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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 08, 2010 03:28AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This thread will discuss both Ordinary Magistrates and Extraordinary Magistrates of the Roman Empire.

The Ordinary Magistrates included the following:

The Extraordinary Magistrates include the following:
Magister Equitum
Consular tribune

These are not non spoiler threads but supplemental threads.

Please feel free to discuss any of the above topics. Please add books, urls, reference material, etc. relevant to these topics.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire 1 by Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon Edward Gibbon

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Here is a work which may be worthwhile if you are trying to find out more information on this subject matter:

The Magistrates of the Roman Republic 1 Volume 1 509 B.C. - 100 B.C. (Philological Monographs) by T. Robert S. Broughton T. Robert S. Broughton

It does come in two volumes, I was not able to find the other on goodreads.

I also found this one on goodreads:

Supplement to The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (Philological Monographs) by T. Robert S. Broughton (no cover available) - Supplement to The Magistrates of the Roman Republic by T. Robert S. Broughton

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 12, 2010 11:02PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Roman Magistrates:

Most Roman magistrates were elected by the assemblies and served for a term of one year.

Some officials, like dictator, pro-praetors, and pro-consuls, were appointed and could have flexible terms.

Most if not all, had age minimums after 180 B.C.E. although in the later Republic, such minimums were overlooked for young men such as Pompey the Great. Here's a list, beginning at the bottom of the political pecking order:

1. Quaestors were public finance and record officials (roughly a Purser or Treasurer). They had to be at least 25 years old.

2. Aediles were in charge of urban affairs including weights and measurements, public works, public games, and public safety (a bit like a county Auditor). They had to be at least 36 years old.

3. Praetors were second to consuls. They were primarily judicial officials (judges) and could have the power of imperium. They had to be at least 39 years old.

4. Consuls were the chief executive officials of Rome. They commanded the army, handled national and foreign affairs, and possessed imperium. The American President is modeled on this office. Consuls were supposed to be at least 42 years old. Romans passed different laws on their ability to be reelected; at first there was a required 10 year span between elections and then, in 150 B.C.E. a ban on re-election. As Marius, Sulla, Pompey and Caesar all demonstrate, this ban didn't hold.


The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Roman Empire by Eric D. Nelson Eric D. Nelson

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 12, 2010 11:13PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
What is Imperium?

Imperium is the Latin for "power of command," which included the power of life and death.

It can also mean Military Command and Supreme Authority. A holder of imperium had control of war and/or the law, and thus he had power over armies. In the remote past, the early kings of Rome had held this title. In later times, it was reserved for dictators and magistrates. In the Republic, the title was awarded to men like Pompey the Great. Consuls and praetors also held imperium. Amongst magistrates, there were degrees of imperium depending on individual seniority. It was normally awarded for a restricted period. The emperors had imperium maius 'greater imperium', to mark them at a level about the rest.

Source for above:
The Romans for Dummies (For Dummies) by Guy de la Bedoyere by Guy de la Bedoyere Guy de la Bedoyere

message 5: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod

Dictator was a political office of the Roman Republic.

A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the dictator (Latin for "one who dictates (orders)") -- also known as the magister populi ("master of the peoples") -- was an extraordinary magistrate (magistratus extraordinarius) whose function was to perform extraordinary tasks exceeding the authority of any of the ordinary magistrates. The Roman Senate passed a senatus consultum authorizing the consuls to nominate a dictator, who was the sole exception to the Roman legal principles of collegiality (multiple tenants of the same office) and responsibility (being legally able to be held to answer for actions in office); there could never be more than one dictator at any one time for any reason, and no dictator could ever be held legally responsible for any action during his time in office for any reason. The dictator was the highest magistrate in degree of precedence (praetor maximus) and was attended by 24 lictors.

There were actually several different types of dictatorate. The most famous type is the dictator rei gerendae causa, who was appointed in times of military emergency for six months or for the duration of the emergency, whichever period was shorter. This dictator held absolute military and civil power in the State, and was obligated to appoint as his deputy a master of the horse (magister equitum). When the dictator left office, the office of master of the horse immediately ceased to exist. Other types of dictators were occasionally appointed for more mundane reasons: comitiorum habendorum causa (for summoning the comitia for elections), clavi figendi causa (for fixing the clavus annalis in the temple of Jupiter), feriarum constituendarum causa (for appointing holidays), ludorum faciendorum causa (for officiating at public games), quaestionibus exercendis (for holding certain trials), and legendo senatui (for filling vacancies in the Senate).

The best known dictatores rei gerendae causa were Cincinnatus and Fabius Maximus (during the Second Punic War). Thereafter this form of dictatorate fell into disuse. After the falling out of Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, the latter marched on Rome and had himself appointed to an entirely new office, dictator rei publicae constituendae causa, which was functionally identical to the dictatorate rei gerendae causa except that it lacked any time limit. Sulla held this office for years before he voluntarily abdicated and retired from public life.

Julius Caesar subsequently resurrected the dictatorate rei gerendae causa in his first dictatorship, then modified it to a full year term. He was appointed dictator rei gerendae causa for a full year in 46 BC and then designated for nine consecutive one-year terms in that office thereafter, functionally becoming dictator for ten years. A year later, this pretense was discarded altogether and the Senate voted to make him dictator perpetuus (usually rendered in English as "dictator for life", but properly meaning "perpetual dictator").

After Caesar's murder on the Ides of March, his consular colleague Marcus Antonius passed a lex Antonia which abolished the dictatorate and expunged it from the constitutions of the Republic. The office was later offered to Caesar Augustus, who prudently declined it, and opted instead for tribunician power and consular imperium without holding any office other than pontifex maximus and princeps senatus -- a politic arrangement which left him as functional dictator without having to hold the controversial title or office itself.

List of Roman dictators

Marcus Furius Camillus – five terms
458 BC – Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, second term in 439 BC
342 BC - Marcus Valerius Corvus
333 BC - Publius Cornelius Rufinus
324 BC - Lucius Papirius Cursor
315 BC – Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus
301 BC - Marcus Valerius Corvus, second term following the Second Samnite war
217 BC – Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator, in the Second Punic war
203 BC – Publius Sulpicius Galba Maximus
81/79 BC – Lucius Cornelius Sulla
46 BC and 45/44 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar

message 6: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
The Consul at Rome: The Civil Functions of the Consuls in the Roman Republic

The Consul at Rome The Civil Functions of the Consuls in the Roman Republic by Francisco Pina Polo by Francisco Pina Polo (no photo)


In modern times there have been studies of the Roman Republican institutions as a whole as well as in-depth analyses of the senate, the popular assemblies, the tribunate of the plebs, the aedileship, the praetorship and the censorship. However, the consulship, the highest magistracy of the Roman Republic, has not received the same attention from scholars. The purpose of this book is to analyse the tasks that consuls performed in the civil sphere during their term of office between the years 367 and 50 BC, using the preserved ancient sources as its basis. In short, it is a study of the consuls at work, both within and outside the city of Rome, in such varied fields as religion, diplomacy, legislation, jurisdiction, colonisation, elections, and day-to-day politics. Clearly and accessibly written, it will provide an indispensable reference work for all scholars and students of the history of the Roman Republic.

message 7: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod

A proconsul was a governor of a province in the Roman Republic appointed for one year by the senate. In modern usage, the title has been used (sometimes disparagingly) for a person from one country ruling another country or bluntly interfering in another country's internal affairs.

In the Roman Republic a promagistrate (like a propraetor) designated someone who served with the authority and capacity of a magistrate without holding the office. This category of official was created to address the challenge of administration in the republic's increasing overseas territories. The greatest of these placeholder offices was a proconsul, who acted in place of a consul, itself the highest office in the republic. After serving as consul, citizens could be named proconsul and spend a year as governor of a province. Certain provinces were reserved for proconsuls; who received which one by senatorial appointment was determined by random choosing or negotiation between the two consuls.

Under the Empire, the Emperor derived a good part of his powers (alongside the military imperium and the tribunician power and presidency of the senate in Rome) from a constitutionally 'exceptional' (but permanent) mandate as the holder of proconsular authority over all, hence, so-called Imperial provinces, generally with one or more legions garrisoned (often each under a specific legate); however, he would appoint legates and other promagistrates to govern each such province in his name. The former consuls (constitutionally still eponymic chief magistrates of the res publica, but politically powerless) would still receive a term as proconsul of one of the other, so-called Senatorial provinces.

The Notitia Dignitatum, a unique early 5th-century imperial chancery document, still mentions three proconsuls (propraetors had completely disappeared), apparently above even the vicars of the dioceses in protocol though administratively they are subordinates like all governors; the diocesan vicars in turn were under the four praetorian prefects: in the Eastern Empire Asia (a small part of the former Asia province, comprising the central part of the western Anatolian coast) and Achaea (the Peloponnese and most of Central Greece); in the Western Empire only Africa [Proconsularis], also known as Zeugitana, the northern part of modern Tunisia.

The many other, often new or split, provinces are under governors of various other -younger, usually less prestigious- styles: comes, praefectus augustalis (unique to Egypt, the emperor's "pharaonic crown domain"), consularis, praeses [provinciae], corrector provinciae; these are not to be confused with the also territorially organised (but overlapping) and strictly military governors: comes militaris, dux and later magister militum.

Cassius Dio claims that Augustus reformed the governing of provinces, including proconsuls, in 27 BC. "Next [Augustus] decreed that the senatorial provinces should be governed by magistrates chosen annually by lot, except in a case where a senator was entitled to special privileges because of the number of his children or because of his marriage. These governors were to be sent out by a vote of the Senate taken in public session; they were not to carry a sword in their belt, not to wear military uniform; the title of proconsul was conferred not only upon the two ex-consuls, but extended to other governors who had served only as praetors, or at any rate held the rank of ex-praetors; both classes of governors were to be attended by as many lictors as was the custom in Rome; officials were to put on the insignia of their office immediately leaving the city limits, and to wear them continually until they returned. The other governors, those who were to serve in the imperial provinces, were to be appointed by the emperor and to be called his envoys, and pro-praetors, even if they were from the ranks of the ex-consuls. Thus of the two titles that had flourished for so long under the republic, Octavian gave that of praetor to the men of his choice on the grounds that from very early times it had been associated with warfare, and named them pro-praetors. The title of consul he gave to senatorial nominees, on the grounds that their duties were more peaceful, and called them proconsuls. He kept the full titles of consul and praetor for magistrates holding office in Italy, and referred to all the governors outside Italy as ruling in their stead."


message 8: by Teri (new)

Teri (teriboop) Magistracy and the Historiography of the Roman Republic: Politics in Prose

Magistracy and the Historiography of the Roman Republic Politics in Prose by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov (no photo)


The study of Roman republican magistracy has traditionally been the preserve of historians posing constitutional and prosopographical questions. As a result, one fundamental aspect of our most detailed contemporary and near-contemporary sources about magistracy has remained largely neglected: their literariness. This book takes a new approach to the representation of magistrates and shows how the rhetorical and formal features of prose texts - principally Livy's history but also works by Cicero and Sallust - shape our understanding of magistracy. Applying to the texts an expanded concept of exemplarity, Haimson Lushkov shows how a rich body of anecdotes concerning the behaviour and speech of magistrates reflects on the values and tensions that defined the republic. A variety of contexts - familial, military, and electoral, among others - flesh out the experience of being, becoming, and encountering a Roman magistrate, and the political and ethical problems highlighted and negotiated in such circumstances.

message 9: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Consuls and Res Publica

Consuls and Res Publica by Hans Beck by Hans Beck (no photo)


The consulate was the focal point of Roman politics. Both the ruling class and the ordinary citizens fixed their gaze on the republic's highest office to be sure, from different perspectives and with differing expectations. While the former aspired to the consulate as the defining magistracy of their social status, the latter perceived it as the embodiment of the Roman state. Holding high office was thus not merely a political exercise. The consulate prefigured all aspects of public life, with consuls taking care of almost every aspect of the administration of the Roman state. This multifaceted character of the consulate invites a holistic investigation. The scope of this book is therefore not limited to political or constitutional questions. Instead, it investigates the predominant role of the consulate in and its impact on, the political culture of the Roman republic.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you so much for the add Vicki.

message 11: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Roman Republican Governors of Gaul

Roman Republican Governors of Gaul by Jesse Russell by Jesse Russell (no photo)


Roman Republican governors of Gaul were assigned to the province of Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) or to Transalpine Gaul, the Mediterranean region of present-day France also called the Narbonensis, though the latter term is sometimes reserved for a more strictly defined area administered from Narbonne (ancient Narbo).Latin Gallia can also refer in this period to greater Gaul independent of Roman control, covering the remainder of France, Belgium, and parts of the Netherlands and Switzerland, often distinguished as Gallia Comata and including regions also known as Celtica (Κελτική in Strabo and other Greek sources), Aquitania, Belgica, and Armorica (Britanny). To the Romans, Gallia was a vast and vague geographical entity distinguished by predominately Celtic inhabitants, with "Celticity" a matter of culture as much as speaking gallice ("in Celtic").

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you for the adds Vicki on both threads

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