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POLITICAL STRUCTURE Pompeii Difficile est. When asked to assist in the election of a friend’s son to the position of Decurion Cicero replied “At Rome.

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Presentation on theme: "POLITICAL STRUCTURE Pompeii Difficile est. When asked to assist in the election of a friend’s son to the position of Decurion Cicero replied “At Rome."— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITICAL STRUCTURE Pompeii Difficile est

2 When asked to assist in the election of a friend’s son to the position of Decurion Cicero replied “At Rome he will have it if he wishes; it is difficult at Pompeii”. This suggests the extreme level of competition for political positions in Pompeii. This is equally supported by over 2,000 pieces of electoral graffiti or programmata

3 Knowledge of Pompeii's political organisation comes from the archaeological sources such as the election slogans on the walls of the private and public buildings, inscriptions on memorial statues and the remains of the buildings themselves Graffiti suffers from problems of reliability in that it gives us no indication of the relative popularity or success of the candidates. Given 30% is unexcavated and 60% in Herculaneum there are substantial gaps in our evidence.

4 At the time of the so called Social Wars 91-88 BC, Pompeii and Herculaneum were made municipiums, provincial towns dependent on Rome, and their inhabitants became Roman citizens. Around 80BC, Latin becomes the official language and the town constitutions Romanized. Such constitutions tended to follow a broadly uniform pattern, with relatively minor variations to meet local conditions. The structure was uniformly outlined in Caesar’s Lex Julia Municipalis ( 45BC )

5 Political life at Pompeii and Herculaneum was dominated by the patronage of poorer citizens and of particular social and business groups by members of a powerful elite The title of Patron of the colony was awarded to a distinguished individual by the Town Council as a mark of honour. They would represent the town in any dealings with Rome.

6 Praefectus Emergency magistracy, an example was after the earthquake of 62AD when C Cuspius Pansa was appointed to deal with the emergancy Duumviri x 2 Elected every 12 months, they were responsible for the administration of justice, public money and the presiding over council meetings. They gave their name to the year. They were also expected to provide public spectacles and could be elected more than once Quinquinelles x 4 In the 5 th year those who held the magistracies of duumvir and Aedile(4) were given censorial powers to revise the citizen lists and the town council roll. Aediles x2 Elected yearly,, they supervised the markets, took care of the Temples and streets, provided public games at their own cost and granted permits to erect altars. They were assisted by a staff of attendants. Town Council Curia or ordo decurions was a body of about 80-100 men chosen by the census of those men who were wealthy and influential. They were not elected. Appointed for life,they met in the Curia building next to the Basilica Commitium Met annually to elect officials but otherwise played no role in the running of the town. Voted in tribes, it is debated as to where this took place. Citizens over the age of 25,

7 DUUMVIRS-SENIOR MAGISTRATES EQUIVALENT OF CONSULS Each year in March, elections were held. To qualify, they had to have held the position of Aedile already, usually tree to five years earlier. They presided over meetings of the council and were in charge of fulfilling decrees passed by the council. Important members of the elite might be elected duumvir more than once

8 Marcus Holconius Rufus inscription on his honorific monument “ To Marcus Holconius Rufus, son of Marcus, military tribune by popular demand, duumvir with judicial power five times, quinquinniel twice, priest of Augustus Caesar, and patron of the colony” Reflects importance of Pater Political expression of elite status Priesthoods a political magistracy, visible support of Rome

9 Marcus Nonius Balbus To Marcus Nonius Balbus, son of Marcus, of the voting tribe Menenia, praetor with proconsular power, patron, by order of the entire town council of Herculaneum, on account of his merits [set it up] Citizens voted in tribes Roman Senator and patron of Herculaneum Majority vote of town council

10 Judicial Power “I ask you to elect Claudius Veres duumvir with judicial power, an honest young man.”

11 Aedile- programmataq “I ask that you elect Gaius Gavius Rufus aedile; it is I, Granius, who asks this.” “Valens, elect Popidius Ampliatus aedile, and that man will do the same for you,” “I ask you to elect Gaius Julius Polybius aedile. He gets good bread.” “I ask you to elect Aulus Vettius Firmus aedile. He is worthy of the municipality. I ask you to elect him, ballplayers. Elect him! “

12 TOWN COUNCIL-Ordo Decurion equivalent to the Senate of Rome Members of the Town Council were all free born male citizens, over the age of 25. ( actors, gladiators were an exception). A minimum level of property was required and councillors had to live in the town or its immediate surroundings. Membership was for life. The Council as a whole controlled finance, public religion, and the granting of honorific tombs and statues.. They were also responsible for public buildings and the implementation of standard weights and measures.

13 DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS The Comitium, in the corner between the Forum and Via dell'Abbondanza, served as a polling station where the electorate (men only) would go during elections with their tesserula, a sort of polling card attesting to the voter's identity. Voters were required to write down the name of the chosen candidate on a waxed tablet which was then placed in the ballot box. The candidates that had attained the relative majority of votes in the most electoral constituencies would be elected. For instance, a candidate would not be elected if he got the maximum votes in just a few constituencies and no votes at all in the others. In the event of a tied vote, the winner would be chosen on the basis of whether he was married and how many children he had. The whole town took a keen interest in the election campaign, as can be seen from the many inscriptions found on the walls. Every category of workers, traders and businessmen had a steadfast commitment for taking part as well as a strong sense of civic responsibility to ensure that the worthiest candidates were elected


15 The town's life and activity was run from three Municipal Buildings found in the southern part of the Forum, while the administration of justice was carried out by the Duumviri in the Basilica.

16 Although women did not have the right to vote, they nevertheless played a crucial role given that they had a number of influential contacts through their work or social acquaintances. "Vote for Lucius Popidius Sabinus; his grandmother worked hard for his last election. ”

17 "Vote for Lucius Popidius Sabinus; his grandmother worked hard for his last election and is pleased with the results."(17)

18 COLLEGIA??? Political: "The goldsmiths unanimously urge the election of Gaius Cuspius Pansa as aedile..."(14).

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