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Dictator

(405 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] (from dictare, ‘to dictate’, ‘to have recorded in writing’, ‘to arrange’; other etymologies in Cic. Rep. 1,63: quia dicitur). The holder of an exceptional, emergency, comprehensive ─ yet temporary ─ appointment under the Roman Republic. An empowered civil servant, i.e. a consul or if necessary even a praetor, could name a dictator ( dictatorem dicere), theoretically on his own initiative, but in practice after consultation with the Senate and other officials. The dictator would then hold an   imperium limited to six months, free from coll…

Antiquo

(202 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] This adverb signifies either ‘long gone’ or ‘long-standing’ (Hor. Epist. 2,1,60; Tac. Germ. 5; Ann. 14,20; Plin. Pan. 42,8). As a forensic term it accordingly covers both laws and statutes made obsolete by more recent legislation as well as the body of traditional law still preserved and interpreted. In the codices of late antiquity it indicates above all the continuously applicable, valid written code of law ( comitia legislation, senatus consulta, constitutiones of the early Empire, e.g. Cod. Iust. 6,51,1,1b -- lex Papia; Dig. 38,17,2,20 -- SC Tertullianum; D…

Consular tribunes

(356 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] more accurately in Lat. tribuni militum consulari potestate, were probably elected for the first time in 443 BC (Liv. 4,7,1f.) -- soon after the two-year-long government of the XII viri legibus scribundis (in 450/449) -- initially by the comitia centuriata, so as to share consular powers of office among more than two colleagues. Livy takes the view that a larger number of bearers of the imperium were needed because of the several war fronts at that time. Other authors see this institution as an expression of the competing interests in the class…

Diptychon

(271 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] (from the Greek δίς; dís = two times and πτύσσω; ptýssō = fold) can refer to anything folded or appearing as a double, such as mussel shells or twins (Eur. Orest. 633 or respectively Ambr. Hex. 6,8,25), but in particular refers to a folded piece of writing on paper or parchment, or two foldable linked writing tablets ─ or a writing tablet with lid ─ and a writing surface made from wax, gypsum or other, mostly light-coloured, material (λεύκωμα; leúkōma), which would be written on with a stylus, a reed, or a brush. As diptycha protected texts against damage or forgery, it be…

Ducenarius

(214 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] ( duceni = ‘two hundred each’) generally indicates a reference to the number 200, as for example in weights ( duceni pondo = two centenarii/two ‘hundredweight’). In the political sphere, after Sulla's judicial reform (82 BC) ducenarius denoted the 200 judges belonging to the equestrian class in the jury panels (  decuriae ) (Vell. Pat. 2,32,3; Liv. per. 89; Suet. Aug. 32 concerns the Augustan reform). In the Principate the term ducenarius derives from the salary of 200,000 HSS for equestrian officials in the Emperor's service and generally refers to …

Abrogatio

(306 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] In public law, abrogatio refers to the suspension of a right or law. 1a: the complete suspension of a law (  lex ) passed by   rogatio by the assembly (Ulp., prooem. 3: abrogatur legi, cum prorsus tollitur). 1b: in a broader sense also the obsoletion of a paragraph of law due to persistent non-observance (Dig. 1,3,32,1: receptum est, ut leges etiam tacito consensu omnium per desuetudinem abrogentur). 2a: the taking away of an   imperium transferred by the comitia via a rogatio. 2b: in a broader sense the denial of rights by a competent court (Cod. Theod. 9,10,3). The abrogatio i…

Actarius

(168 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] ( actuarius.) Actarius can apply to   acta and also to actus (fast movement, transportation) and can therefore designate activities in various areas: 1. In private life, actarius (= actuarius) refers to the ‘fast scribe’, that is of court speeches or recitations (Suet. Iul. 55; Sen. Epist. 4,4,9; Tac. Ann. 5,4), and therefore also to the bookkeeper or accountant (Petron. Sat. 53,1). A. (= actarius) refers to a record-keeper in private and imperial households (CIL VI 5 182; VI 6 244; VI 9 106 f.). 2. In military life, actuarii are, since Septimius Severus, sometimes h…

Acta

(828 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] Acta identifies the result of agere (to cause or pursue something). In legal language, agere refers to action directed toward the creation or alteration of rights (Dig. 50,16,19) by private persons, but especially through organs of public law such as magistrates, courts and generally holders of ‘jurisdiction’ (Dig. 4,6,35,8). Agere can be exclusively oral, but is often also documented in written form in the interest of enforcement, verification and proof. I. Acta in the legal sense refers to the variously documented and archived public records of leg…

Diplomacy

(400 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] (from the Greek-Lat.   diploma , Latin diplomaticus, late Latin diplomatus) etymologically derives from the similar late antique word for the holder of a passport, who on imperial business was permitted to use the state postal service for the transfer of documents and to cross the borders into foreign lands ( evectio ─ Cod. Iust. 12,50). In all international relations governed by ius gentium throughout antiquity, such activities were always linked with a national system of rules governing the dispatch and reception of messengers and plenipotentiaries ( nuntii, missi…

Domain

(479 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] The word domain (from the Lat. [ res] dominica through Late Latin domenica, Old French ‘domenie’, ‘domaine’) describes in the Middle Ages and in early modern times, rather more narrowly than the Late Latin original, the ‘feudal’ or ‘allodial real estate’ of a ‘landowner’ (‘noble’) and may denote the property as a whole or a single segment of it. In Roman legal language the res dominica is roughly covered by dominium (Dig. 50,16,195,2; 1,5,20), with the property being taken as plots or other things but possibly also applying to the whole property com…

Maiestas

(1,003 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] A. Definition As noun to the adjective maius (‘increasing’, ‘bigger’), maiestas in general means an unusual, unquestionably superior power and dignity to be respected, notably 1. the sacredness of the gods or of a god (Cic. Div. 1,82; Christian: Cod. Iust. 1,1,1, pr.), 2. the patria potestas of the pater familias towards the relatives and slaves subordinate to him (Liv. 4,45,8; Val. Max. 7,7,5; Cod. Iust. 6,20,12; see below B.) and especially 3. the majesty of the populus Romanus (Cic. Balb. 35; Cic. Part. or. 105; Dig. 48,4,1,1), the res publica (Cic. De orat. 2,164) …

Interrex

(417 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] (literally ‘interim king’). The Roman official who had to conduct the election of a suffectus when someone holding the highest office became incapacitated. The word and the non-collegial nature of the office suggest that it has its origins in the period of kings (Liv. 1,17,12; Cic. Rep. 2,12,23; Plut. Numa 2). In the Republic the interrex intervened when the supreme office became vacant with the death of both consuls ( interregnum) and substitute elections had to be held that for consuls would normally be held by a consul who was still in office. Th…

Comitia

(1,614 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] In spite of Roman traditionalism, in the course of time the different forms of popular assemblies arising under the Roman constitution undergo a pronounced developmental change on the one hand and must, on the other, be considered in terms of their functional role at any one period. The following forms occur: the comitia curiata, the comitia centuriata, the   concilium plebis, the comitia tributa and the   contiones. It must also be said that, owing to fundamental methodical and factual reservations due to the relatively late d…

Assectator

(128 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] Adsectari/assectari (to stubbornly follow close behind) also describes the elements of the statutory offence of persecuting a respectable person in need of protection contra bonos mores (Gai. 3,220; Cod. lust. 47,10,15,19 ff.). In the political and societal realm, assectator denotes the party supporter, adherent or loyal companion for the most part of a person seeking public office. In his self-portrayal of patrons, Cicero (Mur. 70) differentiates three groups of clients in the adsectatio: una salutatorum, cum domum veniunt, altera deductorum, tertia…

Census

(447 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] From the general meaning of censere (etymologically from centrum) the following specialized uses of the term census are derived: 1. The census of citizens in the Republican period. According to Roman historical tradition (Liv. 1,42,5), it was first the kings and later the consuls who carried out censuses of the citizenry in order to establish obligations for military and other types of service, and liability for tax. From 443 BC (Liv. 4,8,2) two censors bear responsibility for the census over a term of office lasting five years (  lustrum ). They ha…

Censuales

(250 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] Assessment of citizens for tax purposes (  census ) in republican Rome is carried out by subordinate officials of free status ( scribae) and by bonded state servants ( servi publici a censu or censuales), under the political responsibility of the   censores insofar as they are in office. But supervision of the administration of the tax registers ( libri censuales) is carried out by a chief administrator, probably from early times called magister census. There are also census officials, occasionally termed censuales, in provincial administrations and in cities w…

Eminentissimus

(165 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] Rank at the Roman imperial court; originally used of officials from the equestrian class. With their growing status as representatives and direct subordinates of the emperor (  praefectus praetorio ), their position and form of address was brought into line with the senatorial summae potestates (Dig. 1,11,1) and its nomenclature (cf. Cod. Theod. 12,12,3). In the courtly order of ranking ( ordo dignitatum) in late antiquity the title then had the same meaning as excellentissimus, magnificentissimus, gloriosissimus, sublimissimus or illustrissimus (even in the…

Bruttiani

(130 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] Bruttiani were the ushers of Roman magistrates. Because of their desertion to Hannibal and their loyalty to him until the end of the Second Punic War, the southern Italian tribe of the  Bruttii not only had to surrender a large part of their territory to Rome, but also had to declare their readiness from then on to work as ushers in ‘slavish’ positions, albeit as free men. Although these punishments had lost their significance at the latest with the Social War, Bruttiani remained a synonym for   apparitores , because the Bruttii continued in their traditional service as   licto…

Aediles

(712 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] The original scope of duties of the aediles is still unexplained. Aediles points to

Immunitas

(332 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin)
[German version] The exemption of individual legal persons from the obligations to military service, public service and consent, Lat. immunitas (... vacationem militiae munerisque ... immunitatem appellari: Dig. 50,16,18; Greek atéleia, aneisphoría, aleitourgeisía: Dig. 27,1,6,2), can be based on legal, generally formulated non-inclusion of a circle to which they belong, or on a temporary or long-term personal dispensation (Dig. 50,6: de iure immunitatis; 50,5: de vacatione et excusatione munerum). Depending on the duties in question, the immunitas personae exempted from burdens which placed physical or intellectual demands on individuals, the immunitas patrimonii from duties imposed on fortunes and, thus, their respective owners. Despite these categories, the rules of exemption are very different in their details. Legal reasons for exemptions could include age, gender, class (e.g. senators, knights; in Christian times also priests and monks), membership o…
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