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fold—(a) For the consecration of certain priests, the Rex Sacrificulus and the Flamines-6) For the making of wills-) For the Detestatio Sacrorum.
The Detestatio Sacrorum is generally believed to have been a formal declaration upon the part of an heir, that he renounced certain sacred rites which were occasionally attached
to property. Comitia under the Empire. Comitia Curiata.The Comitia Curiata continued to meet under the Empire, for the purpose firming adoptions. Leges Curiatae were passed, ratifying the adoption of Tiberius by Augustus and of Nero by Claudius.
Comitia Centuriata and Comitia Tributa. — Augustus submitted several measures to the people in their Comitia according to ancient forms, and in some cases encountered such strenuous opposition that he modified his proposals. His example was followed to a certain extent by Tiberius, and assemblies appear to have been summoned for legislative purposes as late as the reign of Nerva, but we have no reason to believe that any Bill was ever submitted to the Comitia after the close of the first century.
The Comitia were still summoned for the election of magistrates in the second century, but they did not possess even a shadow of power. Julius Cæsar and Augustus recommended, as the phrase was-Commendo vobis-the persons whom they desired to raise to the Consulship, and also one-half of the candidates for the other offices of state, and Augustus even went through the farce of canvassing the electors in person on behalf of those whom he had named. But under Tiberius, while the Emperor still continued to nominate the Consuls and a certain number of the magistrates of inferior grade, the rest were selected
enate. An attempt was made by Caligula to make over once more the elections to the people, but the arrangements of Tiberius were soon restored.
It would appear that at the beginning of the fourth century the people had ceased to be called together even as a matter of form, and by writers who flourished at the close of that century the Comitia are spoken of as political institutions understood by antiquarians only
MAGISTRATES OF THE REGAL AND REPUBLICAN PERIODS, AND UNDER
THE EARLY EMPERORS.
For two hundred and forty-four years after the foundation of the city, the administration of public affairs was in the hands of one supreme magistrate, who held his office for life, with the title of Rex.
Duties discharged by the King.—The functions of the King were threefold
1. He was the supreme civil magistrate; he alone had the right to summon meetings of the Senate and of the Comitia, and he presided in all courts of justice.
2. He was commander-in-chief of the armies of the state. 3. He was chief priest.
Mode of Election. Although the office of King was held for life, it was not a hereditary but an elective monarchy. When a King died, the supreme power (summa potestas) having proceeded from the Patricians, who constituted the Populus, was supposed to return to them (res ad patres rediit.) They were forthwith summoned (convocabantur) by the Senate; they assembled in the Comitia Curiata, and proceeded at once to choose, out of their own body, a temporary King (prodere interregem). This Interrex remained in office for five days, and then himself nominated (prodidit) his successor, who continued in office for a like period. At length the Interrex and the Senate having, in all probability, made arrangements as to the person to be proposed, and the Comitia Curiata having been summoned by the Interrex, the individual nominated by a majority of the Curiae was chosen (creatus est) King. The monarch elect was conducted by an Augur to the Arx, and there seated on a stone called the Auguraculum, with his face to the south. The omens were then observed. Finally, the new King summoned the Comitia Curiata, and submitted to them a law conferring Imperium upon himself, and this having
been passed, the ceremonies were held to be complete. Servius Tullius was the first King who seated himself upon the throne without having been duly elected by the Comitia Curiata, (iniussu populi,) but he obtained their sanction to a Lex Curiata de imperio.
Insignia of the Kings.—These were
1. Twelve attendants, called Lictores, each bearing a bundle of rods, with an axe in the midst (fasces cum securibus), emblematic of the power of scourging and of life and death.
2. Sella Curulis, a chair of state ornamented with ivory.
3. Toga Praetexta, a white cloak or mantle with a scarlet border, or sometimes a Toga Picta, a cloak embroidered with figures.
4. Trabea, a tunic striped with scarlet or purple.
TRIBUNUS CELERUM. The Tribunus Celerum or commander of the cavalry, occupied the second place in the state, being a sort of aid-de-camp to the King, and his representative in military affairs ; on the other hand, the
CUSTOS URBIS S. PRAEFECTUS URBI was an officer appointed by the King to act as his deputy when compelled to quit the city.
We now proceed to treat of the magistrates under the Republic, commencing with the
CONSULES. Origin of the Office.—Upon the expulsion of the Kings, it was resolved to place the executive in the hands of two supreme magistrates, who were originally designated PRAETORES, that is leaders (quod populo praeirent), and sometimes Iudices; but both of these appellations were superseded at an early period by the title of ConSULES, because it was their duty to deliberate for the welfare of the state (consulere reipublicae).
Original Jurisdiction of the Consuls.—The Consuls at first exercised precisely the same powers, both civil and military, as the Kings; but certain holy rites which had been performed by the Kings, were now solemnized by a priest chosen for the special purpose, who was designated Rex Sacrorum or Rex Sacrificulus.
But although the civil and military functions of the Kings were transferred to the Consuls, the power wielded by the latter was very different in consequence of important limitations and restrictions.
1. The Consuls were always two in number (imperium duplex). When both were in the city or in the camp together their power was equal, and neither could take any step without the consent of the other. Moreover, an appeal lay from the judicial sentence pronounced by the one to the other (appellatio collegae). If a Consul died or resigned while in office, the remaining Consul was obliged to summon the Comitia for the election of a colleague (subrogare s.
sufficere collegam), for the remainder of the year, who was termed Consul suffectus, in contradistinction to the Consules ordinari, elected in usual manner.
2. The Consuls remained in office for the fixed period of one year only (annuum imperium), and when they laid down their magistracy, might be brought to trial before the people if accused of malversation. The same individual was rarely Consul for two years consecutively, and when this did happen, it could only take place after a fresh election, and no one, when presiding at an election for this or any other office, could receive votes for himself.
We must consider the Consular power under two heads
Potestas of the Consuls.—While the Consuls remained in the city they were at the head of the government, and all other magistrates, with the exception of the Tribunes of the Plebs, were subject to their control. They alone could summon meetings of the Senate and of the Comitia Centuriata ; they alone could preside at such meetings, and they formed the medium of communication between the Senate and foreign powers.
Until the establishment of the Praetorship and the Censorship, they acted as supreme judges, superintended the classification of the citizens, possessed the right of summoning any one before them (vocatio), and if he delayed or refused, they could order him to be brought by force (prehensio). Each was attended by twelve officers, called Lictores, who walked in single file before him, the individual nearest to the magistrate being termed proximus Lictor. When the office of Consul was first instituted, each Lictor carried a bundle of rods (fasces) with an axe (securis) stuck in the midst, indicating that the Consul possessed the power of scourging and decapitation. By the Lex Valeria, the axe was removed from the Fasces of the Consul while in the city; and in the Comitia, the Lictors were compelled to lower their Fasces (fasces submittere) in acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the people.
Imperium of the Consuls.—The vote of the Comitia Centuriata, conferred upon the Consuls civil authority only (potestus), and on entering upon office, military power also imperium), and the right of taking the auspices (auspicia) were bestowed by the Comitia Curiata.
The Consuls had the supreme command of the armies, and of all matters connected with the prosecution of war in the field; but they could not make peace or conclude a binding treaty without the consent of the Senate and the Comitia, and by the former the number of troops, their pay, clothing, and supplies were voted. The Consuls were invested with absolute power over their soldiers, and
could inflict even the punishment of death, and hence, when in the field, their Lictors bore axes in the Fasces.
Relation in which the Consuls stood to each other. When both Consuls were in the city, each in turn assumed, usually for the space of a month at a time, the principal place; while his colleague appeared either altogether without Lictors, or they walked behind him, and he was preceded by an ordinary messenger (Accensus). Hence, the acting Consul is described as the one penes quem fasces erant, or cuius fasces erant.
When both Consuls were with the same army, each took charge of one half, assuming the supreme command upon alternate days, unless one voluntarily yielded to the other.
Mode of Election.—The Consuls were always chosen by the Comitia Centuriata convoked for that purpose by one of the Consuls, or a Dictator, or an Interrex.
Order from which the Consuls were chosen.—The Consuls were originally chosen from the Patricians exclusively; but after a fierce and protracted struggle, continued for nearly eighty years (from B.C. 445), the Lex Licinia (B.C. 367) ordained that one of the Consuls should be a Plebeian. This arrangement was repeatedly evaded until in B.C. 342, a law was passed re-enacting more stringently the Lex Licinia, with the addition that it should be lawful for the people to choose both Consuls from the Plebs—Uti liceret Consules ambos Plebeios creari. From this time forward, the principle that one Consul must be a Plebeian was fully recognized and acted upon.
Day of Induction into Ofice.—The Consuls appear to have, originally, entered upon office on the Ides of September, and on this day, in ancient times, the Consul drove a nail into the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, thus marking the lapse of a year. It occasionally happened that the office became vacant before the year was completed, in which case two new Consuls were chosen, who held office for a year from the period of their election. When, in consequence of civil commotions, the year of office expired before new Consuls had been elected, the Senate nominated (prodebat) a temporary magistrate, with the title of Interrex. The Interrex held office for five days only, when a successor was chosen; and a succession of Interreges were appointed in this manner until tranquillity was restored.
Ceremonies of Induction.—The new Consuls usually arose at daybreak, took the auspices, and then arraying themselves in their robes of state before the domestic altar, headed a solemn procession (processus consularis) of the Senate and the dignified priests, and a numerous throng of citizens. The whole assemblage marched in order to the Capitol, where white steers were sacrificed, and prayers and vows offered up for the Roman people. A meeting of the