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Senatus consultum ultimum
(295 words)

[German version]

This modern term derives from Caesar (B Civ. 1,5,3) and Livy (3,4,9), and means the 'final' or 'highest' decree of the Senate, by which the Senate declared a state of emergency at Rome and charged the senior magistrate(s) present in the city at the time to act against the emergency. The commission was usually given to one or both of the consuls, and occasionally to other officials (interrex; praetores; magister equitum). The crux of the decree, the wording of which probably varied, was the formula (consules) dent operam or videant, ne quid detrimenti res publica capiat. The…

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von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle), “Senatus consultum ultimum”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 19 September 2019 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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