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Article

Graham Burton

Conventus, ‘assembly’, is technically used(1) for associations of Italians abroad;(2) for provincial assizes.(1) By the early 2nd cent. bce Italians (especially in the east) united for religious and other purposes under elected magistri. In the late republic these associations (which came to be called conventus civium Romanorum) often gained a position of great political importance locally; the governor would rely on them for service on juries and on his council (consilium) and for advice on local conditions. In the Caesarian and Augustan period such associations often formed the nucleus for the foundation of new colonies and municipia civium Romanorum. Under the empire these associations sometimes passed decrees together with the Greek city authorities; in some areas they came to be organized under curatores. In the long term with the spread of *Romanization, especially in the west, these associations disappeared.(2) In most provinces, by the late republic, assizes (where the provincial governor held court) were held in fixed centres. Under the Principate the status of assize centres became a much sought after privilege, comparable to that of being a centre for the imperial (*ruler-)cult, which was in the gift of the emperor.

Article

Graham Burton

In the eastern provinces correctores of the *free cities of a province, which were technically independent of the provincial governor, are first attested under *Trajan. He sent a praetorian senator to regulate the state of the free cities of *Achaia. (*Pliny (2), Ep. 8. 24 gives him advice.) Fewer than twenty such senatorial officials (in Greek διορθωτής or ἐπανορθωτής) are known in the period up to *Diocletian; sometimes the regulatory and adjudicatory duties constitutive of this role were not restricted only to the free cities of a province. They possessed *imperium and their powers were more wide-ranging than those of curatores (see curator rei publicae) appointed only to supervise the finances of individual cities.In Italy various senatorial officials (such as *iuridici, imperial legates, and praepositi delegated to oversee specific regions) are attested in the 2nd and 3rd cents. ce.

Article

Peter Sidney Derow

Tiberius Coruncanius, from *Tusculum, consul 280 bce, dictator (for elections) 246, died 243. As consul he celebrated a triumph over *Volsinii and *Vulci and was active with his colleague (P. Valerius Laevinus) against *Pyrrhus. Pontifex from an unknown date, he became (between 255 and 252) the first plebeian *pontifex maximus.

Article

Leanne Bablitz

Because the modern legal system used in most western countries derives from ancient Rome, it is easy to assume that Roman courts (and the activities that took place before them) were the same as their modern descendants. However, differences exist—great enough in number and importance that all scholars of the ancient world must take care when drawing conclusions without solid evidence to support them. The history of Roman courts, in both the republican and imperial periods, shows the profound differences between Roman and modern courts in both their cultural and physical aspects.

Today, when we think of a court, we typically imagine a structure built in a style to impress passers-by, containing one or more rooms in which various officials move through a prescribed set of procedures, to either resolve a dispute between individuals or determine a penalty against an offender. Because the modern legal system used in most western countries derives from ancient Rome, it is not entirely wrong to assume that the ancient Roman courts were much the same as their modern descendants. However, differences exist—great enough in number and importance that all students of the ancient world must take care when drawing conclusions without solid evidence to support them.

Article

Andrew M. Riggsby

“Crime” lacks a fully agreed definition across modern societies, but competing versions tend to stress notions like punishment, protection of public or collective interests, and a pervasive role for the state in proceedings. Over time the Romans used a series of different procedures (successively, trial before the assemblies, by specialized juries, or by imperial inquisitors) to try most of their offences that would be more or less recognizably criminal today. Substantively, the core of this group were offences against the state in an institutional sense (e.g., sedition, electoral malpractice, abuse of public office, forgery). Over time it also came to include an increasing number of (personal) crimes of violence. Some core modern criminal offences such as forms of theft and forgery of private documents came to be grouped in with these only at a very late date and incompletely. “Moral” offences that are treated as criminal more sporadically today (e.g., use of intoxicants, gambling, prostitution) were not criminalized. Penalties in earlier periods included fines, civic disgrace, and exile; later periods introduced finer differentiation of penalties, as well as execution. Imprisonment was not a formal penalty.

Article

George Ronald Watson and Andrew Lintott

Crucifixion seems to have been a form of punishment borrowed by the Romans from elsewhere, probably *Carthage. As a Roman penalty it is first certainly attested in the *Punic Wars. It was normally confined to slaves or non-citizens and later in the empire to humbler citizens; it was not applied to soldiers, except in the case of desertion. *Constantine I abolished the penalty (not before ce 314). Two inscriptions of the 1st cent. ce from *Cumae and *Puteoli have been found containing the contract of the undertaker both of funerals and of executions of this kind (see lex(2), ‘lex libitinaria’). The general practice was to begin with flagellation of the condemned, who was then compelled to carry a cross-beam (patibulum) to the place of execution, where a stake had been firmly fixed in the ground. He was stripped and fastened to the cross-beam with nails and cords, and the beam was drawn up by ropes until his feet were clear of the ground. Some support for the body was provided by a ledge (sedile) which projected from the upright, but a footrest (suppedaneum) is rarely attested, though the feet were sometimes tied or nailed.

Article

Ernst Badian

In Roman public law, cura(tio) means the responsibility for a particular area of public administration, normally inhering in a magistrate. *Cicero, in his description of the ideal (Roman) Republic, makes the aediles curatores of the city, the food supply, and the traditional games (Leg. 3.7). (He avoids the term for the other magistrates, probably for literary reasons.) In 3.10 he stipulates, in his affected pseudo-archaic language, that if anything outside the sphere of the magistracies needs to be attended to (coerari oesus est), the People shall elect a man to administer it (qui coeret) and give him the power to do so.

It is clear that this way of attending to business not within the sphere of any magistrate was a fairly late development, probably because of the Roman distrust of conferring special powers on one man, which was overcome only when the Republic was beginning to break down.

Article

Graham Burton

Curator rei publicae (or civitatis, etc. ), in Greek λογιστής, was an official of the central government; the first certain example occurs under *Domitian (ILS 1017). Curatores normally were appointed by the emperor, of elevated social rank (senatorial, equestrian, or provincial notable) and by geographic origin foreign to the city (or cities) where they held office. The known chronological and geographic distribution, during the 2nd and 3rd cent., ce of this official is uneven. They are, for example, well attested in Italy and Asia (though many cities never received a curator), while the first known example in North Africa occurs only under *Septimius Severus. Their prime function was to investigate and supervise, on a short-term basis, the finances of individual civic communities; in the provinces they thus supplemented the administrative powers of provincial governors.By the early 4th cent., probably as a result of the administrative reforms of *Diocletian, curatores were elected by local councils (though the nomination may have had to be confirmed by the emperor) and they were normally local politicians who had completed all the other magistracies of their city.

Article

T. Corey Brennan

Down to the 3rd cent. bce there were perhaps few rules concerning the cursus honorum (career path) other than a requisite period of military service before seeking the political offices open to one's order, and some restrictions on iteration (cf. Livy 27. 6. 7). The senatorial establishment in the early 2nd cent. continued to support a loosely regulated cursus (Livy 32. 7. 8–12; cf. Cic. De or. 2. 261), surely because it facilitated use of private influence in elections. However, in or soon after 197, when the number of *praetors was set at six, a new law stipulated that all *consuls be ex-praetors. Henceforth, the basic progression was *quaestor–praetor–consul. If the tribunate of the plebs and the aedileship were held, the former usually and the latter always followed the quaestorship; the censorship traditionally went to ex-consuls (see aediles; censor; tribuni plebis). The cursus acquired further rigidity from the lex Villia annalis of 180 (see villius (annalis), l.

Article

Arnaldo Momigliano and Antony Spawforth

Five edicts of *Augustus preserved in a Greek inscription from *Cyrene, published in 1927. The first four belong to 7–6 bce and apply to the public province of *Crete and Cyrene alone; the fifth, which introduces a *senatus consultum, dates from 4 bce and applies to the whole empire. The documents definitively prove that Augustus received an imperium maius (see imperium) over the public provinces and demonstrate his ably balanced treatment of provincials.In the first edict Augustus establishes the procedure that criminal cases involving a capital charge against a ‘Greek’ (i.e. a *Hellenized provincial, here and throughout the inscription) should be tried by mixed juries of Greeks and Roman citizens of a certain census, unless the accused preferred to have an entirely Roman jury. The system is modelled on the quaestiones perpetuae (see quaestiones) of Rome. Roman citizens, except Greeks who had received Roman *citizenship, are not allowed to be accusers in cases involving murders of Greeks.

Article

R. Zimmermann

Damnum iniuria datum was one of the four sources of delictual obligations mentioned in Gaius, Institutio oratoria 3. 182. It was based on the most important statutory enactment on Roman private law subsequent to the *Twelve Tables, the lex Aquilia of (probably) 286 bce. Its first chapter provided that if anyone wrongfully (iniuria) killed another's slave or livestock-quadruped he had to pay the owner the highest value which the thing had had in that year. Ch. 3 dealt with damage not covered by ch. 1 and done to another by unlawfully burning, breaking, or ruining (urere, frangere, rumpere) his property; liability was for ‘as much as this affair will be in the next 30 days’. (Ch. 2 dealt with different matters and had become obsolete in classical law.) Some details of the actual text of the lex are uncertain and much speculation surrounds, in particular, the rather peculiar assessment clauses. The title 9. 2 of the Digest contains a wealth of cases concerning damage to property which show the Roman jurists ingeniously interpreting the provisions of the lex Aquilia, extending its scope of protection by granting, wherever appropriate, actions on the case (actiones in factum) or based on the policy of the statute (actiones utiles), and working their way towards more generalized requirements of delictual liability: self-defence, necessity, public authority, and consent as situations where the defendant's act could not be labelled unlawful (non iure factum); fault (which the Roman lawyers regarded as implicit in the term iniuria) as the basis of Aquilian liability; the effect of contributory negligence; compensation of the plaintiff for damage suffered.

Article

Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and Antony Spawforth

Decaproti (δεκάπρωτοι) first appear in 66 ce and become common throughout the eastern provinces of the Roman empire in the 2nd and early 3rd cents.; the office was abolished in Egypt and probably elsewhere in 307–8 ce. Decaproti were probably in origin a finance committee of the city council, concerned with civic revenues and endowments. By the 2nd cent. they were collecting imperial taxes and levies, and in the 3rd this was their chief function; in Egypt they were responsible for the imperial land revenue. They were liable to make good deficits from their own property. Normally ten in number, the board had a varying membership, sometimes increasing to twenty. They were elected, and probably held office for five years. See finance, roman.

Article

A. N. Sherwin-White

Decemprimi, the ten senior members of the local council of a Latin or Roman municipality (*municipium), formed with the yearly magistrates a group which in times of crisis represented the community in dealings with the central government. They are mentioned in the republican period only, but in the fully developed empire a similar group of *decaproti emerges as specially liable to Rome for the collection of the imperial taxes.

Article

Andrew Drummond

According to the developed Roman tradition, after prolonged plebeian agitation for the compilation of a law code, all regular magistracies (including the plebeian tribunate) were suspended for 451 bce and replaced by a board of ten with consular powers (and not subject to appeal (*provocatio)). Consisting largely of ex-consuls, this board drew up ten tables of laws but was replaced for 450 by a second, similar decemvirate (cf. already L. *Cassius Hemina fr.18 Peter). This second board drew up two further tables (including a ban on legitimate marriages between *patricians and plebeians) but, led by Ap. *Claudius Crassus Inregillensis Sabinus, became increasingly tyrannical and refused to relinquish office (in the Varronian chronology it holds office only for one year, but other chronologies usually assign it two). The fall of the Second Decemvirate, reversal to the consulship and legislation of L. *Valerius Poplicola Potitus and M.

Article

Andrew Drummond

Decemviri stlitibus iudicandis ('Board of ten for judging lawsuits'). Sextus Pomponius (Dig. 1. 2. 2. 29) implies that this minor magistracy (belonging to the *vigintisexviri) was established soon after the First *Punic War but some scholars interpret a supposed lex Valeria Horatia of 449 (Livy 3. 55. 7 (see valerius poplicola potitus, l.

Article

A. N. Sherwin-White, Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, and Tony Honoré

Decuriones were the councillors who ran Roman local government in both colonies and municipalities (see municipium), Latin and Roman. They did so as members of the local council (senatus, in the later empire *curia (1); hence decuriones were then also called curiales). They were recruited mainly from ex-magistrates and held office for life. The list of councillors was revised every five years. The qualifications included criteria of wealth, age, free birth, and reputation. The minimum age was 25, reduced by *Constantine I to 18. Members of influential families could however be made honorary members even if they lacked the standard qualifications. The number of councillors varied, but was often 100. They controlled the public life of the community, its administration, and finances, including the voting of honorary decrees and statues. They had charge of its external relations, including the sending of embassies and petitions to the emperor or provincial governor. The local popular assemblies did little apart from electing magistrates.

Article

Michael Crawford

Originally, persons who have made a deditio in fidem, an unconditional surrender, to Rome; the normal consequence in the case of a whole community was that Rome regulated their status, usually by restoring them to their position before their surrender. The lex Aelia Sentia of ce 4 created a category of freed slaves, who had been guilty of certain offences, who were free ‘with the same condicio as the condicio of foreigners who have made a deditio’ (Gai.Institutiones 1. 13–15). The precise nature of this condicio remains obscure, but presumably the essence was that the liberty was precarious and could be ended at will by a Roman magistrate. Dediticii were excluded from one of the provisions of the Antonine *constitution: it is disputed whether the provision in question is the grant of citizenship or a condition attaching to this grant.

Article

delict  

Maria Floriana Cursi

“Delict” (delictum) is, in Roman law, a private wrong, as opposed to a public wrong called “crime” (crimen). Notwithstanding its private nature, in the beginning the consequence of a delict was a penalty whose function was fundamentally punitive, because of the intentional conduct of the wrongdoer (dolus). However, at the end of the Republic, and simultaneously with the rise of the notion of negligence (culpa), an additional compensatory function was introduced.In classical Roman law, four types of private wrongs (delicta) existed: bodily injury and insult (iniuria), theft (furtum), damage to property (damnum iniuria datum), and theft committed by means of violence (rapina) (Gai. Inst. 3.182).The historical formation of this scheme is unclear. Private wrongs are certainly ancient, but the first evidence in the sources dates back only as far as the 5th century bce, in the Twelve Tables, which deal mostly with bodily injury and theft.

Article

Eastland Stuart Staveley and Barbara Levick

An electoral term derived from the verb destinare. The use of the verb in Livy 39. 32. 9 shows that the ‘marking out’ or ‘fixing on’ a candidate at any stage of the electoral process did not guarantee his ultimate election. Destinatio is first met in the *tabula Hebana, where a lex Valeria Cornelia of ce 5 assigned a preliminary role in the election of consuls and praetors to ten voting centuries named after C. *Iulius Caesar (3) and L. *Iulius Caesar (4) (increased to fifteen in ce 19 and to twenty in ce 23 in honour of *Germanicus and Drusus *Iulius Caesar (1) respectively) and comprising senators and all *equites enrolled in the judicial decuries. The decision of this body was its destinatio; its chosen candidates were destinati. Their number never exceeded the number of places to be filled, and the vote of the select assembly was succeeded by a vote of the full comitia centuriata; Tibiletti was probably right to think of the centuries as *centuriaepraerogativae: destinati went forward with the votes of all, and the centuries of the comitia centuriata, knowing what their betters had thought, followed suit.

Article

Andrew Dominic Edwards Lewis

Renunciation of family rites. A Roman head of household (sui iuris) performed religious rites (sacra). These rites were peculiar to each family group. If such a person agreed to be transferred by comitial *adoption (adrogatio) into another's family, he had to submit to a pontifical examination prior to proceedings in the comitia calata (the ‘summoned assembly’).