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Zn the same spirit it became a question, whether the tribuni militum with consular power could nominate a dictator, and they did not venture to do so till the augurs had been consulted and declared it allowable (Liv. iv. 21). The nomination of Sulla by an interrex and of Caesar by a praetor was contrary to all precedent and altogether illegal. (Comp. Cic. ad Att. ix. 15.) The senate seems to have usually mentioned "in their decree the name of the person whom the.consul was to nominate (Liv. iv. 17, 21, 23, 46, vi. 2, vii. 12, viii. 17, ix. 29, x. 11, xxii. 57) ; but that the consul was not absolutely bound to nominate the person whom the senate had named, is evident from the cases in which the consuls appointed persons in opposition to the wishes of the senate (Liv. viii. 12, Epit. 19 ; Suet. Til). 2.) It is doubtful what rule was adopted, or whether any existed, for the purpose of determining which of the two consuls should nominate the dictator. In one case we read that the nomination was made by. the consul who had the fasces (Liv. viii. 12), in another that it was decided by lot (iv. 26), and in a third that it was matter of agreement among themselves (iv. 21). la later times the senate usually entrusted the office to the consul who was nearest at hand. The nomination took place at Rome, as a general rule ; and if the consuls were absent, one of them was recalled to the city, whenever it was practicable (Liv. vii. 19, xxiii. 22) ; but if this could not be done, a senatus consultum authorising the appointment was sent to the consul, who thereupon made the nomination in the camp. (Liv. vii. 21, viii. 23, ix. 38, xxv. 2, xxvii. 5.) Nevertheless, the rule was maintained that the nomination could not take place outside of the Ager Romanus, though the meaning of this expression was extended so as to include the whole of Italia. Thus we find the senate in the second Punic war opposing the nomination of a dictator in Sicily, because it was outside of the agerRomanus (extra agrum Romanum— eum autem Italia terminari, Liv, xxvii. 5).
The reasons, which led to the appointment of a dictator, required that there should be only one at a time. The only exception to this rule occurred in b. c. 216 after the battle of Cannae, when M. Fabius Buteo was nominated dictator for the purpose of filling up the vacancies in the senate, although M. Junius Pera was discharging the regular duties of the dictator ; but Fabius resigned on the day of his nomination on the ground that there could not be two dictators at the same time. (Liv. xxiii. 22, 23 ; Plut. Fab. 9.) The dictators that tv ere appointed for carrying on the business of the state were said to be nominated m' gerundae causa, or sometimes seditionis sedandae causa; and upon them, as well as upon the other magistrates, the imperium was conferred by a Lex Curiata. (Liv. ix. 38, 39 ; Dionys. v. 70.) Dictators were also frequently appointed for some special purpose, and frequently one of small importance, of whom further mention will be made below. At present we confine our remarks to the duties and powers of the dictator rei gerundae causa.
The dictatorship was limited to six months (Cic, de Leg. in. 3 ; Liv. -iii. 29, ix. 34, xxiii. 23 ; Dionys. v. 70, x. 25 ; Dion Cass. xxxvi. 17, xlii. 21 ;
Zonar. vii. 13), and no instances occur in which a person held this office for a longer time, for the dictatorships of Sulla and Caesar are of course not to be taken into account. On the contrary, though a dictator was appointed for six months, he often resigned his office long previously, immediately after he had despatched the business for which he had been appointed. (Liv. iii. 29, iv. 46, vi. 29.) As soon as the dictator was nominated, a kind of suspension took place with respect to the consuls and all the other magistrates, with the exception of the tribuni plebis. It is frequently stated that the duties and functions of all the ordinary magistrates entirely ceased, and some writers have even gone so far as to say that the consuls abdicated (Polyb. iii. 87 ; Cic. de Leg. iii. 3 ; Dionys. v. 70, 72) ; but this is not a correct way of stating the facts of the case. The regular magistrates continued to discharge the duties of their various offices under the dictator, but they were no longer independent officers, but were subject to the higher imperium of the dictator, and obliged to obey his orders in every thing. We often find the dictator and the consuls at the head of separate armies at the same time, and carrying on war independent of one another (Liv. ii. 30, viii. 29) ; we see that the soldiers levied by the dictator took the oath of allegiance to the consul (Liv. ii. 32), and that the consuls could hold the consular comitia during a dictatorship. (Liv. xxiii. 23.) All this shows that the consuls did not resign their functions, although they were subject to the imperium of the dictator; and accordingly, as soon as the dictator abdicated, they again entered forthwith into the full possession of the consular power.
The superiority of the dictator's power to that of the consuls consisted chiefly in the three following points — greater independence of the senate, more extensive power of punishment without any appeal (provocatio} from their sentence to the people, and irresponsibility. To these three points, must of course be added that he was not fettered by a colleague. We may naturally suppose that the dictator would usually act in unison with the senate • but it is expressly stated that in many cases where the consuls required the co-operation of the senate, the dictator could act on his own responsibility. (Polyb. iii. 87.) For how long a time the dictatorship was a magistratus sine provocatione, is uncertain. That there was originally no appeal from the sentence of the dictator is certain, and accordingly the lictors bore the axes in the fasces before them even in the city, as a symbol of their absolute power over the lives of the citizens, although by the Valerian law the axes had disappeared from the fasces of the consuls. (Liv. ii. 18, 29, iii. 20 ; Zonar. vii. 13 ; Dionys. v. 70, 75 ; Pompon, de Grig. Jur. § 18.) That an appeal afterwards lay from their sentence to the people, is expressly stated by Festus (s. v. optima lex\ and it has been supposed that this privilege was granted by the lex Valeria Horatia, passed after the abolition of the decemvirate in b. c. 449, which enacted "ne quis ullum magistratum sine provocatione crearet." (Liv. iii. 15). But eleven years afterwards the dictatorship is spoken of as a magistratus sine provocatione; and the only instance in Livy (viii. 33—34) in which the dictator is threatened with provocatio, certainly does not prove that this was a legal right ; for L. Pa-pirius, who was then dictator, treated the prove-'