of Q. Metellus Pius Scipio.



                52   Pompey & (last 5 months) Q. Metellus Pius Scipio.  In Gaul, Caesar defeats revolt of Vercingetorix; in Syria, Crassus plunders temples.  In Rome, 52 begins, like 53, with violence: no consuls in office, only tribunes.  On 17 Jan. Clodius (running for praetor) killed by Milo (running for consulship).  Senate-house burned (the mob is incited by tribunes, esp. Pompeius Rufus and Munitius Plancus Bursa, who are later convicted for this).  Senate appoints Lepidus interrex; his house besieged 5 days by the mob, who clamor for him to hold elections (for not till after elections can they prosecute Milo).  Other interreges appointed, but elections impossible.  The Senate declares a state of martial law (Senatus consultum ultimum): it asks the Interrex, the tribunes and Pompey to save the state, and u allows P. to bind all Italy by a personal oath of allegiance to himself.  (This a very bad precedent; e.g. it was used in 31 BC by Octavian.)  Later, in March, on the motion of Bibulus and Cato, the Senate u makes P. sole consul respublicae constituendae (i.e really a dictator. This too a fatal precedent -- imitated by later autocrats. And strictly illegal -- for P. retains his proconsular imperium--see (5) below).  P. remains sole consul till August, and gets passed: (1) laws against vis and ambitus; (2) (April) abnormal (& dubiously legal) court of 51 jurors, to investigate "recent acts of violence" (i.e. the murder of Clodius), and new rules for trials: only 3 days allowed for examining witnesses, only 1 day for prosecution & defense;  as a result Milo is convicted & exiled; (3) law de iure magistratuum -- candidates must campaign in person (see below); (4) law de provinciis (there must be a 5-year waiting period between magistracy and pro-magistracy, so that provincial office will not be merely a prize of office at Rome); and yet (5) u P.'s own 5-year Spanish imperium is renewed for another 5 years (hence the remark of Tac. A. 3.28 "suarum legum acutor idem et subversor" -- & see next paragraph).



                Re  C a e s a r.   For him Pompey’s legislation creates two problems.  (A) Law 3 implicitly contradicts a prior law of this same year, passed by all 10 tribunes, that allowed Caesar to campaign in absentia.  So, into his own law Pompey inserts an addendum exempting Caesar.  But Caesar is still nervous, for the “addendum” is never presented formally to the people, and is dubiously legal (later it was much cursed by Cicero).  (B) Before law 4 can take effect, for the next 5 years, there is no set rule for appointing governors.   Thus, the senate can choose governors at its own discretion (as e.g. it sent Cicero to Cilicia), and can send them out at any time of the year.  Caesar feels threatened by this; for he knows that the optimates will prosecute him as soon as he is out of office.  He needs to pass directly from his Gallic command (when it expires in March 49, according to the agreement of 55) to the consulship. 

                (Another, supposed difficulty of Caesar’s is not really one [see How p. 314-315].  Under the lex Gennaia of ?343 BC, renewed by Sulla, 1 Jan 48 was the earliest date at which Caesar could legally enter a 2nd consulship.  But that was negated in effect by the lex Sempronia [Sallust Iug. 27], which stipulated that the provinces must be assigned before the consuls are elected.  So the first magistrates who could govern Gaul are the consuls of 49.)



                51  Ser. Sulpicius Rufus, M. Claudius Marcellus (Marcellus optimate; both consuls. friends of Cicero).  Marcellus & other optimates again try to recall Caesar -- but the tribunes, led by Curio, are bribed by Caesar to veto this.   P. at first opposes the optimates' motion to recall Caesar -- but then cooperates with it.  He now begins (at first with some wavering) to turn against Caesar.

                 Cicero appointed proconsul of Cilicia (wh. had bn. ruined by the former governor App. Claudius).  Ptolemy Auletes dies. Ptolemy XIII m. Cleopatra



                50 L. Aemilius Paullus, C. Claudius (C. f.) Marcellus.  (1 March) Optimates try again to replace Caesar;  are vetoed by Curio.  ==> (Summer) Pompey ill.   (1. Dec. ) Curio proposes that P. & Caesar both disarm -- but this an optimate tribune vetoes.   The consul Marcellus asks P. to save the state (senatus consultum ultimum) and he accepts.   Threatened with violence, Caesar's tribunes flee to him in Gaul.



                49  C Claudius M. f. Marcellus, L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus.  (1 Jan.) The tribune Antony reads to the Senate Caesar's offer to adopt Curio's proposal; but the Senate votes that Caesar must lay down his command.  (10 Jan.) Caesar crossesthe  Rubicon, invades Italy.   ==> Pompey flees to Greece. 

                Caesar on his way to Rome captures Domitius at Corfinium.  In Rome Caesar is Dictator (I) for for holding elections, for 11 days.  Passes Debt law anulling debts.  At Ilerda in Spain he defeats Pompeians Afranius, Velleius.  Massilia surrenders to him as he returns to Rome.  Curio is killed in Africa.



                48  Caesar (II), P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus.  In the confusion of civil war, Milo invades Italy; is killed.  Caesar in Greece blockades Durrachium; wins at Pharsalus.  

                ==> Pompey flees and is murdered on landing in Egypt. Caesar fights Ptolemy XIII; installs Cleopatra.



                47  Q. Fufius Calenus, P. Vatinius (both officers of Caesar).  (Oct.) Caesar Dictator (II) in absentia.  Antony, his magister equitum, is in charge in Italy.  Caesar defeats Pharnaces at Zela; returns to Italy.  (Dec.)  After a four-month African campaign Caesar defeats the Pompeians under Scipio Africanus.  At Rome he celebrates 4 triumphs: Gallic, ALexandrian, Pontic, African.  46 Caesar made Dictator (III) for ten years.  45 (1 Jan.) A reformed calendar instituted is by Caesar.  In Spain he fights Pompey's sons and Labienus and (17 March) at Munda wins the hardest of all his battles.   44 Caesar made Dictator for life and given tribunician sacrosanctity.  On the Ides of March he is murdered.



P O M P E I U S  S T R A B O,  Pompey's father, had large estates in Picenum (central Italy, on Adriatic).  After quaestorship, tries to prosecute his commander.  In  90, 1st year of Social War, he is (along with Marius)  L e g a t u s  under cos. P. Rutilius Rufus in the north; defeats T. Lafrenius.  89  C o n s u l;  shares command in Picenum (i.e. suppressing the revolt there) with co-cos. L. Porcius Cato, while Sulla commands in south.  Under Strabo serve Pompey (his son), Lepidus, Cicero, Catiline.  He besieges Asculum, and after defeating the army of 60,000 Italians which tries to relieve the city, captures it. Triumphs.  By lex Pompeia he confers Latin rights on Transpadane Gauls.  (Also, as we know from an inscription, he enfranchizes some Spaniards on the battlefield.)  In 88 the consuls are Sulla and Q. Pompeius Rufus (a relative of Strabo's). Sulla, after marching on Rome & banishing Marius (etc.), sends Q. Pompeius to supersede Strabo.  But Strabo's soldiers (perhaps with his acquiescence) murder Pompeius; he retains command in Picenum.  Sulla leaves for the Mithridatic war; Marius returns, allied with Cinna.   87 Senate summons Strabo to defend Rome against Marius and Cinna; he responds slowly (perhaps hedging).  Dies by lightning (or by disease); he is much hated and his funeral in Rome is broken up by the mob, which drags his body through the streets.



 Appendix Q :  44 - 43 B.C. (Caesar's Murder to Cicero's Murder)


At the time of Caesar's death, Antony is co-consul with Caesar, Brutus* praetor urbanus (& cos. designate for 41), Cassius* praetor peregrinus (& cos. designate for 41), D(ecimus) Brutus* septemvir epulo (& gov. designate of Gallia Comata, & cos. designate for 42), Dolabella* cos. designate for 42; Hirtius* & Pansa* coss. designate for 43, Lepidus Magister equitum to the dictator Caesar (& gov. designate of Gallia Narbonensis and Hither Spain); Octavian, Caesar's heir, a student in Athens (waiting to accompany Caesar to Parthia); Plancus* gov. of Gallia Comata; Pollio* gov. of Farther Spain (3 legions).  For more on persons asterisked see App. U.   

                Below, "(??)" = "exact date unknown".  In italics, events outside Rome.  Underlined, Octavian.


            MARCH 44 B.C.  (15th) Caesar killed.  (16th) Conspirators take Capitol; in Forum they appeal (not v. brilliantly) to the people.  Forum occupied by Antony and Lepidus.  In forum Dolabella declares himself consul; he also makes overtures to the conspirators.  (17th) Senate meets in temple of Tellus (presided over by consuls, now Antony and Dolabella).  They decree (a) general amnesty (this proposed by Cicero); (b) ratification of Caesar's acta (this step Antony insists is needed for public order).  This decree then ratified in Assembly. 


Re  C i c e r o.  After this Senate meeting, abandons public activity till Sept.; devotes himself to literature.  17 April leaves Rome southward; stops at Tusculum, Lanuvium, Astura, Fundi, Formiae, Sinuessa.  2nd half of April at Cumae villa and at Puteoli.  Thence to Arpinum; thence on 27 May to Tusculum where he spends most of June.  In depression, decides to visit his son in Greece; gets appointed legate there by Dolabella.  30 June from Tusculum to Puteoli (7 July), thence to Pompeii.  17 July put to sea; 1 August reaches Syracuse; 2 Aug. sails for Greece but winds drive him back.  Hears false rumors that Antony, softening, is reconciled with Brutus & Cassius; also feels guilty at 'deserting his post'; decides to return to Rome, in time for Senate meeting of 1 September.  From mid-October to Dec. he is out of Rome also (is in Arpinum or Campania); writes  "de officiis".


            (??) Antony reconciled publicly with Brutus, Cassius. (??) Antony gets the office of Dictator prohibited forever (this, no doubt, to wind over the Senate.)  But (??) Caesar's friends get him awarded a public funeral.   Caesar's will is published.  (20th?) City mob and veterans riot; attack conspirators' houses; Brutus & Cassius flee Rome. 


            APRIL 44  (??) Octavian  lands at Brindisi; gathers army (Caesar's veterans etc.); he is in Naples by the 18th; he meets Cicero at Cumae.  By May he is in Rome to claim his legacy.  (??) Dolabella gets Syria (as his provincia for next year), Antony Macedonia (see s.v. June). 

            (mid-month) Antony recalls exiles; for money, to communities and persons, he grants privileges & immunities.  This seems autocratic and scary.  It wakens suspicion in the senate, which forms a commission, which together with the consuls will review (beginning June 1) all Caesar's acta.  (mid-month)  D. Brutus leaves for his assigned province of Cis. Gaul (where he spends summer attacking Alpine tribes).  Brutus and Cassius linger near Rome.

            (??) Antony represses disorder severely; loses favor with the mob. (24th) Antony, with the help of Dolabella whom he has bribed, courts veterans by getting passed Caesar's agrarian law which alots Campanian land to them.  (end of April) Antony is in Campania.  In Antony's absence, Dolabella represses the mob, destroys its altar to Caesar.  (Cicero very happy at this, writes to Dolabella praising him.)


            JUNE 44.  (1st-2nd) By plebiscite engineered by Antony (lex de permutatione provinciarum), Dolabella will be procos. of Syria for 5 years (thus Antony wins his support permanently), Antony of Cisalpine Gaul and Transalpine Gaul (instead of Macedonia--but keeping the legions from Macedonia) for 5 years.  (For the former arrangement which this annuls, see s.v. April init.  See also s.v. Dec. 20th.)

            (5th) Brutus released from his obligation as praetor urbanus to reside at Rome.  Brutus and Cassius made commissioners for supplying grain to Rome from the provinces, but they linger in Italy, awaiting Brutus' ludi Apollinares of 7 July.

            (??) Octavian meets Antony, asks for Caesar's cash; A. claims that most of the money which he got from Caesar's widow was public funds (in fact, he has probably spent it).  Also, through tribunes A. repeatedly blocks the meeting of the Comitia Curiata, which is needed to ratify Octavian's adoption.  Angered at Antony, Octavian borrows money from Caesar's equestrian friends, for July games.


            JULY 44.  (7th f.) ludi Apollinares given by Brutus as praetor urbanus.   The event popular, but less brilliant than he had hoped it would be, and it is overshadowed by:

            (20th-30th) Octavian's ludi Victoriae Caesaris, dedicated to Venus genatrix (a festival Caesar himself had planned), celebrate Caesar's victory at Pharsalus. Helped by the coincidence of a comet in the night sky, which seemed the soul of "Divine Caesar", they are a huge success.  This alarms not only Brutus and Cassius but also Antony.  He tries to be reconciled with Brutus and Cassius (but in the end cannot be -- see August 4th).


            AUGUST 44.  (early Aug.) Antony introduces bills (a) for juries of panels of centurians and veterans, (b) for appeal to people (ius provocationis) for men convicted of vis or maiestas.  Both measures, popularist, both violate Caesar's acta & alarm the Senate.

            (2nd - 4th) Angry correspondance between Antony and Brutus/Cassius, ending in a mutual denunciation.  (The break occurs on the 4th, and it is permanent.)

            (??) Antony's troops insist he be reconciled with Octavian, in formal ceremony on Capitol.  (??) Brutus & Cassius now assigned the minor provinces of Crete and Cyrene.

            (17th) Cicero meets Brutus at Velia; hears that Antony has broken with Brutus and Cassius forever.  On the 31st he reaches Rome.

            B r u t u s  at end of August leaves Italy.  In autumn in Athens enlisting an army, which included the young Cicero and Horace.  Got money from Asian tribute, via the quaestors for Asia (M. Appuleius) and for Syria (Antistius Vetus), arms from Caesar's former depot at Demetrias.  In Macedonia was recognized by the gov. Q. Hortensius as his successor.  Won over troops from Antony and Dolabella; persuaded or compelled submission of  P. Vatinius, gov. of Illyricum.

            D o l a b e l l a  in Sept. or Oct. leaves for the east, where he is to be procos. of Syria (see s.v. June).  He spends two months in Greece, then advances into Asia with 1 legion.  At Smyrna he seizes, tortures and kills Trebonius, the governor of Asia.  In Feb. the Senate hearing of this declares Dolabella a public enemy.  He is then beisieged by Cassius in Laodicea and commits suicide.

            C a s s i u s  in Sept. or Oct. leaves for Asia.  With money from Lentulus Proquaestor of Asia, ships from his brother L. Cassius, he goes to Syria.  There early in 43 he gets 6 legions from L. Statius Murena (gov. Syria), and Q. Marcius Crispus (gov. Bithynia), who had been besieging Caecilius Bassus--a rebel since 45.  Later he gets 4 more legions from Dolabella's legate A. Allienus, who was marching through Syria to join Dolabella there.  After his capture of Laodicea and Dolabella's suicide, in July 43, he has Dolabella's army also.


            SEPTEMBER 44.  (1st) Antony in Senate proposes to add to annual holidays one for Caesar; violently attacks Cicero for failing to attend senate.  (2nd) Cicero's 1st Philippic in Senate criticizes Antony's recent policy (e.g. his violation of Caesar's laws; the misuse of Caesar's papers).  (19th) Antony in senate violently attacks Cicero's whole career (for his answer, see Nov 29.). 


            OCTOBER 44.  (2nd) Antony, needing troops against D. Brutus, in popular assembly denounces tyrannicides incl. Cicero.  (c. 5th)  Antony arrests some of his own veterans; accuses Octavian of trying to assassinate him. 

            (9th) Antony leaves Rome for Brindisi; finds that 3 of the legions returning home from Macedonia have landed, but have been bribed etc. by Octavian.  He executes 300 ringleaders; directs the legions to procede via coast road to Cisalpine Gaul; himself marches on Rome with the 5th Legion. 

            Octavian meanwhile, helped by Agrippa and Maecenas, has taken "cartloads of money" to Campania to raise legions (3,000 men).  This army is illegal and treasonable.  He writes almost daily to Cicero, asking for advice, and for C. to introduce him to the Senate; Cicero, though he likes him, hedges.


            NOVEMBER 44.  (c. 12th) Octavian, having now an army of 10,000 men, occupies the Forum and through Cannutius, a tribune hostile to Antony, presents himself to the people.  These contiones are a huge success (acc. to Cicero's letters), but as Antony approaches, many of O's troops (Caesar's veterans) declare that they will not fight Antony, so O. retires to Arretium in Etruria; there raises more troops and starts negotiating with D. Brutus.

            (mid. Nov.) Antony back in Rome with one legion (used as a bodyguard).  He summons the senate to meet on the 24th; but postpones that till 28th on hearing that Martian legion has mutinied. (28th)  Antony convenes the Senate.  Vote of thanks to Lepidus, for having induced Sextus Pompey, who had revolted and conquered most of Further Spain, to submit in return for compensation from the treasury for his father's fortune.  In a 2nd session at night Macedonia is assigned by lot (?) to his brother, the praetor urbanus Gaius Antonius, Africa to Calvisius.  Crete and Cyrene are taken from Brutus and Cassius.  The senate swears allegiance to Antony.  (But n.b.: since night sessions of the Senate are strictly illegal, these laws could be considered invalid.  Many senators refuse the provinces they're allotted.)   Meanwhile A. hears that the 4th legion has deserted to O.

            At night Antony leaves for Cisalpine Gaul where he is to be proconsul.  Has only 1 legion (the 'Larks'), since Octavian has bribed away the others.  The gov. of Cis. Gaul, D. Brutus, has not yet finished his term; refuses to surrender the province.  Since of his 3 legions, one is of raw recruits, he retreats to Mutina; is besieged there by Antony. 

            (29th?) C's 2nd Philippic (never spoken, but published about now) answers Antony's attack of Sept. 19th, and breaks all bridges between them.   Note that since Dolabella and Antony have both left the city, there are now no consuls in Rome till January.


            DECEMBER 44.  (20th) Senate summoned by tribune M. Servilius (new tribunes enter office on this day).  Cicero (returned to Rome on 7th) delivers 3rd Philippic, scathing condemnation of Antony.  He gets passed a vote of thanks to Octavian and D. Brutus for resisting Antony (this in effect legalizes their actions).  All existing governors are directed to remain at their posts -- this annuls Antony's provincial arrangements (those of 2 June, 28 Nov.).  4th Philippic (an address to the people) delivered this same day.


            JANUARY 43.  (1st)  New consuls Hirtius, Pansa enter office; under them, Senate debates whether to send envoys to Antony.  This advocated by Antony's friends, Fufuius Calenus and L. Piso; but Cicero's 5th Philippic (in which he praises Octavian, advocates war with Antony) gets it defeated.  (3rd)  Senate votes honoring D. Brutus (for resisting Antony), M. Lepidus, Octavian.  On Cicero's motion, Octavian given propraetorian imperium for campaign against Antony, is made a senator; on some other senator's motion, he is given permission to vote in the senate with the ex-consuls. 

            (3rd also) Brutus (see s.v. August) defeats the small force of C. Antonius landing at Dyrrachium (i.e. the force sent by Antony to take possession of Macedonia).

            (4th) Senate sends envoys to Antony: S. Sulpicius (who dies en route), L. Piso, L. Philippus, "requiring him, on pain of war, to evacuate Cis. Gaul, to remain 200 miles away from Rome, and to obey the Senate and People".  Cos. Hirtius, though he is ill, is requested to march out to support Octavian.  (4th also) Cicero's 7th Philippic argues that peace with Antony is dangerous and impossible.

            (??) Hirtius seizes Claterna from Antony; Pansa in Rome levying men and money.

            (??) Dolabella, sent out to be governor of Syria, at Smyrna seizes, tortures and kills Trebonius, the governor of Asia.  (In February the Senate hearing of this declares Dolabella a public enemy.)


            FEBRUARY 43.  (1st) Piso and Philippus return to Rome with counter-demands from Antony (who had not allowed them to confer with D. Brutus besieged in Mutina): he wants (a) confirmation of all his acts, (b) the province of Gallia Comata till the end of 39 (at which time Brutus and Cassius will have finished their consulships and proconsulships), (c) an army, and (d) rewards for his soldiers.  (2nd) Cicero's 8th Philippic argues for war.  Senate rejects Antony's proposals; annuls most of his acts; declares war.  Senatus consultum ultimum declared (Cic. Phil 8.6; Dio 46.29.2, 31.).  (3rd) Cicero's 9th Philippic.  He gets Senate to vote statue to Sulpicius (died in line of duty!).

            (End of Feb. or beginning March).  Senate receives despatches from Brutus about his successes.  The Caesarian Calenus proposes to deprive Brutus of his command (i.e. as a tyrannicide and traitor).  In 10th Philippic Cicero persuades Senate to confirm Brutus in Illyria, Macedonia, Greece. 

            By the end of Feb. Octavian has advanced to Forum Cornelii; Hirtius to Claterna; and Antony is at Bononia, and besieges D. Brutus in Mutina.


            MARCH 43.  (19th)  Senate votes approval of Q. Cornificius, gov. of Africa, for resisting officers of Calvisius (Antony's nominee); senate compliments Cicero.  (19th or 20th)  Pansa leaves Rome with a new levy.  Senate gets letters from Lepidus (gov. Hither Spain and Gallia Narbonensis) and Plancus (gov. Gallia Comata), which recommend reconciliation with Antony.  Cicero repeatedly writes to them, and to Pollio (also a waverer; gov. Farther Spain) begging them to remain loyal to the Republic; they protest (falsely) that they do and will.


            APRIL 43.  (15th) Pansa with 4 legions of new recruits approaches Antony (who abandons some territory, and concentrates his force round Mutina, where he is besieging D. Brutus).  At Forum Gallorum Antony entraps, defeats him.  Pansa himself wounded; but Hirtius in turn defeats Antony's troops as they return to camp after the victory. 

            (17th) False rumor fills Rome that Antony was victor.  (20th) News of Forum Gallorum reaches Rome.  Senate orders thanksgiving of 20 days; Cicero carried in triumph to the Capitol.

            (21st)  Hirtius defeats Antony more severely near Mutina, so that Antony raises siege.  Hirtius falls in this battle.  Pansa dies of his wounds on the 22nd.  Antony retreats northwestward with only a fraction of his forces.  Octavian--who has now taken command of Pansa's 4 legions of recruits and has 5 legions of his own--is unwilling to pursue him, or to cooperate in that with D. Brutus.  D. Brutus cannot pursue alone, because he has no cavalry and transport.  Thus a golden chance is lost.  (Perhaps Oct., who did not wish to be a mere tool of the senate, did nothing because he wanted to be consul--see July.)

            (25th) News of Mutina reaches Rome.  (26th) Senate decrees Antony a public enemy.  (??) In Senate also: (a) D. Brutus voted triumph; Octavian a mere ovation (this annoys Oct.); (b) armies of the dead consuls given to D. Brutus; (c) sea command given to Sextus Pompey (but the soldiers do not accept this); (d) Cassius given command of Syria, given maius imperium elsewhere in the east, and ordered to pursue Dolabella; (e) decemvirate appointed to review all the acta of Antony (hence of Caesar also).  Octavian angered by much of this.  He demands a triumph (not a mere ovation), and refuses to pursue Antony or to hinder Ventidius (on whom see May 3rd).


            MAY 43.  (3rd) Antony at Vada (Liguria) is joined by P. Ventidius Bassus, who has raised 3  legions in Picenum and come with them over the mountains.  (29th) Antony at Forum Julii (in Gallia Narbonensis), joins with Lepidus who has 7 legions; altogether the two have c. 80,000 men.


            JUNE 43.  (30th) In Senate Lepidus declared a public enemy.  Octavian (who dislikes the Senatorial party) abstains from all hostile action against Antony and makes secret overtures to him.  Meanwhile the Senate and Cicero send desperate letters asking for help from officers in provinces (esp. M. Brutus -- but he refuses to move from Macedonia.  His pretext, a wish to avoid civil war).


            JULY 43.  Octavian, through a deputation of 400 centurions, now demands consulship (at the age of 19!) and demands reversal of the decree of outlawry of Antony.  Senate refuses consulship, on grounds of his age.  (Cicero fiercely opposes this.  N.B.: even now no one sees clearly that Octavian is no friend of the Republic and will join Antony.  They don't see it till it actually happens.)


            AUGUST 43.  (early Aug.).  Octavian, having now 8 legions who clamor for this, crosses Rubicon, marches on Rome, occupies the city beyond the Quirinal.  The Senate has  3 legions (1 of Pansa's recruits, 2 veteran legions luckily just in from Africa) but they desert to Octavian.  The senatorial general, the praetor M. Cornutus, commits suicide.  (19th) Consular elections, presided over by two special commissioners with consular powers; "elected" cos. are Octavian and his relative Q. Pedius.  He seizes the treasury and pays Caesar's bequests to the people; pays his troops the donative which the senate had promised them but never paid.  He gets passed the lex curiata ratifying his own adoption by Caesar (Antony had blocked this).  He and/or Pedius also get these measures passed: (a) Amnesty for Caesar's murderers revoked; a court set up to try anybody concerned (either directly or indirectly.  This sinister; and it meant civil war, since Brutus and Cassius in the east now had large armies).  (b) (weeks later)  Dolabella's outlawry reversed.


            SEPTEMBER 43.  Plancus, governor of transalpine Gaul, has tried to remain loyal.  But since Octavian has not helped him, he deserts to Lepidus and Antony, and tries to win over D. Brutus to that cause.  D. Brutus, now heavily outnumbered and with his troops deserting, tries to escape to M. Brutus, but is betrayed and killed.  Pollio too deserts to Antony (acc. to him he does it from loyalty to Caesar!).


            OCTOBER 43.  Octavian marches north, ostensibly to oppose Antony.  Lepidus and Antony march into Italy with superior forces.  (end of Oct.) The two armies meet at Bononia.  In conference on a river island there, Antony, Lepidus, Octavian agree (a) to divy up the western provinces (Antony gets Gallia Comata and Cisalpina; Lepidus Narbonensis and Spain; Octavian Africa, Sicily, Sardinia), (b) to make war on Brutus and Cassius, (c) to eliminate their enemies, and get funds, by large-scale proscription and confiscation of estates.  A despatch sent to Rome bidding cos. Pedius put to death 17 of the proscribed including Cicero.


            NOVEMBER 43.  (27th) "Triumvirs" appear in Rome; get a lex Titia passed (in tribal assembly, by tribune L. Titius) giving them practically absolute power for 5 years as triumviri reipublicae constituendae etc.  Octavian resigns consulate.


            DECEMBER 43.  Triumvirs have signed the death warrants of c. 300 senators, 2000 knights.  "Since they had forty-five legions behind them and their victims included so many knights, whose share in politics will often have been negligible, their dominant motive will have been the need to confiscate estates with which to pay their troops" (thus Scullard pp. 158-9.  Of course, you can "make a case" for these three persons, and many do.  I regard all three as cold-blooded, power-greedy, self-loving killers.)  To make their soldiers happy, they also confiscate vast amounts of land from 18 cities (including that of the families of Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Propertius).  (7th) Cicero murdered etc.

Appendix R : 44 - 2  B.C.:  Wars, Treaties, Other Main Events


"O." = Octavian.  For details of his rise to power see App. S.  On Agrippa see App. U ad fin.

On the years 44-43 see the "Postscript" at the end of this Appendix.


            44 (15 March) Caesar assassinated.  (April)  O., 19 years old, lands at Brindisi (from Greece where he hadbeen a student); slowly travels to Rome, collecting troops (mostly Caesar's veterans) en route.  (May) Reaches Rome; demands Caesar's money and papers from Antony: A. unhelpful.  O. raises more troops.  (July) O. w. borrowed money gives ludi Victoriae Caesaris, which are a huge success thanks partly to a comet appearing in the night sky = the soul of Caesar.  (Mid-Summer) Brutus, Cassius leave to raise troops in the east. (Nov.) O. occupies Forum, threatens Senate.  He is given imperium pro praetore to fight Antony.  A. besieged by the consuls in Mutina.

            43 Octavian consul I.  (April) M u t i n a.  Antony beaten, but the consuls Hirtius, Pansa both die.  (Nov.) "2nd Triumvirate" agreement; the empire divided: O. gets Africa, Sicily, Sardinia; Antony Gallia Comata & Cisalpina; Lepidus Narbonensis & Spain.  They are made tresviri reipublicae constituendae.  Proscriptions: mainly to raise money, the triumvirs proscribe 300 senators (including Cicero) and 2,000 knights; confiscate estates.            

            42 The dead Caesar is deified.  Sextus Pompey (son of Pompey the Great), a "Republican" renegade who has built up a powerful fleet, conquers Sicily.  Thousands of proscribed senators, knights, runaway slaves flee to him.  O. tries to crush him but cannot, then is summoned by Antony to Macedonia.  At  P h i l i p p i  Brutus, Cassius beaten by O. and Antony (mainly by Antony; he enjoys the glory of this victory until Actium).  Provinces redivided: O. gets Spain, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia; Antony Narbonensis, Cis. Gaul, the entire East; Lepidus Africa (Lepidus mistrusted, because caught negotiating with Sextus Pompey).  O. returns to Italy; Antony departs for Asia, then Syria (which the Parthians are about to invade); meets Cleopatra at Tarsus.

            42-1  O. in Italy confiscates lands for his and Antony's veterans.  This a nightmarish job; he angers both the veterans and the people he dispossesses.  Making things worse--Sextus' fleet is blockading Italy, starving it by blocking the grain from Africa.  Still worse, Lucius Antonius (Antony's brother) and Fulvia (A.'s wife) raise an army, appealing to the dispossessed and other malcontents; they claim (probably falsely) to have the support of Antony.

            41-40  P e r u s i n e  W a r:  L. Antonius  is finally besieged in Perusia by O., whose generals Salvidienus & Agrippa defeat, or scare away, the relieving armies of Pollio, Plancus, Ventidius, Calenus.  Perusia falls at the end of Feb. in 40 BC and is destroyed by fire.  O. puts to death its town council and (acc. to later legend) over 300 senators and knights, at an altar erected to the dead Caesar.  As a result of this war O. now possesses all the western provinces except Sicily and Africa; for Antony's general Pollio has abandoned Spain, and the legions of Gallia Comata have gone over to O.  Sicily is in the hands of Sextus.   Meanwhile, Parthians invade Syria; but:

            40  Antony, angered when he hears of Perusia, returns and lands at Brundisium, where O. opposes him.  Soon their troops refuse to fight and demand that they be reconciled.   Maecenas negotiating for O. and Pollio for Antony work out the B r u n d i s i u m  T r e a t y,  acc. to which the Triumvirate is renewed; and O. gets all the Latin-speaking Western Provinces, Antony all the East; Lepidus Africa.  Italy is to be shared by all three men.  O. and Antony return to Rome to celebrate.  Antony marries O's sister Octavia.  O. gets money--by extremely unpopular slave and inheritance taxes--for a campaign against Sextus, who is still starving Italy.  Many violent popular riots, which have to be suppressed by troops.  Partly as a result of those, O. yields to Antony's wish to include Sextus in the peace:

            39  M i s e n u m  T r e a t y:  Sextus given 5-year procos. command of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica (all 3 of which he has already won) and the Peloponnese (which Antony will give him); the refugees which Sextus has sheltered, if they were not among Caesar's murderers, may return to Italy and  recover all or (if once proscribed) part of their property.  O. marries Sextus' relative Scribonia (whom he dislikes & soon divorces, in order to marry Livia).  Antony leaves for Greece (on Antony see the note below after 36 BC).  Sextus, angered by O.'s obtaining Sardinia by treachery, soon afterwards renews the blockade of Italy.

            38 -7  O. and Agrippa make elaborate preparations to attack Pompey.  Antony brings them 120 ships.  O. at first declines them, and is unwilling to give Antony the 20,000 troops which he wants in exchange.  They almost quarrel; but in

            37   (spring) at  T a r e n t u m  c o n f e r e n c e  O. and Antony renew the Triumvirate (which had lapsed in Dec. 38) till the end of 33, and arrange the trade of ships for troops.  Against Pompey a great fleet is prepared by Agrippa.          

            36  O., Agrippa, and Lepidus (coming from Africa) attack Sicily and Sextus, whom at last Agrippa beats in a naval battle.  (Sextus flees to Asia, where he is later killed by Antony's generals.)   Lepidus, who has meanwhile conquered most of Sicily, tries to seize Sicily for himself, but his troops desert to O.  Lepidus is sent back to Rome, where henceforth he lives under guard (but he is allowed to remain Pontifex maximus till his death in 12 BC).