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(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…


(588 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] Roman tradition terms as secessio (from Latin secedere, 'to go away, to withdraw') the remonstrative exodus of the Roman plebeians from the urban area delimited by the pomerium on to a neighbouring hill. This action was on a number of occasions the culmination of confrontation between the patricians ( patricii ) and the plebs . The first secessio in particular may have been instrumental in the formation of a self-conscious plebeian community under the leadership of at first two, later apparently five people's tribunes ( tribunus plebis ), to whose…

Senatus consultum ultimum

(295 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[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…


(336 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] The Latin word proletarii, derived from proles ('descendant'), describes people without property, who mattered only for their progeny (Cic. Rep. 2,40), i.e. were liable neither to military service nor to taxation. Cato [1] Censorius says clearly: expedito pauperem plebeium atque proletarium (fr. 152 Orf). The contrast between proletarius and adsiduus is encountered as early as in the Twelve Tables (Gell. NA 16,10,5); the word proletarii is still attested in some 2nd-cent. BC authors and finally in Varro (De vita Populi Romani, fr.9), and was t…


(618 words)

Author(s): von Ungern-Sternberg, Jürgen (Basle)
[German version] Cicero defines seditio, perhaps by analogy with the Greek term stásis, as “dissensio civium, quod seorsum eunt alii ad alios” ("discord among citizens who separate and go different ways": Cic. Rep. 6,1). Normally, however, seditio designates a serious disturbance of public order, in other words 'rebellion', in the military domain also 'mutiny' (Frontin. Str. 1,9). Attempts at a legal precaution against seditio can be traced back to the Twelve Tables, which forbade coetus ( nocturni) ('night-time gatherings') (Lex XII tab. 8,26-27 Bruns = 14 f. Crawford)…
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