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far as we know, entered iipon their office on the ides of September. (Dionys. t. 1; Liv. vii. 3.) The first change seems to have "been brought about by the secession of the plebs, B. c. 493, when the consuls entered on the kalends of September. (Dionys. vi. 49.) In B. c. 479, the day was thrown a whole month backward ; for of the consuls of the preceding year one had fallen in battle, and the other abdicated two months before the end of his year; hence the new consuls entered on the kalends of Sextilis. (Dionys. ix. 13 ; Liv. iii. 6.) This day remained until B. c. 451, when the consuls abdicated to make room for the decemvirs, who entered upon their office on the ides of May. The same day remained for the two following years (Dionys. x. 56 ; Zonar. vii. 18 ; Fast. Cap.} ; but when the decemvirate was abolished, another day must have become the dies solennis, but which it was is unknown, until in b. c. 443, we find that it was the ides of December. (Dionys. xi. 63.) This change had been occasioned by the tribuni militares who had been elected the year before, and had been compelled to abdicate. (Liv. iv. 7 ; Dionys. xi. 62.)
Henceforth the ides of December remained for a long time the dies solennis. (Liv. iv. 37, v. 9, 11.) In b.c. 401, the military tribunes, in consequence of the defeat at Veii, abdicated, and their successors entered upon their office on the kalends of October. In b.c. 391, the consuls entered upon their office on the kalends of Quintilis. (Liv. v. 32 ; comp. 31, vii. 25, viii. 20.) From this time no further change is mentioned, though several events are recorded which must have been accompanied by an alteration of the dies solennis, until in b. c. 217, we learn that the consuls entered upon their office on the ides of March, which custom remained unaltered for many years (Liv. xxii. 1, xxiii. 30, xxvi. 1, 26, xliv. 19), until in b. c. 154 it was decreed that in future the magistrates should enter upon their office on the 1st of January, a regulation which began to be observed the year after, and remained in force down to the end of the republic. (Liv. Epit. 47 ; Fast. Praenest.) The changes in the time at which the consuls entered upon their office at different times, may therefore be given in the following tabular view : —•
From b. c. 509 to 493 on the Ides of September.
— — 493 — 479 — Kalends of September. __ __ 479 — 451 . — Kalends of Sextilis. __ _ 451 — 449 -— Ides of May.
— — 449 — 443 or 400 Ides of December.
— — 400 — probably till 397, Kalends of October. _ _ 397 __ 329 (perhaps 327), Kalends of Quintilis. '— — 327 — 223 unknown.
— — 223 — 153 Ides of March.
— 153 — till the end, the Kalends of January.
place in the consulship (in unum locum petelant, Liv. xxxv. 10). But as in the course of time the patricians were thrown into the shade by the rising power of the nobilesy it eame to pass that both consuls were plebeians. In b. c. 215, the augurs in-
The dny on whi'ch the consuls entered on their office determined the day of the election, though there was no fixed rule, and in< the earliest times the elections probably took place very shortly before the close of the official year, and the same was
occasionally the case during the latter period of the republic. (Liv. xxxviii. 42, xlii. 28, xliii. 11.) But when the first of January was fixed upon as the day for entering upon the office, the consular comitia were usually held in July or even earlier, at least before the Kalends of Sextilis. (Cic. ad Att. i. 16 ; ad Fain. viii. 4.) But even during that period the day of election depended in a great measure upon the discretion of the senate and consuls, who often delayed it. (Cic. ad Att. ii. 20, iv. 16, p. Leg. Man. 1.)
Down to;the year b; c. 366^ the consulship was accessible to none but patricians j but in that year L. Sextius- was the! first plebeian consul in eonse-que-nee of the law of C. Licinius. (Liv. vi. 42,; vii. 1.) The patricra'ns however,- notwithstanding the law, repeatedly contrived to* keep1 the plebeians' out (Liv. vii. 17, 18, 19, 22, 24,28),- until in b. c. 342 the insurrection of the army of Capua was followed, among other important consequences, by the firm establishment of the plebeian consulship ; and it is even said that at that time a ple-biscitum was passed, enacting that both consuls-might be plebeians. (Liv. vii. 42.) Attempts on the part of the patricians to exclude the plebeians,, occur as late as the year b. c. 297 (Liv. x. 15 ; Cic. Brut. 14) but they did not succeed, and it remained a principle of the Roman constitution that both consuls should not be patricians. (Liv. xxvii. 34, xxxix. 42.) The candidates usually were divided into two sets, the one desirous to obtain the patrician, and the other to obtain the plebeian
deed opposed the election of two plebeians (Liv. xxiii. 31) ; but not long after, in b. c. 172, the fact of both consuls being plebeians actually occurred, and after this it' was often repeated, the ancient distinction between patricians and plebeians falling completely into oblivion.
The consulship was throughout the republic regarded as the highest office and the greatest honour that could be conferred upon a man (Cic. p. Plane. 25 ; Paul, Diac. p. 136 ; Dionys. iv. 76), for the dictatorship, though it had a majus imperium, was- not a regular magistracy; and the censorship, though conferred only upon consulars, was yet far inferior to the consulship in power and influence. It was not till the end of the republic, and especially in the time of J. Caesar, that the consulship lost its former dignity ; for in order to honour his friends, he caused them to be elected, sometimes for a few months^ and sometimes even for1 a few hou-rs. (Sueton. Caes. 76, 80, Nero, 15 ; Dion Cass. xliii. 46 ; Macrob. Sat. ii. 3.)
The power of the consuls was at first equal to that of the kings into whose place they stepped, with the exception of the priestly power of the rex- sacro-rum, which was detached from it. Even after the Valerian laws and tlie institution of the tribuneship, the consuls who ailone were invested with the executive., retained the most extensive powers in all departments of the government. But in the gradual development of the constitution, some important functions were detached from the consulship and assigned to new officers. This was the case first