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On this page: Comitialis Dies – Comitium – Commeatus – Commentariensis – Commentarius – Commercium – Commissoria Lex



able citizens had little influence in them. When the libertini and all the Italians were incorporated in the old thirty-five tribes, and when the political corruption had reached its height, no trace of the sedate and moderate character was left by which the comitia tributa had been distinguished in former times. (Sail. Cat. 37 ; Suet. Caes. 41 ; Cic. ad Att. i. 16.) Violence and bribery became the .order of the day, and the needy multitude lent willing ears to any instigations coming from wealthy bribers and tribunes who were mere de­magogues. Sulla for a time did away with these odious proceedings ; since, according to some, he p,bolished the comitia tributa altogether, or, ac­cording to others, deprived them of the right of electing the sacerdotes, and of all their legislative and judicial powers. (Cic. in Fern i. 13, 15, de Legg, h". 9 ; Liv. Epit. 89 ; Appian, de Bell. Civ. i. 59, 98 ; comp. tribunus.) But the constitu tion, such as it had existed before Sulla, was re­stored soon after his death by Pompey and others, with the exception of the jurisdiction, which was for ever taken from the people by the legislation of Sulla. The people suffered another loss in the dictatorship of J. Caesar, who decided upon peace and war himself in connection with the senate. (Dion Cass. xlii. 20.) He had also the whole of the legislation in his hands, through his influence with the magistrates and the tribunes. The people thus retained nothing but the ('lection of magistrates • but even this power was much li­mited, as Caesar had the right to appoint half of the magistrates himself, with the exception of the consuls (Suet. Caes. 41 ; Cic. Philip, vii. 6 ; Dion Cass. xliii. 51), and, as in addition to this, he recommended to the people those candidates whom he wished to be elected : and who would have opposed his wish ? (Dion Cass. xliii. 47 ; Appian, de Bell. Civ. ii. 18.) After the death of Caesar the comitia continued to be held, but were, always more or less the obedient instruments in the hands of the rulers, whose unlimited powers were even recognised and sanctioned by them. (Appian, de Bell. Civ. iv. 7 ; Dion Cass. xlvi. 55, xlvii. 2.) Under Augustus the comitia still sanc­tioned new laws and elected magistrates, but their whole proceedings were a mere farce, for they could not venture to elect any other persons than those recommended by the emperor. (Suet. Aug. 40, &c. ; Dion Cass. liii. 2, 21, Iv. 34, Ivi. 40.) Tiberius deprived the people even of this shadow of their former power, and conferred the power of election upon the senate. (Tacit. Annal. i. 15 81 ii. 36, 51 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 126.) When the elec­tions were made by the -senate the result was announced to the people assembled as comitia cen-turiata or tributa. (Dion Cass. Iviii. 20.) Legis­lation was taken away from the comitia entirely, and was completely in the hands of the senate and the emperor. Caligula placed the comitia again upon the same footing on which they had been in the time of Augustus (Dion Cass. lix. 9 ; Suet. CaL 16) ; but this regulation was soon abandoned, and every thing was left as it had been arranged by Tiberius. (Dion Cass. lix. 20.) From this time the comitia may be said to have ceased to exist, as all the sovereign power formerl3r possessed by the people was conferred upon the emperor by the lex regia. [lex regia.] The people only as­sembled in the Campus Martius for the purpose of receiving information as to who had been elected


or appointed as its magistrates, until at last even this announcement (remmtiatio) appears to have ceased.

In addition to the works on Roman history in general, the reader may consult Unterholzner, De Mutata Centuriatorum Comit. a Ser,vio Tullio Rege Institutorum Ratione, Breslau. 1835 ; G. C. Th. Francke, De Tribuum, de Curiarum atque Cen- turiarum Ratione^ Schleswig, 1824 ; Huschke, Die Verfassung des Servius Tullius^ 1838 ; Hiill- mann, Romische Grundverfassung ; Rubino, Un- tersuchungen liber die Rom. Verfassung^ 1839 ; Zumpt, Ueber die Abstimmung des Rom. Volkes in, Centuriatcomitien. [L. S.j


COMITIUM. [forum.]

COMMEATUS, a furlough, or leave of absence from the armvfor a certain time. (Tacit. Ann. xv. 10 ; Liv. iii. 46.)

COMMENTARIENSIS. [commentaries.]

COMMENTARIUS, or COMMENTA'-RIUM, meant a book of memoirs or memorandum-book, whence the expression Cacsaris Commentarii (" Hinc Caesar libros de bellis a se gestis cominen-tarios inscripsit, quod nudi essent omni ornatu ora-tionis, tanquam veste detracto," Cic. Brutus, c. 75). Hence it is used for a lawyer's brief, the notes of a speech, &c. (Sen. Controv. lib. iii. Proem.)

In the imperial period the word commentariensis occurs in the sense of a notary or clerk of the Fiscus (40. tit. 14. s. 45), and also of a keeper of a prison (Walter, Gesckiclite des Romischen Reclits, §§ 818, 819, 2d ed.) A military officer so called is mentioned by Asconius (in Ver. iii. 28), who probably had similar duties. The word is also employed in the sense of a notary or secretary of any sort. Most of the religious colleges had books called eommentarii, as commentarii augurum9 pontificum. [B. J.]

COMMERCIUM. [civitas.]

COMMISSORIA LEX is the term applied to a clause often inserted in conditions of sals, by which a vendor reserved to himself the privilege of rescinding the sale, if the purchaser did not pay his purchase-money at the time agreed on. The lex commissoria did not make the transaction a conditional purchase ; for in that case, if the pro­ perty were damaged or destroyed, the loss would be the loss of the vendor, inasmuch as the pur­ chaser, by non-payment of the money at the time agreed on, would fail to perform the condition , but it was an absolute sale, subject to be rescinded at the sole pleasure of the vendor, if the money was not paid at the time agreed on ; and conse­ quently if after this agreement the property was lost or destroyed before the day agreed on for pay­ ment, the loss fell on the purchaser. If the vendor intended to take advantage of the lex commissoria, it was necessary that he should declare his intention as soon as the condition was broken. If he re­ ceived or claimed any part of the purchase- money after the duy agreed upon, he thereby waived the advantage of the lex commissoria. It was usual to insert in the commissoria lex an agreement that if the vendor had to sell the property again, the first purchaser should make up any deficiency in the price, that is, the difference between the amount for which it was first sold, and the less amount which it produced at the second sale. [PiGNUS.]

(Dig. 18, tit. 3 ; Thibaut, Syst&tn, &c. § 548, 9th ed.) . .G.L.I

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