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Arnaldo Momigliano and Tim Cornell

In Rome a client was a free man who entrusted himself to another and received protection in return. Clientship was a hereditary social status consecrated by usage and recognized, though not defined or enforced, by the law. The rules of the law were however far more binding in the special case of the freedman, who was ipso facto a client of his former owner (see freedmen). Ordinary clients supported their patron (*patronus) in political and private life, and demonstrated their loyalty and respect by going to his house to greet him each morning (see salutatio), and attending him when he went out. The size of a man's clientele, and the wealth and status of his individual clients, were a visible testimony to his prestige and social standing (and therefore to his political influence). In exchange clients received favours and benefits of various kinds, including daily subsistence in the form of food or money (such a payment was known as a sportula) and assistance in the courts.


client kings  

Julia Wilker

“Client kings” is the modern English term commonly used to describe monarchs who were bound to Rome in an asymmetrical relationship and/or unequal alliance and whose rule depended on Rome’s continued approval. Client rulers enjoyed relative freedom in internal affairs but were strictly limited in all matters of foreign policy. Client kingdoms and principalities were often situated on the periphery of the Roman empire. Most dependent rulers originated from their own realms and in many cases based their legitimacy on traditional dynastic claims. Roman interference increased in the 1st century bce; from the time of Augustus on, client kingdoms were conceptually considered parts of the empire. Borders were redrawn more frequently, and rulers were appointed, reassigned, and deposed more according to imperial interests than local custom. In turn, client kings and their dynasties increasingly became part of the emerging imperial elite. Despite a significant decline in their numbers towards the end of the 1st century ce, client kingship as an instrument of Roman hegemonic control did not cease to exist until late antiquity.



Piero Treves, Cyril Bailey, and Andrew Lintott

(1) Magisterial or priestly: a board of officials. (2) Private: any private association of fixed membership and constitution (see clubs, roman).The principle of collegiality was a standard feature of republican magistracies at Rome. Although in some cases the common status of colleagues did not exclude seniority (originally one *consul may have been superior to the other and the consuls as a whole were senior colleagues of the *praetors), the principle in general was to avoid arbitrary power by ensuring that every magistracy should be filled by at least two officials, and in any case by an even number. They were to possess equal and co-ordinate authority, but subject to mutual control. Thus a decision taken by one consul was legal only if it did not incur the veto (*intercessio) of the other. This principle led to alternation in the exercise of power by the consuls each month. Under the Principate emperors might take as a colleague in their tribunician power (see tribuni plebis) their intended successors, who in many cases were co-emperors.



Francisco Pina Polo

Two annual consuls were the chief magistrates of the Roman state during the Republican period. According to tradition, the consulship existed from 509 bce when kingship was abolished in Rome, but it may have been the culmination of a longer and more complex process: its origin could possibly be dated to 367–366 bce. Consuls were elected in the centuriate assembly and were granted imperium, which implied supreme civil and military power. Consulship was part of a structured career path (cursus honorum). Consuls carried out their functions under the principle of collegiality. They were eponymous magistrates, as their names were used to establish the official chronology of Rome. Until the 1st century bce, consuls were the chief commanders of the Roman army under the authority of the senate: as such, they were the leading actors in the imperial expansion of Rome. Consuls also carried out important civil functions when they were present in Rome. During the 1st century bce the role played by consuls changed due to the fact that they remained at Rome for most or all of their term of office.


Coruncanius, Tiberius  

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.


cursus honorum  

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.



Frederik Juliaan Vervaet

Soon after the establishment of the Republic (traditionally dated to 509 bce), an aristocratic democracy marked by collegial rule and limitation of tenure, the Romans introduced the office of dictator, initially to create an additional and ranking military command whenever required. Appointed by the chief annual magistrate by decree of the Senate, the dictator had no equal colleague, the main constraints on his authority being his official commission as defined by the Senate and the obligation to abdicate promptly following the completion of this specific task. From 363 to 301 bce especially, the dictatorship became a frequent fixture of the Republican machinery of state, thereafter being used only infrequently until the Second Punic War, which saw another spate of appointments. Rather than being created to deal with external or internal emergencies, dictators were mostly appointed according to the exigencies of the moment to execute one or more routine tasks ranging from military commands to the conduct of obscure religious rituals normally undertaken by consuls or praetors. Significantly, the office played an important and constructive role in the resolution of the so-called struggle of the orders and the gradual shaping of the Republican polity. Throughout the Early and Middle Republic, the Senate retained close control over the dictator and his activities. After the Second Punic War, as Roman power rapidly expanded across the Mediterranean and prorogation of consular and praetorian power became the norm, the office of dictator lapsed completely. The age of civil war (88–30 bce) saw first Sulla and then Caesar revive the dictatorship, albeit by means of constitutive laws and in vastly enhanced and autocratic form.


education, Roman  

J. V. Muir

There is very little reliable evidence bearing upon formal education in the early period. Education was then certainly centred on the family and was probably based upon apprenticeship supervised by the father—in poorer homes an apprenticeship to agriculture or trade, in more aristocratic circles to military service and public life (what later became known as the tirocinium militiae and the tirocinium fori). The authority of the father, legalized as *patria potestas, was absolute and could only in theory be questioned by the censors. The Roman mother had a more restricted, domestic role but she too was traditionally expected to take a personal, central responsibility and to set a strong moral example (see motherhood, Roman). It is not certain when reading and writing became a serious part of Roman education: the 7th-cent. bce ivory writing-tablet with inscribed alphabet found at Marsiliana d'Albegna and 6th-cent. bucchero (pottery) models of wooden writing-tablets (tabulae ansatae) from Etruria may imply that *literacy was then already making some headway.



Andrew Drummond

Comprised bundles of rods, approximately 1.5 m. (5 ft.) long and of elm- or birchwood, and a single-headed axe; they were held together by red thongs and carried by *lictores. An iron set from a late 7th-cent. tomb at *Vetulonia may support the later tradition of their Etruscan origin. They were the primary visible expression of magisterial authority and hence the focus of a complex symbolism of the magistrates' legitimacy and of their powers vis-à-vis citizens, subjects, and each other. They were regularly regarded (and in the republican period used) as instruments of execution and by common consent the absence of the axe from the fasces of magistrates (other than dictators and triumphing generals) within Rome symbolized citizen rights of appeal (*provocatio) against capital coercitio. The alternation of precedence between the two *consuls was manifested in alternate ‘tenure’ of the fasces (although exactly what that implies is unclear), and the number of a magistrate's fasces depended on his rank: consuls (and in the republic proconsuls) had twelve (and hence also reputedly their predecessors, the kings); dictators probably had twenty-four, praetors and magistri equitum (see magister equitum) probably six.



Peter Sidney Derow

Imperium was the supreme power, involving command in war and the interpretation and execution of law (including the infliction of the death penalty), which belonged at Rome to the kings (see rex) and, after their expulsion, to *consuls, military tribunes (see tribuni militum) with consular power (from 445 to 367 bce), *praetors, *dictators, and masters of the horse (see magister equitum). Viewed generally, imperium represents the supreme authority of the community in its dealings with the individual, and the magistrate in whom imperium is vested represents the community in all its dealings. In practical terms, imperium may be seen as the power to give orders and to exact obedience to them (cf. imperare, to command). It was symbolized by the *fasces borne by the *lictors, of which the dictator had 24, the consul 12, and the praetor 6, to which was added the axe when the magistrate left the precincts of the city. Later in the republic imperium was held also by proconsuls and propraetors (see pro consule, pro praetore), who were either ex-magistrates or private individuals upon whom a special command had been conferred (privati cum imperio), and by members of certain commissions (e.


lex Agraria, 111 BCE  

Tommaso Beggio

The lex Agraria dating from 111 bce is an epigraphic law dealing with the distribution and privatisation of public land (ager publicus) in Italy and the provinces. In its first part, concerning public land in Italy, the law first describes five different categories of land declared to be private, before identifying other kinds of land that were and should remain public. In the second part, relating to land in Africa and Greece, the law establishes rules mainly regarding pasture land and the public sale of land, which then had to be declared private; nonetheless, this land was subject to the payment of the vectigal. Therefore, the lex Agraria can be considered as a law that consolidated some of the achievements of the Gracchan reforms that took a significant step towards the privatisation of ager publicus. However, the question remains open as to whether the lex Agraria could be associated with one of the three post-Gracchan laws cited by Appian (B Civ.


lex de imperio Vespasiani  

Kaius Tuori

The Lex de imperio Vespasiani ( CIL VI 930, 31207=ILS 244) is an epigraphic text on a bronze tablet, now partially lost, containing part of a law that granted some or all powers of the emperor to Vespasian in the year 70 ce.1 The text appears to be a piece of comitial legislation. The extant text is on a large bronze tablet discovered by Cola di Rienzo in the 14th century and currently held at the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The text is fragmentary: because there is no introduction to the text, it is assumed that there would have been another tablet preceding the surviving one. Whether Cola di Rienzo saw the missing tablet is disputed. The commonly used title of the law is a modern reconstruction. The law was promulgated in Rome in January, before Vespasian had arrived from Alexandria.2

The surviving text of the law contains eight clauses and a sanction. The beginning of the text is missing, including the preamble.


lex Ovinia  

Charles Bartlett

The lex Ovinia, or more properly, the plebiscitum Ovinium, is a plebiscite that transferred the power to determine membership in the Roman Senate from the consuls or chief magistrates to the censors. Its date is uncertain, but it was probably passed in or just before 318bce, when evidence of its effect is first seen. The lex Ovinia therefore postdates the lex Valeria Horatia (see lex Valeria de provocatione) of 449bce, which had stipulated that plebeian legislative enactments applied equally to patricians as to plebeians (see plebs). Nevertheless, the patriciate apparently disapproved of the legislative authority invoked in the case of the lex Ovinia, objecting to the use of a plebiscite to address such an issue, although it seems not to have opposed the provisions of the law. A later lex Hortensia of 287/6bce, another plebiscite which decreed forcefully that such acts by the concilium plebis should bind the entire populace, seems to have settled this issue.


lex Publilia Philonis  

Charles Bartlett

The lex Publilia Philonis of 339bce addressed two issues of importance for the functioning of the Senate. The first concerned the auctoritas of the body, and did away with the practice of senatorial review of legislation that had been passed by the popular assemblies, whereby patrician senators could overturn legislation on technicalities. Thereafter, senators gave authorization to legislative proposals before the voting began. It remained the case that this authorization was couched in terms of technical procedural requirements, but senatorial objections on other grounds could be shrouded in such language both before and after the lex Publilia Philonis, albeit less egregiously after its passage. The second provision of the law was the requirement that one censor of every college be a plebeian (see plebs). The law also reiterated or paraphrased the crux of the lex Valeria Horatia of 449bce (see lex Valeria de provocatione), specifying that legislative enactments of the conciliumplebis were binding on the entire population at Rome.


magister equitum  

Bradley Jordan

The magister equitum was an irregular magistrate, integrally linked to the dictator, during the Roman Republic. It was a subordinate position but one which entailed representing the most powerful magistrate in the Republican framework, as well as playing a key role at critical moments for the Roman state. The sources stress the position’s origins as the commander of the archaic Roman cavalry, first attested in the consular year 501 bce, and in Republican historiography magistri equitum are attested as subordinate commanders in the field and as lieutenants in absence of the dictator. The magister equitum held imperium and likely auspicium and played an important role in Republican historiography and the history of the late Republic.After the Second Punic War, the office—alongside the dictatorship—lay dormant until its revival by Sulla in 81 bce. Caesar radically reconfigured the office as his representative in Italy and seems to have appointed multiple men to the position in parallel. In the aftermath of his assassination in 44 bce, the magistracy was effectively abolished alongside the dictatorship.


maritime loans  

Dominic W. Rathbone

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, centred as they were on the Mediterranean, maritime transport was far more practical than land transport for long- and even medium-distance trade. Most ships seem to have been of medium size (around 70 tonnes burden) and to have been owned and run by a shipper who both carried goods as freight and traded on his own account. There were also many individual merchants who hired shipping as needed for their ventures. Then as now, the major expense in trading was the investment in purchasing goods; roughly, one cargo of wheat was worth as much as the ship. Hence a merchant, whether or not also a shipowner, often needed third-party finance, for which, because of the peculiar risks involved, a special type of loan was used. This was the maritime loan—nautikon daneion in Greek, nauticum faenus or mutua pecunia nautica in Latin.The maritime loan is first attested in 4th-century bce Athens, in four speeches attributed to Demosthenes, of which the most informative is the prosecution of the brother of a pair of merchants for fraudulent default on a loan (Dem.


citzenship and mobility, legal aspects of  

Claudia Moatti

While migration and mobility have become crucial themes in the study of the Roman world, their relationship with citizenship has been underestimated and understudied. Yet, migrants were not only foreigners who came to Rome voluntarily or by force. Citizens moved too: those, peasants or new citizens, who had come to settle in the city, or those who emigrated from Rome to a colony in Italy and, later, to a provincial city. What was the impact of this mobility on the conception and practice of citizenship? What did the Romans think of these citizens who travelled or lived abroad?

Such questions make it necessary to distinguish between the period when Rome was still one city among others (6th–3rd centuries) and the period of its conquests, when Rome extended its hegemony through the Mediterranean and became a so-called imperial republic (3rd–1st centuries) before becoming an Empire (27 bce–476 ce). In the first period, apart from the double movement of immigration and emigration of citizens, various measures concerning mobility shed light on the very close link between citizenship, property, and territory (loss of citizenship by emigration, recall of citizens every five years for the census, right to return, privileges granted to the Latins who settled in Rome, expulsions of non-citizens, etc.). In the second period, new practices (like the end of civic exclusivism) led, on the one hand, to limits on the immigration of new citizens to Rome, and, on the other hand, to efforts to facilitate emigration to the provinces (these included, in particular, the recognition of legal domicile outside of Italy, and the development of controls and protections for absentees). All these practices suggest the image of a rather fluid world, one which did not end in Late Antiquity. However, this freedom of movement has to be considered alongside the multiple rules aimed at controlling certain categories of people. Over time, mobility and migration progressively became a significant topic within Roman law, as is shown by the semantic evolutions of the main terms designating migrants.


papyrology, Latin  

J. David Thomas

In comparison with Greek papyri, Latin papyri are uncommon, even when “papyri” is understood in a wide sense so as to include *ostraca and parchment scraps. This is so because the vast majority of papyri come from the eastern Mediterranean, where the language of administration was Greek even under the Roman empire. Latin was in regular use in this area until c. 300ce only in the military sphere; and although *Diocletian made an effort to encourage the use of Latin in the eastern provinces, this did not have any great effect.Since the turn of the 20th century, some 600 Latin papyri have been published, less than a quarter of which are literary. Most come from Egypt, but finds have also been made at Dura-*Europus, Nessana, and *Masada, as well as in the west. Two literary papyri dating from the reign of *Augustus are known: the much discussed elegiac verses from Qasr Ibrim attributed to *Cornelius Gallus1 and a fragment of *Cicero, In Verrem (CPL 20).



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.



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.