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¿Por qué hubo tantos cónsules suffectos durante el Principado?

¿Por qué hubo tantos cónsules suffectos durante el Principado?

Como se cita en este artículo de wikipedia, dice:

Si un cónsul moría durante su mandato (no es raro cuando los cónsules estaban al frente de la batalla) o era destituido de su cargo, el Comitia Centuriata elegiría a otro para servir el resto del mandato como cónsul suffecto o cónsul suffecto.

En el libro 'Augustan Rome 44 BC to AD 14: The Restoration of the Republic and the Establishment of the Empire (The Edinburgh History of Ancient Rome)' de J. S. Richardson, cita a Suetonius diciendo:

La razón por la que ocupaba el consulado ahora era, según nos dice Suetonio, la introducción en la vida pública de Cayo César y, dadas las celebraciones que asistieron a esta, esto sin duda es correcto; pero vale la pena señalar que el mismo año también vio la reintroducción de la elección de cónsules suffectos que asumieron el cargo después de que los cónsules electos se retiraron, una práctica que se había utilizado por última vez en el año 12 a. C., año en que murió Agripa.

También dice:

Desde ahora hasta el final del reinado de Augusto, la elección de cónsules suffectos iba a ser la norma, con excepciones solo en el año 3 a. C. y 14 d. C.

Esto sugeriría que, con bastante frecuencia, durante el Principado, los cónsules murieron, se retiraron o fueron destituidos.

¿Por qué hubo tantos cónsules suffectos durante el Principado?

Puede encontrar una lista de los cónsules romanos aquí.


El cambio en el número y la frecuencia de los cónsules suffectos sólo refleja el cambio de trabajo de cónsul con el Principado.

Bajo la República, más allá de ennoblecer a su familia, permitiéndole gobernar Roma durante un año y obtener el nombre del año en su nombre, el consulado fue el puente hacia un trabajo excelente en la administración de una provincia donde podría recolectar dinero y contactos que le permitirían pagar. de la cantidad que gastó para llegar al consulado en primer lugar y configurar para la próxima generación. Si dejara el consulado antes del trabajo, perdería esa recompensa.

Cuando Augusto estaba a cargo, no tenía ningún interés en que los senadores ambiciosos usaran ejércitos en las provincias para lanzarse al poder… como lo había hecho él. Durante un tiempo, él mismo siempre fue cónsul, lo que provocó quejas porque esto dejaba fuera a los aristócratas. Entonces, la necesidad era recompensar a los aristócratas por seguir la línea y encontrar candidatos para los trabajos administrativos en las provincias. Los múltiples cónsules suffectos permitieron que se creara un grupo más grande de candidatos para estos trabajos y permitieron más recompensas para que los nobles se esforzaran y mejoraran el estatus de sus familias.

Entonces, la razón principal del cambio fue que la naturaleza del trabajo del cónsul había cambiado de República a Imperio.


El Imperio Romano: Augusto y el período del Principado

Oficialmente, después de la batalla de Actium en 31 a. C., Octavio (Augusto de aquí en adelante) era el único gobernante de Roma. Nunca se refirió a él como & # 8220king & # 8221, sin embargo, a los romanos no les gustaba esta palabra. Sin embargo, ninguna forma republicana de gobierno pudo mantener a raya al estado romano. Recurrieron a la monarquía principalmente porque esta era la única forma verdadera de gobernar Roma.

Augusto fue el comienzo de la época llamada el período del Principado, que se caracteriza por ser una época en la que los gobernantes de la nueva monarquía hicieron todo lo posible por preservar aspectos de la República Romana. Augustus fue un ejemplo perfecto de esto. Hizo todo lo posible para mantener todas las formas conservadoras de gobierno y mantener intactas la mayoría de las formas políticas. El único propósito de Augustus era eliminar el odio y la confusión causados ​​por la guerra civil. Demostró que era un político fuerte a lo largo de su ascenso al poder, y su gobierno demostró también que era un estadista muy exitoso. El senado romano fue el que le dio a Octavio el título de Augusto, porque Augusto quería devolver el poder al senado romano en sus nuevas reformas.

Obviamente, siendo el primer emperador de un tipo de monarquía muy nuevo para Roma, Augusto asumió varios títulos nuevos que le proporcionaron el poder que ostentaba. Solo por nombrar un par, se le otorgó poder proconsular (imperium proconsulare), conservó el título de Imperator (lo que le permitió mantener el control del ejército romano), y fue hecho Pontifex maximus (& # 8220 sacerdote jefe & # 8221). De todos los títulos que había recibido, le gustaba que se refiriera a uno en particular: Princeps Civitates, que significa & # 8220primer ciudadano del estado & # 8221.

Augusto hizo muchas reformas importantes al comienzo de su gobierno, relacionadas tanto con causas nobles como con causas populares. Recuperó un fuerte sentido de dignidad y nobleza de estar en el Senado al disminuir la cantidad de personas en el Senado, así como al quitar algunos poderes provinciales. Augusto no consideró al populus responsable de la toma de decisiones políticas importantes y le quitó mucho poder a las asambleas del pueblo (ahora se las mantenía principalmente para votar por nuevos magistrados). No cambió mucho sobre el cursus honorum (que, de nuevo, es el proceso de ascender en las filas de las magistraturas romanas) y vio a los magistrados de la república actual como una posición ejecutiva especial. Augusto también redujo el ejército romano de 50 legiones a solo 20 y los extendió por las provincias para que el ejército romano fuera una carga menos para el pueblo de Roma. Por último, presentó el & # 8220pretorian guard & # 8221, un sistema de protección utilizado para el interior de Italia.

Como se indicó anteriormente, el objetivo de Augusto durante su reinado fue intentar hacer que Roma sea lo más sistemática, organizada y pacífica posible. Separó la ciudad romana en 14 distritos o distritos, y puso en marcha fuerzas especiales de & # 8220police & # 8221 para hacer cumplir la ley y el orden en toda la ciudad. Esperaba que la introducción de estas fuerzas policiales en la sociedad romana redujera la violencia extrema que se había visto en los últimos años anteriores de la historia romana. La totalidad de Italia se dividió luego en once regiones (distritos administrativos), un curador viarurn (& # 8220superintendente de carreteras & # 8221) se instaló para mantener el gran sistema de carreteras en buenas condiciones, y se introdujo un sistema de correos, todos estos pasos mostraron claramente el deseo de Augusto de que el pueblo romano viviera una vida limpia y sistemática.

Augusto trabajó mucho para reorganizar no solo el sistema de las provincias de Roma, sino también el flujo de dinero de las provincias. Las provincias se dividieron ahora en dos grupos separados. los senatorial provincias eran las que mantenían el control del Senado, mientras que imperial las provincias estaban ahora bajo el control del emperador. Ya sea bajo un senado con nuevo poder, o bajo un emperador con buenas costumbres, se vio que las provincias de Roma aumentaron rápidamente tanto en prosperidad como en riqueza. Los ingresos obtenidos de las provincias senatoriales se depositaron directamente en la tesorería del senado, mientras que la entrada de dinero de las provincias imperiales se destinó a la fiscus (tesoro del emperador). Augustus podría ser visto como uno de los gobernantes más inteligentes económicamente en cualquier lugar cercano a su tiempo. Con la ayuda de un enfoque muy sistemático de una nueva monarquía y una mente aguda, Augusto pudo crear con éxito una Roma muy fuerte y poderosa.

Tiberius & copy 2021. Todos los derechos reservados.


Contenido

  • 'Principado' se deriva etimológicamente de la palabra latina princeps, sentido jefe o primero, y por lo tanto representa el régimen político dominado por dicho líder político, sea o no formalmente jefe de estado o jefe de gobierno. Esto refleja la afirmación de los emperadores principados de que eran simplemente "los primeros entre iguales" entre los ciudadanos de Roma.
  • Bajo la República, el princeps senatus, tradicionalmente el miembro de mayor edad o más honorable del Senado, tenía derecho a ser escuchado primero en cualquier debate. [5] y su círculo había fomentado la idea (cuasi-platónica) de que la autoridad debería invertirse en el ciudadano más digno (princeps), que guiaría benéficamente a sus competidores, un ideal del estadista patriota que luego retomó Cicerón. [6]

De una forma más limitada y precisa cronológico En este sentido, el término Principado se aplica a todo el Imperio (en el sentido del estado romano posrepublicano), o específicamente a la primera de las dos fases del gobierno "imperial" en el antiguo Imperio Romano antes del colapso militar de Roma en el West (caída de Roma) en 476 dejó al Imperio Bizantino como único heredero. Esta fase temprana, 'Principado' comenzó cuando Augustus afirmó auctoritas para sí mismo como princeps y continuó (según la fuente) hasta el gobierno de Cómodo, de Maximino Thrax o de Diocleciano. Posteriormente, el gobierno imperial en el Imperio se designa como el dominar, que subjetivamente se parece más a una monarquía (absoluta) mientras que la anterior Principado es aún más "republicano".

El título, completo, de princeps senatus / princeps civitatis ("primero entre los senadores" / "primero entre los ciudadanos") fue adoptado por primera vez por Octavio César Augusto (27 a. C.-14 d. C.), el primer "emperador" romano que eligió, como el asesinado Julio César, no reintroducir un monarquía. El propósito de Augusto era probablemente establecer la estabilidad política que se necesitaba desesperadamente después de las agotadoras guerras civiles por un de facto régimen dictatorial dentro del marco constitucional de la República Romana - lo que Gibbon llamó "una monarquía absoluta disfrazada por las formas de una mancomunidad" [7] - como una alternativa más aceptable a, por ejemplo, el antiguo reino romano.

Aunque las pretensiones dinásticas se infiltraron desde el principio, formalizar esto en un estilo monárquico siguió siendo políticamente peligroso [8] y Octavio, sin duda, tuvo razón al trabajar a través de las formas republicanas establecidas para consolidar su poder. [9] Comenzó con los poderes de un cónsul romano, combinados con los de un Tribuno de la plebe, luego agregó el papel de censor y finalmente se convirtió también en Pontifex Maximus. [10]

Tiberio también adquirió sus poderes poco a poco, y se enorgullecía de enfatizar su lugar como primer ciudadano: "una buena y saludable princeps, a quien has investido con un poder discrecional tan grande, debería ser el servidor del Senado y, a menudo, de todo el cuerpo ciudadano ". "votaron en un solo día todas las prerrogativas por las que Augusto durante tanto tiempo se habían votado de forma gradual y fragmentada" [12].

Sin embargo, bajo este "Principado stricto sensu", la realidad política del gobierno autocrático del Emperador todavía estaba escrupulosamente enmascarada por formas y convenciones de autogobierno oligárquico heredadas del período político de la República romana 'sin corona' (509 a. C.-27 a. C.) bajo el lema Senatus Populusque Romanus ("El Senado y el pueblo de Roma") o SPQR. Inicialmente, la teoría implicaba que el 'primer ciudadano' tenía que ganarse su puesto extraordinario (de facto evolucionando a una monarquía casi absoluta) por mérito en el estilo que el propio Augusto había ganado la posición de auctoritas.

La propaganda imperial desarrolló una ideología paternalista, presentando la princeps como la encarnación misma de todas las virtudes atribuidas al gobernante ideal (muy parecido a un griego tiranos antes), como el indulto y la justicia, y el liderazgo militar, [13] obligando a la princeps desempeñar este papel designado dentro de la sociedad romana, como su seguro político, así como un deber moral. ¿Qué se esperaba específicamente de la princeps parece haber variado según los tiempos y los observadores: [14] Tiberio, que amasó un enorme excedente para la ciudad de Roma, fue criticado como un avaro, pero Calígula fue criticado por su generoso gasto en juegos y espectáculos.

En términos generales, se esperaba que el Emperador fuera generoso pero no frívolo, no solo como buen gobernante sino también con su fortuna personal (como en el proverbial "pan y circo" - panem et circenses) proporcionando juegos públicos ocasionales, gladiadores, carreras de caballos y espectáculos artísticos. Las grandes distribuciones de alimentos para el público y las instituciones caritativas también fueron medios que sirvieron como impulsores de la popularidad, mientras que la construcción de obras públicas proporcionó empleo remunerado a los pobres.

Redefinición bajo Vespasiano Editar

Con la caída de la dinastía julio-claudiana en el 68 d.C., la principate se formalizó más bajo el emperador Vespasiano desde el 69 d. C. en adelante. [16] La posición de princeps se convirtió en una entidad distinta dentro de la constitución romana más amplia, formalmente aún republicana. Si bien se mantuvieron muchas de las mismas expectativas culturales y políticas, el aspecto civil del ideal de Augusto de la princeps Poco a poco fue cediendo el paso al papel militar del imperator. [17] La ​​regla ya no era una posición (ni siquiera teóricamente) extendida sobre la base del mérito, o auctoritas, pero sobre una base más firme, permitiendo que Vespasiano y los futuros emperadores designen a su propio heredero sin que esos herederos tengan que ganarse el puesto a través de años de éxito y favor público.

Bajo la dinastía Antonina, era la norma que el Emperador nombrara a un individuo exitoso y políticamente prometedor como su sucesor. En el análisis histórico moderno, esto es tratado por muchos autores como una situación "ideal": el individuo que era más capaz fue ascendido a la posición de princeps. De la dinastía Antonina, Edward Gibbon escribió que este fue el período más feliz y productivo de la historia de la humanidad, y atribuyó al sistema de sucesión el factor clave.

Dominar Editar

Los elementos autocráticos en el Principado tendieron a aumentar con el tiempo, con el estilo de dominus ("Señor", "Maestro", lo que sugiere que los ciudadanos se convirtieron en servi, sirvientes o esclavos) gradualmente convirtiéndose en corriente para el emperador. [18] Sin embargo, no hubo un punto de inflexión constitucional claro, con Septimius Severus y la dinastía Severan comenzando a utilizar la terminología de la Dominar en referencia al emperador, y los varios emperadores y sus usurpadores a lo largo del siglo III apelando al pueblo como militar dominus y politico princeps.

Fue después de que la crisis del siglo III casi resultó en el colapso político del Imperio Romano cuando Diocleciano consolidó firmemente la tendencia a la autocracia. [19] Reemplazó al de una sola cabeza principate con la tetrarquía (c. 300 d.C., dos Augusti clasificación por encima de dos Cesáres), [20] en el que se abandonó en gran medida la pretensión vestigial de las viejas formas republicanas. El titulo de princeps desaparecido - como la unidad territorial del Imperio - en favor de dominus y se utilizaron deliberadamente nuevas formas de pompa y asombro en un intento de aislar al emperador ya la autoridad civil de la soldadesca desenfrenada y amotinada de mediados de siglo. [21]

El papel político del Senado quedó en un eclipse final, [22] ya no se oyó hablar de la división por parte del Principado augusto de las provincias entre provincias imperiales (militarizadas) y provincias senatoriales. [23] Los abogados desarrollaron una teoría de la delegación total de autoridad en manos del emperador, [24] y el dominar se desarrolló cada vez más, especialmente en el Imperio Romano de Oriente, donde los súbditos, e incluso los aliados diplomáticos, podrían denominarse servus o el término griego correspondiente doulos ("sirviente / esclavo") para expresar la exaltada posición del Emperador como superado solo por Dios, y en la tierra ante nadie. [ cita necesaria ]


Cónsul

Después de la mítica expulsión del último rey etrusco Lucius Tarquinius Superbus y el fin del Reino Romano, supuestamente todos los poderes y autoridad del Rey fueron otorgados al recién instituido Consulado. Sin embargo, es probable que los primeros magistrados principales fueran los pretores. Se cree que el cargo de cónsul se remonta al establecimiento tradicional de la República en 509 a. C., pero la sucesión de cónsules no fue continua en el siglo V. Los cónsules tenían amplias competencias en tiempos de paz, administrativos, legislativos y judiciales, y en tiempos de guerra (frecuentes) a menudo ocupaban los más altos mandos militares, los deberes religiosos adicionales incluían ciertos ritos que, como señal de su importancia formal, solo podían llevarse a cabo. por parte de funcionarios estatales de alto nivel (compárese con Rex sacrorum) la lectura de los augurios fue un paso esencial antes de llevar a los ejércitos al campo.

Según las leyes de la República, la edad mínima para la elección de cónsul de los patricios era de 40 años, de los plebeyos 42. Cada año se elegían dos cónsules, que actuaban conjuntamente con poder de veto sobre las acciones de los demás, principio normal de las magistraturas.

En latín, consules significa "los que caminan juntos". Si un cónsul moría durante su mandato (no es raro cuando los cónsules estaban en la vanguardia de la batalla), otro sería elegido y sería conocido como cónsul suffecto (cos. Suf.).

Según la tradición, el consulado estaba inicialmente reservado a los patricios y solo en el 367 a.C. los plebeyos ganaron el derecho a presentarse a este cargo supremo, cuando la lex Licinia Sextia dispuso que al menos un cónsul cada año debería ser plebeyo el primer cónsul plebeyo, Lucio Sextius, fue elegido así el año siguiente. Los historiadores modernos han cuestionado el relato tradicional de la emancipación plebeya durante la República Temprana (ver Conflicto de las órdenes), señalando, por ejemplo, que alrededor del treinta por ciento de los cónsules anteriores a Sextio tenían nombres plebeyos, no patricios, probablemente solo la cronología ha sido distorsionada.

En tiempos de guerra, el criterio principal para el cónsul era la habilidad y la reputación militar, pero en todo momento la selección estuvo cargada de política. Con el paso del tiempo, el consulado se convirtió en el punto final normal del cursus honorum, la secuencia de cargos que perseguía el ambicioso romano.

A partir de finales de la República, después de terminar un año consular, un ex cónsul usualmente cumplía un lucrativo período como procónsul, el gobernador romano de una de las provincias (senatoriales).

Cuando Augusto estableció el Principado, cambió la naturaleza política del cargo, despojándolo de la mayoría de sus poderes. Si bien sigue siendo un gran honor (de hecho, invariablemente, el jefe de estado constitucional, por lo tanto epónimo) y un requisito para otros cargos, muchos cónsules renunciaban a la mitad del año para permitir que otros hombres terminaran su mandato como suffectos. Quienes ocuparon el cargo el 1 de enero, conocidos como los consules ordinarii, tuvieron el honor de asociar sus nombres con ese año. Como resultado, aproximadamente la mitad de los hombres que tenían el rango de pretor también podían llegar al consulado. A veces, estos cónsules suffectos dimitían a su vez y se nombraba a otro suffecto. Esto llegó a su extremo bajo Cómodo, cuando en 190 veinticinco hombres ocupaban el consulado.

Con frecuencia, los emperadores se nombraban cónsules a sí mismos, protegidos o familiares, incluso sin tener en cuenta los requisitos de edad. Por ejemplo, el emperador Honorio recibió el consulado al nacer.

Tener el consulado era un gran honor y el cargo era el símbolo principal de la constitución aún republicana. Probablemente como parte de la búsqueda de legitimidad formal, el Imperio Galo en ruptura tuvo sus propios pares de cónsules durante su existencia (260-274). La lista de cónsules de este estado está incompleta, extraída de inscripciones y monedas,

Una de las reformas de Constantino I fue asignar a uno de los cónsules a la ciudad de Roma y al otro a Constantinopla. Por lo tanto, cuando el Imperio Romano se dividió en dos mitades a la muerte de Teodosio I, el emperador de cada mitad adquirió el derecho de nombrar a uno de los cónsules, aunque un emperador permitió que su colega nombrara a ambos cónsules por varias razones. Como resultado, después del fin formal del Imperio Romano en Occidente, muchos años serían nombrados por un solo cónsul. Este rango finalmente se dejó caer en el reinado de Justiniano I: primero con el cónsul de Roma en 534, Decius Paulinus, luego con el cónsul de Constantinopla en 541, Flavius ​​Basilius Junior.

Los magistrados más altos tenían el mismo nombre, es decir, cada año se identificaba oficialmente (como un año de reinado en una monarquía) por los nombres de los dos cónsules, aunque había una datación numérica más práctica ab urbe condita (es decir, por la era que comenzaba con el mítico año de fundación de Roma). Por ejemplo, el año 59 a. C. en el calendario moderno fue llamado por los romanos "el consulado de César y Bíbulo", ya que los dos colegas en el consulado eran (Cayo) Julio César y Marco Calpurnio Bíbulo, aunque César dominaba el consulado de modo que a fondo ese año que se refirió en broma como "el consulado de Gayo y Julio".

En latín, la construcción ablativa absoluta se usa con frecuencia para expresar la fecha, como "M. Messalla et M. Pupio Pisone consulibus", traducida literalmente como "Marcus Messalla y Marcus Pupio Piso siendo cónsules", que aparece en De Bello Gallico de César. .

Las elecciones consulares se celebraban típicamente durante julio, pero ocasionalmente se posponían o se celebraban antes en circunstancias especiales. Los cónsules designados se prepararían para asumir el cargo durante el resto del año y finalmente asumirían su cargo a principios de enero. Por lo tanto, su ascenso al cargo marcó el comienzo de cada año epónimo.


Cónsules mayores y menores en la antigua Roma

He estado leyendo el libro de Colleen McCullough & # x27s El Caballo de Octubre, donde hace frecuentes referencias a los cónsules & quot junior & quot y & quotsenior & quot. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre ellos? Siempre pensé que solo había un título: cónsul.

Realmente no había diferencia entre ellos, tenían los mismos poderes. El cónsul principal fue el primero elegido, según Cicerón, lo que también significó que obtuvo más votos debido a la forma en que las elecciones dentro de los comitia centuriata cerraron la votación una vez que se alcanzó la mayoría. La única diferencia real entre ellos era decidir quién presidía el senado en cada mes dado (el cónsul principal tomó enero, según recuerdo, y lo hizo cada dos meses) y, según recuerdo, Cicerón menciona algunas prácticas con respecto al orden de los oradores consulares dentro del gobierno. Senado, pero tendría que repasar sus discursos para encontrarlo. En la práctica, el cónsul principal era generalmente, aunque no siempre, el candidato con más influencia (lo que no es sorprendente, si es el tipo que obtiene más votos). La única otra diferencia en la que puedo pensar es que durante el consulado de Mario & # x27, su cónsul principal dirigió el primer ejército consular y Marius solo levantó una fuerza como cónsul menor cuando el ejército consular superior demostró ser inadecuado para las amenazas que Roma enfrentaba en otros lugares.


Poderes y responsabilidades

Deberes republicanos

Tras la expulsión de los reyes y el establecimiento de la República, todos los poderes que habían pertenecido a los reyes fueron transferidos a dos cargos: el de los cónsules y el Rex Sacrorum. Mientras que el Rex Sacrorum heredó la posición de los reyes como sumo sacerdote del estado, los cónsules recibieron las responsabilidades civiles y militares (imperium). Sin embargo, para evitar el abuso del poder real, el imperio lo compartían dos cónsules, cada uno de los cuales podía vetar las acciones del otro.

Los cónsules fueron investidos con el poder ejecutivo del estado y encabezaron el gobierno de la República. Inicialmente, los cónsules tenían un vasto poder ejecutivo y judicial. Sin embargo, en el desarrollo gradual del sistema legal romano, algunas funciones importantes se separaron del consulado y se asignaron a nuevos oficiales. Así, en 443 a. C., la responsabilidad de realizar el censo fue quitada a los cónsules y entregada a los censores. La segunda función que se le quitó al consulado fue su poder judicial. Su posición como jueces superiores fue transferida a los pretores en 366 a. C. Pasado este tiempo, el cónsul solo serviría como juez en casos penales extraordinarios y solo cuando lo requiriera un decreto del Senado.

Esfera civil

En su mayor parte, el poder se dividió entre las esferas civil y militar. Mientras los cónsules estaban en el pomerium (la ciudad de Roma), estaban a la cabeza del gobierno, y todos los demás magistrados, con la excepción de los tribunos de los plebeyos, estaban subordinados a ellos, pero conservaban la independencia de su cargo. . La maquinaria interna de la república estaba bajo la superintendencia de los cónsules. Para otorgar a los cónsules una mayor autoridad en la ejecución de las leyes, los cónsules tenían el derecho de citación y arresto, que estaba limitado únicamente por el derecho de apelación de su sentencia. Este poder de castigo se extendía incluso a magistrados inferiores.

Como parte de sus funciones ejecutivas, los cónsules eran responsables de llevar a efecto los decretos del Senado y las leyes de las asambleas. A veces, en grandes emergencias, pueden incluso actuar bajo su propia autoridad y responsabilidad. Los cónsules también se desempeñaron como diplomáticos en jefe del estado romano. Antes de que los embajadores extranjeros llegaran al Senado, se reunieron con los cónsules. El cónsul presentaría embajadores al Senado, y solo ellos llevaron a cabo las negociaciones entre el Senado y los estados extranjeros.

Los cónsules podían convocar al Senado y presidían sus reuniones. Cada cónsul sirvió como presidente del Senado durante un mes. También podían convocar a cualquiera de las tres asambleas romanas (Curiate, Centuriate y Tribal) y presidirlas. Así, los cónsules llevaron a cabo las elecciones y sometieron a votación las medidas legislativas. Cuando ninguno de los cónsules estaba dentro de la ciudad, sus deberes cívicos eran asumidos por el praetor urbanus.

Cada cónsul estuvo acompañado en cada aparición pública por doce lictores, quienes desplegaron la magnificencia del oficio y sirvieron como sus guardaespaldas. Cada lictor sostenía un fasces, un manojo de varas que contenía un hacha. Las varas simbolizan el poder de la flagelación y el hacha el poder de la pena capital. Una vez dentro del pomerium, los lictores quitaron las hachas de las fasces para demostrar que un ciudadano no podía ser ejecutado sin un juicio. Al entrar en el Comitia Centuriata, los lictores bajarían las fasces para mostrar que los poderes de los cónsules se derivan del pueblo (populus romanus).

Esfera militar

Fuera de las murallas de Roma, los poderes de los cónsules eran mucho más amplios en su papel de comandantes en jefe de todas las legiones romanas. Fue en esta función que los cónsules fueron investidos con pleno imperio. Cuando las legiones fueron ordenadas por decreto del Senado, los cónsules llevaron a cabo la recaudación en el Campus Martius. Al ingresar al ejército, todos los soldados debían prestar juramento de lealtad a los cónsules. Los cónsules también supervisaron la reunión de tropas proporcionadas por los aliados de Roma. [8]

Dentro de la ciudad, un cónsul podía castigar y arrestar a un ciudadano, pero no tenía poder para infligir la pena capital. Sin embargo, cuando está en campaña, un cónsul puede infligir cualquier castigo que crea conveniente a cualquier soldado, oficial, ciudadano o aliado.

Cada cónsul estaba al mando de un ejército, generalmente de dos legiones, con la ayuda de tribunos militares y un cuestor que tenía obligaciones financieras. En el raro caso de que ambos cónsules marcharan juntos, cada uno mantuvo el mando durante un día respectivamente. Un ejército consular típico estaba formado por unos 20.000 hombres y estaba formado por dos legiones ciudadanas y dos aliadas. En los primeros años de la república, los enemigos de Roma estaban ubicados en el centro de Italia, por lo que las campañas duraron unos meses. A medida que las fronteras de Roma se expandieron, en el siglo II a.C., las campañas se hicieron más largas. Roma era una sociedad belicosa y muy pocas veces no hacía la guerra. [9] De modo que, al asumir el cargo, el Senado y el Pueblo esperaban que el cónsul marchara con su ejército contra los enemigos de Roma y expandiera las fronteras romanas. Sus soldados esperaban regresar a sus hogares después de la campaña con el botín. Si el cónsul obtenía una victoria abrumadora, sus tropas lo aclamaban como imperador y podía solicitar que se le concediera un triunfo.

El cónsul podía llevar a cabo la campaña como mejor le pareciera y tenía poderes ilimitados. Sin embargo, después de la campaña, podría ser procesado por sus fechorías (por ejemplo, por abusar de las provincias o malgastar el dinero público, como Scipio Africanus fue acusado por Catón en 205 a. C.).

Prevención de abusos

Se evitó el abuso del poder consular y se otorgó a cada cónsul el poder de vetar a su colega. Por lo tanto, excepto en las provincias como comandantes en jefe donde el poder de cada cónsul era supremo, los cónsules solo podían actuar al unísono o, al menos, no contra la voluntad decidida de cada uno. Contra la sentencia de un cónsul, se podría interponer un recurso de apelación ante su colega, que, de prosperar, haría que se anulara la sentencia. Para evitar conflictos innecesarios, solo un cónsul desempeñaría realmente las funciones de la oficina cada mes. Esto no quiere decir que el otro cónsul no tuviera poder, sino que simplemente permitió que el primer cónsul actuara sin interferencia directa. Luego, en el mes siguiente, los cónsules intercambiarían roles entre sí. Esto continuaría hasta el final del período consular.

Otro punto que sirvió de freno a los cónsules fue la certeza de que una vez finalizado su mandato serían llamados a rendir cuentas de sus actos durante su mandato.

También hubo otras tres restricciones al poder consular. Su mandato fue breve (un año), sus funciones fueron predeterminadas por el Senado y no pudieron volver a presentarse a las elecciones inmediatamente después del final de su mandato. Por lo general, se esperaba un período de diez años entre cada consulado.

Gobernación

Después de dejar el cargo, los cónsules fueron asignados por el Senado a una provincia para administrar como gobernador. Las provincias asignadas a cada cónsul fueron sorteadas y determinadas antes del final de su consulado. Al transferir su imperium consular al imperio proconsular, el cónsul se convertiría en procónsul y gobernador de una (o varias) de las muchas provincias de Roma. Como procónsul, su imperio se limitaba solo a una provincia específica y no a toda la República. Cualquier ejercicio del imperio proconsular en cualquier otra provincia era ilegal. Además, a un procónsul no se le permitía salir de su provincia antes de que se completara su mandato o antes de la llegada de su sucesor. Las excepciones se otorgaron solo con un permiso especial del Senado. La mayoría de los mandatos como gobernador duraron entre uno y cinco años.

Nombramiento del dictador

En tiempos de crisis, generalmente cuando el territorio de Roma estaba en peligro inmediato, los cónsules nombraban un dictador por un período de no más de seis meses, después de la propuesta del Senado. [10] Mientras el dictador ocupó el cargo, se suspendió el imperio de los cónsules.

Deberes imperiales

Después de que Augusto se convirtiera en el primer emperador romano en el 27 a. C. con el establecimiento del principado, los cónsules perdieron la mayoría de sus poderes y responsabilidades bajo el Imperio Romano. Aunque todavía era oficialmente el cargo más alto del estado, con el imperio superior del emperador eran simplemente un símbolo de la herencia republicana de Roma. La posición consular a menudo estaba ocupada por los propios emperadores y, finalmente, se reservó únicamente para el emperador. Sin embargo, los cónsules imperiales aún conservaban el derecho de presidir las reuniones del Senado, ejerciendo este derecho a voluntad del emperador [cita necesaria]. Administraron justicia parcialmente en casos extraordinarios y presentaron juegos en el Circo Máximo y todas las solemnidades públicas en honor del emperador a sus expensas. Después de la expiración de sus cargos, los ex-cónsules (procónsules) [cita necesaria] pasó a gobernar una de las provincias que administraba el Senado. Por lo general, cumplieron términos de tres a cinco años.


What would happen if a Roman consul died mid term?

This seems like a really dumb question, but I can’t find an answer for it. Would the other consul take over? Would they have a re-election? What would happen?

Until the 80s the consuls were military commanders first and foremost, and spent almost all of their time outside the city. This can be seen in lots of the circumstances surrounding the office. For example, the revision of the calendar by shifting the beginning of consular office by adding two extra months before March may be in part a political gesture, to extend the brief time that consuls spent in the city between taking office (originally March 15, then January 1) and going off on campaign. Consular office did not have an age limit until the lex Villia in 180, and extraordinarily young consuls were occasionally elected (e.g. Scipio). But the norm was for consuls to be, shall we say, mature leaders. This, combined with the military aspect of the consulship, made it virtually certain that some consuls--and other magistrates, naturally--were likely to die in office eventually.

In consulship was a particularly knotty problem in that the consuls were the possessors of the auspices, and by religious custom these had to be passed on in an unbroken sequence. Consuls presided over the elections of their successors, and at the end of the year the former consuls laid down the auspices, which were taken up by their successors. Moreover, the auspices were required for the holding of consular elections to begin with. The death of a sitting consul therefore raised not only political and procedural problems, but religious ones as well. In ordinary cases, with the death of a single consul, the surviving consul assumed his auspices and presided over the special election (for which the consul's own auspices would suffice) of a suffect consul, who would take the deceased's position for the remainder of the year. This could cause some issues, such as the need for the surviving consul to return from campaign to elect a suffect, but usually it wasn't too big a deal. In the unfortunate event that both consuls were either killed or incapacitated, which did happen sometimes, the auspices were assumed by an interrex. los interrex, one of the handful of magistracies still exclusive to patricians by the historical period, had no colleague and was, almost uniquely, chosen by the senate from is own ranks, to which he returned after the completion of his duties. los interrex had five days to take the auspices and hold consular elections. If the auspices were bad and forbade the elections, or for some other reason he was unable to complete the elections, after five days the interrex named a successor, who likewise held the position for five days, and so on until the consular elections were held. Normally this action was carried out in an orderly fashion, and only when neither consul could preside over the elections. Towards the end of the Republic this could be an issue, however, as elections frequently became postponed to mere days before the assumption of office and turmoil disrupted normal political procedure. Interreges presided over the elections of Crassus and Pompey for the consulship of 54, and interreges presided over the elections in 53 and 52 as well. Prior to Sulla (elected to the dictatorship with an interrex presiding) interreges had not been appointed since the late third century, after which point consular elections that could not be carried out by either consul were usually handled by briefly-serving dictators who handled the auspices. The last interregnum, in 52, was caused by the rioting that occurred after Clodius' murder by Milo, which prevented the elections from occurring. After fifteen interreges eventually Pompey was made sole consul without election.

This last case is not unimportant, because the conditions under which suffect consuls were supposed to be elected were not always entirely clear. The death of a consul was obvious enough. The death of both consuls clearly necessitated some sort of special action to preserve the auspices, whether interregnum or the appointment of a dictator to preside over the elections--of course, in the most famous example of such a calamity, Octavian assumed an extraordinary magistracy immediately after the deaths of both consuls, Hirtius and Pansa, at Mutina, without resorting to either measure (the dictatorship had been outlawed by Antony recently anyway). But what if a consul was simply no longer a consul? This problem arose in 87, when Cinna was driven from the city and deprived of his consulship by senatorial decree. Under normal circumstances consular office could be revoked, but only by a vote of the people in the centuriate assembly, which was to elect a new consul to replace him. Cinna, Appian tells us, went to the army at Nola (which was not his army, but App. Claudius's, which sort of seems to sink any argument for "client armies" as the cause for civil warfare in the first century) and appealed to them, stating that they, as citizens, had granted him consular office (a common oratorical formula) and that only they had the right to take it away. The senate's actions were therefore, Appian's Cinna says, not only an insult to him but a direct assault on the power of the people to elect the magistrates. The appeal to an army particularly was more than practical, it was symbolic: the consul, as a traditionally military leader, was elected by the centuriate assembly, symbolically the Roman people in their guise as a citizen militia electing its own leaders. Cinna's further argument, that the senate by this move would (if it was allowed to stand as a precedent) legitimize the ignoring of the voting assemblies and take the state for themselves, was clearly effective, and probably was quite a real fear. The language of the texts is somewhat unclear. Appian says the senate (singular, βουλή) outlawed Cinna and that they (ἐχειροτόνησαν, plural) elected Merula as suffect consul. The switch from singular to plural might be Plutarch's expansion of the senate to the body of individual senators (particularly appropriate in an electoral context) or it might be Plutarch switching the subject to the Roman people, who are not explicitly mentioned. Likewise, the verb might mean that the senate itself elected him or that an election (presumably a normal one) was held. It's hard to say--depending on what we think, the election of the suffect consul might have suffered a serious misuse.

In the Principate the suffect consulship gained a new character. The end of free elections (originally still held as a formality, but ultimately abolished entirely) and the primacy of the emperor made the consulship more a mark of formal prestige and imperial favor than anything else. Two consuls were still created (in many years, and often in succession, including the emperor himself), but in addition to these several sets of suffect consuls were created. Initially these pairs took up consular duties for four months each, but eventually this time narrowed to only one month: in some years honorary suffect consuls, who had no actual duties, were also named. Consuls might still die, of course--but in such circumstances not only did it not matter, but they could be replaced easily anyway!


The Roman Principate (27 BC - 284 AD)

The first period of the Roman Empire is called the Roman Principate. During this period, emperors tried to give the illusion of a functioning republic when in fact they had full powers. Rome remained in theory a republic but emperors gradually destroyed all republican values. The Roman Principate was a happy period though. It was actually happier than the Roman Republic, more stable and safer, and. more glorious.

Click on any of the boxes below pertaining to each dynasty:

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The first Roman Principate dynasty: the Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 BC- 14 AD)

Emperor Augustus statue in Rome

Despite this, the Roman Principate period under Augustus' rule was more peaceful than the Second Triumvirate and the economy was thriving. Augustus brought what we call the Pax Augusta. Because a lot of people were becoming richer, most of the upper class in Rome supported the emperor. Augustus was also conquering new lands: Cantabria Aquitania, Raetia, Dalmatia, Illyricum and Pannonia. Some of his generals became very popular including Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Nero Claudius Drusus and Germanicus.

Augustus' reign was also rich in literature with authors that are known to this day including poets such Vergil, Ovid and Horace and historians such as Livy. Furthermore, August changed the Roman calendar and introduced the month of August.

Tiberius (reign: 14 AD - 37 AD)
Augustus had a wife called Livia Drusilla. Livia had a son from a previous marriage called Tiberius. She pressured Augustus to have her son named as his heir. The Senate agreed and Tiberius received all the honors and held the title of princeps.

Tiberius had no interest in politics though. He retired to the island of Capri as soon as 26 AD (after getting the approval of the Senate). The city of Rome was now under the control of Sejanus and later Macro (both praetorian prefects) from 26 to 31 A.D. and from 31 A.D. to 37 A.D. respectively. Many Romans considered Tiberius as an evil emperor. They suspected him of killing his own relatives, General Germanicus (who, as we previously pointed out, was one of the very popular generals) and even his own son Drusus Julius Caesar!

Tiberius died of old age in 37 AD even though historian Tacitus gives us another account: Romans first rejoiced when news spread of Tiberius' death (from natural causes) but they became quiet upon hearing that he had recovered from his illness. Caligula and Macro then choked him to death and Romans rejoiced again.

Caligula (reign: 37 AD - 41 AD)
Caligula was Tiberius' grand nephew. There was no male in Tiberius' bloodline old enough to rule the Empire, therefore Caligula was chosen. Even today the name Caligula brings to mind the image of a mad and cruel emperor. But Caligula was actually quite popular at the beginning of his reign. It is only two years into his reign that he became mad. Historians of the time state that he organized orgies, had sexual relationships with his sisters, killed men for fun and even named a horse consul. Caligula didn't last long though. 4 years into his reign he was killed by the Praetorian Guard.

Claudius (reign: 41 AD - 54 AD)
The Praetorian Guard proclaimed Claudius as the new emperor with the full approval of the Senate. Claudius was Tiberius' nephew. Nobody could have ever imagined that he would one day become emperor. He didn't have the charisma, he was limping and was even slightly deaf. But he was the only man belonging to the Claudian family alive following Caligula's assassination.

Claudius turned out to be a decent emperor in the Roman Principate. His reign lasted 13 years. He wasn't as cruel as his predecessors. He managed the empire efficiently. He built many new roads, canals and aqueducts. He also conquered Thrace, Lycia and Judaea, and even started the conquest of Britain.

Nero (reign: 54 AD - 68 AD)
Claudius's reign ended when his wife Agrippina the younger poisoned him in 54 AD. Agrippina had a son from a previous marriage called Nero whom she wanted to become emperor and Nero was proclaimed emperor upon Claudius' death.

Nero is remembered to this day as a cruel and brutal emperor of the Roman Principate. Many Romans suspected him of being behind the Great Fire of Rome during the Roman Principate(according to legend, Nero was fiddling as Rome was burning). He is also known for executing many Christians. Nero faced many revolts that he squashed including the Jewish revolt also known as the First Jewish-Roman War. Eventually many in the Roman aristocracy turned against him including the entire Senate and Nero committed suicide.

Flavian dynasty (69 - 96 AD)

Year of the Four Emperors
Nero's death in 68 A.D. was followed by a brief civil war and what we call the Year of the Four Emperors during the Roman Principate. The year between 68 and 69 A.D. saw four emperors: Galba, then Otho, then Vitellius, and then Vespasian.

Vespasian (reign: 69 AD - 79 AD)
In July 69 A.D. Vespasian was the first emperor of the Flavian Dynasty in the Roman Principate. Vespasian was a general under Claudius and Nero and during the First Jewish-Roman war. Vespasian was overall a good emperor, known for rebuilding many buildings in Rome following the Great Fire of Rome, and building many new ones including the Flavian Amphitheater known today as the Colosseum which was built with the wealth acquired during the First Jewish-Roman War!

Titus (reign: 79 AD - 81 AD)
Titus was Vespasian's son and he had fought with his father during the First Jewish-Roman War. His reign was pretty short as he died from an illness (a severe fever) in 81 A.D.. Titus completed the construction of the Colosseum and organized games that lasted for one hundred days. These games actually celebrated the victory over the Jews and re-enacted battles, including naval battles inside the giant Colosseum. Gladiators fought to death and there were also impressive chariot races. Titus built many roads throughout the empire and fortifications in what is today Germany and Northern England.

Domitian (81 - 96 AD)
Dominitian was a totalitarian emperor during the Roman Principate who wanted to become the new Augustus. He wanted to establish the cult of himself, by comparing him to the Gods. He wanted to be called Dominus et Deus which means Master and God in latin. The Roman aristocracy didn't like him and he eventually was murdered by a conspiracy.

Nerva–Antonine dynasty (96-192 AD)

Visión general
The Nerva-Antonine dynasty was a good period for Rome during the Roman Principate. It was a stable period with no civil wars and no military defeats abroad. During this period, the Roman Empire reached its apex in terms of territory and its economy was thriving. The provinces in the Empire were more united. Emperors were selected based on their qualities and not their bloodline which is remarkable for that time. Also the constitution was respected and reverred and the Senate had more authority.

Nerva (reign: 96- 98 AD)
Nerva was selected and appointed by the Senate. Nerva was of noble ancestry. He had previously been an advisor during Nero's reign and the Flavian dynasty. Nerva restored many of the freedoms that were supressed by Dominitian and Rome's economy was thriving under his rule.

Trajan (reign: 98 - 117 AD)
Nerva had named general Trajan as his heir. Trajan was a popular general in the Roman Principate. He became the first emperor of non-Italian descent. His family was from Hispania and was not patrician. Romans were very enthusiastic about Trajan in part because of his victories as a general.

Trajan turned out to be a good emperor. He followed on Nerva's policy by reinstoring many of the freedoms lost under Domitian. Many people were freed, private property that had been confiscated during Domitian's reign was returned. Trajan is also remembered for all the construction works under his reign, for example: the Trajan Market, the Trajan Forum and Trajan's column, noting that all these buildings dating from the Roman Principate can be seen today. He also built a large bridge over the Danube in Dacia.

Trajan Market in Rome

Trajan managed to conquer Dacia, a kingdom which had humiliated Domitian in the past. There were two Dacian wars: in the First Dacian War (101-102 AD) Dacia became a client state in the Second Dacian War (105-106 AD) the Dacian army was completely destroyed and Dacia became part of the Roman Empire. Trajan also integrated another client state to the Empire: the state of Nabatea (located in today's southern Syria and northern Jordan). He also conquered Parthia (located in today's north-eastern Iran). Trajan went to war with Parthia over Armenia. Rome and Parthia shared control of Armenia. Parthia appointed a king that Rome did not like and as a result Trajan declared war. In 113, Roman troops entered Armenia and removed the king. In 115, Trajan entered Mesopotamia and conquered the cities of Nisibis ad Batnae. In 116, he conquered Seleucia and then Ctesiphon which was the capital of Parthia. In 117, Trajan died of an illness.

Hadrian (reign: 117 - 138 AD)
Trajan named Hadrian as his heir. One of the first initiatives that Hadrian took was to remove the Roman troops from Parthia and Mesopotamia and therefore loose these conquests.

The Roman economy continued to thrive under Hadrian during the Roman Principate. But Hadrian did not conquer new lands. He was a rather peaceful emperor and a humanitarian. He is known for his defensive strategies including Hadrian's Wall in northern England. He would travel to every province in the Empire to check on the military and its defenses.

He also introduced laws against torture which is quite remarkable for his day. Hadrian loved Greek culture. The Hadrian's Arch in Athens can still be admired today. He built libraries, theaters and a lot of infrastructure including many public baths and aqueducts.

Antoninus Pius (reign: 138 - 161 AD)
Antonius continued Hadrian's policies. He maintained his humanitarian laws and promoted culture and knowledge. For example, he built theaters, set up financial rewards for teachers of philosophy. He also expanded the empire in England by conquering southern Scotland and building the Antonine Wall.

Marcus Aurelius (reign: 161 - 180 AD)
Marcus Aurelius was known as the Philosopher and even wrote a philosophy book called Meditations. He ruled the Empire during this period of the Roman Principate with a co-Emperor called Lucius Verus. He fought the Marcomannic wars against the Parthian Empire. During his reign, the Empire was affected by the Antonine Plague a pandemic which killed close to 5 million people.

Commodus (reign: 180 - 192 AD)
Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius thereby breaking with the tradition of having a new emperor chosen based on his qualities. All the previous emperors of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty were known as the Five Good Emperors. However, Commodus was not one of them. He was very different from his predecessors. For example, he executed many Roman citizens, he participated in gladiatorial combats. He was also a decadent in his personal life.

The Severan dynasty (192-235 AD)

Commodus was eventually killed by a conspiracy organized by Quintus Aemilius Laetus and his wife. The next year was a year of turmoil with Roman generals fighting for power. Eventually after many battles (including one in Gaul) General Septimius Severus became the new emperor.

Septimius Severus (reign: 192 - 211 AD)
Severus is not remembered as good emperor either. He actually wanted to restore a totalitarian state and he admired Marius and Sulla (both also known for their cruelty). In a speech in the Senate, he praised Sulla which had many senators worried.

Septimius Severus had the support of the legions. But he also paid the legions comfortably for this support. Eventually military expenditures became very high and a financial crisis emerged at the beginning of the 3rd century.

Severus was known for his fierceness and brutality on the battlefield. When Parthia entered Roman territory, Severus attacked and looted many Parthian cities including Babylon, Seleucia, Nisibis and the Parthian capital Ctesiphon. Many people were captured and executed. However the invasion of Parthia didn't end well. Many of his legions starved to death and eventually Severus had to withdraw.

Severus also intended to complete the conquest of Britain. He went to war with the Caledonians. However his army suffered a lot of casualties: the terrain was difficult and the barbarians there used the equivalent of guerilla warfare. The ferocious Severus fought himself on the battlefield but was struck down by illness and died in 211 AD.

Caracalla (reign: 211 - 217 AD)
Severus had two sons: Caracalla and Geta. Both became emperors upon his death but Caracalla quickly removed his brother. Caracalla resembled his father: he was a man of war and he was cruel. He executed many people including people close to him like his tutor or a close friend of his father. However he had the respect of the legions.

The best example of Caracalla's cruelty is the killing of most inhabitants of Alexandria. Caracalla knew that most people in Alexandria didn't like him. So he travelled to Alexandria. He had a banquet and invited Alexandria's high society. In the middle of the banquet his soldiers killed all the guests. Then Caracalla marched in Alexandria with his army and killed almost the entire city's population.

Caracalla is known for the Edict of Caracalla which gave Roman citizenship to all free men living in the Empire. He is also known for the baths of Caracalla in Rome which can still be seen today. Caracalla was killed by one of his soldiers during a campaign in Parthia in 217 A.D.. Actually the soldier just carried out an order from the Praetorian prefect Macrinus.

Elagabalus (reign: 218 - 222 AD)
Macrinus was in power for less than one year. Elagabalus who was a member of the Severi and fought against Macrinus with the support of the legions. Elagabalus was however incompetent as a ruler. He is also remembered for his extravagant lifestyle.

Alexander Severus (reign: 222 - 235 AD)
Alexander Severus was Elagabalus' cousin. Alexander had to face many conflicts during his reign. He had to fight a war with Persia and then another with invaders from Germania in Gaul. Alexander suffered great losses and many soldiers were displeased with him. Eventually he was killed by his very own soldiers during his campaign in Germania.

Crisis of the 3rd century

A period of political chaos ensued the death of Alexander Severus. There were in total 26 emperors in the ensuing 49 years of the last period of the Roman Principate. Most of these emperors became emperors through war and most did not belong to old noble Roman families.

A combination of very negative factors made things even worse towards the end of the Roman Principate: civil wars breaking out throughout the Empire, foreign invasions, a deep economic depression combined with hyperinflation and even pandemics spreading like fire (including the Plague of Cyprian in 250 AD). Actually the emperors were not concerned about the economy or defending the borders of the Empire but only about staying in power. Roman people gradually started loosing faith in their old religions and values and increasing turned to Christianity and the cult of Mithra.

In 260 AD the provinces of Egypt, Palaestina, Syria and Asia Minor separated from the Empire and formed the Palmyrene Empire ruled by Queen Zenobia from Palmyra in Syria. In that very same year, Britain and Gaul broke out too and formed the Gallic Empire. Rome lost its importance in the Empire. It is only during the reign of Aurelian (reign: 271 - 275 AD) that the Gallic and Palmyrene Empire were reconquered. The crisis totally ended during the reign of Diocletian at the end of the Roman Principate.


What exactly did consuls do during the Roman Empire?

I have a few questions all rolled into one, so I'm going to bullet them for ease of reading:

Did consuls (particularly those that weren't also part of the imperial family) continue to have substantive responsibilities during the Empire, and if so, what were they? And did a consulship under Augustus look different than, say, a consulship under Aurelian or Diocletian?

As the Republic transitioned to the Principate, was it more or less immediately apparent that the consulate was now effectively a figurehead position doled out by the emperor, or was it still seen as a prestigious and influential role?

Did Romans continue to use consular dating during the Empire ("in the year of the consulship of X and Y"), or was that replaced by dating events by the year of an emperor's reign?

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Consuls had very little real power in the principate, although they did fulfill certain ceremonial and religious functions. During the empire, most consuls did not actually serve for very long: the ordinary consuls, who still technically gave their names to the year (although dating by emperors tribunician powers quickly became the most common form of year dating), took office and then usually stepped down after 2-6 months. This allowed for new suffect consuls to be elected these in turn might only serve a few months. It was therefore not uncommon in any given year for more than six men to be consul, thus spreading the honor around. Obviously, being an ordinary consul was more prestigious than being a suffect, although often an ordinary consul had previously served as suffect.

The consulship in the empire was therefore less a practical office than an honor and a status. But while consuls were basically ceremonial, consular men were very important people in the empire and its administration, and were eligible for the most important provincial governorships, either as legati Augusti (the emperor's lieutenants commanding provinces with military forces) in key provinces or the few proconsular governorships, with the proconsular positions in either Africa or Asia generally seen as the pinnacle of a senatorial career.

So Imperial consuls in their *very* short term in office didn't do much. But generally they had done quite a bit to warrant the honor, which marked them out for even more important assignments afterwards.


Augustus & The Founding Of The Principate

Governors in senatorial provinces would be recalled and tried before the senate
Augustus improved the road network throughout the empire to aid communications - news of unacceptable behaviour in the provinces would reach him more quickly

Augustus also extended the imperial post to the provinces, again to aid communication
Provincial Councils were established to promote the imperial cult (i.e. worship of the emperor) these were made up of men representing the different areas in a province they helped unify the empire behind Augustus they could voice complaints against a governor and were a useful check on his power.

Augustus established numerous military colonies throughout the empire these were settlements of veteran soldiers military colonies encouraged the spread of Romanization and the stability of the empire.

Local communities within the empire often had a high degree of self-government - the local elite were allowed to rule as they had done in the past, so long as this didn't damage Roman interests.


Sulla's Reforms as Dictator

Lucius Cornelius Sulla (l. 138 - 78 BCE) enacted his constitutional reforms (81 BCE) as dictator to strengthen the Roman Senate's power. Sulla was born in a very turbulent era of Rome's history, which has often been described as the beginning of the fall of the Roman Republic. The political climate was marked by civil discord and rampant political violence where voting in the Assembly was sometimes settled by armed gangs. There were two primary opposing factions in Roman politics: the Optimates who emphasized the leadership and prominent role of the Senate, and the Populares who generally advocated for the rights of the people.

During this era, senatorial power was curbed and significant progress was made for the rights of the common folk, particularly the magistracy of tribune of the plebs, which was specifically created to be a guardian of the people. Sulla was an Optimate and after his rise to power, he declared himself dictator and passed several reforms to the constitution to revitalize and restore senatorial power to what it once was. Although his reforms did not last very long, his legacy greatly influenced Roman politics in the final years of the Republic until it fell in 27 BCE.

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Sulla & the Late Roman Republic

Sulla was born into an ancient patrician family and so could trace his ancestry back to the original senators appointed by Romulus, the founder of Rome. Parte de cursus honorum, the unspoken but accepted career ladder of public office, was to first serve as a military officer before being able to run for public office. Sulla, by way of his patrician rank, skipped military service and was elected to the junior magistracy of cuestor in 108 BCE. He quickly made a name for himself as an excellent commander and negotiator serving under cónsul Gaius Marius (l. 157 - 86 BCE) - a Populare who served an extraordinary five consecutive consulships from 104 - 100 BCE - in the Jugurthine War (112 - 106 BCE). A disagreement between Marius and Sulla over who was truly responsible for Jugurtha's capture was the first seed of hatred between the two which would lead to Rome's first major civil war.

Sulla was elected praetor urbanus in 97 BCE and was governor of the province of Cilicia in Asia Minor the following year. The Senate ordered Sulla to reinstate King Ariobarzanes - a friend of Rome - back on the Cappadocian throne because he had been ousted by King Mithridates VI of Pontus (r. 120-63 BCE) who wanted to insert his son as the Cappadocian king. Sulla proved successful and was even hailed by his soldiers as imperator, or victorious commander.

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In the Late Republic, Italians had long desired Roman citizenship and equal say in politics and power. The Romans had a knack for teasing the Italians with citizenship but never going the full distance in actually passing a law granting the Italians what they wanted. This civil discord reached a critical point in 91 BCE, the start of the Social War, between Rome and Italians who were eventually granted citizenship in 89 BCE after massive casualties on both sides. During the Social War, Sulla had independent command over legions in Southern Italy where he laid siege to the Italian city of Pompeii and successfully fended off armies attempting to aid Pompeii. He fought valiantly and his soldiers awarded him with the Grass Crown (corona graminea), the highest military honor. This military success made him immensely popular back in Rome and won him the consulship of 88 BCE.

Marius vs. Sulla

During his consulship, he was given eastern command of the legions to face King Mithridates VI of Pontus, one of Rome's most formidable enemies, who was wreaking havoc in the east. Mithridates VI had amassed an empire and surrounded himself with allies, and during Sulla's consulship, he ordered all cities in his Asian territories to murder all Romans and Italians. Not even women and children were spared. But before Sulla could embark on his trip to the east and defeat Mithridates VI, Marius and his ally, Sulpicius, using armed gangs and 600 equestrians as a bodyguard had 'convinced' the Assembly to remove Sulla's eastern command and had it transferred it to Marius. Marius then deployed two military tribunes to assume command of Sulla's army.

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In one of the crucial turning points in Rome's history, Sulla then gave not a military speech to his soldiers, but a political one, in which he roused his 35,000 legionaries and riled them up about the wrongs done to him and them. The east was known for its endless riches and Marius was now robbing them of the bountiful eastern plunder that would have been theirs. Sulla's stirring speech was successful, and his legions were now loyal to Sulla alone. When Marius' tribunes finally arrived, Sulla's soldiers murdered them. They then commenced their march on Rome to take back what was rightfully theirs. When asked why he would march soldiers against his own country, he replied, “to deliver her from tyrants”. Sulla, the first person to conquer Rome, then overturned Marius and Sulpicius' actions and reinstated himself as cónsul. Sulla and his legions had the coveted eastern command once again and Marius was forced to flee Rome.

While Sulla was in the East, his strategy was to remove Mithridates VI's control over Greece so he laid siege to Athens in the winter of 87-86 BCE. It was during this time he heard the news that Marius and his faction had returned and captured Rome, passing a decree which declared Sulla an enemy of the state. Marius then cut off money from Sulla's campaign, so he was forced to tax the local Greeks to fund his campaign. Suddenly, back in Rome, Marius died from pneumonia in 86 BCE. Sulla continued his business in the east, finally capturing Athens, successfully winning the Battle of Chaeronea (86 BCE) and the Battle of Orchomenus (85 BCE), convincingly ousting Mithridates' presence, and reinstating Roman authority in Greece. He then spent his time settling and organizing the province of Asia until he finally returned to Italy in 83 BCE to confront Marius' faction in Rome's first civil war.

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Sulla and his veteran legions swept through Italy, persuading enemy legions to defect to his side and defeating in battle those who did not. He demonstrated great clemency in forgiving people and cities who decided to change sides. However, once he arrived victorious in Rome, he shed the merciful persona and proscribed (proscriptio) his enemies. The proscriptions were tablets with the names of people who were to be killed for bounty and their land confiscated. In the end, about a hundred senators and over a thousand equestrians perished.

Now that Sulla was wholly unopposed, the remaining Senate annulled the decree which made him an enemy of the state and ordered a statue of Sulla to be put up in front of the Forum Romanum. In order to legitimize his authority, Sulla then suggested that they revive the ancient office of dictador. It had been 120 years since Rome last had a dictator. The Senate, devoid of opposition, was forced to comply with his suggestion, appointing him as dictator to create laws and settle the constitution. Dictators were only appointed in times of great emergency when there was no other option but to entrust all authority and power to one person to save Rome. In the past, a dictator's term was for six months and their powers were essentially limitless. They had power over life and death and could declare war and peace, appoint and remove senators, as well as the power to found and demolish cities. Sulla, however, had no time limit imposed on his dictatorship and therefore could take as long as he needed to settle the constitution.

Reforms to the Constitution

Sulla, now dictator, appeared before the Senate with the powers of a king. 24 fasces were held in front of him as dictator, the same amount that was held before the ancient kings. As perhaps Sulla's most important reform as dictator, he severely diminished the power and prestige of the tribunes of the plebs. Tribunes were originally created to be guardians of the people. Their legal power (potestas) was vast, and because of the progress and precedents made by Populare tribunes, such as Tiberius Gracchus in 131 BCE, when he bypassed the Senate and presented his land reform laws directly to the Assembly, their power grew even stronger.

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Sulla sought to undo these advancements, so he required that a tribune must seek permission from the Senate before introducing a law. Furthermore, he got rid of the tribune's all-important veto power. Sulla also stripped the office of its lure and prestige. He decreed that anyone who held the magistracy of tribune should never hold any other magistracy afterward. Understandably, the position was shunned by anyone who wanted to make a name for themselves in politics. The once-great office of tribune with its storied background as protector of the people was now just a shadow of what it once was.

Sulla also formalized the cursus honorum. He forbade anyone to hold the magistracy of pretor until after he had first been a cuestor or to be elected cónsul before he had been a pretor. He also prohibited any man from holding the same magistracy consecutively. Instead, he would have to wait ten years until he could hold the same office again. Furthermore, he decreed that two years must pass in between magistracies. He also expanded the number of quaestors to twenty and praetors to eight. This growing number of magistrates were needed to govern and administrate an ever-expanding empire.

Another Sullan reform saw that provincial governors would not overstay their welcome in their provinces, greatly reducing their chance to build a personal army to lead against political rivals or Rome itself, as Sulla had done. Because there were a greater number of magistrates under Sulla's reforms, this led to governors not needing to stay in their province long because there were now ample magistrates to fill a vacancy in a province after his one-year term ended. Furthermore, if a governor were to abuse or exceed his powers, they would be tried in the Treason Court (maiestas).

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Because the Senate had been significantly thinned out by war, not to mention by Sulla's own proscriptions, he doubled the roll of the Senate from 300 to 600. The Senate had whittled down to a couple of hundred members after his proscriptions, so there were 400 empty spots to fill. As dictator, Sulla himself appointed many of the new Senators from a group of equestrians that he deemed worthy to be promoted to the rank of senator. For the remaining spots, he took recommendations from different people and created a large group of grateful senators thankful for their promotion in rank. The Senate was gaining power as well as strength in numbers.

In one of his most important reforms, Sulla reinstated senatorial power into the courts. Court juries were wielded as an extremely powerful tool at the time. A Populare wanted the jury to be made up of equestrians and an Optimate wanted a jury of senators. If a jury was filled with senators, then as one could expect, they rarely found their senatorial colleagues guilty, but a jury comprised of equestrians would lose very little sleep over convicting a senator accused of corruption. Populares y Optimates constantly fought each other on this. Sulla's reform reversed the tribune Gaius Gracchus' reform to the Extortion Court when he barred senators from being jurors. Sulla then set up seven new permanent courts for murder, counterfeiting and forgery, electoral fraud, embezzlement, treason, personal injury, and provincial extortion.

Sulla cast a long shadow over the Republic in these years. The Senate was very much his creation, purged of all his opponents who had failed to defect to him in time, and packed with his partisans. As a body he had strengthened the Senate's position, restoring the senatorial monopoly over juries in the courts and severely limiting the power of the tribunate. Other legislation, for instance a law restricting the behavior of provincial governors, was intended to prevent any other general from following the dictator's own example and turning the legions against the State. (Goldsworthy, Caesar, 92)

In addition to his reforms, Sulla used his powers as dictator to enact vengeance not just in Rome, but across the Italian regions that opposed him. Among the forms of punishment were massacre, exile, and confiscation for those who obeyed his enemies during the civil war. Their crime could be as little as housing his enemy, lending them money, or doing them any kind of kindness. When charges against individuals were not successful, Sulla took revenge on entire towns. He punished some by destroying their citadels or tearing down their walls, or by imposing fines and suffocating them with heavy taxes and tributes. Sulla set up his troops in colonies in the land and houses of the cities that he took revenge on.

Legado

Once he settled the constitution, he laid down the dictatorship. The following year in 80 BCE he was elected cónsul. In 79 BCE he retired from Roman politics altogether and went to live in his country house in Campania where he could try to finish writing his memoirs. According to Plutarch, Sulla foresaw his death in a dream and he stopped writing his memoirs two days before he died in 78 BCE.

Although Sulla's constitution was obediently followed by other Optimates such as Pompey (l. 106 - 48 BCE) and Crassus (l. 115/112 - 53 BCE) - Sulla's reforms would ultimately not endure. He sought to remedy the problems that plagued the Republic, but his solution to the problem was one-sided and only strengthened senatorial power while severely curbing the power of the tribune of the plebs and non-senatorial ranks.

Julius Caesar (l. 100 - 44 BCE) during his time as military tribune spoke out in favor of restoring the powers of tribune which Sulla had thoroughly dismantled. In 75 BCE, Caesar had his uncle, Caius Aurelius Cotta who was cónsul that year, to pass a bill that allowed former tribunes to seek other magistracies. This was a very important undoing of one of Sulla's key reforms because now the tribunate was no longer a dead-end magistracy, paving the way for ambitious politicians to seek the office once again.

Caesar also reformed and improved another Sullan reform. He had long held interest in the administration of the provinces and his most renowned court appearances were prosecutions of corrupt and oppressive governors. His reforms on the role and behavior of Roman provincial governors would be the standard for centuries to come. Cicero later described Caesar's reform as an “excellent law”. Lastly, Sulla's law of permitting only senators on juries was overturned when pretor Lucius Aurelius Cotta allowed juries to be comprised of both senators and equestrians, leveling the power balance.


Ver el vídeo: IMPERIO ROMANO La Fuerza más Poderosa - Documentales (Octubre 2021).