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Article

piracy  

Philip de Souza

Piracy can be defined as armed robbery involving the use of ships. The greater mobility which the sea provides is a major factor in differentiating between piracy and *brigandage, although the Greek and Latin vocabulary for the two was largely the same. It is often very difficult to distinguish piracy from warfare in the ancient sources, especially when the labelling of certain activities as piracy seems to be a way of illegitimizing the perpetrators, similar in some ways to the modern practice of describing political violence as terrorism.The earliest references to pirates are in the Homeric poems (see homer), particularly the Odyssey, where piracy is an activity which brings no shame upon its practitioners, although it may be disapproved of for the misery it brings to the victims (e.g. Hom. Od. 3. 71–4; 14. 222–34). None of the Homeric heroes is ever called a pirate, but they carry out seaborne raids which are very similar to the actions of those referred to as pirates (e.g. Od.

Article

Tony Honoré

Roman lawyer of the later 1st cent. ce, known only through excerpts in Justinian's Digest (see justinian's codification) from commentaries on his work by L. *Neratius Priscus, *Javolenus Priscus, Sextus *Pomponius, and *Iulius Paulus (Ex Plautio, Ad Plautium), who clearly admired him and arrange what seems to have been the same basic text in a very varying order.

Article

Eastland Stuart Staveley and Antony Spawforth

Plebiscitum, as opposed to *lex(1), was in theory a resolution carried by any Roman assembly in which no patrician cast his vote. In practice, except perhaps on a few occasions in the late republic, it was a resolution of a plebeian tribal assembly (concilium plebis: see comitia) presided over by a plebeian magistrate. At first the plebiscite was no more than a recommendation, and it attained the force of law only if re-enacted at the instance of a consul in the full assembly of the populus; but from an early date—possibly 449 bce—all plebiscites were recognized as universally binding which received the prior sanction of the patrician senators (*patrum auctoritas). By the lex Hortensia of 287 bce (see hortensius, quintus) they were afforded unconditional validity, and, with plebeian tribunes being drawn increasingly from within the governing class in the years which followed, they embodied much of the official routine legislation of the middle republic. In the post-Gracchan period they again became instruments of challenge to senatorial authority. Sulla therefore required in 88, and again in 81 bce, that all tribunician proposals should be approved by the senate before being put to the vote.

Article

plebs  

Arnaldo Momigliano and Andrew Lintott

Plebs, the name given to the mass of Roman citizens, as distinct from the privileged patricians, perhaps related to the Greek term for the masses, plethos. A modern hypothesis that the plebs was racially distinct from the *patricians is not supported by ancient evidence; and the view of some ancient writers (Cic.Rep. 2. 16; Dion. Hal. 2. 9; Plut.Rom. 13) that the plebeians were all clients (see cliens) of the patricians in origin may simply be an overstatement of the truism that clients were plebeians. Although we can confidently believe in the differentiation of an aristocracy of wealthier and more powerful families in the regal period, a clear-cut distinction of birth does not seem to have become important before the foundation of the republic, except perhaps in the field of religion, where the view that the plebeians did not originally have gentes (Livy 10. 8. 9; see gens) may be of some value.

Article

police  

Tim Cornell

In any discussion of police it is necessary to distinguish between the function of policing, that is, maintaining public order and enforcing the law, and the existence of a specialized agency of repression, i.e. a police force, to carry out these tasks on behalf of the state. Police forces as such, though taken for granted as a necessity, or at least a necessary evil, in modern societies, did not exist in the ancient world. They are a creation of the 18th and 19th cents., and reflect the growth of state power in the increasingly complex and bureaucratic societies of the modern industrialized world, and the extent to which mechanisms of social control have been centralized and monopolized by the state.On the other hand, ancient city-states recognized the need for publicly appointed officials to carry out functions of social regulation. For example, in Classical Athens annual boards of magistrates (*astynomoi, *agoranomoi, *sitophylakes, etc.

Article

Oswyn Murray

Roman society had a strong gentilicial framework, and throughout the republic politics was largely based on the clientela (see cliens) or kinship group; the late republic saw also the growth of military clientship among the dynasts. Much of Roman political life was concerned with the struggle for election to those offices which gave access to legal power, military command, and the possibility of conquest (see imperium; magistracy, roman; pro consule; pro praetore; provincia); it therefore involved a measure of participation by the people. Individuals might espouse conservative or radical attitudes and be designated by the political labels, *optimates and populares; but there was much inconsistency, and these claims seldom involved clear differences in policy. Decision-making was divided between the aristocratic *senate and a number of different assemblies, and was therefore complex and open to challenge. Roman political life seems closer to modern practices than does Greek, for it distanced the people from the process of *decision-making and possessed a complex constitutional law based on precedent; but it still lacked the concept of institutionalized party politics.

Article

Roman lawyer who wrote under *Hadrian, *Antoninus Pius, and Marcus *Aurelius. A teacher and prolific writer, the author of over 300 books (libri), he seems not to have given responsa (consultative opinions) nor to have held public office. His relation to the Sabinian and Proculian schools (see masurius sabinus; proculus, sempronius) is problematic; but there is (disputed) evidence that he was at one time an associate of *Gaius (2) (Dig. 45. 3. 39). His Enchiridium (Introduction to Law), from which Justinian's compilers excerpted a long passage (Dig. 1. 2. 2; see justinian's codification), is of great interest for its account of the history of the Roman constitution and the legal profession. It was the first and for long the only work on legal history. But the text, perhaps taken from a student's notes of lectures shortly before 131 ce, is garbled and contains many errors.

Article

populus  

Tim Cornell

Populus, a collective term for the Roman citizen body. The Roman People (populus Romanus) comprised the entire community of adult male citizens, but excluded women and children, as well as slaves and foreigners. At first it may have signified the people in arms, since the original title of the *dictator was magister populi (and cf. the word populari, ‘to lay waste’). This merely confirms that military service was one of the earliest functions of citizenship. It is probably not legitimate to infer from the formula populus plebsque (e.g. Cic.Pro Mur. 1. 1) that plebeians were excluded from the citizen body (or from the army; see plebs). In the later republic and during the early centuries of the empire populus Romanus was the technical designation of the Roman state, which indicates that the Romans had no abstract concept of ‘the State’ as an impersonal entity independent of the individuals who composed it. By means of its formal procedures in the *comitia, the populus Romanus elected magistrates, passed laws, declared war, and ratified treaties; and it was the populus Romanus that had dealings with the gods in public religious ceremonies.

Article

Barry Nicholas and Alan Rodger

Classical Roman law distinguished ownership and possession. While *ownership is the right to a thing, irrespective of whether the owner has any control or enjoyment of it, possession is, essentially, the control of a thing irrespective of whether the possessor has any right to it. A thief may therefore have possession.According to the jurist Paul (see iulius paulus), a person acquired possession by an act of the mind and an act of the body (animo et corpore): the object had to be placed in the person's effective control and the person had to intend to exercise control. What was effective control varied with the type of object involved. Possession is a ‘fact’ in the sense that, in principle, it lasts only so long as the control continues. But the principle came to be stretched and it was held that once acquired possession could in certain circumstances continue by intention alone (animo solo) where, as in the case of summer pastures which were not used in winter, actual control was lost for a time.

Article

Barry Nicholas

A Roman citizen captured by the enemy was regarded by Roman law as a slave (see booty; slavery), except that his rights were not extinguished but in suspense. By virtue of the right of postliminium (literally return behind the threshold) a captive who returned recovered all his rights retrospectively, just as if he had never been captured. The principle applied only to rights, not to ‘facts’, i.e. to legal relationships which require for their existence some physical manifestation. Such relationships did not revive automatically, but had to be physically resumed. Thus *ownership revived automatically, but *possession did not; nor did marriage (but this rule was altered by Justinian; see justinian's codification). If the captive died in captivity, he died a slave; but a lex Cornelia (of the dictator *Sulla) preserved the validity of his will by the fiction that he died a citizen. This fiction was applied to successions on intestacy and was further extended in the post-classical law. Postliminium was applied also to land and to certain things important in war (slaves, ships, horses used in military service) which fell into enemy hands and were later recovered by their owner.

Article

A. N. Sherwin-White and Andrew Lintott

Praefectura was the term for an assize-centre in Roman territory. When, for example, *Capua became a *municipium, praefecti (see praefectus) delegated by the *praetorurbanus were sent there from time to time, to perform jurisdiction and perhaps to promote the assimilation of Roman law by the Capuans, who were now citizens without the vote (cives sine suffragio). The praefecti are found later on a regular basis in other municipia and towns and in agrarian centres (fora and conciliabula) in the areas of full-citizens (e.g. CIL 12. 583. 31). They did not replace but assisted the local authorities of municipia; in small centres of Roman citizens they were sometimes the only judicial authority, while in *Campania, after the abolition of autonomy following the revolt of 215–211 bce, a special set of praefecti, elected at Rome, was instituted to take sole charge of local jurisdiction. After the *Social War (3) the old praefecturae in Italy were assimilated to municipia, but this seems to have been a gradual process, since we find the term praefectura in the texts of the Table of *Heraclea (1) (see lex(2) for the Tabula Heracleensis) and the lex Iulia agraria (lex Mamilia Roscia).

Article

Henry Michael Denne Parker, George Ronald Watson, and Andrew Lintott

Praefectus means ‘placed in charge’ and describes a great variety of men set in authority—officers in the army and navy, major imperial officials, judicial officers delegated by the praetor (see praefectura) and deputies for local magistrates.Before the *Social War (3) each wing (ala) of allied cavalry had six praefecti, three of whom were Roman officers. In *Caesar's time cavalry continued to be commanded by praefecti, while the praefectus fabrum (chief of engineers), e.g. Caesar's officer *Mamurra, became an aide-de-camp to the commander. Under the Principate units of allied troops (*auxilia), both wings of cavalry and cohorts of infantry, were commanded by praefecti, who were of equestrian rank (see equites). The administrative post of legionary camp commandant, praefectus castrorum, was from *Claudius' reign onwards regularly held by an ex-centurion who had reached the rank of primus pilus (see primipilus) but was unlikely to have further promotion.

Article

Brian Campbell and John F. Matthews

*Augustus first appointed praetorian prefects (see praefectus) to command the *praetorians in 2 bce; there were usually two, of equestrian rank (see equites, Imperial period). He recognized the potential importance of the prefecture, since it controlled the only significant military force in Rome. Prefects were selected personally by the emperor more for reliability than any specialist expertise, and their status and power increased because they had the ear of the emperor, who tended to confide in them and delegate some of his increasing administrative burden. The prefect was the only official permitted to bear a sword in the emperor's presence. The personal influence gained by several prefects enhanced the role of the prefecture itself, e.g. L. *Aelius Seianus, who also persuaded *Tiberius to concentrate the guard in one camp in Rome and became sole prefect (there were several further instances of this), Sextus *Afranius Burrus, *Ofonius Tigellinus, C.

Article

Eastland Stuart Staveley and Barbara Levick

Praerogativa was the *centuria in the *comitia centuriata of the Roman people which had the right of voting first. In early times the eighteen centuriae of the knights voted first en bloc; but not later than 215 bce the right was conferred upon one of the seventy centuriae of the first class chosen on each occasion by lot. Even after the introduction of the ballot (see elections and voting) the decision of the centuria praerogativa was made known before the rest of the assembly recorded its vote. According to Cicero its influence upon the final outcome of the voting was very considerable. The ten centuries created by the lex Valeria Cornelia of ce 5 are best interpreted as praerogativae (see tabula hebana).

Article

praetor  

T. Corey Brennan and Andrew Lintott

‘Praetor’ (from prae-ire, ‘to precede’, i.e. in battle) was originally the title borne by the two republican magistrates who were chosen annually to serve as eponymous heads of state. In 367 bce the Romans, as part of the Licinian-Sextian compromise (see licinius stolo, c.) decided to add a patrician ‘praetor’ as third colleague to these two chief magistrates, who were now (or were soon to be) called ‘*consuls’. The new praetor held *imperium, which was defined as being of the same nature as the consuls' but minus, ‘lesser’, in relation to theirs. As a magistrate with this type of imperium, the praetor could perform almost all the activities of the consul, both in Rome and in the field, unless a consul stopped him; however, a praetor could not interfere with the consuls. Livy's statement (6. 42. 11) that the praetor was created specifically to hear cases of law at Rome may simply reflect an annalist's guess, based on the most familiar aspect of the urban praetor in later times. The administration of law was merely one of the praetor's areas of competence, which came with the grant of imperium.

Article

Ernst Badian

The senator whose name was entered first on the *senate list compiled by the censors (see censor). Once selected, he maintained his position for life and longevity conferred increased influence. The princeps senatus had to be a *patrician, but apparently one of a limited number of gentes (perhaps the maiores gentes, not known to us in detail: Mommsen, Str. 3. 31; see gens). Thus Cn. Servilius Caepio, as censor 125 bce, was not eligible. By the 3rd cent. bce it was customary to appoint the senior living ex-censor who was qualified, but the censors had no legal obligation to do so. In 209, Q. *Fabius Maximus Verrucosus was chosen, though junior in standing to another ex-censor, and in 136Ap. *Claudius Pulcher (1) appointed himself and not P. *Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus who was his enemy. A censor in office was first appointed in 179 and a non-censorian ex-consul in 125.

Article

prison  

Adolf Berger and Andrew Lintott

Roman criminal law, like that of Athens, did not in general use public imprisonment of free persons as a form of punishment, although under the republic some criminals suffered private imprisonment at the hands of those they had wronged and, occasionally, a special kind of criminal might be detained either inside or outside Rome. The public prison (carcer, publica vincula) served normally only for a short incarceration, whether used as a coercive measure by magistrates against disobedience to their orders (see coercitio) or for convicted criminals awaiting execution (though such detention lasted several years for Q. *Pleminius, c.200 bce). During inquiry in a criminal trial the accused person could be detained so as to be at the disposal of the authorities, but this was not necessarily in a public prison. However, under the emperors this was so extended that it almost became itself a penalty. Larger households had arrangements for imprisoning slaves, especially in workhouses (ergastula) in the countryside.

Article

Ernst Badian and Andrew Lintott

Pro consule, pro praetore, a magistrate (see magistracy, roman) in place of a *consul or *praetor respectively, operating outside Rome and outside the regular annual magistracy.The first instance is Q. *Publilius Philo, who was about to take Naples (*Neapolis) in 326 bce, when his consulate ran out. The people voted that he should retain his *imperium in place of a consul (pro consule). He later triumphed as such. In the following centuries Rome's imperial expansion produced an endemic shortage of magistrates with imperium. Extensions were henceforth voted (prorogatio imperii) for both consuls and praetors whenever necessary for military purposes or to enable the holder of imperium to *triumph. This became a routine measure requiring only a decree of the senate, not a popular vote. Similarly the magistracies of quaestors could be prorogued pro quaestore.In 295 bce four private citizens were given commands pro praetore; at least two of them had been delegated by a consul on his own authority.

Article

Sempronius (?) Proculus, Roman lawyer of the mid-1st cent. ce, perhaps from Spain, who gave his name to the Proculian school, which emphasized principle and consistency, in contrast with that founded by *Masurius Sabinus and C. *Cassius Longinus (2). Sextus *Pomponius calls him ‘powerful’ (plurimum potuit), an indication of senatorial rank. He is known for eleven books (libri) of Epistulae (Letters), derived from practice and teaching, the first time this title was used by a lawyer. His views are often cited by later lawyers and Justinian's compilers took 34 passages from him for their Digesta (see justinian's codification).

Article

Graham Burton

Signified an agent or, in legal proceedings, representative, and under the Principate came to be the distinctive term for the employees of the emperor in civil administration. They might be freedmen from the imperial familia (slave household), but the majority, especially of the holders of the more important posts, were normally equites. The principal types of procuratorial post were:1. Praesidial procurators governed minor provinces such as *Corsica, *Judaea, *Noricum, *Thrace, and the Mauretanias (see mauretania). These governors had originally been called praefecti; thus Pontius Pilate (*Pontius Pilatus) was officially entitled Praefectus Iudaeae, AE1963, 104. However this term came to be reserved for the equestrian governors of Egypt and, from 198, *Mesopotamia where legionary troops were stationed. Praesidial procurators commanded the auxiliary units in their provinces, exercised full civil and criminal jurisdiction, and supervised all fiscal matters. If at any time legionary forces were permanently stationed in such a province, the role of governor was transferred to a senatorial legatus pro praetore (e.