HOME

TheInfoList




The Curiate Assembly (''comitia curiata'') was the principal assembly that evolved in shape and form over the course of the
Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilis ...
until the
Comitia Centuriata The Centuriate Assembly (Latin: ''comitia centuriata'') of the Roman Republic was one of the three voting assemblies in the Roman constitution. It was named the Centuriate Assembly as it originally divided Roman citizens into groups of one hundred m ...

Comitia Centuriata
organized by
Servius Tullius Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two d ...
. During these first decades, the people of Rome were organized into thirty units called "
Curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

Curia
e".Taylor, 3, 4 The Curiae were ethnic in nature, and thus were organized on the basis of the early Roman family, or, more specifically, on the basis of the thirty original
patrician Patrician may refer to: * Patrician (ancient Rome), the original aristocratic families of ancient Rome, and a synonym for "aristocratic" in modern English usage * Patrician (post-Roman Europe), the governing elites of cities in parts of medieval a ...
(aristocratic) clans.Abbott, 250 The Curiae formed an assembly for legislative, electoral, and judicial purposes. The Curiate Assembly passed laws, elected
Consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of one Sovereign state, state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between th ...
(the only elected magistrates at the time),Abbott, 253 and tried judicial cases. Consuls always presided over the assembly. While
plebeian In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizenship, Roman citizens who were not Patrician (ancient Rome), patricians, as determined by the capite censi, census, or in other words "commoners". Both ...
s (commoners) could participate in this assembly, only the patricians (the Roman aristocrats) could vote. Since the Romans used a form of direct democracy, citizens, and not elected representatives, voted before each assembly. As such, the citizen-electors had no power, other than the power to cast a vote. Each assembly was presided over by a single Roman Magistrate, and as such, it was the presiding magistrate who made all decisions on matters of procedure and legality. Ultimately, the presiding magistrate's power over the assembly was nearly absolute. The only check on that power came in the form of vetoes handed down by other magistrates, and decisions made by presiding magistrates could also be vetoed by higher-ranking magistrates. In addition, after 493 BC, any decision made by a presiding magistrate, including one concerning the Curiate Assembly, could be vetoed by a magistrate known as a
plebeian tribune Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune ( la, tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeians The plebeians, also called plebs, were, in ancient Rome In historiography, anci ...
(aka. tribune of the plebs).


Procedure

In the Roman system of
direct democracy Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the Election#Electorate, electorate decides on policy initiatives without legislator, legislative representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently estab ...
, primary types of gatherings were used to vote on legislative, electoral, and judicial matters. The first was the Assembly (''comitia'', literally "going together" or "meeting place"). The Curiate Assembly was a ''comitia''. Assemblies represented ''all citizens'',Abbott, 251 even if they excluded the
plebs In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian ...
like the Curiate Assembly did, and were used for official purposes, such as for the enactment of statutes. Acts of an Assembly applied to all Roman citizens. The second type of gathering was the Council (''concilium''), which was a forum where a specific class of citizen met. In contrast, the Convention (''conventio'', literally "coming together") was an unofficial forum for communication. Conventions were simply forums where Romans met for specific unofficial purposes, such as, for example, to hear a political speech. Private citizens who did not hold political office could only speak before a Convention, and not before an Assembly or a Council.Abbott, 252 Conventions were simply meetings, and no legal or legislative decisions could be made in them. Voters always assembled first into Conventions to hear debates and conduct other business before voting, and then into Assemblies or Councils to vote. A notice always had to be given several days before the Assembly was to vote. For elections, at least three market-days (often more than seventeen actual days) had to pass between the announcement of the election, and the actual election. During this time period (the ''trinundinum''), the candidates interacted with the electorate, and no legislation could be proposed or voted upon. In 98 BC, a statute was passed (the ''lex Caecilia Didia'') which required a similar three market-day interval to pass between the proposal of a statute and the vote on that statute. During criminal trials, the assembly's presiding magistrate had to give a notice (''diem dicere'') to the accused person on the first day of the investigation (''anquisito''). At the end of each day, the magistrate had to give another notice to the accused person (''diem prodicere''), which informed him of the status of the investigation. After the investigation was complete, a three market-day interval had to elapse before a final vote could be taken with respect to conviction or acquittal. Only one assembly could operate at any given point in time, and any session already underway could be dissolved if a magistrate "called away" (''avocare'') the electors. In addition to the presiding magistrate, several additional magistrates were often present to act as assistants. They were available to help resolve procedural disputes, and to provide a mechanism through which electors could appeal decisions of the presiding magistrate.Taylor, 63 There were also religious officials (known as
Augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious ...

Augur
s) either in attendance or on-call, who would be available to help interpret any signs from the gods (omens), since the Romans believed that the gods let their approval or disapproval with proposed actions be known.Taylor, 63 In addition, a preliminary search for omens (''auspices'') was conducted by the presiding magistrate the night before any meeting.Taylor, 7 On several known occasions, presiding magistrates used the claim of unfavorable omens as an excuse to suspend a session that was not going the way they wanted. On the day of the vote, the electors first assembled into their Conventions for debate and campaigning. In the Conventions, the electors were not sorted into their Curiae. Speeches from private citizens were only heard if the issue to be voted upon was a legislative or judicial matter, and even then, only if the citizen received permission from the presiding magistrate. If the purpose of the ultimate vote was for an election, no speeches from private citizens were heard, and instead, the candidates for office used the Convention to campaign.Taylor, 16 During the Convention, the bill to be voted upon was read to the assembly by an officer known as a "Herald". Then the order of the vote had to be determined. An urn was brought in, and lots were cast to determine the sequence by which the Curiae were to vote. The electors were then told to break up the Convention ("depart to your separate groups", or ''discedite, quirites''). The electors assembled behind a fenced off area and voted by placing a pebble or written ballot into an appropriate jar. The baskets (''cistae'') that held the votes were watched by specific officers (the ''custodes''), who then counted the ballots, and reported the results to the presiding magistrate. The majority of votes in any Curia decided how that Curia voted. If the process was not complete by nightfall, the electors were dismissed without having reached a decision, and the process had to begin again the next day.


Decline

Shortly after the founding of the republic, many of the political powers of the Curiate Assembly were transferred to the
Centuriate Assembly The Centuriate Assembly (: ''comitia centuriata'') of the was one of the three voting assemblies in the . It was named the Centuriate Assembly as it originally divided Roman citizens into groups of one hundred men by classes. The centuries initial ...
and the
Tribal Assembly The Tribal Assembly (''comitia populi tributa'') was an assembly consisting of all Roman citizens convened by tribes (''tribus''). In the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of ...
. This included the transfer of the election of tribunes to the Tribal Assembly by the Lex Publilia in 471 BC.
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, ''
Ab urbe condita 300px, Antoninianus of Pacatianus, Roman usurper, usurper of Roman emperor Philip the Arab, Philip in 248. It reads ''ROMAE AETERANMIL ESIMOET PRIMO'', 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.' ''Ab urbe condita'' ( ...
'', ii. 58.
While it then fell into disuse, it did retain some theoretical powers, most importantly, the power to ratify elections of the top-ranking
Roman Magistrates The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire ...
(consuls and
praetors Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some langu ...
) by passing a law (''
lex curiata de imperio In the constitution of ancient Rome, the ''lex curiata de imperio'' (plural ''leges curiatae'') was the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to fo ...
'' or "Curiate law on imperium") that gave them their legal command (
imperium In ancient Rome, ''imperium'' was a form of authority held by a Roman citizenship, citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from ''auctoritas'' and ''potestas'', different and generally inferior types of power in t ...

imperium
) authority. In practice, however, they received this authority from the Centuriate assembly (which formally elected them), and as such, this functioned as nothing more than a reminder of Rome's regal heritage.Taylor, 3, 4 Even after it lost its powers, the Curiate Assembly continued to be presided over by Consuls and Praetors, and was subject to obstruction by
Roman magistrates The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire ...
(especially ) and unfavorable omens (as were the other assemblies).Taylor, 3, 4 By the time of the middle and late Republic, there was considerable debate about the need for confirmation in imperium by the Curiate assembly. For example, ''praetors'' were not permitted to undertake judicial business without confirmation in the ''imperium'' and nor could ''consuls'' command troops or call the ''comitia centuriata'' to hold the election of his successor. Cicero's contemporaries argued that without confirmation in the imperium, a magistrate could not as a promagistrate, or without it, govern the province at his own expense and be ineligible for a triumph after a military victory. These rules would have prohibited magistrates from engaging in serious public business before confirmation, but for the fact they were widely ignored and legislation often included provisions stating that in the lack of a curiate law, they "be magistrates in as legal a sense as those who are elected according to the strictest forms of law". By 212 BC, the lack of such a law granting imperium to the propraetor of Spain, Lucius Marcius, was no issue for the senate, which refrained from declaring the election illegal. During the late Republic, by 54, the consul Appius Claudius insisted that he held imperium, due to statute passed by Sulla granting imperium to promagistrates until their return to the city without mention of the curiate grant of imperium, and also that he held the authority to call the Assembly to elect new magistrates. However, in the late Republic, with increasing conflict between the ''optimates'' and the ''populares'', it is likely that the senate, trying to increase its control over provincial governors, stressed the importance of this law, even as magistrates ignored their complaints. Acts that the Curiate Assembly voted on were mostly symbolic and usually in the affirmative.Taylor, 3, 4 At one point, possibly as early as 218 BC, the Curiate Assembly's thirty Curiae were abolished, and replaced with thirty
lictors A lictor (possibly from la, ligare, "to bind") was a Roman civil servant who was an attendant and bodyguard A bodyguard (or close protection officer/operative) is a type of security guard, government law enforcement officer, or servicemember w ...
, one from each of the original Patrician clans.Taylor, 3, 4 Since the Curiae had always been organized on the basis of the Roman family,Abbott, 250 it retained jurisdiction over clan matters even after the fall of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
in 27 BC.Abbott, 253 Under the presidency of the
Pontifex Maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
, it witnessed wills and ratified adoptions, inaugurated certain priests, and transfer citizens from Patrician class to Plebeian class (or vice versa). In 59 BC, it transferred
Publius Clodius Pulcher Publius Clodius Pulcher (93–52 BC) was a populist Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''E ...
from Patrician status to Plebeian status so that he could run for Plebeian Tribune. In 44 BC, it ratified the will of
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
, and with it Caesar's adoption of his nephew Gaius Octavian (the future
Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
) as his son and heir.Taylor, 3, 4 With the rise of the empire, the sanctioning powers of the Curiate assembly fell into disuse, as the power to grant ''imperium'', along with the vast majority of the other powers of the Curiate assembly, were transferred into the hands of the Senate or delegated to the emperor through a special ''lex de imperio''.


See also

*
Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilis ...
*
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
*
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
*
Roman Law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
*
Plebeian Council The ''Concilium Plebis'' (English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually ...
*
Centuria ''Centuria'' (, plural ''centuriae'') is a Latin term (from the stem ''centum'' meaning one hundred) denoting military units originally consisting of 100 men. The size of the century changed over time, and from the first century BC through most o ...
*
Curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, ...

Curia
*
Roman consul A consul held the highest elected political office The incumbent is the current holder of an office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human acti ...
*
Praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
*
Roman censor The censor (at any time, there were two) was a magistrate in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of ...
*
Quaestor A ( , ; "investigator") was a public official in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest ...
*
Aedile Aedile ( ; la, aedīlis , from , "temple edifice") was an elected office of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to ...
*
Roman Dictator A dictator was a magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In , a ' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both an ...
*
Master of the Horse The Master of the Horse was (and in some cases, still is) a position of varying importance in several European nations. Magister Equitum (Ancient Rome) The original Master of the Horse (Latin ''Magister Equitum'') in the Roman Republic The ...
* *
Cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; ...
*
Byzantine Senate of Theodore Philoxenus, 525 AD The Byzantine Senate or Eastern Roman Senate ( el, Σύγκλητος, ''Synklētos'', or , ''Gerousia'') was the continuation of the Roman Senate, established in the 4th century by Constantine I. It survived for cen ...
*
Pontifex Maximus The (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation w ...
*
Princeps senatus The ''princeps senatus'' (plural ''principes senatus'') was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the ''cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequ ...
*
Interrex The interrex (plural interreges) was literally a ruler "between kings" (Latin ''inter reges'') during the Roman Kingdom and the Roman Republic. He was in effect a short-term regent. History The office of ''interrex'' was supposedly created followi ...
*
Procurator (Roman) ''Procurator'' (plural: ''Procuratores'') was a title of certain officials (not magistrates) in ancient Rome who were in charge of the financial affairs of a province, or imperial governor of a minor province. Fiscal officers A fiscal procurator ...
* Acta Senatus


Notes


References

* Abbott, Frank Frost (1901). ''A History and Description of Roman Political Institutions''. Elibron Classics (). * Botsford, George Willis (1909, repr. 2005). ''The Roman Assemblies. From their Origin to the End of the Republic'', New York. * Byrd, Robert (1995). ''The Senate of the Roman Republic''. U.S. Government Printing Office, Senate Document 103-23. * Lintott, Andrew (1999). ''The Constitution of the Roman Republic''. Oxford University Press (). * Polybius (1823). ''The General History of Polybius: Translated from the Greek''. By James Hampton. Oxford: Printed by W. Baxter. Fifth Edition, Vol 2. * Taylor, Lily Ross (1966). ''Roman Voting Assemblies: From the Hannibalic War to the Dictatorship of Caesar''. The University of Michigan Press (). * (1841 edition). ''The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero: Comprising his Treatise on the Commonwealth; and his Treatise on the Laws. Translated from the original, with Dissertations and Notes in Two Volumes''. By Francis Barham, Esq. London: Edmund Spettigue. Vol. 1.


Further reading

* Ihne, Wilhelm. ''Researches Into the History of the Roman Constitution''. William Pickering. 1853. * Johnston, Harold Whetstone. ''Orations and Letters of Cicero: With Historical Introduction, An Outline of the Roman Constitution, Notes, Vocabulary and Index''. Scott, Foresman and Company. 1891. * Mommsen, Theodor. ''Roman Constitutional Law''. 1871-1888 * Tighe, Ambrose. ''The Development of the Roman Constitution''. D. Apple & Co. 1886. * Von Fritz, Kurt. ''The Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Antiquity''. Columbia University Press, New York. 1975. * ''The Histories'' by
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
* Cambridge Ancient History, Volumes 9–13. * A. Cameron, ''The Later Roman Empire'', (Fontana Press, 1993). * M. Crawford, ''The Roman Republic'', (Fontana Press, 1978). * E. S. Gruen, "The Last Generation of the Roman Republic" (U California Press, 1974) * F. Millar, ''The Emperor in the Roman World'', (Duckworth, 1977, 1992). * A. Lintott, "The Constitution of the Roman Republic" (Oxford University Press, 1999)


Primary sources


Cicero's De Re Publica, Book Two



Secondary source material



* ttps://web.archive.org/web/20080829134354/http://www.uah.edu/student_life/organizations/SAL/texts/misc/romancon.html The Roman Constitution to the Time of Cicero
What a Terrorist Incident in Ancient Rome Can Teach Us


External links

{{Ancient Rome topics Government of the Kingdom of Rome Government of the Roman Republic Government of the Roman Empire
Roman law {{CatAutoTOC, numerals=no Law in ancient history Ancient Rome, Law Indo-European law, Roman Law by former country ...
Popular assemblies