The mos maiorum is the unwritten code from which the ancient Romans derived their social norms. It is the core concept of Roman traditionalism, distinguished from but in dynamic complement to written law; the mos maiorum was collectively the time-honoured principles, behavioural models, social practices that affected private and military life in ancient Rome. The Roman family was hierarchical; these hierarchies were traditional and self-perpetuating, that is, they supported and were supported by the mos maiorum. The pater familias, or head of household, held absolute authority over his familia, both an autonomous unit within society and a model for the social order, but he was expected to exercise this power with moderation and to act responsibly on behalf of his family; the risk and pressure of social censure if he failed to live up to expectations was a form of mos. The distinctive social relationship of ancient Rome was that between client. Although the obligations of this relationship were mutual, they were hierarchical.
The relationship was not a unit, but a network, as a patronus might himself be obligated to someone of higher status or greater power, a cliens might have more than one patron, whose interests might come into conflict. If the familia was the discrete unit underlying society, these interlocking networks countered that autonomy and created the bonds that made a complex society possible. Although one of the major spheres of activity within patron-client relations was the law courts, patronage was not itself a legal contract. Patronage served as a model when conquerors or governors abroad established personal ties as patron to whole communities, ties which might be perpetuated as a family obligation. In this sense, mos becomes less a matter of unchanging tradition than precedent. Roman conservatism finds succinct expression in an edict of the censors from 92 BC, as preserved by the 2nd-century historian Suetonius: "All new, done contrary to the usage and customs of our ancestors, seems not to be right."
However, because the mos maiorum was a matter of custom, not written law, the complex norms that it embodied evolved over time. The ability to preserve a strongly-centralised sense of identity while it adapted to changing circumstances permitted the expansionism that took Rome from city-state to world power; the preservation of the mos maiorum depended on consensus and moderation among the ruling elite whose competition for power and status threatened it. Democratic politics, driven by the charismatic appeal of individuals to the Roman people undermined the conservative principle of the mos; because the higher magistracies and priesthoods were the prerogative of the patricians, the efforts of plebeians for access could be cast as a threat to tradition. Reform was accomplished by legislation, written law replaced consensus; when plebeians gained admission to nearly all the highest offices, except for a few arcane priesthoods, the interests of plebeian families who ascended to the elite began to align with those of the patricians, creating Rome's nobiles, an elite social status of nebulous definition during the Republic.
The plebs and their support of popular politicians continued as a threat to the mos and elite consensus into the late Republic, as noted in the rhetoric of Cicero. The auctoritas maiorum could be evoked to validate social developments in the name of tradition. Following the collapse of the Roman Republic after the death of Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar disguised his radical program as piety toward the mos maiorum. During the transition to the Christian Empire, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus argued that Rome's continued prosperity and stability depended on preserving the mos maiorum, the early Christian poet Prudentius dismissed the blind adherence to tradition as "the superstition of old grandpas" and inferior to the new revealed truth of Christianity. After the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and ascension of the various Barbarian kingdoms, the old Roman mores were either superseded by or synthesized with the traditions of the Germanic elite and subsequent feudal values.
Traditional Roman values were essential to the mos maiorum: The Latin word fides encompasses several English words, such as trust/trustworthiness, good faith/faithfulness, confidence and credibility. It was an important concept in Roman law; the concept of fides was personified by the goddess Fides whose role in the mos maiorum is indicated by the antiquity of her cult. Her temple is dated from around 254 BC and was located on the Capitoline Hill in Rome, near the Temple of Jupiter. Pietas was the Roman attitude of dutiful respect towards the gods, homeland and family, which required the maintenance of relationships in a moral and dutiful manner. Cicero defined pietas as "justice towards the gods.” It went beyond sacrifice and correct ritual performance to inner devotion and righteousness of the individual, it was the cardinal virtue of the Roman hero Aeneas in Vergil's Aeneid. The use of the adjectival form Pius. Like Fides, Pietas was cultivated as a goddess, with a temple vowed to her in 191 BC and dedicated ten years later.
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
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
The cursus honorum was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire. It was designed for men of senatorial rank; the cursus honorum comprised a mixture of political administration posts. Each office had a minimum age for election. There were minimum intervals between holding successive offices and laws forbade repeating an office; these rules were flagrantly ignored in the course of the last century of the Republic. For example, Gaius Marius held consulships for five years in a row between 104 BC and 100 BC, he was consul seven times in all serving in 107 and 86. Presented as opportunities for public service, the offices became mere opportunities for self-aggrandizement; the reforms of Sulla required a ten-year interval before holding the same office again for another term. To have held each office at the youngest possible age was considered a great political success. For instance, to miss out on a praetorship at 39 meant that one could not become consul at 42.
Cicero expressed extreme pride not only in being a novus homo who became consul though none of his ancestors had served as a consul, but in having become consul "in his year". The cursus honorum began with ten years of military duty in the Roman cavalry or in the staff of a general, a relative or a friend of the family; the ten years of service were intended to be mandatory in order to qualify for political office, but in practice, the rule was not always rigidly applied. A more prestigious position was that of a military tribune. In the early Roman Republic, 24 men at the age of around 20 were elected by the Tribal Assembly to serve as a commander in the legions, with six tribunes to each and command rotating among them. Tribunes could be appointed by the consuls or by military commanders in the field as necessary. After the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BC, the six tribunes acted as staff officers for the legionary legatus and were appointed tasks and command of units of troops whenever the need arose.
The subsequent steps of the cursus honorum were achieved by direct election every year. The first official post was that of quaestor. Candidates had to be at least 30 years old. However, men of patrician rank could subtract two years from this and other minimum age requirements. Twenty quaestors served in the financial administration at Rome or as second-in-command to a governor in the provinces, they could serve as the paymaster for a legion. A young man who obtained this job was expected to become a important official. An additional task of all quaestors was the supervision of public games; as a quaestor, an official was allowed to wear the toga praetexta, but was not escorted by lictors, nor did he possess imperium. At 36 years of age, proquaestor could stand for election to one of the aedile positions. Of these aediles, two were plebeian and two were patrician, with the patrician aediles called Curule Aediles; the plebeian aediles were elected by the Plebeian Council and the curule aediles were either elected by the Tribal Assembly or appointed by the reigning consul.
The aediles had administrative responsibilities in Rome. They had to take care of the temples, organize games, be responsible for the maintenance of the public buildings in Rome. Moreover, they took charge of Rome's food supplies; the Aedile was the supervisor of public works. He oversaw the public works and markets. Therefore, the Aediles would have been in some cooperation with the current Censors, who had similar or related duties, they oversaw the organization of festivals and games, which made this a sought-after office for a career minded politician of the late republic, as it was a good means of gaining popularity by staging spectacles. Curule Aediles were added at a date in the 4th century BC, their duties do not differ from plebeian aediles. However, unlike plebeian aediles, curule aediles were allowed certain symbols of rank—the sella curulis or'curule chair,' for example—and only patricians could stand for election to curule aedile; this changed, both Plebeians and Patricians could stand for Curule Aedileship.
The elections for Curule Aedile were at first alternated between Patricians and Plebeians, until late in the 2nd century BC, when the practice was abandoned and both classes became free to run during all years. While part of the cursus honorum, this step was not required to hold future offices. Though the office was held after the quaestorship and before the praetorship, there are some cases with former praetors serving as aediles. After serving either as quaestor or as aedile, a man of 39 years could run for praetor; the number of praetors elected varied through history increasing with time. During the republic, six or eight were elected each year to serve judicial functions throughout Rome and other governmental responsibilities. In the absence of the consuls, a praetor would be given command of the garrison in Italy. A praetor could exercise the functions of the consuls throughout Rome, but their main function was that of a judge, they would preside over trials involving criminal acts, grant court orders and validate "illegal" acts as acts of administering justice.
A praetor was escorted by six lictors, wielded imperium. After a term as praetor, the magistrate would serve as a provincial governor with the title of propraetor
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was 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 BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime 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 the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was 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 elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is 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 monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification 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 who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root of the English word "vicar". In ancient Rome, this office was equivalent to the English "vice-", used as part of the title of various officials; each vicarius was assigned to a specific superior official, after whom his full title was completed by a genitive. At a low level of society, the slave of a slave hired out to raise money to buy manumission, was a servus vicarius. In the 290s, the Emperor Diocletian carried out a series of administrative reforms, ushering in the period of the Dominate; these reforms saw the number of Roman provinces increased, the creation of a new administrative level, the diocese. The dioceses twelve, grouped several provinces, each with its own governor; the dioceses were headed by a vicarius, or, more properly, by a vices agens praefecti praetorio. An exception was the Diocese of the East, headed by a comes. In 370 or 381 Egypt and Cyrenaica were detached from the Diocese of the East and made a diocese under an official called the Augustal Prefect.
In the eastern parts of the Empire, dominated by Greek language and common use of Greek terminology, vicarius was called exarch. According to the Notitia dignitatum, the vicarius had the rank of vir spectabilis. For example, in the diocese of Hispania, his staff included: The princeps was chosen from among the senior agentes in rebus, from the salaried class of the ducenarii. A cornicularius. Two numerarii. A commentariensis. An adiutor. An ab actis. A cura epistolarum. An unnamed number of subadiuvae. Various exceptores. Singulares et reliquum officium. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Meyendorff, John. Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The Church 450-680 A. D; the Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. Notitia dignitatum Pauly-Wissowa
The Roman Kingdom referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's history, as no records and few inscriptions from the time of the kings survive, the accounts of this period written during the Republic and Empire are thought to be based on oral tradition. According to these legends, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding circa 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic circa 509 BC; the site of the founding of the Roman Kingdom had a ford where one could cross the river Tiber in central Italy. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it provided defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them; each of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional version of Roman history, which has come down to us principally through Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, recounts that a series of seven kings ruled the settlement in Rome's first centuries.
The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allows 243 years for their combined reigns, an average of 35 years. Since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, modern scholarship has discounted this schema; the Gauls destroyed many of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, what remained fell prey to time or to theft. With no contemporary records of the kingdom surviving, all accounts of the Roman kings must be questioned; the kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga; the king was invested with supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium, formally granted to the king by the Comitia Curiata with the passing of the Lex curiata de imperio at the beginning of each king's reign.
The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions; the laws that kept citizens safe from magistrates' misuse of imperium did not exist during the monarchical period. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate. What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right to the auspice on behalf of Rome as its chief augur, no public business could be performed without the will of the gods made known through auspices; the people knew the king as a mediator between them and the gods and thus viewed the king with religious awe. This made the king the head of its chief executive. Having the power to control the Roman calendar, he conducted all religious ceremonies and appointed lower religious offices and officers, it is said that Romulus himself instituted the augurs and was believed to have been the best augur of all. King Numa Pompilius instituted the pontiffs and through them developed the foundations of the religious dogma of Rome. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them.
While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorary council. It by no means could prevent him from acting; the only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could