With the Licinian-Sestian compromise, stability was brought to Rome.
443 B.C.: Pericles’ age
427 B.C.: Plato was born
384 B.C.: Aristotle was born
377 B.C.: Hippocrates dies
336 B.C.: Alexander the Great is incoronated
326 B.C. Rome and Naples make a peace treaty
323 B.C.: Alexander the Great dies
312 B.C.: the first aqueduct was commissioned by censor Appius Cl.Caecus
280 B.C.: War against Pyrrhus
At the top of the hierarchy in the establishment there was the Consulate. Holders of the supreme civil and military power, theoretically indefinite, the two consuls exercised the imperium majus et infinitum and the suprema potestas collegially; however the power was not always equally divided, therefore one acted as a safeguard for the other consul by his power of intercessio. The years were named after them.
They had the ius agendi cum patribus and cum populo: this means that they could preside over and convene the Senate and comitia, they presented law-proposals, appointed their successors, proposed candidates for the other magistrates in the assemblies; on the Senate’s recommendation they proclaimed the dictator, who was an exceptionally powerful (but for no more than six months) monocratic figure, in times of necessity, emergencies or grave threat to the Republic.
The consuls were commander-in-chief of the army, outside the pomerium of the city and not subject to any constitutional limit (provocatio and intercessio tribunicia).
They also had judicial power in criminal affairs, public order, police, and public finance.
Directly below the consuls, we find the two Praetors, who could occasionally substitute and assist them, but with limited power. Their specific competence was in the field of jurisdiction: i.e. the praetor Peregrinus established in 242 B.C. the judgement of non-Roman citizens within the city boundaries.
Elected by the comitia centuriata, they had the ius agendi cum populo and cum patribus, presided over the meetings for the election of minors; they passed their annual edict, which was the main source of the ius praetorium.
The Censores were chosen among senators and performed the delicate tasks (originally dealt with by the consuls) of enrolling citizens in different units of the assembly; and creating the lists of the new senators (lectio senatus).
They had no imperium – they had an 18 month mandate.
They executed control on citizens’ civil and moral behaviour through censorship, negative assessment added to the name of the person, with variable effects on political rights (nota censoria).
Among the minor magistrates (aediles; quaestors; auxiliary colleges), there were the Tribuni plebis, who had sacrosanctitas (political immunity) from 449 B.C. After 367 B.C. they acquired an independent position in the Republic; and especially a power of veto (intercessio) on acts of other magistrates.
With regard to the administration of criminal and civil justice, they had a coercendi summa potestas: power (in fact, not based on imperium) to impose fines, property confiscation order, arrest and detention of a citizen, capital punishment.
Founded as the ancient council of elders, representatives (called fathers/patres) chosen among the richest and noblest families of the city, the Senate was made up of the most important members of the city, with their privileges, and roles which were reserved to them (for example priests, as Flamines, and vati, as augures).
The Senators at the beginning were the King’s counsellors; then they took the political leadership of the res publica. They gave their approval (auctoritas patrum) as a ratification on magistrates’ law proposals and electoral candidature to the citizens’ assemblies, as a means of control and aristocratic hegemony.
The selection of Senators (Lectio Senatus) was decided by Censors every 5 years: the Senators (300 to begin with, then up to 600 under Sulla, arriving at 900 with Caesar; to establish their final number at 600 under Augustus) were chosen principally among former judges, or dictators, consuls, praetors and afterwards also former plebeian aediles, former tribunes plebis (from 216 B.C), former quaestors (Sulla), and exceptionally among people who had distinguished themselves in the Republic without ever having held public office. Their duties were to: declare war, draw up treaties, receive foreign ambassadors, honour with triumph ceremonies victorious generals; they inspected the coffers of Rome.
During the centuries, in Roman Empire, they lost their importance, however they maintained their prestige; formally nominating the new Emperor and declaring, after his death, his divinity or his damnatio memoriae.
Popular assemblies could be Contio (an informal meeting); Comitium (a meeting for all citizens); and Concilium (a meeting for a selected class, usually plebeians).
The ancient assembly was the comitia curiata, which had a few sacral functions, and the vote of the lex de imperio curiata, which confirmed the imperium of the major magistrates, then elected by the com.centuriata.
The most important was the comitia centuriata, which derived from the ancient Servian reformed army, where cives voted according to a tymocratic (based on wealth) division. Summoned by the magistrates cum imperio, with the exception of the Praetor (responsible only for criminal cases), they voted the leges and elected the major magistrates.
The Comitia tributa was a new form of assembly of the middle to late Republic, in which citizens voted in accordance to their geographical position (tribus).
The concilia plebis were the plebeians’ assembly, in which the plebs, divided by tribe, were summoned by plebeian magistrates as tribuni plebis and voted the plebiscita.