Political institutions of ancient Rome

Various lists regarding the political institutions of ancient Rome are presented.[1] Each entry in a list is a link to a separate article. Categories included are: constitutions (5), laws (5), and legislatures (7); state offices (28) and office holders (6 lists); political factions (3) and social ranks (8). A political glossary (35) of similar construction follows.[2]



State offices

Lists of individual office holders

Political factions

Social ranks

Glossary of law and politics



  1. ^ Cf., History of Rome (disambiguation).
  2. ^ A. Berger, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society 1953).
  3. ^ Patricians versus Plebs.
Cursus honorum

The cursus honorum (Latin: lit. "course of honor", or more colloquially "ladder of offices") was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire. It was designed for men of senatorial rank. The cursus honorum comprised a mixture of military and political administration posts. Each office had a minimum age for election. There were minimum intervals between holding successive offices and laws forbade repeating an office.These rules were altered and flagrantly ignored in the course of the last century of the Republic. For example, Gaius Marius held consulships for five years in a row between 104 BC and 100 BC. He was consul seven times in all, also serving in 107 and 86. Officially presented as opportunities for public service, the offices often became mere opportunities for self-aggrandizement. The reforms of Sulla required a ten-year interval before holding the same office again for another term.To have held each office at the youngest possible age (suo anno, "in his own year") was considered a great political success. For instance, to miss out on a praetorship at 39 meant that one could not become consul at 42. Cicero expressed extreme pride not only in being a novus homo ("new man"; comparable to a "self-made man") who became consul even though none of his ancestors had ever served as a consul, but also in having become consul "in his year".

Lucius Aurelius Cotta (consul 65 BC)

Lucius Aurelius Cotta was a Roman politician from an old noble family who held the offices of praetor (70 BC), consul (65 BC) and censor (64 BC). Both his father and grandfather of the same name had been consuls, and his two brothers, Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Marcus Aurelius Cotta, preceded him as consul in 75 and 74 BC respectively. His sister, Aurelia, was married to Gaius Julius Caesar, brother-in-law to Gaius Marius and possibly Lucius Cornelius Sulla, and they were the parents of the famous general and eventual dictator, Gaius Julius Caesar.

While praetor in 70 BC, he brought in a law for the reform of the jury lists, by which the judices were to be selected, not from the senators exclusively as limited by Sulla, but from senators, equites and tribuni aerarii.

One-third were to be senators, and two-thirds men of equestrian census, one-half of whom must have been tribuni aerarii, a body as to whose functions there is no certain evidence, although in Cicero's time they were reckoned by courtesy amongst the equites. In 66 BC, Cotta and Lucius Manlius Torquatus accused the consuls-elect, Publius Cornelius Sulla and Publius Autronius Paetus, for the following year of bribery in connection with the elections; they were condemned and Cotta and Torquatus chosen in their places. The year after his consulship, in 64 BC, he was elected censor, but he and his colleague abdicated on account of the machinations of the tribunes.

After the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy, Cotta proposed a public thanksgiving for Cicero's services, and after the latter had gone into exile, supported the view that there was no need of a law for his recall, since the law of Clodius was legally worthless.

He subsequently attached himself to his nephew, Caesar, and it was reported that Cotta (who was then quindecimvir) intended to propose that Caesar should receive the title of king, it being written in the Sibylline Oracles that the Parthians could only be defeated by a king. Cotta's intention was not carried out in consequence of Caesar's assassination, after which he retired from public life.

Outline of ancient Rome

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome:

Ancient Rome – former civilization that thrived on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world.

Outline of ancient history

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient history:

Ancient history – study of recorded human history from the beginning of writing at about 3000 BC until the Early Middle Ages. The times before writing belong either to protohistory or to prehistory. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 – 5,500 years, beginning with Sumerian cuneiform, the oldest form of writing discovered so far. Although the ending date of ancient history is disputed, currently most Western scholars use the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD or the coming of Islam in 632 AD as the end of ancient history.

Major cities
Lists and other

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.