The Latin word imperator derives from the stem of the verb imperare, meaning'to order, to command'. It was employed as a title equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic, it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empereür; the Roman emperors themselves based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Imperator was used consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate and the dominate. In Latin, the feminine form of Imperator is imperatrix; when Rome was ruled by kings, to be able to rule, the king had to be invested with the full regal authority and power. So, after the comitia curiata, held to elect the king, the king had to be conferred the imperium. In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium, but mainly in the Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, imperator was the honorific title assumed by certain military commanders.
After an great victory, an army's troops in the field would proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. After being acclaimed imperator, the victorious general had a right to use the title after his name until the time of his triumph, where he would relinquish the title as well as his imperium. Since a triumph was the goal of many politically ambitious Roman commanders, Roman Republican history is full of cases where legions were bribed to call their commander imperator; the title of imperator was given in 90 BC to Lucius Julius Caesar, in 84 BC to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, in 60 BC to Gaius Julius Caesar, relative of the mentioned Lucius Julius Caesar, in 45 BC again to Gaius Julius Caesar, in 44 BC to Marcus Iunius Brutus, in 41 BC to Lucius Antonius. In 15 AD Germanicus was imperator during the empire of his adoptive father Tiberius. After Augustus established the Roman Empire, the title imperator was restricted to the emperor, though in the early years of the empire it would be granted to a member of his family.
As a permanent title, imperator was used as a praenomen by the Roman emperors and was taken on accession. After the reign of Tiberius, the act of being proclaimed imperator was transformed into the act of imperial accession. In fact, if a general was acclaimed by his troops as imperator, it would be tantamount to a declaration of rebellion against the ruling emperor. At first the term continued to be used in the Republican sense as a victory title but attached to the de facto monarch and head of state, rather than the actual military commander; the title followed the emperor's name along with the number of times he was acclaimed as such, for example IMP V. In time it became the title of the de facto monarch, pronounced upon their assumption; as a title imperator was translated into Greek as autokrator This was imprecise as it lost the nuances of Latin political thought contrasting imperium with other forms of public authority. This title was used in Greek-language texts for Roman emperors from the establishment of the empire.
In the east, the title continued to be used into the Byzantine period, though to a lesser, much more ceremonial, extent. In most Byzantine writings, the Greek translation "Autokrator" is preferred, but "Imperator" makes an appearance in Constantine IV's mid 7th century mosaic in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, on various 9th century lead seals. After the Roman empire collapsed in the West in the 5th century, Latin continued to be used as the language of learning and diplomacy for some centuries; the Roman emperors of this period were referred to as imperatores in Latin texts, while the word basileus was used in Greek. After 800, the imperator was used as a formal Latin title in succession by the Carolingian and German Holy Roman Emperors until 1806 and by the Austrian Emperors until 1918. In medieval Spain, the title imperator was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157, it was used by the Kings of León and Castile, but it found currency in the Kingdom of Navarre and was employed by the Counts of Castile and at least one Duke of Galicia.
It signalled at various points the king's equality with the Byzantine Emperor and Holy Roman Emperor, his rule by conquest or military superiority, his rule over several people groups ethnic or religious, his claim to suzerainty over the other kings of the peninsula, both Christian and Muslim. Beginning in 1077 Alfonso instituted the use of the style ego Adefonsus imperator totius Hispaniae and its use soon became regular; this title was used throughout the period 1079–81, which represents the peak of his imperial pretensions before his capture of the city of Toledo, ancient capital of the Visigoths. In 1080 he introduced the form ego Adefonsus Hispaniarum imperator, which he used again in 1090, his most elaborate imperial title was ego Adefonsus imperator totius Castelle et Toleto necnon et Nazare seu Alave. In 1721
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of the Roman dictator; the change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman Emperors can be dated to about AD 68/69, the so-called "Year of the Four Emperors". For political and personal reasons, Octavian chose to emphasize his relationship with Julius Caesar by styling himself "Imperator Caesar", without any of the other elements of his full name, his successor as emperor, his stepson Tiberius bore the name as a matter of course. The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar"; the fourth Emperor, was the first to assume the name "Caesar" upon accession, without having been adopted by the previous emperor. Claudius in turn adopted his stepson and grand-nephew Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, giving him the name "Caesar" in the traditional way; the first emperor to assume the position and the name without any real claim to either was the usurper Servius Sulpicius Galba, who took the imperial throne under the name "Servius Galba Imperator Caesar" following the death of the last of the Julio-Claudians, Nero, in 68.
Galba helped solidify "Caesar" as the title of the designated heir by giving it to his own adopted heir, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus. Galba's reign did not last long and he was soon deposed by Marcus Otho. Otho did not at first use the title "Caesar" and used the title "Nero" as emperor, but adopted the title "Caesar" as well. Otho was defeated by Aulus Vitellius, who acceded with the name "Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Imperator Augustus". Vitellius did not adopt the cognomen "Caesar" as part of his name and may have intended to replace it with "Germanicus". Caesar had become such an integral part of the imperial dignity that its place was restored by Titus Flavius Vespasianus, whose defeat of Vitellius in 69 put an end to the period of instability and began the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian's son, Titus Flavius Vespasianus became "Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus". By this point the status of "Caesar" had been regularised into that of a title given to the Emperor-designate and retained by him upon accession to the throne.
After some variation among the earliest emperors, the style of the Emperor-designate on coins was Nobilissimus Caesar "Most Noble Caesar", though Caesar on its own was used. The popularity of using the title Caesar to designate heirs-apparent increased throughout the third century. Many of the soldier emperors during the Crisis of the Third Century attempted to strengthen their legitimacy by naming heirs, including Maximinus Thrax, Philip the Arab, Trebonianus Gallus and Gallienus; some of these were promoted to the rank of Augustus within their father's lifetime, for example Philippus II. The same title would be used in the Gallic Empire, which operated autonomously from the rest of the Roman Empire from 260 to 274, with the final Gallic emperor Tetricus I appointing his heir Tetricus II Caesar and his consular colleague for 274. Despite the best efforts of these emperors, the granting of this title does not seem to have made succession in this chaotic period any more stable. All Caesars would be killed before or alongside their fathers, or at best outlive them for a matter of months, as in the case of Hostilian.
The sole Caesar to obtain the rank of Augustus and rule for some time in his own right was Gordian III, he was controlled by his court. On 1 March 293, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus established the Tetrarchy, a system of rule by two senior Emperors and two junior sub-Emperors; the two coequal senior emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors, as Imperator Caesar NN. Pius Felix Invictus Augustus and were called the Augusti, while the two junior sub-Emperors were styled identically to previous Emperors-designate, as Nobilissimus Caesar; the junior sub-Emperors retained the title "Caesar" upon accession to the senior position. The Tetrarchy was abandoned as a system in favour of two equal, territorial emperors, the previous system of Emperors and Emperors-designate was restored, both in the Latin-speaking West and the Greek-speaking East; the title of Caesar remained in use throughout the Constantinian period, with both Constantine I and his co-emperor and rival Licinius utilising it to mark their heirs.
In the case of Constantine, this meant that by the time he died, he had four Caesars: Constantius II, Constantine II, Constans and his nephew Dalmatius, with his eldest son Crispus having been executed in mysterious circumstances earlier in his reign. In the event, Constantine would be su
Constitution of the Late Roman Empire
The constitution of the late Roman Empire was an unwritten set of guidelines and principles passed down through precedent, which defined the manner in which the late Roman Empire was governed. As a matter of historical convention, the late Roman Empire emerged from the Roman Principate, with the accession of Diocletian in AD 284, his reign marking the beginning of the Dominate; the constitution of the Dominate recognized monarchy as the true source of power, thus ended the fiction of dyarchy, in which emperor and Senate governed the empire together. Diocletian's reforms to the imperial government ended the ruse that the old republican magistracies were anything more than municipal officials with powers beyond Rome itself. By the late Empire, the consuls had no real duties beyond that of presiding at Senate meetings and the duties of the lesser magistrates were just the organisation of various games. Most other magistracies disappeared. Diocletian attempted to reform the imperial system itself into a structure in which four emperors, consisting of two Augusti and two Caesares, each governed one fourth of the Empire.
Known as the Tetrarchy, this constitutional structure, failed to outlast Diocletian, who lived to see the collapse of his system and the civil wars that followed in his retirement after abdication in AD 305. He enacted major administrative reforms to the Empire, his division of the Empire into east and west, with each half under the command of a separate emperor, remained with brief interruptions of political unity. Although it remained the sole capital until Constantinople was elevated to that status in 359, the city of Rome ceased to the seat of the imperial government: it was by the Urban Prefect. A vicar of the Prefect of Italy headed the imperial administration of Italy south of the Apennines and the Islands; the Senate and executive magistrates continued to function as Diocletian's constitution had specified. Diocletian's civil and military divisions of the empire remained in effect with little change though Upper Egypt from the mid-fifth was governed by a general, the dux, who exercised civilian authority over the population.
Emperors Constantine would modify Diocletian's constitution by changing the roles of officials somewhat but not the administrative framework. It was not until Justinian I 527-565 that major changes that saw the near abolition of the regional tier of officials, severe weakening of the Treasury and Crown Estates. Under Diocletian's new constitution, power was shared between two emperors called Augusti; the establishment of two co-equal Augusti marked a rebirth of the old republican principle of collegiality, as all laws and appointments that came from one of the Augusti, were to be recognized as coming from both conjointly. One Augustus was to rule the western half of the Empire, the other Augustus was to rule the eastern half of the Empire. Diocletian made Maximian his co-Augustus, gave him the Western Empire, while Diocletian took the Eastern Empire. Diocletian made Nicomedia his capital, Maximian made Milan his capital. To make the two halves symbolically appear to be one, Diocletian called his territory patres Orientis, while Maximian called his territory patres Occidentis.
The Augusti were distinct from the old Princeps, because under the Principate, the Princeps took the place of the old republican magistrates. When a Princeps issued a decree, that decree was only valid so long as that Princeps was Emperor, whereas in contrast, under the Republic, any decree issued by a magistrate was only good so long as that magistrate was in office. Under the Republic and the Principate, only the Senate and legislative assemblies were continuous institutions, thus only they could pass laws that remained in effect indefinitely. Under Diocletian's new Dominate, the Augusti took the place of the Senate and the assemblies, thus any decree of an Augustus remained in force after that particular emperor left office; such an act could only be invalidated by a future Emperor. The logical extension of this concept meant that neither a magistrate, the assemblies, nor the senate, could restrain the Emperor; the old republican magistrates, as well as the Princeps, both had legal status.
Under the Republic, the state gave the magistrates the authorization to hold their office, while under the Principate, the state gave the Princeps the legal authorization to be emperor. Any Augusti, in contrast, did not need authorization from the state to be emperor, because the Augusti became the state; the higher authority of the Augusti was illustrated by their robes and the imperial diadem, as well as the elaborate ceremony required of anyone who approached them. Unlike the old Princeps, the Augusti were viewed as being more than mortal, illustrated by the honors that they received; these honors had, in the past, been reserved only for the Gods. While emperors had received such honors in the past, they only received these honors after their death, yet, the Augusti could receive such honors while they were still alive. In 293, Diocletian and Maximian appointed two Caesares, which resulted in an arrangement known as the "Tetrarchy"; the Caesares were subordinate to their Augusti, the only authority that they had was that, given to them by their Augusti.
Their status was so inferior to the Augusti. The powers that were delegated to them included the right to hear appeals, a set of provinces were assigned to them so that they could supervise the governors of those provinces; the reason why Diocle
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of unwritten norms and customs, which together with various written laws, guided the procedural governance of the Roman Republic. The constitution emerged from that of the Roman kingdom, evolved over the five hundred years of the Republic, was transformed into the constitution of the Roman Empire; the Roman republican constitution can be divided into three main branches: the Assemblies, composed of the people, which served as the supreme repository of political power and had the authority to elect magistrates, accept or reject laws, administer justice, declare war or peace. A complex set of checks and balances developed between these three branches. For example, the assemblies theoretically held all power, but were called and governed by the magistrates, controlling discussion, exercised dominating influence over them. To check the power of the magistrates, each magistrate could veto one of their colleagues and the plebeians elected tribunes who could intercede and veto the actions of a magistrate.
The Republic's constitution evolved over time. Starting from a period of patrician domination, the Conflict of the Orders granted plebeian citizens equal political rights, while creating the tribunate to check patrician power and empowering the Plebeian Council, an assembly composed of the plebeians of Rome, with full legislative authority; the late Republic saw an increase in the centralisation of power into the hands of provincial governors, the use of military power to enforce political changes, the use of violence, combined with exploitation of the suitably bribed or intimidated "sovereign" assemblies, to grant supreme authority to victorious commanders. The increasing legitimisation of violence and centralisation of authority into fewer and fewer men would, with the collapse of trust in the Republic's institutions, put it on a path to civil war and its transformation into the autocratic Roman Empire; the early republican constitution was dominated by the patricians, who monopolised all control of the magistracies, the Senate, the voting blocs of the assemblies.
It developed with a tendency towards greater popular representation at the expense of the patrician class. The main historical sources for the origins of the Roman political system and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, relied on the Roman annalists, who supplemented what little written history existed with oral history; this lack of evidence poses problems for the reliability of the traditional account of the republic's origins. According to this traditional account, Rome had been ruled by a succession of kings; the Romans believed that this era, that of the Roman kingdom, began in 753 BC and ended in 510 BC. After the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Republic, the people of Rome began electing two consuls each year. According to the consular fasti, a list of the consuls going back to the foundation of the Republic, the first consuls were chosen in 509 BC; some scholars doubt this traditional account, arguing instead that the monarchy evolved into a government led by elected magistrates.
Remnants of the monarchy, were reflected in republican institutions, such as the religious office of rex sacrorum and the interregnum. There, is, however evidence that the early Republic was a time of violent change, with the word rex carrying the same connotations as tyrant and laws which declared forfeit the life and property of any man who plotted to install himself as a king or tyrant; the first assemblies of the Republic emerged during the Kingdom, with their use to ratify regal elections and the repurposing of the comitia centuriata to elect the first consuls. This regime was dominated by the patricians, the sources on the early Republic overwhelmingly focus on the conflicts between the patricians and the plebs, in what is known as the Conflict of the Orders; the early years of the Republic were a time of periodic popular unrest. In 494 BC, under harsh measures from patrician creditors, during a military campaign, the plebeians under arms seceded to the Mons Sacer outside the city and refused to fight in the campaign without political concessions.
With the pressure of an external threat, the patricians were forced to create the office of plebeian tribune who were declared sacrosanct, i.e. that they were declared inviolable and that anyone could be summarily executed for violation of the sanctity of his person. This was the basis of the tribune's ability to veto any political act or to protect any individual from an injustice committed by a magistrate, known as intercessio and auxilium, respectively; the people gave two assistants known as plebeian aediles. Again under pressure from the plebs, a political compromise was reached in which the consuls and tribunes would give place to a commission of ten men, the decemviri, who would be empowered to publish a code of laws for all Rome, the Twelve Tables. According to Livy, it codified all public and private law, but its promulgation did not grant further political rights to the plebs, as it enshrined into the tables a law banning intermarriage between plebeians and patricians. With a short attempt to establish
The lictors was a Roman civil servant, a bodyguard to magistrates who held imperium. Lictors were used since the Roman Kingdom, according to Roman historian Livy, the custom may have originated earlier, in the Etruscan civilization. Rome's first king, who appointed 12 lictors to attend him. Livy refers to two competing traditions for the reason; the first version is that 12 was the number of birds that appeared in the augury, which had portended the kingdom to Romulus. The second version, favoured by Livy, is that the number of lictors was borrowed from the Etruscan kings, who had one lictor appointed from each of their 12 states. Lictors were chosen from the plebs, but through most of Roman history, they seemed to have been freedmen. Centurions from the legions were automatically eligible to become lictors on retirement from the army, they were, however Roman citizens, since they wore togas inside Rome. A lictor had to be a built man, capable of physical work. Lictors were exempted from military service, received a fixed salary, were organized in a corporation.
They were chosen by the magistrate they were supposed to serve, but it is possible that they were drawn by lots. Lictors were associated with Comitia Curiata and one was selected from each curia, since there were 30 curiae and 30 lictors; the lictor's main task was to attend as bodyguards to magistrates. They carried rods decorated with fasces and, outside the pomerium, with axes that symbolized the power to carry out capital punishment. Dictatorial lictors had axes within the pomerium, they followed the magistrate wherever he went, including the Forum, his house and the baths. Lictors were organized in an ordered line before him, with the primus lictor directly in front of him, 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 had to stand beside the magistrate whenever he addressed the crowd. Magistrates could only dispense with their lictors if they were visiting a free city or addressing a higher status magistrate.
Lictors had legal and penal duties. A Vestal Virgin was accorded a lictor; the degree of magistrate's imperium was symbolised by the number of lictors escorting him: Dictator: 24 lictors outside the pomerium, 12 inside. The latter rule was ignored beginning with the dictatorship of Sulla Emperor: 12 lictors, after Domitian 24 lictors Rex and Consul: 12 lictors Proconsul: 11 lictors Magister equitum: 6 lictors Praetor: 6 lictors, 2 within the pomerium Propraetor and Legatus: 5 lictors Curule aediles: 2 lictors Quaestor: 0 lictors in the city of Rome, but quaestors were permitted to have fasces in the provinces. Sometimes, lictors were ascribed to private citizens on special occasions, such as funerals or political reunions, as a show of respect by the city; the lictor curiatus was a special kind of lictor who did not carry rods or fasces and whose main tasks were religious. There were 30 of them, serving at the command of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, they were present at sacrifices where they guided sacrificial animals to the altars.
Vestal Virgins and other high-ranking priests were entitled to be escorted and protected by lictores curiati. In the Empire, women of the royal family were followed by two of this kind of lictor; the lictores curiati were responsible to summon the Comitia Curiata and to maintain order during its procedures. Cursus honorum Praetorian Guard Livius.org: Lictor
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables, to the Corpus Juris Civilis ordered by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. Roman law forms the basic framework for civil law, the most used legal system today, the terms are sometimes used synonymously; the historical importance of Roman law is reflected by the continued use of Latin legal terminology in many legal systems influenced by it, including common law. After the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, the Roman law remained in effect in the Eastern Roman Empire. From the 7th century onward, the legal language in the East was Greek. Roman law denoted the legal system applied in most of Western Europe until the end of the 18th century. In Germany, Roman law practice remained in place longer under the Holy Roman Empire. Roman law thus served as a basis for legal practice throughout Western continental Europe, as well as in most former colonies of these European nations, including Latin America, in Ethiopia.
English and Anglo-American common law were influenced by Roman law, notably in their Latinate legal glossary. Eastern Europe was influenced by the jurisprudence of the Corpus Juris Civilis in countries such as medieval Romania which created a new system, a mixture of Roman and local law. Eastern European law was influenced by the "Farmer's Law" of the medieval Byzantine legal system. Before the Twelve Tables, private law comprised the Roman civil law that applied only to Roman citizens, was bonded to religion; the jurist Sextus Pomponius said, "At the beginning of our city, the people began their first activities without any fixed law, without any fixed rights: all things were ruled despotically, by kings". It is believed that Roman Law is rooted in the Etruscan religion; the first legal text is the Law of the Twelve Tables, dating from the mid-5th century BC. The plebeian tribune, C. Terentilius Arsa, proposed that the law should be written, in order to prevent magistrates from applying the law arbitrarily.
After eight years of political struggle, the plebeian social class convinced the patricians to send a delegation to Athens, to copy the Laws of Solon. In 451 BC, according to the traditional story, ten Roman citizens were chosen to record the laws. While they were performing this task, they were given supreme political power, whereas the power of the magistrates was restricted. In 450 BC, the decemviri produced the laws on ten tablets, but these laws were regarded as unsatisfactory by the plebeians. A second decemvirate is said to have added two further tablets in 449 BC; the new Law of the Twelve Tables was approved by the people's assembly. Modern scholars tend to challenge the accuracy of Roman historians, they do not believe that a second decemvirate took place. The decemvirate of 451 is believed to have included the most controversial points of customary law, to have assumed the leading functions in Rome. Furthermore, the question on the Greek influence found in the early Roman Law is still much discussed.
Many scholars consider it unlikely that the patricians sent an official delegation to Greece, as the Roman historians believed. Instead, those scholars suggest, the Romans acquired Greek legislations from the Greek cities of Magna Graecia, the main portal between the Roman and Greek worlds; the original text of the Twelve Tables has not been preserved. The tablets were destroyed when Rome was conquered and burned by the Gauls in 387 BC; the fragments which did survive show. It did not provide a complete and coherent system of all applicable rules or give legal solutions for all possible cases. Rather, the tables contained specific provisions designed to change the then-existing customary law. Although the provisions pertain to all areas of law, the largest part is dedicated to private law and civil procedure. Many laws include Lex Canuleia, Leges Licinae Sextiae, Lex Ogulnia, Lex Hortensia. Another important statute from the Republican era is the Lex Aquilia of 286 BC, which may be regarded as the root of modern tort law.
However, Rome's most important contribution to European legal culture was not the enactment of well-drafted statutes, but the emergence of a class of professional jurists and of a legal science. This was achieved in a gradual process of applying the scientific methods of Greek philosophy to the subject of law, a subject which the Greeks themselves never treated as a science. Traditionally, the origins of Roman legal science are connected to Gnaeus Flavius. Flavius is said to have published around the year 300 BC the formularies containing the words which had to be spoken in court to begin a legal action. Before the time of Flavius, these formularies are said to have been secret and known only to the priests, their publication made it possible for non-priests to explore the mea
Senatus consultum ultimum
Senatus consultum ultimum, more properly senatus consultum de re publica defendenda is the modern term given to a decree of the Roman Senate during the late Roman Republic passed in times of emergency. The form was consules darent operam ne quid detrimenti res publica caperet or videant consules ne quid res publica detrimenti capiat, it was first decreed prior to the fall of Gaius Gracchus in 121 BC, subsequently at several other points, including during Lepidus' march on Rome in 77 BC, the Conspiracy of Catiline in 63 BC, before Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC. The senatus consultum ultimum replaced the disused dictatorship, by removing limitations on the magistrates' powers to preserve the state. After the rise of the Principate, there was little need for the Senate to issue the decree again. From around the year 500 BC, the dictatorship was the main measure of emergency power in the Roman Republic. In a senatus consultum, the Roman Senate would authorize the consuls to nominate a dictator who received imperium magnum, great power to act in a time of emergency until the crisis was over.
The dictatorship marked the sole exception from the rules of collegiality and responsibility, meaning the dictator was not liable for official actions. This changed around the year 300 BC, against its nature, the dictatorship was placed under the public provocatio, meaning that the Plebeian Council could be called to counter-act executive actions of the dictator; as a result, the practice was altered and dropped altogether after 202 BC. The senatus consultum ultimum, which replaced the dictatorship in the late 2nd century, does not have a specific name in the sources, where it is mentioned "by quoting what was its opening advisory statements to the magistrate who had it passed", it is by that specific phrase. Its short name in research literature derives from a section in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Civili, where he writes: decurritur ad illud extremum atque ultimum senatus consultum. Since this is the shortest mention of the decree available, "the label seems to have stuck"; the actual wording of the decree was however longer, Gerhard Plaumann gives it as "de ea re ita censuere: uti rem publicam defendant operamque dent ne quid res publica detrimenti capiat", having distilled this from a number of sources writing about the decree.
He therefore argues that senatus consultum de re publica defendenda or "quasi-dictatorship" would be more fitting terms. It is the vague nature of the phrase; the word ultimum does not indicate it to be the last decree passed by a senate or that it constituted an ultimatum, but rather that the decree was viewed only as a "last resort". In reaction to the redundancy of the dictatorship, the senate party were in need of a new emergency power that would not fall under the public rights of provocatio and intercessio; the populares under Tiberius Gracchus had challenged the power of the senate and began with a program of land reform. Because he was a Tribune of the Plebs, the senate needed extraordinary power to stop him, since Gracchus was able to appeal his demands directly to the people and bring them into law. After Tiberius Gracchus had won re-election as tribune, rumour spread. Upon hearing this the senate was in uproar, with a majority favoring to intervene with violent measures, while one of the incumbent consuls, Publius Mucius Scaevola fought against it, doubting such a step would be constitutional.
The senate passed the final decree. Scaevola refused to carry out any violent steps before Gracchus and his followers resorted to violence first. To this, Gracchus' cousin, Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica, the Pontifex Maximus, reacted by shouting "qui rem publicam salvam esse vult, me sequatur" and led the senators against Tiberius, killed in the resulting confrontation; some researchers, such as Golden and Lintott/Momigliano, have doubted that the example of 133 BC constitutes a SCU, since the highest magistrate, the consul, addressed by the decree, did not act upon it. Plaumann has argued that this follows the false logic that the decree would only be valid once the magistrate carries it out, while in his opinion a reluctance to abide by it is possible; the killing of Tiberius Gracchus was in this case not covered by the SCU since it was not the consul who carried it out. Chen Kefeng has pointed out that "in comparison with the ones, was uncommon and in inconformity to the orthodox formula due to the un-cooperation of the highest magistrate".
Following the precedent set in 133, several attempts were made by people associated with the populares party to protect the public rights of provocatio against executive power. Following the example of the leges Porciae from the beginning of the century, the lex Sempronia de capite civis, initiated by Tiberius' brother Gaius Gracchus following his election to the post of Tribune of the Plebs in 123 BC, made it impossible to carry out capital punishment only ratified by the senate; the lex Sempronia can be seen as a direct reaction to the fate of Tiberius Gracchus and his followers, who were tried and sentenced in a special tribunal with powers of