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Transcript
Social Structures during the
Roman Republic
Offices, Assemblies, and Religion
Political Order





4th century to end of the Republic
Direct participation of citizens
All roles performed under the watch of the public
eye
Officials dealt directly with those they governed lack of a bureaucracy
Government dominated by a few elite families
Government Offices

Quaestors




Formed in the mid 5th century
Oversaw public money
Supervised the treasury (Temple of Saturn) and the
fund that generals took on campaigns
Aediles




Elected annually
Two plebian and two patrician (curule aediles)
Maintained temples, city streets, markets
Judged disputes that arose in the markets
Government Offices

Praetor


Elected annually
Originally one, then two (242 BC), then more as the
empire expanded
 Office opened to plebians through the Conflict of
Orders
 Leading officials in Rome when consuls were absent
on campaign
 Acted as judge
 Different praetors had different roles
 Propraetor - govern a province
 Wore the toga praetexta, held imperium, 6 lictors
QuickTime™ and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Government Offices

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Consul
2
consuls chosen each year
 Generals of the army
 Made sacrifices, presided over meetings of the
senate, addressed assemblies, listened to
complaints, made judgments
 Proconsul - govern a province
 Toga praetexta, curule, imperium, 12 lictors
Government Offices

Tribune of the Plebs




Office formed during the Conflict of Orders
Most important of the lesser officeholders
Had the right to summon citizens to vote
Ability to block public actions that they thought were
unlawful or inappropriate
 Veto power over consuls (except when appointing a
dictator)
 Protects the Plebians
 They could not prevent praetors and consuls from
acting as they wished outside the city of Rome (so they
could not interfere with campaigns)
Government Offices

Censor
2
censors
 Elected very 5 years, held office for 18 months
 Counted citizens and assigned them to
centuries and tribes
 Based
on place of residence, property, dependents,
and even character
 Selected
the 300 senators based on rank
 Highest
ranking senator was given the title
princeps senatus
Dictator






Elected in times of emergencies
Senate would declare that a dictator was needed,
and the consuls would select one
In power for 6 months
All other magistrates, except Tribune of the
Plebs, were suspended
24 lictors, highest imperium
Magister Equitum - master of the horses
appointed as second in command

6 lictors, praetor role
Imperium and Auspicium

Imperium





a special right to command
Religious association
Gave magistrates authority to lead armies and punish
offenders
Imperium limited by office and presence of higher
offices
Auspicium


Right to seek the approval of the gods for their tenure
in office and their official actions
Rituals of divination known as auspices, read by
augurs
Cursus Honorum

Problem with same people holding offices
 Order of public offices
 Minimum age for each office (patricians
could subtract 2 years from minimum age)
 Though

rarely allowed in the 1st century BC
It was a mark of great political success to
obtain a position in suo anno
 Cicero
anno
- “new man,” elected to consul in suo
Cursus Honorum

10 years of military duty (20-30)



Quaestor (30)
Aedile (36)



Not required to move on to next step
Praetor (39)
Consul (42)


Military Tribune - 24 legion commanders
Highest office
Censor (usually had to have served as consul)
The Senate

QuickTime™ and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
300 men
 usually all office holders were senators,
usually lifelong membership
 Met when summoned by consul, praetor,
or tribunes of the plebs
 Advisory role to the officials of Rome
 Gradually assumed more active role
Assemblies

Open to all male citizens
 Not representative
 Voted on officeholders, laws, and trials
 Officials determined the agenda, citizens
only discussed and voted
 Contiones - occasions just for discussion
and debate
 Comitia and concilia - voting
 All assemblies met in Rome (or near)
Comitia Centuriata

Organization mirrored the army
 Elected consuls, praetors, and censors
 Voted on matters of war and peace
 Only an official with imperium could
summon the assembly
 Voting done by century (determined by
class)
 Each century got one vote
 Favored upper classes
Comitia Tributa

Organized by tribes



4 tribes in the city
31 in the country
One vote per tribe no matter how many people in
assembly
 Elected quaetors, curule aediles, and military
tribunes
 Had the power to try cases (though taken away in
later reforms)
 Legislative power
Concilium Plebis

Assembly for plebeians
 Passed laws, elected magistrates (tribunes
and plebeian aediles), and tried judicial
cases
 Organized based on tribes
Religion






Not separated from governmental institutions
Cheif magistrates performed major rites of the
city
Officials were often advised by priests
Pontifex (pontifices) exercised general
supervision over the religion, rites, and the
Roman calendar
9 pontifices by 3rd century, 15 in 1st century
Headed by the pontifex maximus
Religion

Augurs
 Auspices
which confirmed officials power in
the eyes of the gods

Vestal Virgins
 Wives of pontifex maximus and the priest
of Jupiter (flamen Dialis) took part in
some of their husbands ritual
responsibilities