Vigintisexviri

The Vigintisexviri (sing. vigintisexvir) was a college (collegium) of minor magistrates (magistratus minores) in the Roman Republic; the name literally means "Twenty-Six Men". The college consisted of six boards:

  • decemviri stlitibus iudicandis – 10 magistrates who judged lawsuits, including those dealing with whether a man was free or a slave;
  • the tresviri capitales, also known as nocturni – three magistrates who had a police function in Rome, in charge of prisons and the execution of criminals; [1]
  • the tresviri aere argento auro flando feriundo, also known as tresviri monetales – three magistrates who were in charge of striking and casting bronze, silver and gold (minting coins);
  • the quattuorviri viis in urbe purgandis, also known as quattuorviri viarum curandarum – four magistrates overseeing road maintenance within the city of Rome;
  • the duoviri viis extra urbem purgandis, also known as duoviri curatores viarum – two magistrates overseeing road maintenance near Rome;
  • the four praefecti Capuam Cumas – praefecti sent to Capua and Cumae in Campania to administer justice there.

The singular of tresviri is triumvir; triumviri is also sometimes used for the plural but is considered to be less correct.[2]

History

In the Republic, the Vigintisexvirate had served as a stepping stone for the sons of senators to begin their own public careers in the cursus honorum; Julius Caesar had served as curator viarum and restored parts of the Via Appia. In AD 13, however, the Senate passed a senatus consultum restricting the reduced Vigintivirate to the Equestrians.

During the Principate, Caesar Augustus abolished the duoviri viis extra urbem purgandis and the four praefecti Capuam Cumas, thereby changing the vigintisexviri into the vigintiviri ("Twenty Men").

References

Citations

  1. ^ Hornblower 1999:police
  2. ^ Melville Jones 1990:Mint magistrates

Sources

  • Melville Jones, John R. (1990). A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins, Seaby, republished by Spink. ISBN 1-85264-026-X
  • Hornblower, Simon & Spaworth, Antony (1999). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Third Edition. ISBN 0-19-866172-X
  • Smith, William (1875). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London.

External links

Aedile

Aedile (Latin: aedīlis Latin pronunciation: [ae̯ˈdiː.lɪs], from aedes, "temple edifice") was an elected office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings (aedēs) and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order.

There were two pairs of aediles: the first were the "plebeian aediles" (Latin aediles plebis) and possession of this office was limited to plebeians; the other two were "curule aediles" (Latin aediles curules), open to both plebeians and patricians, in alternating years. An aedilis curulis was classified as a magister curulis.

The office of the aedilis was generally held by young men intending to follow the cursus honorum to high political office, traditionally after their quaestorship but before their praetorship. It was not a compulsory part of the cursus, and hence a former quaestor could be elected to the praetorship without having held the position of aedile. However, it was an advantageous position to hold because it demonstrated the aspiring politician's commitment to public service, as well as giving him the opportunity to hold public festivals and games, an excellent way to increase his name recognition and popularity.

Auctoritas

Auctoritas is a Latin word which is the origin of English "authority". While historically its use in English was restricted to discussions of the political history of Rome, the beginning of phenomenological philosophy in the 20th century expanded the use of the word.In ancient Rome, Auctoritas referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Roman society, and, as a consequence, his clout, influence, and ability to rally support around his will. Auctoritas was not merely political, however; it had a numinous content and symbolized the mysterious "power of command" of heroic Roman figures.

Noble women could also achieve a degree of Auctoritas. For example, the wives, sisters, and mothers of the Julio-Claudians had immense influence on society, the masses, and the political apparatus. Their Auctoritas was exercised less overtly than their male counterparts due to Roman societal norms, but they were powerful nonetheless.

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".

Decemviri

The decemviri or decemvirs (Latin for "ten men") were any of several 10-man commissions established by the Roman Republic.

The most important were those of the two Decemvirates, formally the "Decemvirs Writing the Laws with Consular Imperium" (Latin: Decemviri Legibus Scribundis Consulari Imperio) who reformed and codified Roman law during the Conflict of the Orders between ancient Rome's patrician aristocracy and plebeian commoners. Other decemviri include the "Decemviri Adjudging Litigation" (Decemviri Stlitibus Judicandis), the "Decemviri Making Sacrifices" (Decemviri Sacris Faciundis), and the "Decemviri Distributing Public Lands" (Decemviri Agris Dandis Adsignandis).

Duumviri

The duumviri (Latin for "two men"), originally duoviri and also known in English as the duumvirs, were any of various joint magistrates of ancient Rome. Such pairs of magistrates were appointed at various periods of Roman history both in Rome itself and in the colonies and municipia.Duumviri iuri or iure dicundo were the highest judicial magistrates in the cities of Italy and its provinces. Their chief duties were concerned with the administration of justice. The activities of these individuals are described in the local statutes such as Lex Julia, Lex Irnitana, Lex Malacitana, Lex Rubria, Lex Coloniae, and Genetivae Iuliae. The office was determined by election and lasted one year. Combined with the duumviri aediles, they formed the quattuorviri, a board of four officials. It was often the case that the emperor was elected as one duumvir and the other position was left up to the emperor for the appointment of a praefectus.

Duumviri quinquennales were also municipal officers, not to be confused with the above, who were elected every fifth year for one year to exercise the function of the censorship which was in abeyance for the intervening four years.Duumviri sacrorum, which were created by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, were officers for the performance of sacrifice, and keeping of the Sibylline Books. They were chosen out of the nobility, or patricii, and held their office for life. They were exempted from serving in war, and from the offices imposed on the other citizens. Without them, the oracles of the Sybils could not be consulted. The commission held until the year -388, when, at the request of C. Licinius and L. Sexius, tribunes of the people, they were increased to ten (decemviri sacris faciundis). That is, in lieu of two persons, the trust was committed to ten – half patricians, half plebeians. Sulla added five to their number, for a total of fifteen (quindecimviri sacris faciundis). Afterwards, their body was greatly increased, and at length amounted to sixty; yet still retained the denomination of quindecimviri. They were entirely abolished under Emperor Theodosius I.

Duumviri aedi dedicandae were magistrates who, by way of a decree of the senate, performed the dedication of an area planned for the construction of a temple, or a temple already constructed, to a deity. Such an individual might be appointed to dedicate a temple that had been constructed at the expense of another magistrate who was no longer in office.

Duumviri aedi locandae were originally officers specially appointed to supervise the erection of a temple, if a higher magistrate such as a consul, praetor, or censor, was not managing it. These were sometimes the same as the duumviri aedi dedicandae.

Duumviri aediles were two officials similar in function to the aediles; they were in charge of imposing fines.

Duumviri navales, extraordinary officers appointed ad hoc for the equipping of a fleet. Originally chosen by consuls or dictators, they were elected by the people after 311 BC (Livy, AUC ix. 30; xl. 18; xli. I).The capital duumviri, duumviri perduellionis, were not ordinary magistrates, but created on certain occurrences. They were the earliest criminal court for trying cases of perduellio (high treason). They continued to be appointed under the Republic, with the last mention in 63 BC; however, since the mid-3rd century BC, plebeian tribunes are known to have taken up such cases. The first duumviri of this kind were those appointed to judge the surviving Horatius, for killing his sister after vanquishing the Curiatii.

Duumviri viis extra urbem purgandis were subordinate officers under the aediles, whose duty it was to look after those streets of Rome which were outside the city walls. They were members of the group of vigintisexviri. Apparently in 20 BC, certainly by 12 BC, their duties were transferred to the curatores viarum. From at least as early as 45 BC (cf. the Lex Julia), the streets of the city were superintended by quattuorviri viis in urbe purgandis, later called quattuorviri viarum purgandarum.

Dux

Dux (; plural: ducēs) is Latin for "leader" (from the noun dux, ducis, "leader, general") and later for duke and its variant forms (doge, duce, etc.).

During the Roman Republic, dux could refer to anyone who commanded troops, including foreign leaders, but was not a formal military rank. In writing his commentaries on the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar uses the term only for Celtic generals, with one exception for a Roman commander who held no official rank.

Legatus

A legatus (anglicised as legate) was a high-ranking Roman military officer in the Roman Army, equivalent to a modern high-ranking general officer. Initially used to delegate power, the term became formalised under Augustus as the officer in command of a legion.

From the times of the Roman Republic, legates received large shares of the military's rewards at the end of a successful campaign. This made the position a lucrative one, so it could often attract even distinguished consuls or other high-ranking political figures within Roman politics (e.g., the consul Lucius Julius Caesar volunteered late in the Gallic Wars as a legate under his first cousin once removed, Gaius Julius Caesar).

Lictor

The lictor (possibly from Latin: ligare, "to bind") was a Roman civil servant who was a bodyguard to magistrates who held imperium. Lictors were used since the Roman Kingdom, and according to Roman historian Livy, the custom may have originated earlier, in the Etruscan civilization.

Military history of ancient Rome

The military history of ancient Rome is inseparable from its political system, based from an early date upon competition within the ruling elite. Two consuls were elected each year to head the government of the state, and in the early to mid-Republic were assigned a consular army and an area in which to campaign.

Officium (ancient Rome)

Officium (plural officia) is a Latin word with various meanings in ancient Rome, including "service", "(sense of) duty", "courtesy", "ceremony" and the like. It also translates the Greek kathekon and was used in later Latin to render more modern offices.

However, this article is mainly concerned with the meaning of "an office" (the modern word office derives from it) or "bureau" in the sense of a dignitary's staff of administrative and other collaborators, each of whom was called an officialis (hence the modern official).

The Notitia Dignitatum gives us uniquely detailed information, stemming from the very imperial chanceries, on the composition of the officia of many of the leading court, provincial, military and certain other officials of the two Roman empires c. AD 400. While the details vary somewhat according to rank, from West (Rome) to East (Byzantium) and/or in particular cases, in general the leading staff would be about as follows (the English descriptions and other modern "equivalents" are approximate):

Princeps officii was the chief of staff, permanent secretary or chef de cabinet

Cornicularius was a military title, for an administrative deputy of various generals etc.

Adiutor (literally "helper") seems to have been the chief (general) assistant, or adjutant

Commentariensis was the keeper of "commentaries", an official diary

Ab actis was the keeper of records, the archivist

Numerarius ("accountant") seems to have been the receiver of taxes

Subadiuva ("under-helper") seems to have been a general assistant

Cura epistolarum was the curator of correspondence

Regerendarius may have been a registrar

Exceptor seem to have been a secretary

Singularius has been called a notary, but the word can also refer to a bodyguardBelow those "dignities", there were often a few hundred minor officials, often slaves or freedmen, doing the clerical drudgery, not deemed worthy of any more detailed mention. They are only referred to collectively, by various terms in the plural, such as cohortalini (apparently the diminutive of cohortalis, the very term suggesting significant number; see cohors amicorum).

Political institutions of ancient Rome

Various lists regarding the political institutions of ancient Rome are presented. 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.

Princeps senatus

The princeps senatus (plural principes senatus) was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the cursus honorum and owning no imperium, this office brought conferred prestige on the senator holding it.

Principate

The Principate is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus in 27 BC to the end of the Crisis of the Third Century in 284 AD, after which it evolved into the so-called Dominate.

The Principate is characterised by the reign of a single emperor (princeps) and an effort on the part of the early emperors, at least, to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance, in some aspects, of the Roman Republic.

Quaestor

A quaestor (UK: , US: , Latin for investigator) was a public official in Ancient Rome. The position served different functions depending on the period. In the Roman Kingdom, quaestores parricidii (quaestors with judicial powers) were appointed by the king to investigate and handle murders. In the Roman Republic, quaestors (Lat. quaestores) were elected officials who supervised the state treasury and conducted audits. It was the lowest ranking position in the cursus honorum (course of offices). However, this means that in the political environment of Rome, it was quite common for many aspiring politicians to take the position of quaestor as an early rung on the political ladder. In the Roman Empire, the position, which was initially replaced by the praefectus (prefect), reemerged during the late empire as quaestor intra Palatium, a position appointed by the emperor to lead the imperial council and respond to petitioners.

Roman citizenship

Citizenship in ancient Rome (Latin: civitas) was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance.

A male Roman citizen enjoyed a wide range of privileges and protections defined in detail by the Roman state. A citizen could, under certain exceptional circumstances, be deprived of his citizenship.

Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. Though held in high regard they were not allowed to vote or stand for civil or public office. The rich might participate in public life by funding building projects or sponsoring religious ceremonies and other events. Women had the right to own property, to engage in business, and to obtain a divorce, but their legal rights varied over time. Marriages were an important form of political alliance during the Republic.

Client state citizens and allies (socii) of Rome could receive a limited form of Roman citizenship such as the Latin Right. Such citizens could not vote or be elected in Roman elections.

Slaves were considered property and lacked legal personhood. Over time, they acquired a few protections under Roman law. Some slaves were freed by manumission for services rendered, or through a testamentary provision when their master died. Once free, they faced few barriers, beyond normal social snobbery, to participating in Roman society. The principle that a person could become a citizen by law rather than birth was enshrined in Roman mythology; when Romulus defeated the Sabines in battle, he promised the war captives that were in Rome they could become citizens.

Freedmen were former slaves who had gained their freedom. They were not automatically given citizenship and lacked some privileges such as running for executive magistracies. The children of freedmen and women were born as free citizens; for example, the father of the poet Horace was a freedman.

Senatus consultum

A senatus consultum (Latin – decree of the senate; plural senatus consulta) is a text emanating from the senate in Ancient Rome. It is used in the modern phrase senatus consultum ultimum.

Translated into French as sénatus-consulte, the term was also used during the French Consulate, First French Empire and Second French Empire.

Status in Roman legal system

In Roman law, status describes a person's legal status. The individual could be a Roman citizen (status civitatis), unlike foreigners; or he could be free (status libertatis), unlike slaves; or he could have a certain position in a Roman family (status familiae) either as head of the family (pater familias), or as a lower member (filii familias).

Tribune

Tribune (Latin: Tribunus) was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome. The two most important were the tribunes of the plebs and the military tribunes. For most of Roman history, a college of ten tribunes of the plebs acted as a check on the authority of the senate and the annual magistrates, holding the power of ius intercessionis to intervene on behalf of the plebeians, and veto unfavourable legislation. There were also military tribunes, who commanded portions of the Roman army, subordinate to higher magistrates, such as the consuls and praetors, promagistrates, and their legates. Various officers within the Roman army were also known as tribunes. The title was also used for several other positions and classes in the course of Roman history.

Vicarius

Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root of the English word "vicar".

Originally, in ancient Rome, this office was equivalent to the later English "vice-" (as in "deputy"), used as part of the title of various officials. Each vicarius was assigned to a specific superior official, after whom his full title was generally completed by a genitive (e.g. vicarius praetoris). At a low level of society, the slave of a slave, possibly hired out to raise money to buy manumission, was a servus vicarius.Later, in the 290s, the Emperor Diocletian carried out a series of administrative reforms, ushering in the period of the Dominate. These reforms also saw the number of Roman provinces increased, and the creation of a new administrative level, the diocese. The dioceses, initially twelve, grouped several provinces, each with its own governor. The dioceses were headed by a vicarius, or, more properly, by a vices agens praefecti praetorio ("deputy of the praetorian prefect"). An exception was the Diocese of the East, which was headed by a comes ("count"). In 370 or 381 Egypt and Cyrenaica were detached from the Diocese of the East and made a diocese under an official called the Augustal Prefect.

In the eastern parts of the Empire, dominated by Greek language and common use of Greek terminology, vicarius was called exarch.According to the Notitia dignitatum (an early 5th century imperial chancery document), the vicarius had the rank of vir spectabilis; the staff of a vicarius, his officium, was rather similar to a gubernatorial officium. For example, in the diocese of Hispania, his staff included:

The princeps (i.e. chief of staff) was chosen from among the senior agentes in rebus (couriers or special investigators, 'men of affairs,' from the ministry of the interior headed by the master of the offices), from the salaried class of the ducenarii (those earning 200,000 sesterces a year - the highest regular pay grade in the Roman civil service; the highest officials, governors and above, were not civil service).

A cornicularius ("chief of staff").

Two numerarii (chief accountants).

A commentariensis ("keeper of the commentary," the official diary).

An adiutor (adjutant; literally "helper," an assistant).

An ab actis ("acts-keeper," archivist).

A cura epistolarum ("curator of correspondence").

An unnamed number of subadiuvae ("deputy assistants").

Various exceptores (lower clerks).

Singulares et reliquum officium (various menial staff).

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