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date: 30 November 2020

tumultuslocked

  • Piero Treves
  •  and Tim Cornell

Extract

Tumultus was a state of emergency decreed by the Roman state when threatened by hostile attack. *Cicero (Phil. 8. 3) states that the ancients had distinguished two types, the tumultus Italicus, a war in Italy (which to Cicero and his contemporaries meant a civil war), and the tumultus Gallicus, a Gallic attack (Gaul being the only province bordering Italy). When a tumultus was pronounced there was a suspension of normal state business (*iustitium), military leave was cancelled, and all the citizens, wearing the military dress called the sagum, were levied (Cic. Phil. 5. 31). The procedure probably goes back at least as far as the Gallic raid of 390 bce (Diod. Sic. 14. 114. 1), and is recorded in accounts of the 4th cent. (e.g. Livy, 7. 9. 6, 361 bce). An emergency levy (tumultuarius dilectus) was the only time that *proletarii (citizens who fell below the military census qualification for military service) could be enrolled (Gell.

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