1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Ancient Roman History - The Empire - The Principate, 27-284 A.D. - The Constitution of the Principate

(Part 9)



Era III: The Empire
Period I: The Principate, 27-284 A.D.
(a) The Constitution of the Principate

The conqueror of Antony at Actium, the great-nephew and heir of the dictator Caesar, was now summoned, by the general consent of a world wearied out with twenty years of war and anarchy, to the task of establishing a government which should as far as possible respect the forms and traditions of the republic, without sacrificing that centralization of authority which experience had shown to be necessary for the integrity and stability of the empire. It was a task for which Octavian was admirably fitted. To great administrative capacity and a quiet tenacity of purpose he united deliberate caution and unfailing tact; while his bourgeois birth and genuinely Italian sympathies enabled him to win the confidence of the Roman community to an extent impossible for Caesar, with his dazzling pre-eminence of patrician descent, his daring disregard of forms, and his cosmopolitan tastes.

The Augustan System (28-27 B.C.)

The new system which was formally inaugurated by Octavian in 28-27 B.C. assumed the shape of a restoration of the republic under the leadership of a " princeps." Octavian voluntarily resigned the extraordinary powers which he had held since 43, and, to quote his own words, "handed over the republic to the control of the senate and people of Rome. The old constitutional machinery was once more set in motion ; the senate, assembly, and magistrates resumed their functions ; and Octavian himself was hailed as the " restorer of the commonwealth and the champion of freedom." It was not so easy to determine what relation he himself, the actual master of the Roman world, should occupy towards this revived republic. His abdication, in any real sense of the word, would have simply thrown everything back into confusion. The interests of peace and order required that he should retain at least the substantial part of his authority; and this object was in fact accomplished, and the rule of the emperors founded, in a manner which has no parallel in history. Any revival of the kingly title was out of the question, and Octavian himself expressly refused the dictatorship. Nor was any new office created or any new official title invented for his benefit. But by senate and people he was invested according to the old constitutional forms with certain powers, as many citizens had been before him, and so took his place among the lawfully appointed magistrates of the republic;—only, to mark his pre-eminent dignity, as the first of them all, the senate decreed that he should take as an additional cognomen that of "Augustus,"15 while in common parlance he was henceforth styled "princeps," a simple title of courtesy, familiar to republican usage, and conveying no other idea than that of a recognized primacy and precedence over his fellow citizens.16 The ideal sketched by Cicero in his De Republica, of a constitutional president of a free republic, was apparently realised; but it was only in appearance. For in fact the special prerogatives conferred upon Octavian gave him back in substance the autocratic authority he had resigned, and as between the restored republic and its new princeps the balance of power was overwhelmingly on the side of the latter.

Under one form or another Octavian had held the "imperium " since 43, and in 33 he had been formally acknowledged as "imperator," by the consent of all.17

Imperium proconsulare (27 B.C.)

For this somewhat irregular authority was substituted in 27 the regular " proconsulare imperium,"18 the authority under which for nearly two centuries the provinces had been governed and the legions led to war. He received it in the orthodox way, by decree of the senate; and the decree, as was customary, defined the area of his command. The essential difference between the " proconsulare imperium" granted to Octavian and that which had been voted year after year to the ordinary proconsuls, lay in its unprecedentedly wide extent and in its long duration. All the provinces, with the exception of those where no military authority or force was required, were placed under his command, to be governed directly by " legati " appointed by him and responsible only to him.19 The " unarmed provinces " were to be assigned by lot in the old way to ex-consuls and ex-praetors, and to be nominally under the control of the senate; but in 23 even their governors were declared to be generally subordinate to Octavian as the holder of a higher authority (" majus imperium)." In addition to this control, direct and indirect, of all the provinces, Octavian received also the sole and supreme command of all the military and naval forces of the empire. He alone henceforth levies, pays, and dismisses soldiers, equips fleets, and orders the movements of both army and navy, and he was granted in addition full authority to wage war and conclude treaties with whom he would. Finally, in 23, if not in 27, he was exempted from the law which required the proconsul to lay down his "imperium " on entering Rome, and was allowed to exercise it within the sacred limits of the pomcerium, a privilege which facilitated the introduction into the city of the prefects, praetorian guard, and summary jurisdiction proper to the proconsul in the province. This " proconsulare imperium " was granted in the first instance for ten years, but was renewed for periods of five, five, and ten years successively, and the fiction of its temporary duration and periodic renewal was maintained under Augustus's successors by the celebration every ten years of the " decennalia." The supreme importance attached to its possession as the mainstay of the imperial power is sufficiently indicated by the fact that the man on whom it is conferred becomes thereby "princeps," and the day on which he receives it (" dies imperii") marks the beginning of his reign.

Tribunicia Potestas

The proconsular imperium not only carried with it the control of the army and the provinces, but in Rome itself it gave its holder a position of precedence. In virtue of it he took his seat between the consuls, was preceded by lictors, and wore the laurel wreath, paludamentum, and sword of the imperator. But as yet Rome could not be governed like a subject provincial city by proconsular authority; and, for the necessary direction and regulation of the constitutional machinery which he had restored, Augustus contented himself with the authority which traditionally invested its holder with a popular leadership, that of the tribunes of the plebs. The "tribunicia potestas " had been granted him for life in 36, and his tenure of it was confirmed in 23. Thenceforward it ranked as a constituent element of the principate, second in importance only to the proconsular authority. With but few exceptions it was conferred for life upon all succeeding emperors, and the years of their reigns are reckoned by the years of their tribunician power. It was conferred, as all special " potestas " had been conferred under the republic, by a decree of the senate and vote of the assembly. It gave its holder all the prerogatives of the tribunate, without the restrictions which hampered the tribunes themselves. Augustus and his successors were unimpeded in its exercise by the presence of colleagues _ and both their personal inviolability and their right of interference held good outside the pomcerium. It enabled them, as representing the acknowledged protectors of the plebs, to control in the name of the people the whole administrative machinery, to introduce laws, to convene the senate, to protect the aggrieved, and to interfere with any exercise of authority by other magistrates. In short, it gave to the man who already wielded an authority abroad more absolute than that granted to Pompey by the Gabinian law all and more than all the power possessed by a Gracchus in Rome.

Other Powers of the Princeps

It was on these two powers that Augustus's position as princeps rested. In virtue of these he was chief magistrate of the Roman state, and all other offices and privileges conferred upon him are comparatively of secondary importance. The consulship which he held continuously from 31 up to 23 he never accepted again but on two occasions, in 5 B.C. and in 2 B.C., though he was twice invested with " consular authority " for the purpose of taking the census (8 B.C, 14 A.D.). That he ever received an extraordinary " morum legumque regimen," as stated by Suetonius and Dio, is extremely doubtful, and his language in the Ancyran monument implies that for this purpose, as for many others, he found the tribunician authority sufficient. fn 22 B.C. he was invested with the "cura annonae," the supervision of the corn supply and the corn largesses at Rome. On the death of Lepidus in 12 B.C. he succeeded him as " pontifex maximus," and he was also a member of the augural and other priestly colleges. Lastly, at various times, and probably by decree of the senate, he was granted a number of special exemptions and privileges.

Changes in the Constitution of the Principate

In theory at least, the Roman world was governed according to the "maxims of Augustus"19 down to the time of Diocletian. Even in the 3d century there is still, in name at least, a republic, of which the emperor is in strictness only the chief magistrate, deriving his authority from the senate and people, and with prerogatives limited and defined by law. The case is quite different when we turn from the theory to the practice. The division of authority between the republic and its chief magistrate became increasingly unequal. Over the provinces the princeps from the first ruled autocratically; and this autocracy reacted upon his position in Rome, so that it became every year more difficult for a ruler so absolute abroad to maintain even the fiction of republican government at home. The republican institutions, with the partial exception of the senate, lose all semblance of authority outside Rome, and even in their altered position as the municipal institutions of the chief city of the empire they retain but little actual power. The real government even of Rome passes gradually into the hands of imperial prefects and commissioners, and the old magistracies become merely decorations which the emperor gives away at his pleasure. And at the same time the rule of the princeps assumes an increasingly personal character, and the whole work of government is silently concentrated in his hands and in those of his own subordinate officials. Closely connected with this change is the different aspect presented by the history of the empire in Rome and Italy on the one hand and in the provinces on the other. Rome and Italy share in the decline of the republic. Political independence and activity die out; their old preeminence and exclusive privileges gradually disappear; and at the same time the weight of the overwhelming power of the princeps, and the abuses of their power by individual " principes," press most heavily upon them. On the other hand, in the provinces and on the frontiers, where the imperial system was most needed, and where from the first it had full play, unfettered by the fictions of republican government, it is seen at its best as developing or protecting an orderly civilization and maintaining the peace of the world.

Decay of Republican Institutions

The decay of the republican institutions had commenced before the revolutionary crisis of 49. It was accelerated by the virtual suspension of all regular government between 49 and 28; and not even the diplomatic deference towards ancient forms which Augustus displayed availed to conceal the unreality of his work of restoration.

The Comitia

The " comitia " received back from him " their ancient rights," and during his lifetime they continued to pass laws and to elect magistrates. But after _ the end of the reign of Tiberius we have only two instances of legislation by the assembly in the ordinary way, and the lawmaking of the empire is performed either by decrees of the senate or by imperial edicts and constitutions. Their prerogative of electing magistrates was, even under Augustus, robbed of most of its importance by the control which the princeps exercised over their choice by means of his rights of nomination and commendation, rights which effectually secured the election of his own nominees. By Tiberius even this restricted prerogative was still further curtailed. The candidates for all magistracies except the consulship were thenceforward nominated and voted for in the senate-house and by the senators, and only the " renuntiatio," the formal return of the result, and the introduction of the magistrates designate to the people took place in the assembly. And, though the election of consuls was never thus transferred to the senate, the process of voting seems to have been silently abandoned. In the time of the younger Pliny we hear only of the nomination of the candidates and of their formal "renuntiatio " in the Campus Martius. By this empty form the ancient right of the people to confer all magisterial authority was saved, at least in appearance; and it was acknowledged in as purely formal a manner in the case of the princeps himself, who, as long as the principate lasted, continued to receive the " tribunicia potestas" by a vote of the assembly, and was thus held to derive his authority from the people.

The Magistracies

This almost complete effacement of the "comitia " was largely due to the fact that they had ceased to represent anything but the populace of Rome, and the comparatively greater vitality shown by the old magistracies is mainly attributable to the value they continued to possess in the eyes of the Roman upper class. But, though they were eagerly sought, and conferred on their holders considerable social distinction, the magistrates ceased, except in name, to be the popularly chosen executive officers of the Roman state. In the administration of the empire at large they had no share, if we except the subordinate duties still assigned to the quaestor in a province. In Rome, to which their sphere of work was limited, they were overshadowed by the dominant authority of tho princeps, while their range of duties was increasingly circumscribed by the gradual transference of administrative authority, even within the city, to the emperor and his subordinate officials. And their dependence on tho princeps was confirmed by the control he exercised over their appointment. For all candidates the approval, if not the commendation, of the princeps became the indispensable condition of success, and the princeps on his side treated these ancient offices as pieces of preferment with which to reward his adherents or gratify the ambition of Roman nobles. In all instances, too, the dignity of the office was impaired by the practice, begun by Caesar and continued by Augustus and his successors, of granting the insignia to men who had not held the actual magistracy itself.9


The change is especially noticeable in the case of the consuls, the chief magistrates of the old commonwealth. The consulship was still the highest post open to the private citizen,10 and consular rank a necessary qualification for high office in the provinces ;1] but the actual consuls have scarcely any other duties than those of presiding in the senate, conducting its proceedings, and occasionally executing its decrees,12 while their term of office dwindles from a year to six and finally to two months.13 In the age of Tacitus and the younger Pliny, the contrast is striking enough between the high estimate set on the dignity of the office and the frankness with which both its limited powers and its dependence on the emperor are acknowledged.14


Of the other magistrates the praetors continued to exercise their old jurisdiction with little formal change down at least to the latter half of the second century, but only as subordinate to the higher judicial authority of the emperor.15


The aediles seem to have retained only such petty police duties as did not pass to one or another of the numerous imperial prefects and commissioners.16


The tribunate fared still worse, for, by the side of the tribunicia potestas wielded by the princeps, it sank into insignificance, and it is described by the younger Pliny as a "shadow and an empty name."17


The quaestorship suffered perhaps less change than any other of the old offices. It still kept its place as the first step on the ladder of promotion, and there was still a quaestor attached to each governor of a senatorial province, to the consuls in Rome, and to the princeps himself as proconsul.1

The Senate

The senate alone among republican institutions retained some importance and influence. The virtual abolition of the comitia, and the degradation of the magistracies left the senate to stand alone as the representative of republicanism, and it thus came to be regarded as sharing the government of the empire with the princeps himself. The magistrates elected by the senate are contrasted with the legates, prefects, and procurators appointed by the emperor. It is to the senate, in theory, that the supreme power reverts in the absence of a princeps. It is by decree of the senate that the new princeps immediately receives his powers and privileges, though he is still supposed to derive them ultimately from the people, and is as a rule actually the nominee of the soldiers. After the cessation of all legislation by the comitia, the only law-making authority, other than that of the princeps by his edicts, was that of the senate by its decrees. Its judicial authority was parallel with that of the emperor, and at the close of the 1st century we find the senators claiming, as the emperor's " peers," to be exempt from his jurisdiction. But in spite of the outward dignity and importance of this position, and of the politic deference with which it was frequently treated, the senate became gradually almost as powerless in reality as the comitia and the magistracies. The two great supports of its authority under the republic—its identification with the interests of a powerful aristocracy and the subserviency of the magistrates—both fell away under the empire.

The senators continued indeed to be taken as a rule from the ranks of the wealthy, and a high property qualification was established by Augustus as a condition of membership, but any effect which this may have had in giving independence to the position of a senator was counterbalanced by the facilities it afforded to the emperors for securing their own ascendency by subsidizing those whose property fell short of the required standard, and who thus became simply the paid creatures of their imperial patrons. Admission to the senate was possible only by favour of the emperor, as at once controlling the elections to the magistracies, which still as of old gave entrance to the curia, and as invested with the power of directly creating senators by " adlectio," a power which from the time of Vespasian onwards was freely used. As the result, the composition of the senate rapidly altered. Under Augustus and Tiberius it still contained many representatives of the old republican families, whose prestige, influence, and ancestral traditions were some guarantee for their independence. But this element soon disappeared. The ranks of the old nobility were thinned by natural decay and by the jealous fears of the last three Claudian emperors. Vespasian flooded the senate with new men from the municipal towns of Italy and the Latinized provinces of the West. Trajan and Hadrian, both provincials themselves, carried on the same policy, and by the close of the 2d century even the Greek provinces of the East had their representatives among the senators of Home. Some, no doubt, of these provincials, who constituted the great majority of the senate in the 3d century, were men of wealth and mark, but many more were of low birth, on some rested the stain of a servile descent, and all owed alike their present position and their chances of further promotion to the emperor.8 The procedure of the senate was as completely at the mercy of the princeps as its composition. He was himself a senator and the first of senators;9 he possessed the magisterial prerogatives of convening the senate, of laying business before it, and of carrying senatus consulta ;10 above all, his tribunician power enabled him to interfere at any stage, and to modify or reverse its decisions. The share of the senate in the government was in fact determined by the amount of administrative activity which each princeps saw fit to allow it to exercise, and by the extent to which he chose to use it as an instrument of government. And this share became steadily smaller. The jurisdiction assigned it by Augustus and Tiberius was in the 3d century limited to the hearing of such cases as the emperor thought fit to send for trial, and these became steadily fewer in number. Its control of the state treasury, as distinct from the imperial fiscus, and of the so-called senatorial provinces passed in fact to the emperor and his officials, and was only occasionally revived by the special favour of emperors who, like Marcus Aurelius,11 were sincerely attached to old traditions, or, like Severus Alexander and Tacitus, hoped by close alliance with the senate to escape from the evils of a military despotism.12 Even in Rome and Italy its control of the administration was gradually transferred to the prefect of the city, and after the reign of Hadrian to imperial officers (juridici) charged with the civil administration.13 The part still played by its decrees in the modification of Roman law has been dealt with elsewhere (see p. 704 supra), but it is clear that these decrees did little else than register the expressed wishes of the emperor and his personal advisers.

Altered Position of the Princeps; Centralization of Authority in his Hands

The growing impotence of all other authority than that of the princeps inevitably altered the character of the principate. Even under Augustus, Tiberius, and the of Claudian emperors, there is a silent and steady concentration of all authority in the hands of the princeps ; not only the army and the provinces, but even Rome and Italy, are in reality governed by him, though still with a lingering respect for the traditional prerogatives of the senate and the senatorial magistrates; in the reigns of Caligula, Claudius, and Nero the politic disguise under which Augustus and Tiberius had endeavoured to conceal the extent of their power was thrown contemptuously aside. In the administration of justice and in finance, as well as in military and foreign affairs, the authority of the princeps is paramount; and his own personal subordinates—legates, prefects, procurators, and even his freed-menu—divide between them the real work of government.

Outward Splendour

This increase of power was accompanied by a corresponding elevation of the princeps himself above the level of all other citizens. The comparatively modest household and simple life of Augustus were replaced by a more with than regal splendour, and under Nero we find all the outward accessories of monarchy present, the palace, the palace guards, the crowds of courtiers, and a court ceremonial. In direct opposition to the republican theory of the principate, the members of the princeps's family share in the dignities of his position. The males bear the cognomen of Caesar, and are invested, as youths, with high office; their names and even those of the females are included in the yearly prayers for the safety of the jirinceps ; their birthdays are kept as festivals; the praetorian guards take the oath to them as well as to the princeps himself. Finally, the growing practice of Caesar worship invested the chief magistrate of the Roman commonwealth with the divine attributes ascribed to Eastern monarchs. The death of Nero was followed, it is true, by a partial reaction. Not only Galba and the Flavian emperors but Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines at once affected a certain simplicity in their personal habits, and discountenanced the excessive servility and adulation encouraged by Caligula and Nero. But this reaction served only to bring into clearer relief the continued advance made towards the establishment of an autocratic and military rule.

Increasingly Military Character of the Principate

Caligula, Claudius, and Nero were all first saluted as imperatores by the soldiery and then invested with their powers by the senate, but this reversal of the constitutional order was rendered less noticeable by the fact that the choice was still made in Rome, and that it fell in each case on one whose birth already marked him out as the natural successor to the purple. The salutation of Galba by the legions in Spain marks the opening of a new epoch. Thenceforward, if the legions do not actually select the princeps, it is their acceptance of him which is the one essential condition of his tenure of power, and it is on their support that he relies. Vitellius and Vespasian were chosen by the legions of Germany and Syria, as Galba had been by those of Spain. Domitian emphasized the military character of his rule by entering the senate in the triumphal dress; and under the great soldier Trajan, whose adoption by Nerva was a frank confession of the necessities of the case, the military title " imperator " was already superseding the older and more constitutional " princeps."

Severance of Connexion with Rome

Closely connected with the increasingly military character of the emperor's position was the gradual severance of the old ties which connected the emperor, as chief magistrate, with Rome, as the traditional seat and centre of political power. Galba, Vitellius, and Vespasian were already de facto emperors when they entered Rome from their distant provinces to claim the legal confirmation by the senate. Trajan and Hadrian were both provincials by birth; the former did not enter Rome for a full year after his accession, and Hadrian courteously apologized to the senate for taking up the imperium in Syria before his acceptance by that body.6 The connexion between the emperors and Rome was further weakened by the increasing frequency and length of their absences from the city. Life in Rome was no doubt irksome to men trained in camps, as Trajan had been, and the state of affairs was such as imperatively to require the emperor's presence in the provinces and on the frontiers. The distant campaigns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, and the unwearying travels of Hadrian, were necessary for the safety and good government of the empire, but they involved the removal from Rome of the real seat of government. The emperors from Vespasian to Aurelius were, with the exception of Domitian, ready enough to respect constitutional forms, at least in their personal intercourse with the senate, and Aurelius seems sincerely to have wished to share with the senate the overwhelming responsibilities which pressed upon him. But the improved organization of the administrative system which the times demanded was too urgent a need to be set aside out of respect for the niceties of an obsolete constitutional government; and this period is marked by the development and extension of a purely imperial system of government, the control of which was centralized in the hands of the emperor alone. The main credit of this achievement is due to Hadrian, and its immediate effect was undoubtedly to increase the effectiveness of the administration; but it accelerated the decay of local independence and energy, and thus diminished the strength of the empire.

The Emperors of the 3rd Century

The century which separates the death of Marcus Aurelius from the accession of Diocletian (180-284) completed the destruction of the old Augustan system. Now and again, as in the case of Pertinax, of Severus Alexander, of Maximus and Balbinus, and of Tacitus, the senate succeeded in claiming for itself the selection of an emperor, but with the single exception of Severus Alexander their nominees were not more successful than Nerva in securing the necessary attachment of the legions; as a rule the emperors of the 3d century were more than ever the nominees of the soldiery, often men of obscure origin from the frontier provinces. The worst of them treated the senate with contempt and contumely, and the best of them excluded it from all share in the government.

Septimus Severus

Septimius Severus, a native of Africa, set the precedent of abstaining from seeking a formal confirmation of his authority from the senate; he assumed the title of proconsul even in Rome, administered justice no longer openly in the forum but within the walls of the palace, and finally established the prefect of the praetorian guard as the officer next in power to the emperor himself. It is, moreover, on his inscriptions that the emperor is first officially styled "dominus."

The "Illyrian Emperors"

From the accession of Decius (249), the first of a series of able emperors sprung from the Danubian provinces, the autocratic and military character of the imperial system rapidly develops. The old distinctions between imperial and senatorial provinces, between the state treasury and the privy purse of the emperor, finally disappear. Senators are almost entirely excluded alike from the military and civil services. Under Aurelian (270-275), an able soldier and a vigorous administrator, the breach with the old traditions became complete. He anticipated Diocletian in the completely autocratic methods of his government and in the Oriental pomp and splendour with which he surrounded himself.


Veil., ii. 76 ; Dio, xlviii. 28 ; App., v. 65.
'2 For Antony's policy and schemes in the East, see Ranke, Weltgeschichte, ii. 381-385 ; Merivale, Romans under the Umpire, vol. iii. chap. 27 ; Lange, Rom. Alterth., iii. 573 sq.
s Suet., Octav., 17 ; Dio, 1. 1-8 ; Plutarch, Anton., 53.
Dio, li. 1 ; Zonaras, 10, 30.
He celebrated his triumph on August 6, 7, 8 ; Dio, li. 20 ; Livy, Epit., cxxxiii. For the closing of the temple of Janus, see Livy, i. 19 ; Veil., ii. 38 ; Suet., Oct., 22.
Tac, Ann., i. 2, " cunctos dnlcedine otii pellexit."
Suet., Aug., i. His grandfather was a citizen of Velitrae; '' municipalibus magisteriis contentns."
Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 707 ; Mon. Ancyranum (ed. Momm-
sen, Berlin, 1883), vi. 13-23, pp. 144-153 ; Merivale, Romans
under the Empire, chap. xxxi.; Cape's Early Empire, chaps, i. -xii.
s Tac, Ann., iii. 28, "sexto demum consulatu . . . quae mviratu
jusserat abolevit, deditqne jura quis pace et principe uteremur ; " ibid.,
i. 9, " non regno neque dictatura sed principis nomine constitutam

Mon. Ancyr., vi. 13
11 Veil. Pat., ii. 89, "prisca et antiqua reipnblicae forma revocata."
12 Ovid, Fasti, i. 589. On a coin of Asia Minor Augustus is styled ' Compare, for other evidence, Mommsen, Staatstr., ii. 708, note 1.

"libertatis P. R. vindex.'
Staatsr., ii. 708, note 1.
13 Dio Cassius describes Augustus as seriously contemplating abdi-
cation (Iii. 1; liii. 1-11); cf. Suet., Aug., 28.
14 Suet., 52; Mon. Ancyr., i. 31. 15 Mon. Ancyr., vi. 16, 21, 23.
16 The explanation of ' ' princeps " as an abbreviated form of
"princeps senatus " is quite untenable. For its real significance, see
Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 733 ; Pelham, Joicrn. of Phil., vol. viii.
It is not an official title.
17 Mon. Ancyr., v. 3-6, vi. 13, 14. Augustus adopted "imper-
ator" as a pranomen in 40. Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 727, note 2.
18 Dio, liii. 17, 32 ; Mommsen, Staatsr., 791.
19 Dio, liii. 12; Suet., 47, "provincias validiores ipse suscepit,
ceteras proconsulibus sortito permisit."

Dio, liii. 32.
See the so-called " lex de imperio Vespasiani," C. I. L., vi, 930.
Dio, liii. 17. 4 Dio, liii. 13.
5 Dio, liii. 16 ; Ivii. 24 ; Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 751, 752.
6 See the passages from the Acta Fratrum Arvalium (ed. Henzen, Berlin, 1874), p. 63. Tiberius received it when associated with
sular power for life, but it is doubtful whether any such power was formally conferred. Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 813 ; Mon. Ancyr.,
Dio, liv. 10, connects these privileges with the bestowal of con-
sular power for life, but it is doubtful whether any such power was formally conferred. Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 813 ; Mon. Ancyr.,
iii. 9. 8 Tac, Ann., i. 2. 9 Mon. Ancyr., ii. 21.
Dio, liii. 32. The years of the "tribunicia potestas" are reckoned by Augustus from this year. See Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 753, 754.
References are found in the Ada Fratrum Arvalium to the
comitia in which it was conferred; Acta F. A., ed. Hcnzen, p. 65.
It is possible, as Mommsen thinks, that the extant fragmentary law
"de imperio Vespasiani" may be a part of the "lex" conferring the
"tribunicia potestas"; see his Staatsr., ii. 818. The "tribunicia
Dio, liii. 32. The years of the "tribunicia potestas" are reckoned by Augustus from this year. See Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 753, 754.
chosen colleague or destined successor ; Tac, Ann., i. 2, of Tiberius,
"consors tribuniciae potestatis."
It is possible, as Mommsen thinks, that the extant fragmentary law

12 Suet., 26. Mon. Ancyr., ii. 5. 8.
14 Suet., 27 ; Dio, liv. 10, 30.
15 Mon. Ancyr. Gr., iii. 15, and Mommsen s notes, pp. 28-30, 36-38.
10 Mon. Ancyr. Lat., i. 32, 33.
17 Mommsen on Mon. Ancyr. Lat., i. 45, p. 32.
18 Dio, liii. 18. In the "lex de imperio Vespasiani" several such
exemptions are mentioned ; Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 711 sq.
]!t Suet., Nero. 10, "ex Augusti praescripto.''

6 Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 865, 866 ; Plin., Paneg., 92.

8 Plin., Epp., ii. 9, vi. 6. See, generally, Friedlaender, Sitten-geschichte Poms (Leipsic, 1869), pp.' 227 sq.
9 The permission to use the " ornamenta consularia, praetoria," &c., was distinct from the "adlectio inter consulares, praetorios," &c. See Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 877 sq.', Suet., Jul., 76 ; Claud., v. 24 ; Tac, Ann., xii. 21, xv. 72 ; Dio Cass., Ix. 8. Cf. also Friedlaender, i. 224.
10 Tac, Agric., ii; Pliny, Epp., ii. I, " summum fastigium privati
11 For a consular senatorial province and for the more important
of the imperial legateships.
12 Plin., Paneg., 48, graphically sums up the consuls' duties.
13 Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 79. Six months was the usual term
down to the death of Nero ; we have then four or two months ; in
the 3d century two is the rule. The consuls who entered on office on
January 1 were styled " consules ordinarii," and gave their name to
the year. Seneca De Ira, iii. 31, "a me numerari voluit annum."
Lucan, Pilars., v. 398, " carcat ne nomine tempus, menstruus in fastos
distinguet saecula consul." Plin., Paneg., 58. Tho others were
distinguished as "consules suffecti" or "minores" ; Dio Cass., xlviii.
35. 14 Plin., Paneg., 92 ; Tac, Hist., i. 1 ; Agrie., ii.
]5 Mommsen, Staatsr., ii. 206.
ls They lost the " cura annonae " and " cura ludorum " as well as other duties, which passed to such officers as the "praefectus vigilum," and the " curatores viarum, cloacarum," &c There is no mention of the aedileship after the reign of Severus Alexander.
17 Plin., Epp., i. 23, "inanem umbram et sine honore nomen." There are a few instances of the exercise by the tribunes of their power of interference within the senate; Tac, Ann., i. 77, vi. 47, xvi. 26 ; Plin., Epp., ix. 13.

1 Monmisen, Staatsrecht, ii. 532. Pliny was himself " quaestor Caesaris," Epp., vii. 16.
2 Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 818 ; Tac., Ann., xii. 69, Hist., i. 47. In the 3d ceutury the honours, titles, and powers were conferred en bloc by a single decree; Vit. Sev. Alex., 1.
3 Gaius, i. 4 ; Ulpian, Dig., i. 3, 9.
4 Under Domitian; Dio Cass., lxvii. 2. Even Septimius Severus pledged himself "non inconsulto senatu occidere senatorem"; Vita Severi, 7.
5 Suet., Nero, 10 ; Vesp., 17.
6 Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 879 sq. The power was derived from the censorial authority. Domitian was censor for life; Suet, Dom., 8. After Nerva it was exercised as falling within the general autho-rity vested in the princeps ; Dio, liii. 17.
7 Suet., Vesp., 90; Tac, Ann., iii. 55

11 Dio Cass., lxxi. 10.
12 Vit. Sev. Alex., 3; Vit. Tac, 12, 18.
13 Vit. Hadr., 22. "Juridici " were appointed by Marcus Aurelius,
Vit. Ant., 11; Marquardt, i. 72, 73.

14 For the position of the imperial freedmen under Claudius, see Friedlaender, i. 63 sq. ; Tac, Ann., xii. 60, xiv. 39, Hist., ii. 57, 95.

Acta Fr. Anal. (ed. Henzen) 33, 98, 99.
For Csesar worship, see Mommsen, Staatsrecht, ii. 716 sq.; Boissier, La Religion Romaine, i. 122-208 ; Marquardt, Rom. Staatsveru:, iii. 443-454 ; Preller, R0711. Mythologie, 770 sq.
Tac, Ann., xii. 69, of Nero, "sententiam militum secutapatrum
consulta." 1 Tac., Hist., i. 4. 5 Dio, lxvii. 4.
6 Dio, Ixix. 2.
See, for a short account, Capes, Age of the Antonines, chap, ix., cf. Schiller, Gesch. d. Kaiserzeit, i. (2) 617 sq.
E.g., Maximinus, "de vico Thraciae, barbaro patre ac matre," Vit. Max., 1.
Vita Seven, 7. For the importance of the reign of Severus see Schiller, i. (2) 725, Gibbon, vol. i. 258 sq.

Read the rest of this article:
Rome - Table of Contents

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-14 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries