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Roman magistrate


The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome. During the period of the Roman Kingdom, the King of Rome was the principal executive magistrate.[1] His power, in practice, was absolute. He was the chief priest, lawgiver, judge, and the sole commander of the army.[1][2] When the king died, his power reverted to the Roman Senate, which then chose an Interrex to facilitate the election of a new king. During the transition from monarchy to republic, the constitutional balance of power shifted from the executive (the Roman king) to the Roman Senate. When the Roman Republic was founded in 509 BC, the powers that had been held by the king were transferred to the Roman consuls, of which two were to be elected each year. Magistrates of the republic were elected by the people of Rome, and were each vested with a degree of power, called "major powers" (maior potestas).[3] Dictators had more "major powers" than any other magistrate, and after the Dictator was the censor, and then the consul, and then the praetor, and then the curule aedile, and then the quaestor. Any magistrate could obstruct ("veto") an action that was being taken by a magistrate with an equal or lower degree of magisterial powers.[4] By definition, plebeian tribunes and plebeian aediles were technically not magistrates[5] since they were elected only by the plebeians,[3] and as such, they were independent of all other powerful magistrates.

During the transition from republic to empire, the constitutional balance of power shifted from the Roman Senate back to the executive (the Roman Emperor). Theoretically, the senate elected each new emperor; in practice each emperor chose his own successor, though the choice was often overruled by the army or civil war. The powers of an emperor (his imperium) existed, in theory at least, by virtue of his legal standing. The two most significant components to an emperor's imperium were the "tribunician powers" and the "proconsular powers".[6] In theory at least, the tribunician powers (which were similar to those of the plebeian tribunes under the old republic) gave the emperor authority over Rome's civil government, while the proconsular powers (similar to those of military governors, or proconsuls, under the old republic) gave him authority over the Roman army. While these distinctions were clearly defined during the early empire, eventually they were lost, and the emperor's powers became less constitutional and more monarchical.[7] The traditional magistracies that survived the fall of the republic were the consulship, praetorship, plebeian tribunate, aedileship, quaestorship, and military tribunate.[8] Mark Antony abolished the offices of Roman dictator and Master of the Horse during his Consulship in 44 BC, while the offices of Interrex and Roman censor were abolished shortly thereafter.

Contents

  • Executive magistrates of the Roman Kingdom 1
  • Executive magistrates of the Roman Republic 2
  • Executive magistrates of the Roman Empire 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Notes 6
  • Further reading 7
    • Primary sources 7.1
    • Secondary source material 7.2

Executive magistrates of the Roman Kingdom

The executive magistrates of the Roman Kingdom were elected officials of the ancient


  • Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, by Montesquieu
  • The Roman Constitution to the Time of Cicero
  • What a Terrorist Incident in Ancient Rome Can Teach Us

Secondary source material

  • Cicero's De Re Publica, Book Two
  • Rome at the End of the Punic Wars: An Analysis of the Roman Government; by Polybius

Primary sources

  • Ihne, Wilhelm. Researches Into the History of the Roman Constitution. William Pickering. 1853.
  • Johnston, Harold Whetstone. Orations and Letters of Cicero: With Historical Introduction, An Outline of the Roman Constitution, Notes, Vocabulary and Index. Scott, Foresman and Company. 1891.
  • Mommsen, Theodor. Roman Constitutional Law. 1871-1888
  • Tighe, Ambrose. The Development of the Roman Constitution. D. Apple & Co. 1886.
  • Von Fritz, Kurt. The Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Antiquity. Columbia University Press, New York. 1975.
  • The Histories by Polybius
  • Cambridge Ancient History, Volumes 9–13.
  • A. Cameron, The Later Roman Empire (Fontana Press, 1993).
  • M. Crawford, The Roman Republic (Fontana Press, 1978).
  • E. S. Gruen, "The Last Generation of the Roman Republic" (U California Press, 1974)
  • F. Millar, The Emperor in the Roman World (Duckworth, 1977, 1992).
  • A. Lintott, "The Constitution of the Roman Republic" (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c d Abbott, 8
  2. ^ a b c d Abbott, 15
  3. ^ a b c Abbott, 151
  4. ^ Abbott, 154
  5. ^ a b Abbott, 196
  6. ^ a b Abbott, 342
  7. ^ a b Abbott, 341
  8. ^ a b c Abbott, 374
  9. ^ a b c d Abbott, 16
  10. ^ Abbott, 19
  11. ^ Abbott, 12
  12. ^ a b c d Abbott, 14
  13. ^ Holland, 27
  14. ^ Polybius, 136
  15. ^ Lintott, 113
  16. ^ Polybius, 132
  17. ^ Byrd, 20
  18. ^ Cicero, 236
  19. ^ Byrd, 32
  20. ^ Lintott, 119
  21. ^ a b Byrd, 31
  22. ^ a b Byrd, 24
  23. ^ Cicero, 237
  24. ^ Byrd, 42
  25. ^ Abbott, 240
  26. ^ Abbott, 344
  27. ^ a b Abbott, 345
  28. ^ a b c d Abbott, 357
  29. ^ Abbott, 356
  30. ^ Abbott, 354
  31. ^ Abbott, 349
  32. ^ Abbott, 376
  33. ^ a b Abbott, 377
  34. ^ a b c Abbott, 378
  35. ^ Abbott, 379
return p

end

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function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '

function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end

function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end


-- Helper functions


local p = {}

local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno


return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --

end

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function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '

function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end

function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end


-- Helper functions


local p = {}

local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


Notes

  • Polybius (1823). The General History of Polybius: Translated from the Greek. By James Hampton. Oxford: Printed by W. Baxter. Fifth Edition, Vol 2.
  • Taylor, Lily Ross (1966). Roman Voting Assemblies: From the Hannibalic War to the Dictatorship of Caesar. The University of Michigan Press (ISBN 0-472-08125-X).
  • Abbott, Frank Frost (1901). A History and Description of Roman Political Institutions. Elibron Classics (ISBN 0-543-92749-0).
  • Byrd, Robert (1995). The Senate of the Roman Republic. U.S. Government Printing Office, Senate Document 103-23.
  • Cicero, Marcus Tullius (1841). The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero: Comprising his Treatise on the Commonwealth; and his Treatise on the Laws. Translated from the original, with Dissertations and Notes in Two Volumes. By Francis Barham, Esq. London: Edmund Spettigue. Vol. 1.
  • Lintott, Andrew (1999). The Constitution of the Roman Republic. Oxford University Press (ISBN 0-19-926108-3).

References

See also

Under the empire, the citizens were divided into three classes, and for members of each class, a distinct career path was available (known as the cursus honorum).[8] The traditional magistracies were only available to citizens of the senatorial class. The magistracies that survived the fall of the republic were (by their order of rank per the cursus honorum) the consulship, praetorship, plebeian tribunate, aedileship, quaestorship, and military tribunate.[8] If an individual was not of the senatorial class, he could run for one of these offices if he was allowed to run by the emperor, or otherwise, he could be appointed to one of these offices by the emperor. During the transition from republic to empire, no office lost more power or prestige than the consulship, which was due, in part, to the fact that the substantive powers of republican Consuls were all transferred to the emperor. Imperial Consuls could preside over the senate, could act as judges in certain criminal trials, and had control over public games and shows.[32] The Praetors also lost a great deal of power, and ultimately had little authority outside of the city.[33] The chief Praetor in Rome, the urban praetor, outranked all other Praetors, and for a brief time, they were given power over the treasury.[33] Under the empire, the plebeian tribunes remained sacrosanct,[34] and, in theory at least, retained the power to summon, or to veto, the senate and the assemblies.[34] Augustus divided the college of Quaestors into two divisions, and assigned one division the task of serving in the senatorial provinces, and the other the task of managing civil administration in Rome.[35] Under Augustus, the Aediles lost control over the grain supply to a board of commissioners. It wasn't until after they lost the power to maintain order in the city, however, that they truly became powerless, and the office disappeared entirely during the 3rd century.[34]

By virtue of his proconsular powers, the emperor held the same grade of military command authority as did the chief magistrates (the Roman consuls and proconsuls) under the republic. However, the emperor was not subject to the constitutional restrictions that the old consuls and proconsuls had been subject to.[26] Eventually, he was given powers that, under the republic, had been reserved for the Roman Senate and the Roman assemblies including the right to declare war, to ratify treaties, and to negotiate with foreign leaders.[27] The emperor's degree of Proconsular power gave him authority over all of Rome's military governors, and thus, over most of the Roman army. The emperor's tribunician powers gave him power over Rome's civil apparatus,[28][29] as well as the power to preside over, and thus to dominate, the assemblies and the senate.[28] When an emperor was vested with the tribunician powers, his office and his person became sacrosanct,[28] and thus it became a capital offense to harm or to obstruct the emperor.[28] The emperor also had the authority to carry out a range of duties that, under the republic, had been performed by the Roman censors. Such duties included the authority to regulate public morality (Censorship) and to conduct a census. As part of the census, the emperor had the power to assign individuals to a new social class, including the senatorial class, which gave the emperor unchallenged control over senate membership.[30] The emperor also had the power to interpret laws and to set precedents.[31] In addition, the emperor controlled the religious institutions, since, as emperor, he was always Pontifex Maximus, and a member of each of the four major priesthoods.[27]

Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.

The executive magistrates of the Roman Empire were elected individuals of the ancient Roman Empire. The powers of an emperor (his imperium) existed, in theory at least, by virtue of his legal standing. The two most significant components to an emperor's imperium were the "tribunician powers" (potestas tribunicia) and the "proconsular powers" (imperium proconsulare).[6] In theory at least, the tribunician powers (which were similar to those of the plebeian tribunes under the old republic) gave the emperor authority over Rome's civil government, while the proconsular powers (similar to those of military governors, or Proconsuls, under the old republic) gave him authority over the Roman army. While these distinctions were clearly defined during the early empire, eventually they were lost, and the emperor's powers became less constitutional and more monarchical.[7]

Executive magistrates of the Roman Empire

In times of military emergency, a Roman Dictator was appointed for a term of six months.[22] Constitutional government dissolved, and the Dictator became the absolute master of the state.[23] The Dictator then appointed a Master of the Horse to serve as his most senior lieutenant.[24] Often the Dictator resigned his office as soon as the matter that caused his appointment was resolved.[22] When the Dictator's term ended, constitutional government was restored. The last ordinary Dictator was appointed in 202 BC. After 202 BC, extreme emergencies were addressed through the passage of the decree senatus consultum ultimum ("ultimate decree of the senate"). This suspended civil government, declared martial law,[25] and vested the consuls with Dictatorial powers.

The consul of the Roman Republic was the highest ranking ordinary magistrate.[16][17] Two Consuls were elected every year, and they had supreme power in both civil and military matters. Throughout the year, one Consul was superior in rank to the other Consul, and this ranking flipped every month, between the two Consuls.[18] Praetors administered civil law, presided over the courts, and commanded provincial armies.[19] Another magistrate, the Censor, conducted a census, during which time they could appoint people to the senate.[20] Aediles were officers elected to conduct domestic affairs in Rome, and were vested with powers over the markets, and over public games and shows.[21] Quaestors usually assisted the consuls in Rome, and the governors in the provinces with financial tasks.[21] Two other magistrates, the Plebeian Tribunes and the Plebeian Aediles, were considered to be the representatives of the people. Thus, they acted as a popular check over the senate (through their veto powers), and safeguarded the civil liberties of all Roman citizens.

The most significant constitutional power that a magistrate could hold was that of "Command" (Imperium), which was held only by consuls and praetors. This gave a magistrate the constitutional authority to issue commands (military or otherwise). Once a magistrate's annual term in office expired, he had to wait ten years before serving in that office again. Since this did create problems for some magistrates, these magistrates occasionally had their command powers extended, which, in effect, allowed them to retain the powers of their office as a promagistrate.[15]

The Roman magistrates were elected officials of the Roman Republic. Each Roman magistrate was vested with a degree of power.[3] Dictators had the highest level of power. After the Dictator was the censor, and then the consul, and then the praetor, and then the curule aedile, and finally the quaestor. Each magistrate could only veto an action that was taken by a magistrate with an equal or lower degree of power. Since plebeian tribunes (as well as plebeian aediles) were technically not magistrates,[5] they relied on the sacrosanctity of their person to obstruct.[13] If one did not comply with the orders of a Plebeian Tribune, the Tribune could interpose the sacrosanctity of his person[14] (intercessio) to physically stop that particular action. Any resistance against the tribune was considered to be a capital offense.

Gaius Gracchus, tribune of the people, presiding over the Plebeian Council

Executive magistrates of the Roman Republic

The period between the death of a king, and the election of a new king, was known as the interregnum.[11] During the interregnum, the senate elected a senator to the office of Interrex[12] to facilitate the election of a new king. Once the Interrex found a suitable nominee for the kingship, he presented this nominee to the senate for an initial approval. If the senate voted in favor of the nominee, that person stood for formal election before the People of Rome in the Curiate Assembly (the popular assembly).[12] After the nominee was elected by the popular assembly, the senate ratified the election by passing a decree.[12] The Interrex then formally declared the nominee to be king. The new king then took the auspices (a ritual search for omens from the Gods), and was vested with legal authority (imperium) by the popular assembly.[12]

[10][9] The king sometimes deferred to precedent, often simply out of practical necessity. While the king could unilaterally declare war, for example, he typically wanted to have such declarations ratified by the popular assembly.[9] The king also had two Quaestors as general assistants, while several other officers assisted the king during treason cases. In war, the king occasionally commanded only the infantry, and delegated command over the cavalry to the commander of his personal bodyguards, the Tribune of the Celeres.[9] and unilaterally granted them their powers. When the king left the city, an Urban Prefect presided over the city in place of the absent king.[9] Sometimes he submitted his decrees to either the popular assembly or to the senate for a ceremonial ratification, but a rejection did not prevent the enactment of a decree. The king chose several officers to assist him,[2] He controlled all property held by the state, had the sole power to divide land and war spoils, was the chief representative of the city during dealings with either the Gods or leaders of other communities, and could unilaterally decree any new law.[2]

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