ROMAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

During the Late Republic

Elected Offices(# elected)

Term

Duties & Privileges

Prerequisites

Minimum Age

Class

Other

Censor(2)

Every 5 years, elected for 18 months 

Once every five years:

  • Elected the Princeps Senatus
  • Kept the Senate Roster updated
  • Controlled public morals and could expel Senators for violation of same
  • Supervised the water supply
  • Took censuses of property
  • Kept a register of all citizens and assigned them to centuries for voting
  • Supervised leasing of public land
  • Decided on new construction
  • Awarded State contracts

43

Patrician

  • Must be an ex-Consul
  • Elected by the Comitia Centuriata

Consul(2)

1 Year

  • Responsible for enforcing order in Rome
  • Presided over the Senate and the Assemblies of the People
  • All other officials--except the Tribunes of the People--answered to them
  • Implemented Senate decisions
  • Introduced legislation before the people
  • Performed various religious functions.
  • Nominated a Dictator when necessary
  • Outside of Rome served as Commanders-in-Chief in case of war
  • Once out of office, considered lifetime member of the Senate

42

Patrician

  • Must be an ex-Praetor
  • Elected by Comitia Centuriata 

Proconsul

 As needed

  • Acted as Provincial Governors

43

Patrician

Had to have served as Consul the year before

Praetor(16)

Two types:

Praetor Peregrinus--dealt with disputes where one or both parties were foreigners.

Praetor Urbanus--handled civil/criminal law cases

1 Year

  • Served as the supreme civil judges for legal cases
  • Issued annual edicts re Roman Law

39

Patrician

Plebeian

  • If Plebeian, must be an ex-Aedile or an ex-Tribune of the Plebs 
  • Elected by the Comitia Centuriata

Propraetor

1 Year

  • Acted as Provincial Governors

40

Patrician

Had to have served as Praetor the previous year

Aediles

Two types:

Plebeian (2)

Curule (2)

1 Year

  • In charge of maintaining public buildings, aqueducts, and roads
  • Managed the grain supply
  • Handled inspection of weights and measures
  • Supervised the games

 

Plebeian

Patrician

  • Curule Aediles could be Patrician or Plebeian
  • Elected by the Comitia Tributa

Tribune of the People(10)

1 Year

  • Safeguarded the interests of the People
  • Could veto the action of any elected official
  • could punish--even with death--a disobedient official.
  • Immune from arrest or punishment themselves
  • Responsible directly to the Concilium Plebis

 

Plebeian

Possibly elected by the Concilium Plebis

Quaestor(40)

Four types: urban, military, provincial, and Italian.

1 Year 

  • Handled receipt and disbursement of state money
  • Maintained public records
  • Oversaw state contract details
  • Acted as quartermasters and paymasters for generals in the field
  • Acted as financial secretaries to provincial governors

27-30

 Plebeian

  • Must have been an ex-Board of 26 official 
  • Elected by the Comitia Tributa

Board of the 26

(vigintisexviri)

1 Year

  • Police commission of three to oversee arrest, trial, and punishment of criminals
  • Commission of 10 for the judgment of certain legal cases
  • Commission of 4 in charge of the courts of Capua, Cumae, and other towns
  • Commission of 3 in charge of the mint
  • Commission of 4 for inside city street cleaning
  • Commission of 2 for outside city street cleaning

 

 

 

 

Appointed Offices(# elected)

Term

Duties & Privileges

How Appointed

Prerequisites

Dictator(1)

[(Magister Populi]

6 months

  • Had absolute power over Rome; was supreme military and judicial authority

by the Senate and approved by the People

  • State of emergency declared
  • Usually was a capable military commander

Master of the Horse (1)

[Magister Equitum]

6 months

  • Second in command to the Dictator

by Dictator

  • State of emergency declared.

Interrex

5 days

  • Take over the duties of the Consuls
  • hold election for Consuls

by the Senate

  • Must be a senator
  • Appointed when the state is without Consuls due to death or other cause

Military Tribune(6 for each standing legion)

[Tribuni Militum]

Varied

  • Served as officers in the legions
  • Commanded a Century and/or served on the command staff

by a Consul

  • 10 years service in the field or 10 years readiness to answer the call.
  • typically 26-29 years of age at the earliest

Notes:

  • Patricians were the privileged class of Rome--the large landowners; they dominated political affairs
  • Plebeians were the Roman Citizens who weren't Plebeians
  • During this period, every Roman Citizen had the privilege of voting on legislation and in the election of government officials
  • The normal progression (the Cursus Honorum--the Course of Honors) through the various offices was: Quaestor, Curule Aedile, Praetor, Consul, and Censor.
  • Not everyone followed the normal progression (e.g., Marius and Pompey)
  • Tribune of the People, Censor, Dictator, and Master of the Horse weren't regarded as true magistracies
  • The minimum interval between holding various magistracies was 2 yeaars
  • To win a magistracy suo anno (in one's year) meant to win the magistracy at the earliest possible age
  • The Comitia Centuriata met in the Campus Martius. It consisted of citizens divided according to property value and age into 373 voting units called centuries. This assembly decided between war and peace and it elected the higher officials (Censors, Consuls, Praetors). Presided over by a Consul, Praetor, or Interrex.
  • The Comitia Tributa met in the Roman Forum for legislation and judgments, and in the Campus Martius for elections. It consisted of citizens divided into 35 "tribes". It elected the lower ranking officials (Quaestor, Aedile, etc.) and acted as a court of appeal in legal cases not involving capital punishment. It also was a legislative body which votes on legal measures submitted to it by the presiding magistrate. Presided over by a Consul or Praetor; and, sometimes by a Curule Aedile.
  • Every Roman Citizen belonged to both the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa
  • The Concilium Plebis met in the Roman Forum for legislation and judgments, and in the Campus Martius for elections. It consisted entirely of Plebeians divided into their 35 tribes. It may have elected the Plebeian Tribunes and the Plebeian Aediles, but evidence so far is inconclusive presided over by a Tribune of the Plebs or an Aedile of the Plebs.

 

The Dimension

Last Updated:Thursday, 24 June 99

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