The Ancient Library

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(1) The Camilla Curiata. This was the assembly of the patricians in their thirty curice, who, until the change of the con­stitution under Servius Tullius, constituted the whole pOpulus Romanus. During the regal period they were summoned by the rex or interrex, who brought before them questions to be decided Aye or No. The voting was taken first in each curia by heads, and then according to curice, in an order determined by lot. The business within the competence of this assembly was: (a) to elect a king proposed by the interrex ; (V) to confer upon the king the implrlum, by virtue of the lex curiata de imperio; (c) to decide on declarations of war, appeals, arr6gationes (see adoption), and the reception of foreign families into the body of the patricians. The Servian con­stitution transferred the right of declaring aggressive war, and the right of deciding appeals, to the Comitia Centuriata, which, from this time onward, represented the people, now composed of both patricians and plebeians. After the establishment of the Republic, the Comitia Curiata retained the right (a) of conferring, on the proposal of the senate, the imperium on the magis­trates elected by the Comitia Centuriata, and on the dictator elected by the consuls; (6) of confirming, likewise on the proposal of the senate, the alterations in the consti­tution decided upon by the Comitia Cen­turiata, and Trlbuta.

The extinction of the political difference between Patricians and Plebeians destroyed the political position of the Comitia Curiata, and the mere shadow of their rights survived. The assembly itself be­came an unreality, so much so that, in the «nd, the presence of the thirty lictOrSs curtail, and three augurs, was sufficient to enable legal resolutions to be passed (see lictobs). But the Comitia Curiata re­tained the powers affecting the reception of a non-patrician into the patrician order, and the powers affecting the proceeding of arrSgatto, especially in cases where the transition of a patrician into a plebeian family was concerned. Evidence of the exercise of these functions on their part may be traced down the imperial period.

The Comitia Cdlata were also an assembly of the patrician curice. They were so called because publicly summoned (calare). The pontifices presided, and the functions of the assembly were: (a) to in­augurate the flamlnes, the rex sacrorum, and indeed the king himself during the

regal period. (6) The detestatlo sacrOrum, previous to an act of arrogatio. This was the formal release of a person passing by adoption into another family from the sacra of his former family (see adoption), (c) The ratification of wills twice a year; but this applies only to an early period. (d) The announcement of the calendar of festivals on the first day of every month.

(2) Comitia Centuriata. The assembly of the whole people, patrician as well as plebeian, arranged according to the centuries established by Servius Tullius. The original founder of the comitia centuriata transferred to them certain political rights which had previously been exercised by the comitia curiata. It was not, however, until the foundation of the Republic, when the sovereign power in the state was trans­ferred to the body of citizens, that they attained their real political importance. They then became the assembly in which the people, collectively, expressed its will. The right of summoning the comitia cen­turiata originally belonged to the king. During the republican period it belonged, in its full extent, to the consuls and the dictator alone. The other magistrates possessed it only within certain limits. The interrex, for instance, could, in case of there being no consuls, summon the comitia centuriata to hold an election, but he could summon them for this purpose only. The censors could call them together only for the holding of the census and the lustrum; the prsetors, it may be conjectured, only in the case of capital trials. In all other instances the consent of the consuls, or their authorisation, was indispensable.

The duties of the comitia centuriata during the republican period were as follows: (a) To elect the higher magis­trates, consuls, censors, and praetors, (b) To give judgment in all the capital trials in which appeal to the people was permitted from the sentence of the magistrate sitting in judgment. This popular jurisdiction was gradually limited to political trials, common offences being dealt with by the ordinary commissions. And in the later republican age the judicial assemblies of the comitia centuriata became, in general, rarer, especiallyafter the formation of special standing commissions (qucestldnls perpS-tuas) for -the trial of a number of offences regarded as political, (c) To decide on declaring a war of aggression ; this on the proposal of the consuls, with the approval of the senate, (d) To pass laws proposed

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.