The Ancient Library

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and of buying and selling in general. Accordingly, their edicts had mainly, or perhaps solely, reference to the rules as to buying and selling, and contracts for bargain and sale. They were the foundation of the actiones aediliciae, among which are included the actio redJiibitoria, andgwcmfo' minoris. (Dig. 21. tit. 1. De Aedilicio Edicto ; Gell. iv. 2.) A great part of the provisions of the aediles' edict relate to the buying and selling of slaves. The persons both of the plebeian and curule aediles were sa-crosryicti. (Liv. iii. 55.)

It seems that after the appointment of the curule aediles, the functions formerly exercised by the plebeian aediles were exercised, with some few exceptions, by all the aediles indifferently. Within five days after being elected or entering on office, they were required to determine by lot, or by agreement among themselves, what parts of the city each should take under his superintend­ence ; and each aedile alone had the care of looking after the paving and cleansing of the streets, and other matters, it may be presumed, of the same local character within his district, (TabuL Heracl. ed. Mazoch.)

In the superintendence of the public festivals and solemnities, there was a further distinction between the two sets of aediles. Many of these festivals, such as those of Flora (Cic. Verr. v. 14 ; Ovid. Fast. v. 278, &c.) and Ceres, were superin­tended by either set of aediles indifferently ; but the plebeian games (plebeii ludi) were under the superintendence of the plebeian aediles (Liv. xxxi. 50.), who had an allowance of money for that purpose ; and the fines levied nn the pecuarii, and others, seem to have been appropriated to these among other public purposes. (Liv. x. 23 ; xxvii. 6 ; Ovid. Fast. v. 278, &c.) The celebra­tion of the Ludi magni or Romani, of the Ludi scenici, and the Ludi Megalesii or Megalenses, belonged specially to the curule aediles (Liv. xxxi. 50 ; and the Didascaliae to the plays of Terence), and it was on such occasions that they often incurred a prodigious expense, with the view of pleasii?g the people and securing their votes in future elections. This extravagant expenditure cf the aediles arose after the close of the second Punic war, and increased with the opportunities which individuals had of enriching themselves after the Roman arms were carried into Greece, Africa, and Spain. Even the prodigality of the em­perors hardly surpassed that of individual curule aediles under the republic ; such as C. Julius Caesar (Plut. Caesar, 5) afterwards the dictator, P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther ; and, above all, M. Aemil'ius Scaurus, whose expenditure was not limited to1 bare show, but comprehended objects of public utility, as the reparation of walls, dock­yards, ports, and aquaeducts. (Cic. de Off. ii. 17 ; Plin. H.N. xxxiii. 3, xxxvi. 15.) An instance is mentioned by Dion Cassius (xliii. 48) of the Ludi Megalesii being superintended by the plebeian aediles ; but it was done pursuant to a senatus consultum, and thus the particular exception con­firms the general rule.

In b. c. 45, Julius Caesar caused two curule aediles and four plebeian aediles to be elected ; and thenceforward, at least so long as the office of aedile was of any importance, six aediles were annually elected. The two new plebeian aediles were called Cereales, and their duty was to look after the supply of corn. Though their office may


not have been of any great importance after the institution of a praefectns amionae by Augustus there is no doubt that it existed for several cen­turies, and at least as late as the time of Gordian.

The aediles belonged to the class of the minores rnagistratus. Dionysius states that the aediles were originally chosen at the comitia curiata (ix. 43) ; but this is not probable. The plebeian aediles were originally chosen at the comitia centuriata, but afterwards at the comitia tributa (Dionys. vi. 90. ix. 43. 49 ; Liv. ii. 56, 57), in which comitia the curule aediles also were chosen, at the same time (Plut. Marius, 5); but it appears that there was a separate voting for the curule and the plebeian aediles, and that the curule aediles were elected first. It appears that until the lex annalis was passed, a Roman citizen might be a candidate for any office after completing his twenty-seventh year. This lex annalis, which was passed at the instance of the tribune L. Villius Tappulus, b. c. 180, fixed the age at which each office might be enjoyed. (Liv. xl. 44.) The passage of Livy does not mention what were the ages fixed by this law ; but it is collected from various passages of Roman writers, that the age fixed for. the aedileship was thirty-six. This, at least? was the age at which a man could be a candidate for the eurule aedileship, and it does not appear that there was a different rule for the plebeian aedileship. In Cicero's time, the aediles were elected some time in July, the usual place of election was the Field of Mars (Campus Martius), and the presiding magistrate was a consul.

The aediles existed under the emperors ; but their powers were gradually diminished, and their functions exercised by new officers created by the emperors. After the battle of Actium, Augustus appointed a praefeetus urbi, who exercised the general police^ which had formerly been one of the duties of the aediles. Augustus also took from the aediles, or exercised himself, the office of superintending the religious rites, and the banish­ing from tire city of all foreign ceremonials ; he also assumed the superintendence of the temples, and thus may be said to have destroyed the aedile­ship by depriving it of its old and original func­tion. This will serve to explain the fact men­tioned by Dion Cassius (Iv. 24), that no one was willing to hold so contemptible an office, and Augustus was therefore reduced to the necessity of compelling persons to take it: persons were ac­cordingly chosen by lot, out of those who had served the office of quaestor and tribune ; and this was done more than once. The last recorded in­stance of the splendours of the aedileship is the administration of Agrippa^ who volunteered to take the office, and repaired all the public buildings and all the roads at nis own expense, without drawing anything from the treasury. (Dion Cass. xlix. 43 ; Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 15.) The aedileship had, however, lost its true character before this time. Agrippa had already been consul before he accepted the offiee of aedile, and his- munificent expenditure in this nominal office was the close of the splendour of the aedileship. Augustus appointed the curule aediles specially to the office of putting out fires, and placed a body of 600 slaves at their command; but the praefecti vigilum .afterwards performed this duty. In like manner the curatores ma/rum were appointed by him to superintend the roads near the city, and the quatuorviri to superintend those

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