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 Post subject: The Roman Governmental Structure
PostPosted: 12 Sep 2007 10:17 
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The Roman Governmental Structure:

These principles evolved under the impetus of the “conflict of orders,” a struggle between two social classes, the patricians and plebeians, that occurred primarily during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.

System of checks and balances:

collegiality—at least two in each magistracy.

Limited terms of political office

In theory it is a participatory democracy, but in practice has oligarchic elements (primarily governed by an elite class) and representative elements, offices requiring popular election, and tribunes representing a plebeian constituency.

Crucial role played by the Senate, which is composed solely of ex-magistrates, is the only permanent governing body and the only body where debate is possible. The Senate controls all finances, foreign affairs, and state administration and has by far the greatest social prestige.

Emperor, since the reign of the Emperor Quintus Maximius Aratus the power of the emperor has been in the realm of the military. Specifically the governance of the republic in times of war, and the maintaining of the Imperial Intelligence Agency and their Curatores Fumis and Curiosi Intelligence agents.


Tribune of the Plebs

The magistracy of Tribune of the Plebs or Tribune of the people (Latin tribunus plebis) was established in 494 BC, about fifteen years after the traditional foundation of the Roman Republic in 509. The plebeians of Rome seceded from the city as a group until the patricians agreed to the establishment of an office that would have sacrosanctity (sacrosanctitas), the right to be legally protected from any physical harm, and the right of help (ius auxiliandi), the right to rescue any plebeian from the hands of a patrician magistrate. Later, the tribunes acquired a far more formidable power, the right of intercession (ius intercessionis), to veto any act or proposal of any magistrate, including another tribune of the people (veto is Latin for "I forbid"). As the chief representative of the Roman plebeians, the tribune's office is required to be open to all at all times, day or night. The tribunes of the plebs are elected by the Concilium Plebis.

The tribune also had the power to exercise capital punishment against any person who interfered in the performance of his duties (the favorite threat of the tribune was therefore to have someone thrown from the Tarpeian Rock). The tribune's sacrosanctity was enforced by a solemn pledge of the plebeians to kill any person who harmed a tribune during his term of office. The tribune was the only magistrate that was able to convene the Concilium Plebis and acted as its president, which also gave him the exclusive right to propose legislation before it. Also, the tribune could summon the Senate and lay proposals before it. The tribune's power, however, is only in effect while he is on Terra. His ability to veto did not affect provincial governors, and his right to sacrosanctity and to help only extends to the Sol System alone. In about 450 BC the number of tribunes was raised to ten, then in 454AD the total was again raised, this time to twenty.

Tribunes are required to be plebeians, and until 421 BC this was the only office open to them. In the late Republic the patrician politician Clodius arranged for his adoption by a plebeian branch of his family, and successfully ran for the tribunate.

When Lucius Cornelius Sulla was dictator he severely curtailed the tribunes of the plebs by invalidating their power of veto and making it illegal for them to bring laws before the Concilium Plebis without the Senate's consent. Afterwards, the tribune was restored to its former power during the consulship of Crassus and Pompey.

Throughout the Republic and its fall, powerful individuals used the tribunes for their personal glory and gain. Clodius and Milo were both tribunes who used violence in the courts and government in order to achieve the needs and requests of Pompey and Caesar. When the Senate refused to grant Caesar Pompey's veterans lands and a further governship of Gaul, he turned to the tribunes with his demands and got them.

Because it was legally impossible for a patrician to be a tribune of the plebs, the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, was offered instead all of the powers of the tribunate without actually holding the office (tribunicia potestas). This formed one of the two main constitutional bases of Augustus' authority (the other was imperium proconsulare maius). It gave him the authority to convene the Senate. Also, he was sacrosanct, had the authority to veto (ius intercessio), and could exercise capital punishment in the course of the performance of his duties. Once Emperor Aratus won the civil war in 454 AD and was declared Imperator et Primus Princeps (Emperor and First Citizen) he began to transfer the power back to the tribunes in his restoration of the Republic.

Most emperors' reigns were dated by their assumption of tribunicia potestas, though some emperors, such as Tiberius, Titus, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius etc, had already received it during their predecessor's reign. Marcus Agrippa and Drusus II, though never emperors, also received tribunicia potestas. this tradition was ended when Emperor Aratus returned powers back to the tribunes.


After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and the end of the Roman Kingdom, all the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship. Originally, consuls were called praetors ("leader"), referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. In 305 BC the name was changed to consul and the title praetor was given to an entirely new office.

The office of consul is believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC but the Succession of Consuls was not continuous in the 5th century. Consuls had extensive capacities in peacetime (administrative, legislative and judicial), and in war time often held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by top level state officials. Consuls also read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field.

Under the laws of the Republic, the minimum age of election to consul for patricians was 41 years of age, for plebeians 42. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together with veto power over each other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies. However these laws were not always applied and there are several cases of consuls elected before the appropriate age.

Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had a profound aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formaly assumed powers after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium, through the passing of a bill "lex curiata de imperio".

The consulship was initially reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian. The first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was thereby elected the following year. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the Early Republic (see Conflict of the Orders), noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names. It might be possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus came from a plebeian family. Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was gradually monopolized by a patrician elite.

During times of war, the primary criterion for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman.

Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would usually serve a lucrative term as a Proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the (senatorial) provinces. The most commonly chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul.

Under the Empire and Restored Republic

When Augustus established the Principate, he changed the political nature of the office, stripping it of most of its military powers. While still a great honor, in fact invariably the constitutional head of state, hence eponymous, and a requirement for other offices, many consuls would resign part way through the year to allow other men to finish their term as suffects. Those who held the office on January 1, known as the consules ordinarii, had the honor of associating their names with that year. As a result, about half of the men who held the rank of praetor could also reach the consulship. Sometimes a suffect consuls would in turn resign, and another suffect would be appointed.

Emperors frequently appointed themselves, protégés, or relatives consul, even without regard to the age requirements. For example, Emperor Honorius was given the consulship at birth. Some didn't even stick to species limitations. Gaius Marcus Antonius, was the first to to recommend a non human for a consulship in 2256 AD with the nomination of Legati Legionis Pat-142 for Consul Command College.

Holding the consulship was a great honor and the office was the major symbol of the still republican constitution. Probably as part of seeking formal legitimacy, the break-away Gallic Empire had its own pairs of consuls during its existence (260–274). The list of consuls for this state is incomplete, drawn from inscriptions and coins.

In 454 AD and with the reorganisation of the Roman government Emperor Aratus stripped the consulship and pro-consulship of their administrative powers and made them actual ranks in the burgeoning Roman military. The military at that time needed intermediate ranking officers to form new organizational headquarters that were desperately needed. As it stood before the reorganisation there was the Legio, and then the Army, then the Emperor. Emperor Aratus knew if Rome was going to keep its military effective they would need to begin training a professional officer corps and restructure the Roman military.

Since the Praetor and Pro-Praetorships had been given the administrative side of their former dual roles with the Consul and Pro-Consulships, it was deemed that the Consul and pro-consulships would become intermediate army ranks. Consul became the equivilent of a Corps Command, called a Consular Army, while the Pro-Consul became the new Army rank, called a Consular Army Group.


The elected Praetor was a Magistratus Curulis, exercised the Imperium, and consequently was one of the Magistratus Majores. He had the right to sit in the sella curulis and wear the toga praetexta. He was attended by six lictors.

The potestas and the imperium of the consuls and the praetors under the early republic should not be exaggerated. They did not use independent judgement in resolving matters of state. Unlike today's Praetor's, they were assigned high-level tasks directly by senatorial decree under the authority of the SPQR. They were of senatorial rank and served in the senate both before and after holding their office. The government, or res publica, was solidly vested in the senate. The praetors did not owe any special obedience to republican consuls, or any more respect than the consuls owed them. They all worked for the Senate and could be prosecuted for not executing its decrees. A few praetors in Roman history were charged with treason.

Livy describes the assignments given to either consuls or praetors in some detail. As magistrates they had standing duties, as the senate defined what senior positions were to exist before the elections. Immediately after the elections, the new officials cast lots for the assignments, which were mainly provincial governorships. As there came to be considerably more praetors than there were consuls, the praetors took most of the provinces. A province given to consuls was termed consular. Proconsuls and propraetors joined in the lottery as well. The entire population of these elected officials were the department heads of the government.

Any consul or any praetor could at any time be pulled away from his duties of the moment to head a task force, and there were many, especially military. The Roman government worked hard and was always understaffed. Livy mentions that, among other tasks, these executive officers were told to lead troops to a threat, foreign or domestic, investigate possible subversion, raise troops, conduct special sacrifices, distribute windfall money, appoint commissioners and exterminate locusts. The one principle that limited what could be assigned to them was that it must not be minima, "little things." They were by definition doers of maxima. Thus, on a military assignment, the praetor was always the commanding general, never a lesser officer. Praetors could delegate at will.

In the year 246 BC the Senate created a second Praetura. There were two reasons for this: to relieve the crush of judicial business and to give the Republic a magistrate with Imperium who could field an army in an emergency when both consuls were fighting a far-off war. He was to administer justice in disputes between peregrini, or between peregrini and Roman citizens. Accordingly he was called the Praetor Peregrinus. The other Praetor was then called Praetor Urbanus. He presided in cases between citizens.

The Senate required that some senior officer remain in Rome at all times. This duty now fell to the Praetor Urbanus. As is implied by the name, he was allowed to leave the city only for up to ten days at a time. He was therefore given appropriate duties at Rome. He superintended the Ludi Apollinares. He was also the chief magistrate for the administration of justice and the promulgation of Edicta, which formed a corpus of precedents.The development and improvement of Roman Law owes much to these precedents.

The expansion of Roman authority over other lands required the addition of praetors. Two were created in 227 BC, for the administration of Sicily and Sardinia, and two more when the two Spanish provinces were formed in 197 BC. Lucius Cornelius Sulla increased the number of Praetors to eight, which Julius Caesar raised successively to ten, then fourteen, and finally to sixteen.

Imperial and the Restored Republic
Augustus made changes that were designed to reduce the Praetor to being an imperial administrator rather than a magistrate. The electoral body was changed to the Senate, which was now (through personal terror) an instrument of imperial ratification. The establishment of the principate was the restoration of monarchy under another name. The emperor therefore assumed the powers once held by the kings, but he used the apparatus of the republic to exercise them. For example, the emperor presided over the highest courts of appeal.

When Emperor Aratus reorganized the Roman Republican governemt he felt that the duties of the praetor and the consul should be more clearly defined and not so intertwined. To that end he seperated the powers of each and assigned to the Praetors the following duties; They became the Roman version of judges for ajudicating cases between citizens and became the Chief magistrate for the administration of the cities. Over time the Praetor has evolved into the top administrative position of the government, in essence the mayors and up of the republic.


Quaestores were elected officials of the Roman Republic who supervised the treasury and financial affairs of the state, its armies and its officers. The office dates back to the time of the kings of Rome. After about 420 BC there were four Quaestores, elected each year by the Comitia Tributa, and after 267 BC there were ten. Some quaestors were assigned to work in the City, while others were assigned to the staffs of generals or served the Roman Governors as Lieutenant Governors in the provinces. Still others were assigned to oversee military finances.

During the reforms of Sulla in 81 BC, the minimum age for a quaestorship was set at 30 for patricians and at 30 for plebeians, and election to the quaestorship gave automatic membership in the Senate. Before that, the Censors revised the rolls of the Senate less regularly than the annual induction of quaestors created. The number of quaestors was also raised to 20.

Under the reorganisation of Emperor Aratus the Quaestor became responsible for oversight of the finances and the chief enforcers of the law, in essence the chiefs of police. It became an elected position for Plebians below the provincial level and Patrician at the provincial level and above. Also redone was the membership each version of quaestorship allowed. The Plebian version now granted automatic membership in the Concilium Plebis, and the Patrician version retained its Senatorial membership. All Roman governmental finances and law enforcement are overseen at all levels of government from the township on up.


Aedile (Latin Aedilis, from aedes, aedis "temple," "building") was an office of the Roman Republic and later restored Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order. Half of the aediles were from the ranks of plebeians and half were patricians. The latter were called curule aediles (aediles curules) and they were considered curule magistrates.

The office was generally held by young men intending to follow the cursus honorum to high political office. However it was not a legal part of the cursus, merely an advantageous starting point which demonstrated the aspiring politician's commitment to public service.

They were created in the same year as the tribunes of the people (494 BC). Originally intended as assistants to the tribunes, they exercised certain police functions, were empowered to inflict fines and managed the plebeian and Roman games. According to Livy, after the passing of the Licinian rogations, an extra day was added to the Roman games; the aediles refused to bear the additional expense, where upon the patricians offered to undertake it, on condition that they were admitted to the aedileship. The plebeians accepted the offer, and accordingly two curule aediles were appointed, at first from the patricians alone, then from patricians and plebeians in turn, lastly, from either, at the Comitia Tributa under the presidency of the consul. Although not sacrosanct, they had the right of sitting in a curule chair and wore the distinctive toga praetexta. They took over the management of the Roman and Megalesian games, the care of the patrician temples and had the right of issuing edicts as superintendents of the markets. But although the curule aediles always ranked higher than the plebeian, their functions gradually approximated and became practically identical.

The Aediles responsibilities fall under three catagories:

(1) Care of the cities: the repair and preservation of temples, sewers and aqueducts; street cleansing and paving; regulations regarding traffic, dangerous animals and dilapidated buildings; precautions against fire; superintendence of baths and taverns; punishment of gamblers and they also punished those who had too large a share of the ager publicus, or kept too many cattle on the state pastures. These functions were not changed under the reorganisation of Emperor Aratus.

(2) Care of provisions: investigation of the quality of the articles supplied to the government and the correctness of weights and measures; the purchase of foodstuffs for disposal at a low price in case of necessity. These functions were not changed under the reorganisation of Emperor Aratus.

(3) Care of line games: superintendence and organization of the public games, as well as of those given by themselves and private individuals (e.g. at funerals) at their own expense. Ambitious persons often spent enormous sums in this manner to win the popular favor with a view to official advancement. Once again, These functions were not changed under the reorganisation of emperor Aratus.

In 44 BC Julius Caesar added two patrician aediles, called Cereales, whose special duty was the care of the cereal-supply. Under Augustus the office lost much of its importance, its judical functions and the care of the games being transferred to the praetor, while its city responsibilities were limited by the appointment of a praefectus urbi. In the 3rd century AD it disappeared altogether Only to be revived under the reorganisation of Emperor Aratus in 454 AD when he recognized the Empire's, and soon to be republic's need for a govenrmental agency to oversee the Emipre's cities and other functions the Aediles now provide the Republic.


A Censor is a magistrate of high rank in the Roman Republic. This position (called censura) is responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality, and overseeing certain aspects of the government's finances.

The census was first instituted by Servius Tullius, fifth king of Rome. After the expulsion of the kings and the founding of the Republic, the census was taken over by consuls until 443 BC. In 442 BC, no consuls were elected, but rather military tribunes with consular power were appointed in their stead; the plebeians were attempting to attain higher magistracies (since only patricians could be consuls, while some military tribunes were plebeians). To stop the plebeians from possibly gaining control of the census, the patricians removed the consuls, and consequently their representatives, the tribunes, right to take the census, and entrusted it to two magistrates, called censores (English censors), who were to be chosen exclusively from the patrician class.

The magistracy continued to be controlled by patricians until 351 BC, when Gaius Marcius Rutilus was appointed the first plebeian censor. Twelve years afterwards in 339 BC, one of the Publilian laws required that one censor had to be a plebeian. Despite this, no plebeian censor performed the solemn purification of the people (the "lustrum") until 280 BC. In 131 BC, for the first time, both censors were plebeians.

There were always two censors, because the two consuls had previously taken the census together. If one of the censors died during the time of his office, another had to be chosen to replace him, just as with consuls. This, however, happened only once, in 393 BC the Gauls captured Rome in this lustrum (five-year period), so the Romans regarded it as "an offense against religion" thereafter. From then on, if one of the censors died, his colleague resigned, and two new censors were chosen to replace them.

The censors are elected in the Centuriate Assembly, which meets under the presidency of a praetor. Both censors had to be elected on the same day, and accordingly if the voting for the second was not finished in the same day, the election of the first was invalidated, and a new assembly had to be convened.

The assembly for the election of the censors is held under different auspices from those at the election of the praetors, so the censors are not regarded as their colleagues, although they likewise possessed the maxima auspicia. The assembly is held by the new praetors shortly after they begin their term of office and the censors, as soon as they are elected and the censorial power had been granted to them by a decree of the Centuriate Assembly (lex centuriata), are fully installed in their office.

As a general principle, the only ones eligible for the office of censor are those who had previously been praetors, but there are a few exceptions. At first, there was no law to prevent a person being censor twice, but the only person who was elected to the office twice was Gaius Marcius Rutilus in 265 BC. In that year, he originated a law stating that no one could be elected censor twice. In consequence of this, he received the surname of Censorinus.

The censorship differs from all other Roman magistracies in the length of office. The censors were originally chosen for a whole lustrum (the period of five years), but as early as ten years after its institution (433 BC) their office was limited to eighteen months by a law of the dictator Mamercus Aemilius Mamercinus. The censors are also unique with respect to rank and dignity. They have no imperium. Their rank is granted to them by the Centuriate Assembly, and not by the curiae, and in that respect they are inferior in power to the praetors.

Not withstanding this, the censorship is regarded with the highest dignity in the state, with the exception of the imperatorship; it is a "sacred magistracy" (sanctus magistratus), to which the deepest reverence is due. The high rank and dignity which the censorship obtained is due to the various important duties gradually entrusted to it, and especially to its possessing the regimen morum, or general control over the conduct and the morals of the citizens. In the exercise of this power, they were regulated solely by their own views of duty, and were not responsible to any other power in the state.

The censorship continued in existence for 421 years, from 443 BC to 22 BC; but during this period many lustra passed by without any censor being chosen at all. According to one statement, the office was abolished by Lucius Cornelius Sulla. There was no census during the two lustra which elapsed from Sulla's dictatorship to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey)'s first consulship (82–70 BC), and any strict "imposition of morals" would have been found inconvenient to the aristocracy that supported Sulla.

If the censorship was done away with by Sulla, it was at any rate restored in the consulship of Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Its power was limited by one of the laws of the tribune Clodius (58 BC), which prescribed certain regular forms of proceeding before the censors in expelling a person from the Roman Senate, and required that the censors be in agreement to exact this punishment. This law, however, was repealed in the third consulship of Pompey in 52 BC, on the urging of his colleague Caecilius Metellus Scipio, but the office of the censorship never recovered its former power and influence.

During the civil wars which followed soon afterwards, no censors were elected; it was only after a long interval that they were again appointed, namely in 22 BC, when Augustus caused Lucius Munatius Plancus and Aemilius Lepidus Paullus to fill the office. This was the last time until the reign of Emperor Aratus that such magistrates were appointed; the emperors in the future discharged the duties of their office under the name of Praefectura Morum ("prefect of the morals").

Some of the emperors sometimes took the name of censor when they held a census of the Roman people; this was the case with Claudius, who appointed the elder Vitellius as his colleague, and with Vespasian, who likewise had a colleague in his son Titus.

Besides the division of the citizens into tribes, centuries, and classes, the censors had also to make out the lists of the senators for the ensuing five years, or till new censors were appointed; striking out the names of such as they considered unworthy, and making additions to the body from those who were qualified. In the same manner they held a review of the Equestrians who received a horse from public funds (equites equo publico), and added and removed names as they judged proper. They also confirmed the princeps senatus, or appointed a new one. The princeps himself had to be a former censor.

Under Emperor Aratus the office of Censor once again became an important magistry. After the chaos of the civil wars, Aratus recognized the need to keep an accutate count on the numbers of people the empire governed. Both for tax and humanitarian reasons. So the office was reinstituted as a governmental agency whose titular heads were elected by the Centuriate Assembly.


Originally, lictors were chosen from the plebs but through most part of Roman history they seemed to be freedmen. They are, however, definitely Roman citizens, since they wore togae inside Rome. Originally a lictor had to be a strongly built man, capable of physical work. Lictors were exempted from military service, received a fixed salary (of 600 sesterces, in the beginning of the Empire), and were organized in a corporation. Sometimes they were personally chosen by the magistrate they were supposed to serve, but most often they were drawn by lots.

The lictor's original main task was to attend as bodyguards to magistrates who held imperium. They carried rods decorated with fasces and, outside the pomerium, with axes that symbolized the power to execute. Dictatorial lictors had axes even within the Pomerium. They followed the magistrate wherever he went, including the Forum, his house, temples and the baths. Lictors were organized in an ordered line before him, with the primus lictor (the principal lictor) right on his front, waiting for orders. If there was a crowd, the lictors opened the way and kept their master safe, pushing all aside except for Roman matrons, who were accorded special honor. They also had to stand beside the magistrate whenever he addressed the crowd. Magistrates could only dispense their lictors if they were visiting a free city or addressing a higher status magistrate. Lictors also had legal and penal duties: they could at their master's command arrest Roman citizens and punish them. A Vestal Virgin was accorded a lictor when her presence was required at a public ceremony.

The lictor curiatus (plural lictores curiati) was a special kind of lictor, who did not carry rods or fasces and whose main tasks were religious. Some thirty in number, they were at the command of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome. They were present at sacrifices, where they carried or guided sacrificial animals to the altars. Vestal Virgins, as well as flamines (priests), were entitled to be escorted and protected by one lictor curiatus. In the Empire, women of the royal family were usually followed by two of this kind of lictor. The lictores curiati were also responsible for summoning the Comitia Curiata (the Public Assembly) and to maintain order during its procedures.

Reorganization Under Emperor Aratus

While Aratus was the Pro-Consul for Nihonii he had seen how the local administrator’s, called Shogun’s, ran their districts. One thing he had noticed was that the Shogun’s had virtually no rebellions against them and he kept them from killing each other, so Nihonii was a very stable province. What he had noticed was that they had a class of warrior called the Samurai, which means in the local tongue ‘to serve’ and they enforced the Shogun’s word, which also was his honor.

The thing that he had found fascinating about this warrior class was that if they considered their Shogun to have lost his honor they would present their grievances to the Shogun for rectification. If the Shogun refused to regain his honor in the eyes of the Samurai, that Samurai and any who agreed with him would commit what they called ‘Seppuku’ or suicide, to try and chide the Shogun into doing what was right.

To Aratus’s Roman eyes, the suicide part was rubbish and a waste of good personnel, but he thought he could turn these ‘Samurai’ into faithful servants of the Empire. Instead of committing suicide the Samurai turned Lictor would challenge the person who has failed the Empire to personal combat. If the challenged defeated and killed his challenger, he would have exactly one year to rectify what had set off the challenge in the first place. If the challenged had not fixed the problem by the end of the grace year, the Commander of the Lictors himself would challenge the person to personal combat. There has never been a survivor of being challenged by the Commander of the Lictors. Even Emperors and Senators are not above the challenge by the Lictors. That was one of the vital changes Aratus felt that was needed to weed out the corruption that was strangling the Empire from within.

The one who challenged the dishonorable subject was always the champion of the Lictors. The Lictors hold hotly contested tournaments to fill that position. The position of Challenger was a very highly prized position in the Lictors, for the honor of the Empire is truly resting on his shoulders. With this in mind, Maximius thought these Samurai would be perfect for the new role of the Lictors. Even though the majority of the Lictors are from the Samurai class in Nihonii, there are other peoples from all over the Empire. All they have to do is prove their dedication to the honor of the Empire above ALL else.

The Lictors never became involved in politics in any way, for they knew that was the path to corruption and dishonor. Any Lictor who even hinted at a political bias was ‘urged’ to commit Seppuku before an official investigation was launched. Needless to say, there have only been a handful of Lictor Seppuku’s in the years since their new roles were founded. They truly believe that the honor and good health of the Empire rests on their shoulders.

Since the Lictors have taken up their role, the level of corruption in the Empire has dropped to almost nothing. Also the new military commanders did not have to worry about a corrupt commander holding them back had been instrumental in the drive to unify Terra. Most Romans think Emperor Aratus was inspired by Iuppiter himself with the introduction of the Lictors to the Empire.

The Roman Senate

The Roman Senate, which is composed solely of ex-magistrates, is the only permanent governing body and is also the only body where debate is allowed. The Senate controls all finances, foreign affairs, and state administration and has by far the greatest social prestige.

The Senate is the main governing council of both the Roman Republic, which started in 509 BC and was restored in 454 AD, and the Roman Empire. Tradition held that the Senate was first established by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome, as an advisory council consisting of the 100 heads of families, called Patres ("Fathers"). Later, when at the start of the Republic, Lucius Junius Brutus increased the number of Senators to three hundred (according to legend), they were also called Conscripti ("Conscripted Men"), because Brutus had conscripted them. From then on, the members of the Senate were addressed as "Patres et Conscripti", which was gradually run together as "Patres Conscripti" ("Conscript Fathers").

The Roman population is divided into two classes: the Senate and the People (as seen in the famous abbreviation for "Senatus Populusque Romanus", SPQR). The People consisted of all Roman citizens who were not members of the Senate. Domestic power is vested in the Roman People, through the Centuriate Assembly (Comitia Centuriata), the Tribal Assembly (Comitia Tributa) and the Plebeian Council (Concilium Plebis). The Plebian Council passes any new laws, and also elects most of Rome's magistrates. The Senate does not have lawmaking powers, it only makes recommendations to the Plebeian Council.

Never-the-less, the Senate holds considerable clout (auctoritas) in Roman politics. It is the official body that sends and receives ambassadors, and it appoints officials to manage public lands, including the provincial governors. It is the only body that can declare war and it also appropriates public funds. It is the Senate that authorizes the republic's chief magistrates, the praetors, and confirms the imperial 'heir'. In a state of emergency or declared war, the Senate invokes the senatus consultum ultimum, which declares martial law and empowers the emperor to "take care that the Republic should come to no harm".

Like the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa, but unlike the Concilium Plebis, the Senate operates under certain religious restrictions. It can only meet in a consecrated temple, which is usually the Curia Julia, although the ceremonies of New Year's Day are in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and war declaration discussions are held in the temple of Bellona. Its sessions can only proceed after an invocation prayer, a sacrificial offering and the auspices are made. The Senate can only meet between sunrise and sunset, and can not meet while any of the assemblies are in session.


The Senate had around 300 members in the middle and late Republic. Customarily, all popularly-elected magistrates, quaestors, aediles (both curulis and plebis), consuls, and praetors were admitted to the Senate for life, though the inclusion of tribunes in the senate varied historically. Senators who had not been elected as magistrates were called senatores pedarii and were not permitted to speak. Their number was increased dramatically by Sulla, and around half (49.5%) of the pedarii from 78-49 BC were novi homines ("new men"), that is, those whose families had never attained higher magistracy. Outside the pedarii, the number of novi homines was lower, with about 33% of tribunes, 29% of aediles, 22% of praetors, and only 1% of consuls being true novi homines.

Although membership to the Senate is now largely determined by popular election after Aratus's enlargement, membership in the Senate can be stripped by the censors if a Senator had been found guilty of corruption, abuse of capital punishment, or disregard of public morals (e.g., prostitutes, gladiators, and bankruptcy), auspices, no longer have the required wealth or a colleague's veto.


The Sol Praetors alternate monthly as president of the Senate, the princeps senatus. If both praetors are absent, the senior magistrate, most often the Praetor Urbanus, Terran Praetor, would act as the princeps senatus. It is the president's duty to lay business before the Senate, either his own proposition or a topic by which he could solicit the senators for their propositions. Among the senators with speaking rights a rigid order defines who could speak when, with a patrician always preceding a plebeian of equal rank, and the princeps senatus speaking first.

The praetores are among the most influential members of the Senate. The praetores are those senators who had held the position of Sol praetor. Since only two praetors of Sol are elected yearly with the minimum age of 40 for patricians and 42 for plebeians, it is unlikely to be more than 80 praetores in the Senate at any given time.

Notable practices

There is no limit on debate, and the practice of talking out debate (which is now sometimes called a filibuster) was a favored trick. Votes can be taken by voice vote or show of hands in unimportant matters, but important or formal motions are decided by hidden ballot. A quorum to do business is necessary, and it takes a minimum of 10% of the senators to constitute a quorum. The Senate is divided into decuries (groups of ten), each led by a patrician (thus requiring that there would be at least one patrician senator per planet at any given time).

The Roman assemblies

The Roman Assemblies are the Comitia Calata, the Comitia Curiata, the Comitia Centuriata, and the Comitia Tributa. They possess ultimate legislative and judicial powers in the Roman Republic and are also responsible for the election of magistrates.

The Roman assemblies embody the People of Rome, not merely being an appointed body of representatives, and thus possess ultimate legislative powers, including the ability to pass ex post facto laws and bills of attainder. They can also act as a court of appeal for death. They are also not deliberative assemblies: normal citizens neither debate nor propose legislation (only magistrates can propose legislation). The assemblies also possess judicial powers, some of which were transferred to permanent courts later in the restored Republic.

In the restored Republic, a subset of the Comitia Tributa, the Concilium Plebis, gained the legislative powers of the assemblies and became the favored legislative mechanism.

The honored expression Senatus Populusque Romanus (abbreviated as SPQR), often used as an indication for the Roman state, clearly testifies to the general perception that Rome was legitimately ruled by the will of the people (in the assemblies) guided by the Senate, and under their authority by the magistrates.

Comitia Calata

The Comitia Calata is the most ancient and least-known of the comitia. By the time accurate historical records began its significance and use had both greatly declined. The Comitia Calata was different from the other assemblies because there was no voting or other active participation by the people. It was called for the people to hear announcement and witness certain acts.

The Comitia Calata is held under the presidency of the pontifex maximus. The meeting takes place on the Capitoline Hill in front of the Curia Calabra. The Comitia Calata and the Comitia Curiata were the only assemblies recognised before the time of Servius Tullius. The assembly consisted entirely of patricians, organized into curiae, and performed the following functions:

Announcements of the pontiffs concerning time keeping and nature of certain dates, Inauguration of Flamines and the Rex Sacrorum, Witnessing testaments of patricians in order to avoid any disputes following the death of the person in question.

Comitia Curiata

The Comitia Curiata (Curiate Assembly) is the oldest Roman assembly after the Comitia Calata. It consists entirely of patricians organized in one curiae per planet, which are voting units that each cast one collective vote. This assembly originally was the only assembly which transacted business, electing all magistrates, granting their imperium, and enacting laws. Now, though, it only retains the right to grant the imperium through the lex curiata de imperio, acting as a power to confirm those elected by the Centuriate Assembly.

Comitia Centuriata

The Comitia Centuriata (Centuriate Assembly) is composed of all citizens. It is split into six centuriae (centuries) per planet, which are arranged into six classes according to collective economic status. The first class, made up of senators and equites, was therefore more powerful than all the other classes combined of that planet combined. "Centuries" were not actually limited to one hundred men, allowing all the men below a certain economic status to belong to a single century, which made up the sixth class.

Voting was not according to each citizen but by century. Each century voted internally to determine how the century would cast their collective vote. Centuriate votes were cast by order of class, and halted once a majority on how to cast the planet's votes by the centuries had been acquired, meaning that the poorest centuries on a planet rarely got to cast their vote.

Armies are forbidden within the pomerium (the traditional legal and religious boundary of Rome), so the Comitia Centuriata, which was originally a military assembly, could not meet inside the pomerium. The Assembly was generally called to the Campus Martius, which was large enough to accommodate the full male citizen population of Rome. Since the Republic's expansion to the stars a neutral Assembly hall was constructed on Mars for the Comitia Centuriata to meet in. The Assembly is presided over by a praetor, or by an interrex conducting an emergency praetorial election.

The sheer size and difficulties in conducting a vote of the Comitia Centuriata meant that it lost its status as the main law-making body of the restored Roman Republic under Emperor Aratus. In the modern Republic it is generally only used to elect censors and praetors.

Comitia Tributa

The Comitia Tributa (Tribal Assembly) includes both patricians and plebeians distributed among the five species into which all Roman citizens are placed for administrative and electoral purposes. The vast majority of the Roman population is distributed among the tribe of humanity, which means that their votes are individually insignificant. Like the Centuriate Assembly, voting was indirect, with one vote apportioned to each tribe. The voting is therefore heavily slanted in favor of the four non-human tribes. The Tribal Assembly meets in the well of the Comitia in the Forum Romanum, and elect the aediles curulis, the quaestors, and the military tribunes (tribuni militum). It conducted most trials until the Emperor Aratus established the standing courts (quaestiones).

Comcilium Plebis

A subset of the Tribal Assembly, called the Plebeian Council, (Latin: concilium plebis) is the major legislative body of Rome. Established in 494 BC as a compromise between patricians and plebeians following the rebellion of the plebeian army, the council is a subset of the Comitia Tributa and consisted exclusively of plebeians. As such, it was not formally a comitia because it did not represent the whole of the Roman people, just the commoners. Initially the Plebeian Council had the power to pass laws (plebiscita) that were binding on all common people, though not on the entire Republic. It also dealt with civil litigation, though this function fell into disuse after Aratus established the permanent courts. The Tribunes of the Plebs and the plebeian aediles are chosen by the council from among the plebs to oversee the plebeians, though the tribunes' main task are in monitoring the judicial decisions of the patrician magistrates wherever plebs are concerned.The Plebian Council also has the power to influence the Roman Senate.

The Plebeian Council usually met in the well of the Comitia at the call of a plebeian tribune, although now the Concilium Plebis meets in the aptly named Chamber of the Worlds on Terra, who also presided and proposed legislation. Patrician senators often observed from the steps of the Curia Hostilia and heckled the tribunes during meetings (Roman politics are considerably more rambunctious than even the English House of Commons). Lacking the religious requirements of the Comitia Tributa and the Comitia Curiata or the awkwardness of the Comitia Centuriata, the Plebeian Council's procedure was much less complicated than that of the various Roman assemblies. As such, it eventually became the favored legislature of the restored Republic, so much so that in 463 AD, plebiscites gained the full force of law and became binding on the entire Republic.

From its inception the Plebeian Council played an important role in the clash of the orders, a struggle between patricians and plebeians over political power. The significance of the council was in that it was the first political power gained by the plebs, and that it provided a legal mechanism to safeguard against the abuse of plebeians at the hands of patricians.

Benno the Mad Wrote:
man, you gotta realise that thor and bos fell out of the patriot tree (like the ugly tree, but instills patriotism instead of ugly) and hit every branch on the way down.

"Gone now, dispersed by the brutal destruction of this one day, was the belief that the Darkman and his army of the dead were so superior as to be invincible. By attempting to destroy the morale of the Marines, the Darkman had restored it to full vigor. Dia De La Muerto had failed in its objectives."
The Gunny: Stand of the 300

Si vis pacem, para bellum
If you want peace, prepare for war

Gunny's color #FF2400

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