municipium
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Municipium (pl. municipia) is the
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, it became the ...
term for a town or city. Etymologically the ''municipium'' was a social contract among ''municipes'', the "duty holders", or citizens of the town. The duties, or ''munera'', were a communal obligation assumed by the ''municipes'' in exchange for the privileges and protections of citizenship. Every citizen was a ''municeps''. The distinction of ''municipia'' was not made in 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 Ancient Rome, Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's ...
; instead, the immediate neighbors of the city were invited or compelled to transfer their populations to the urban structure of Rome, where they took up residence in neighborhoods and became Romans per se. Under the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the Overthrow of the ...
the practical considerations of incorporating communities into the city-state of Rome forced the Romans to devise the concept of ''municipium'', a distinct state under the jurisdiction of Rome. It was necessary to distinguish various types of ''municipia'' and other settlements, such as the
colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the ''metropole, metropoli ...
. In the early
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
these distinctions began to disappear; for example, when
Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natu ...

Pliny the Elder
served in the Roman army, the distinctions were only nominal. In the final stage of development, all citizens of all cities and towns throughout the empire were equally citizens of Rome. The ''municipium'' then simply meant municipality, the lowest level of
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-locali ...
.


Creation of a ''municipium''

The ''munera'' and the citizenship and its rights and protections were specific to the community. No matter where a person lived, at home or abroad, or what his status or class, he was a citizen of the locality in which he was born. The distinguishing
characteristic Characteristic (from the Greek word for a property, attribute or trait Trait may refer to: * Phenotypic trait in biology, which involve genes and characteristics of organisms * Trait (computer programming), a model for structuring object-oriented ...
of the ''municipium'' was
self-governance __NOTOC__ Self-governance, self-government, or self-rule is the ability of a person or group to exercise all necessary functions of regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems ...

self-governance
. Like any ancient city-state, the ''municipium'' was created by an official act of
synoecism Synoecism or synecism ( ; grc, συνοικισμóς, ''sunoikismos'', ), also spelled synoikism ( ), was originally the amalgamation of villages in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a ...
, or founding. This act removed the sovereignty and independence from the signatory local communities, replacing them with the jurisdiction of a common government. This government was then called the ''res publica'' 'public affair' or in the Greek world the ''koinon'' 'common affair'. The term ''municipium'' began to be used with reference to the city-states of Italy brought into the city-state of Rome but not incorporated into the city. The city of
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamorad ...
synoecized the nearby settlements of
Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Latium vetus) on wh ...
, transferring their populations to the seven hills, where they resided in typically distinct neighborhoods. And yet, Sabines continued to live in the Sabine Hills and
Alba Longa Alba Longa (occasionally written Albalonga in Italian sources) was an ancient Latins (Italic tribe), Latin city in Central Italy, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Ancient Rome, Rome, in the vicinity of Lake Albano in the Alban Hills. Founder an ...
continued even though synoecized. The exact sequence of events is not known, whether the populace was given a choice or the synoecized sites were reoccupied. As it is unlikely that all the Sabines were invited to Rome, where facilities to feed and house them did not yet exist, it seems clear that population transfer was only offered to some. The rest continued on as independent localities under the ultimate governance of Rome. Under the Roman Republic the impracticality of transferring numerous large city-states to Rome was manifest. The answer to the problem was the ''municipium''. The town would be partially synoecized. The
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-locali ...
would remain but to its ''munera'' would be added ''munera'' due to the city of Rome. The partial synoecism took the form of a charter granting incorporation into the city of Rome and defining the rights and responsibilities of the citizens. The first ''municipium'' was
Tusculum Tusculum is a ruined Classical Rome, Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. Tusculum was most famous in Roman times for the many great and luxurious patrician country villas sited close to the city, yet a comfortable distanc ...
.


Two orders of the municipia

The citizens of ''municipia'' of the first order held full
Roman citizenship Citizenship Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the law of a country (and/or local jurisdiction) of belonging to thereof. In international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nation ...
and their
rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstandi ...
(''civitas optimo iure'') included the
right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called ac ...
, which was the ultimate right in Rome, and a sure sign of full rights. The second order of ''municipia'' comprised important
tribal The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

tribal
centres which had come under Roman control. Residents of these did not become full Roman citizens (although their
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 ancient Rome, a '' magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both judici ...
s could become so after retirement). They were given the
duties A duty (from "due" meaning "that which is owing"; fro, deu, did, past participle of ''devoir''; la, debere, debitum, whence "debt") is a commitment or expectation to perform some action in general or if certain circumstances arise. A duty may ...

duties
of full
citizen Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and th ...

citizen
s in terms of
liability Liability may refer to: Law * Legal liability, in both civil and criminal law ** Public liability, part of the law of tort which focuses on civil wrongs ** Product liability, the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retai ...
to
tax A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attr ...
es and
military service Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia A militia () is generally an army or some other Military organization, fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subject ...
, but not all of the rights: most significantly, they had no right to vote.
Executive power ''Executive Power'' is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team". Plot summary

CIA field agent Mitch ...
in ''municipium'' was held by four annually
elected
elected
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized com ...

official
s, composed of two
duumvir A diarchy (from ancient Greek, Greek , ''di-'', "double", and , ''-arkhía'', "ruled"). or duumvirate (from Latin ', "the office of the two men"). is a form of government characterized by corule, with two people ruling a polity together either ...
s and two
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 ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization, run through res publica, public Re ...
s. Advisory powers were held by the decurions, appointed members of the local equivalent to the
senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. In later years, these became hereditary.


Examples for grants of municipia

#
Volubilis Volubilis (; ar, وليلي, walīlī; ber, ⵡⵍⵉⵍⵉ, wlili) is a partly excavated Berber-Roman city in Morocco situated near the city of Meknes, and may have been the capital of the Mauretania, kingdom of Mauretania, at least from the ...

Volubilis
in the province of
Mauretania Mauretania (; ) is the Latin language, Latin name for a region in the ancient Maghreb. It stretched from central present-day Algeria westwards to the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, covering northern Morocco, and southward to the Atlas Mountains. Its ...

Mauretania
(modern day
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A con ...

Morocco
) was promoted to a ''municipium'' by the Emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was Roman emperor from AD 41 to 54. Born to Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor at Lugdunum in Roman Gaul, where his father was s ...

Claudius
as a reward for its help in a revolt in AD 40–41 # The Emperor
Vespasian Vespasian (; la, Vespasianus ; 17 November AD 9 – 23/24 June 79) was a 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 thr ...

Vespasian
granted '
Latin Rights Latin Rights (also latin citizenship, 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 ...
' to the provinces of
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Ancient Rome, Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Roman Republic, Hispania was divided into two Roman province, provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispa ...

Hispania
(
Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the northern, eastern and central territories of modern Spain along with the Norte Region, Portugal, Norte Region of modern Portugal. Southern Spain, the r ...

Tarraconensis
,
Baetica Hispania Baetica, often abbreviated Baetica, was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica remained one of the basic div ...

Baetica
,
Lusitania Lusitania (; ) or Hispania Lusitana was an ancient Iberian Roman province located where modern Portugal (south of the Douro river) and part of western Spain (the present autonomous community of Extremadura and a part of the province of Salamanca ...

Lusitania
) in AD 73 or 74 # One Marcus Servilius Draco Albucianus, from
Tripolitania Tripolitania ( ar, طرابلس '; Berber language, Berber: '; from Vulgar Latin: ''*Trapoletanius'', from Latin: ', from Greek language, Greek: ''Τριπολιτάνια'') is a historic region and provinces of Libya, former province of Libya ...

Tripolitania
successfully petitioned
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
to grant the status of ''municipium'' on his townEdmondson, J., 2006, “Cities and urban life in the Western provinces of the Roman Empire, 30BC – 250AD”, in Potter, D.S, A Companion to the Roman Empire, Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell, pp. 250–280


References

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Roman law {{CatAutoTOC, numerals=no Law in ancient history Ancient Rome, Law Indo-European law, Roman Law by former country ...
Roman towns types Subdivisions of ancient Rome