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(1,535 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] I. Meaning of the term The Latin term denoted politicians of the late Roman Republic who declared themselves to act with the assistance, and in the interests of, the people ( populus ); however, terminological and not infrequently factual blurring arose from the fact that the root adjective popularis at first meant 'belonging to the people', 'concerning the people', then concurrently 'popular' and 'in the interests of the people'. By definition, agitation by populares before the multitude in opposition to the established elite ( pauci; 'the few') was almost de rigueur,…


(1,435 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] I. Meaning of the word The word plebs initially simply meant 'multitude' (from the root ple; cf. plenus, 'full' and Greek πλῆθος/ plȇthos, 'multitude'). As a collective term for all Roman citizens, excluding the Patricians ( patricii ), it can be conceived (disparagingly) only by the latter and in both its meaning and its historical development can be understood only as a correlate of the concept of patriciate. When this had been transformed by the elevation of leading plebeian families to the nobility ( nobiles ) and the ordo equester ( equites Romani

Emergency, state of

(674 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] is the extreme form of an internal crisis, to which state authorities respond with extraordinary, i.e. unlawful measures. A similar response to internal crises by state authorities did not arise in the Greek city states. As responses to crisis-like situations there, we find trials against individual citizens, instigated by other individual citizens (see  Herms, mutilation of the); or on occasion groups sought to resolve a crisis by means of a putsch (see  Oligarchy), or conditions developed similar to a civil war (  Stasis ). In Rome the state…


(306 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] ( assiduus, from adsideo) meaning ‘settled’. As a technical term in legal language it was considered a synonym of locuples, the opposite term was proletarius (Varro in Non. p. 67 M.). Therefore, it described ‘someone who was settled on his property’. The XII Tables decreed: Adsiduo vindex adsiduus esto. Proletario iam civi (or civis) qui volet vindex esto (Gell. NA 16,10,5). Adsiduus and proletarius are one of the pairs of opposites so frequently encountered in the archaic legal language of Rome [4.182]. As their etymological discussion suffi…


(958 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] L. Sergius C. came from a patrician gens that had been politically unsuccessful for a relatively long time. Born in 108 at the latest, he appears on 17. Nov. 89 BC in the consilium of the consul Pompeius Strabo as L. Sergi(us) L. f. Tro(mentina) [1. 160ff.]. At the end of the 80s he was legate to Sulla (Sall. Hist. 1,46) [2. 110ff.]. He probably did not murder his brother [3. 1688], but he probably killed M. Marius Gratidianus (Q. Cic. comm. pet. 10; Ascon. 84; 90C), the brother of his wife Gratidia (Schol. Bern.…
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