ds_gen N. 7 – 2008 – Tradizione Romana


sitek-piccolaBronisław Sitek

University of Varmia and Masuria



Suffragiis ferendis in the light of municipal

acts. The Roman election system dilemmas

in the ancient Rome.



Table of content: 1. Introduction. – 2. Elective system shaping in Rome. – 3. Source basis and literature. – 4. Municipal assemblies competences. – 5. Activities preceding elective gatherings. – 6. Course of voting. – 6.1. Voting according to curias (tribus). – 6.2. Voting procedure. – 7. Establishing voting results. – 8. Conclusions.




1. – Introduction


The term suffragiis ferendis[1] means «votes to give». The noun ferendis derives from the verb ferre, which means the act of carrying. Therefore, it can be also understood as suffragium ferre, namely «to carry a vote» or «to give a vote». The term suffragiis derives from the word subfragium and means a single calling or sound[2]. The main part of that word, however, after taking away the prefix sub derives from the word fragor, meaning calling for an alert or help in case of any accident[3].

At the end of the republic, suffragiis ferendis became a technical notion in the legal terminology and was used both by the Roman lawyers[4] and legal acts[5] in order to determine an elective system. The system was definitely shaped at the end of the republic and the beginning of the principle on elective people’s gatherings in Rome and moved to provinces, to municipals and colonies[6].



2. – Elective system shaping in Rome


The question about the legitimacy of using contemporary term “elective system” for determining the procedure of giving, collecting, counting and announcing the elective results in Rome and municipals should be asked at the beginning[7]. We should realize that the Roman voting system, throughout centuries, experienced a deep transformation, thanks to which the elective right rules were worked out, many of which are valid nowadays. They include: dividing society into elective districts, that are certain reflection of the Roman and municipal society division into tribus or curias, the rule of secret balloting, equal force of all votes (each voter has only one vote), control over the course of voting by an indicated commission and the right to indicate intermediaries by candidates competing for election.

Primarily, a basic administrative unit to perform balloting was curial assemblies that were called in the royal period and at the beginning of the republic[8]. Centurial assemblies were established in connection with dividing society into five property classes and 193 centuries, the division made by Serves Tallies[9]. Eventually, balloting was held within 35 tribus[10]. In the last case, it was a territorial division[11], however the first two divisions of a society had a personal character, through ascribing each citizen to a definite curia or centuria.

During curial assemblies there was voting by acclamation, namely by accommodating adopting a decision by all assembly members. That system of voting was abandoned in 471 BC[12] and substituted by individual, oral that is open voting. A rogator asked each entitled person about the way of voting and next with a sharp engraver (punctum) marked a point next to a candidates’ name placed in a board. After completing voting, a commission rated them and a president of an assembly announced a voting result[13].

At the end of 2nd c. BC a number of acts were passed, known as leges tabellariae[14], with help of which a reform of a voting system was performed, among others, a rule of secret balloting was implemented. Those were the following acts: lex Gabinia in 139 BC which implemented secret balloting on elective assemblies, lex Cassia in 137 BC which implemented secret balloting on judicial assemblies, lex Papiria in 130 BC which implemented voting on legislative assemblies, lex Coelia in 107 BC which implemented secret balloting on the cases included in perduellio, namely state betrayal that were solved on comitia centuriata.

The peoples’ assembly competences were as follows: to choose magistrates into particular offices, those were elective assemblies then, to pass new acts, those were legislative assemblies and to pass sentences in serious criminal cases, e.g. perduellio, those were judicial assemblies. During the royal period, curial assemblies also dealt with performing legal activities, especially preparation of testimonies and abrogation, namely adoption of an adult person by another adult person. Centurial assemblies served to enlist young men into armed forces and list of citizens.

The elective system worked out at the end of republic during tribus assemblies was moved in a great part into municipal system, which evidence are remained municipal acts, especially lex Malecitana. The described elective procedure in the board from Heba concerns the voting used in the Roman senate.



3. – Source basis and literature


The voting system in the ancient Rome was a subject of numerous monographs. A basic monograph in Polish in this matter is the book by J. Linderski, who presented the Roman assemblies from Sulla till Caesar[15] as well as the voting system from that period. There are also two monographs worth mentioning by A. Wiliński, who concentrated on the analysis of the voting system described in the board from Heba[16]. The board from Heba was also an inspiration for the group of historians from Poznań lead by L. Mroziewicz. The group translated into Polish the text of the mentioned board and added a little commentary[17]. In the world literature, a monograph by E. S. Steveley deserves attention, which presents a voting and elective system in Greece and Rome[18], U. Hall, who quite extensively discussed the voting procedure itself[19], similarly to P. Fraccaro[20]. However, the work by T. Mommsen Römisches Staatsrecht, Bd. 3.1, Tübingen 1952, s. 369-419 is a basis for contemporary monographs.

Numerous monographs concerning the voting system in the ancient Rome generally omit the voting system, which was used in municipals. All the more, the remained municipal acts state a basis for many monographs concerning the voting system on people’s assemblies in Rome. As some specialist in Romance studies highlight, it is possible to regenerate the voting system in Rome, that is also well presented in the text engraved in the board from Heba[21], thanks to preserved part of lex Malecitana and lex Irnitana. Those acts will be a basis for further dissertation over the voting system in municipals.



4. – Municipal assemblies competences


At the end of the republic activity of people’s assemblies in Rome was coming to an end considerably because republican constitution instruments were not adjusted to new social, demographical, economic and political conditions. Number of current competences of assemblies was taken over by the Roman senate, especially within creating law and passing sentences. Different situation was in province, in little towns where people’s assemblies still created a significant element of local self-government unit’s constitution. However, according to the republican model, their competences were limited to the elective functions. On municipal assemblies, the most important officials were elected such as: duumvirs, edils and questors.

There are two terms describing people’s assemblies in municipals or colonies in sources, namely curia[22] and tribus[23]. However, there is no significant factual difference between those two terms, since there were only tribus assemblies in Rome at the end of 3rd c. BC.

According to cap. 50 of lex Irnitana, it was duumvirs’ obligation to divide local society into curias or tribus. They should perform such division within 90 days from coming into force the act. The number of curias was settled in 1124. In each municipal or colony, the number could be greater or smaller according to a population in a town. Irni was a little town, therefore its number of society units division was little. The problem is determining if the division had a territorial or personal character. The last solution prevails. In lex Malacitana, cap. 53, there is a legal instruction that obliges to indicate a curia in which incolae, natives[24] ought to vite.



5. – Activities preceding elective assemblies


Lex Malacitana, cap. 51 proves that before elective assembly, the basic activity was proposal of candidates: Si ad quem diem professionem fieri oportebit. Professio, namely proposal of candidates was always connected with calling an assembly. Municipal act texts do not include, however, information concerning calling an assembly and way and time of proposing candidates.

According to lex Malecitana, cap. 52, the right to call an assembly was a duty of the oldest duumvir: Ex IIviris qui nunc sunt, item ex is, qui deinceps in eo municipio IIviri erunt, uter maior natu erit. Such a solution was in accordance with used practice in Rome during elective assemblies. Magistratus entitled to vote an elective assembly pronounced a verdict. The activity was first performed orally during contio, namely informal assembly, in which also persons not entitled to vote, e.g. women, could participate. Next, the edict was written down in a wooden board covered with wax or made from bronze, in which edict was engraved[25]. The board was hung in a public place in the height of pedestrians’ eyes, so that everybody could read the text. The same procedure and publication technique must have been used also in municipals and colonies[26]. Edict was announced 24 days before the assembly date. The period was called trinum nundinum. A copy of an edict was also placed in a city archives.

An edict had to include a subject and date of election as well as list of candidates. The first part of an edict concerned determining a kind of election. It could be election concerning new duumvirs, ediles or questors. The second element had to include determining the date of an assembly. In remained texts of municipal acts, there is no legal instruction in that matter. According to lex Ursonensis cap. 64 presumably those were free days or holidays - dies nefasti. Moreover, assemblies could not have been called on dies fasti, namely days assigned for judiciary activities[27], dies nundinae, days between announcing an edict and assembly date, and the eighth day of the Roman week when rural people came to a city to a market[28]. In total there were 195 dies comitiales when a voting could have been performed during peoples’ assemblies[29]. In a given day there should be no more than one voting.

The third element of the edict was a list of candidates. The firs line of cap. 51 lex Malacitana includes statements Si ad quem diem professionem fieri oportebit..., i.e. the day until which candidates for officials should be enlisted. According to municipal acts, it is impossible to determine unanimously the period in which candidate and registration place should be enlisted. Other sources also do not give unanimous answer on the above questions, however it is possible to assume according to cap. 51 lex Malacitana. The necessity to put candidates’ names in the edict, inclines to adopting the thesis that professio must have been done before an elective assembly. According to the Orman elective calendar, finally worked out in the last two centuries of the republic, elections were held in the first decade of July[30]. Therefore, application could have been done not later than until half of June. Adopting the assumption by J. Linderski, application could have been done in April[31]. Therefore, the period of application lasted at least from the end of April until the half of June. It was enough time for application proper number of candidates.

In lex Malacitana, cap. 51[32], there is a legal instruction in case if no candidate or insufficient number of candidates to employ in all offices had been enlisted or enlisted candidates had not been properly qualified and had been disqualified[33]. Despite of formal gaps, the edict should have been published together with the list of enlisted candidates and the number of vacancies.  In this particular case, it was allowed to indicate an additional date for application new candidates. Such application could have been done personally, through own representatives or those whose names had already been in the list. That special situation forced magistrates responsible for elections to indicate an additional date for application new candidates. It is agreed that it could be a period of 3-4 days at the beginning of trinum nundinum[34]. It was not accepted to enlist candidates directly before an assembly, e.g. in contio. The reason for such a solution was the fact that the final list of candidates must have been placed in a public place for certain time in order to voters could acquaint with candidates and have time to make a decision.

Application was done before a chairperson of an assembly and that person made a decision on adopting such application and enlisting a candidate – nominatio[35]. Until 60 BC, it was possible to propose a candidate in his absence - professiones in abstinentia, but also a rule of application in persona was practiced, which was obligatory one from that moment[36]. Primarily, a candidate’s application was not connected with examining his attributes, qualifications without scrutinium. The procedure of candidate’s application was finally shaped at the end of the republic. Basic rules of the procedures included a candidate’s application in particular time before election and the application should have been done personally and in the town[37].



6. – Course of voting


According to lex Malecitana cap. 52, voting was performed according to two rules: voting according to curia - utique ea distributione curiarum, de qua supra conprehensum est, and per tabellam voting, namely with the help of boards - suffragia ferri debebunt, ita per tabellam ferantur facito.


6.1. – Voting according to curia (tribus)


According to lex Malacitana cap. 55, an elective assembly was opened by an assembly chairperson (duumvir) from calling the entitled to vote to give a vote - Qui comitia ex hac lege habebit, is municipes curiatim ad suffragium ferendum vocato ita ut uno vocatu omnes curias in suffragium vocet,...(Those who is entitled to call a people’s assembly shall call municipal citizens to give a vote according to curia). The calling was directed simultaneously to all curias.

Such a solution based on that which was obligatory in Rome, where a chairperson of an assembly gave the following instruction[38]: discedere et tabellam iubebo dari. Each voter should have an opportunity to give a vote in own curia - eaeque singulae in singulis consaeptis suffragium per tabellam ferant. The term in singulis consaeptis means a fenced place, destined for each curia. It suggests that curial assemblies in municipals were held beyond a town. Adopting existence of only 11 curias in Malaga, it should be accepted that there were not more than 5000 inhabitants in a town and the entitled ones about 1/3 of them. In total there were 1500 entitled persons. But even such an assembly could not have been held in a town[39].

The elective assemblies in the ancient Rome were held in different places, according to a kind of an assembly. Curial assemblies were held in front of the senate. Herold or, rarely lictor, gave a sign with a sound from a trumpet called to open an assembly tuba or lituus. First, herold gave a sound with a trumpet in a place of an assembly and next, he walked along all streets within the town walls[40]. Centurial assemblies had a military character, thus they were held in a mars filed, beyond a town. Herold opened an assembly at rostrum. Simultaneously, on the Janiculum[41] hill a red flag was hung that was a sign that a town is protected in case of a sudden attack by enemies. Next, military trumpets gave sound on the Capitol and around town walls. Tribus assemblies were less formalized. Primarily, they were held inside of a town and next on a mars field, where a proper fenced area was selected saepta[42].

The voting procedure included in lex Malacitana cap. 55 unanimously indicate that all curias were called for simultaneous voting. Therefore, voting results of particular curias were announced after the end of voting. There was no possibility to investigate results from particular curias before the end of voting. All votes were equally valid[43].


6.2. – Voting procedure


Voting was secret, performed on wooden boards covered with wax[44]. Votes were given to a ballot box (cista) made from wicker or stone. It was a basket opened on the top and placed in such a way that each voter could put a vote inside. A precise course of such voting in Rome can be seen in the coins from that period[45]. A ballot box was placed in a podium called with the Latin term pons[46]. It was used in the period of oral voting. Each curia had own podium and ballot box. The entitled to vote went to ballot boxes in two rows in the order described in regulations.

In municipal acts, there are no norms regulating the way of giving votes. In lex Malacitana cap. 55, there is information on necessity of calling three custodies. They should derive from municipal but not from the same curia, where they must serve - Itemque curato, ut ad cistam cuiiusque curiae ex municipibus eiius municipi terni sint, qui eiius curiae non sint, qui suffragia custodiant, diribeant, et uti ante quam id faciant quisque eorum iurent se rationem suffragiorum fide bona habiturum relaturumque – (Moreover, he must take care of the presence of commission at the ballot box that consists of three persons selected among inhabitants of a municipal excluding members of the curia in which they serve). The task was described as an obligation to guarding a course of voting including counting votes. Besides the commission, each candidate could put own representatives, named custodies as well. Their duty was only to supervise a correct course of voting and not allowing to voting abuses - crimen ambitus[47].

The boards were empty in elective assemblies, and a voter, with the help of a burin (punctum) carved a candidate’s name or his initials. Next, a voter put the board[48] into the ballot box. The voting boards were given to voters by a member of the commission (custos)[49]. The course of voting itself again is present in a coin struck in the times of P. Litius Nerva[50]. The matter of the moment of giving the boards remains problematic. In case of voting on legislative or judiciary assemblies, boards could have been given directly at the ballot box since a voter had not needed too much time to choose a proper board while voting over a bill or cross letters while voting on a judiciary assembly. In case of elective assemblies, voters must have been given voting boards earlier. Probably when they were entering the fenced area and saw a board with candidates’ names before them. It allowed them to write a candidate’s name or his initials easily[51].

Custodes’s duties were also to control voters’ identity. There was no information on the way of the control in sources. It can be assumed that the control was multilevel. First of all, a factor of the control was family and acquaintances. It can be also adopted that there was certain ID including name, tribus belonging and qualifications. The control was performed by custos placed along the queue to vote[52].



7. – Establishing voting results


Municipal acts do not regulate the way of establishing voting results. Other sources prove that after a voting is completed, ballot boxes were placed in a square before gathered curias, and in principle, in a building destined to it (diribitorium). Next, votes were taken out separately from the ballot box and carefully read by members of a commission. The read votes were put into a pot called loculus. Each vote was indicated on a great board covered with wax, as in an oral voting. There were dots put at candidates’ names. Next the dots were counted and the final result of the voting was established in a given curia. Custodes representing their candidates could count votes for own use but they could not claim counting votes again.

Had votes been counted, custodies selected own representative who presented the result of a given curia to a chairperson of an assembly. Each tribus had only one vote to each post. If three officials were elected, each curia had only three votes to their disposal, regardless the number of candidates.

The winner in a given tribus was a person who received ˝ + 1 of votes. Finally, the winner was a man who received a major part of votes of a curia (6 from 11). In lex Malacitana cap. 56, there is a legal norm concerning the situation in which two candidates would receive equal number of votes[53]. The norm was an outcome of a family reform of August. In case of equal number of votes by two candidates, the priority was for: married over single (also widower), engaged over single (caelebs)[54] having more children born in iustum matrimonium, including also dead children but after giving them names. If both candidates had the same qualifications, the decision was made by draw – sortitio.

Ll. 40 includes information on a conversion ut bini liberi post nomen inpositum, according to which two children who died after being given a name, can be counted as the alive ones. It is a matter of dies lustricus, namely the eighth or ninth day form the child’s date of birth when a ritual purifying of the child was performed. The celebration was connected with giving a name to a child, which was explicit wit accepting the child in a family[55]. In this case, the conversion meant counting two dead children as one alive. In case of an adult dead child, the conversion was more favorable  and one adult dead child was counted as one alive child. When all criteria were equal, then the aroused elective disputes were solved similarly like nowadays, namely by draw – sortitio. Cap. 56 does not mention about ius liberorum, i.e. a privilege for the childless, mentioned in lex Malacitana, cap 40[56]. It seems that in case of election, a childless candidate, who had a caesar’s privilege ius liberorum, was treated as those who had three children.  Lack of that clause in art. 56 should be treated as editorial imperfection of the lex Irnitana text.

Counting votes of particular curias was done until each candidate received half of the votes. Further reading votes was unnecessary[57]. At that moment, a chairperson of the assembly announced the election of a candidate, through an accompanied herold. It could, therefore, happen that a candidate who in fact had not received majority of votes was elected because he received a demanded majority of votes as the firs. Further counting could have shown that the candidate who lost in fact had received more votes but not as the firs one. Example: there are three candidates A, B and C applying for two posts. In total each curia should have give two votes that made twenty-two votes to share. After reading the results from 15 curias, the two first candidates A and B received six votes each and candidate C only four. In that moment reading further results was finished and the chairperson announced the end of election. Meanwhile, only sixteen of twenty-two votes were used that were at the disposal of a curial assembly. There were 6 votes left to share, which theoretically would allow finally candidate C to overtake the two first candidates. It would be, however, impossible because of adopted rules of elective law in Rome[58].

Such a situation did not take place when the number of candidates was equal with the number of posts or when the number of candidates was considerable and votes dispersed. Lex Malecitana cap. 57.



8. – Conclusions


The elective system in the ancient Rome, during the republic period, experienced numerous reforms, which led to working out rules which municipal elections during the principle were based on. The basic rule was a secret ballot introduced according to leges tabellariae. The rule is one of the fundamental one in contemporary elective systems.

The second rule concerned the division of a society into smaller administrative units. Primarily, those were curial assemblies, next the centurial ones and finally, tribus ones. The first two divisions had a personal character and the tribus had a territorial character, although in municipals, tribus assemblies (curial) preserved personal character. Nowadays, a society is also divided into elective districts.

The third rule was an opportunity to simultaneous voting by all tribuses, which decided that such a solution survived in municipal law. There was no such a possibility in case of curial or tribus assemblies, where separate votes were given in a determined order so that partial results were known before the end of voting. Nowadays, also elective results, even the partial ones, are given after the end of voting.

The fourth rule is the open nature of a ballot. Voting was held in a special place. There were commissions (custodes) called, that were responsible for proper voting and next, counting the votes. Also announcing the elective results in particular tribuses (curias) were made in public. Each candidate could put own intermediary, included in custodies, at the ballot box. The votes were stored in a public place and later in special rooms. Nowadays, there are also elective commissions called having similar competences as then. Each candidate may put an intermediary in elective rooms. Ballot boxes are properly secured and stored in places determined by law.

The last rule was introducing a legal regulation in case of receiving equal number of votes by two or more candidates. The rules worked out by the pro family legislation of August became a solution to such a situation. If the criteria were equal, then the choice is made by draw. Contemporary elective law provides election by draw among the candidates who received the same number of votes in a given elective district as well.




[1] Aul. Gell. N.A. 15,27,5.


[2] See T. Mommsen, Römisches Staatsrecht, III.1, Tübingen 1952, 402.


[3] See M. Rothstein, Suffragium, in: Festschrift zu O. Hirschfelds, Berlin 1903, 30-33.


[4] Pomp. libro sing. enchiridii D. 1,2,2,20: Isdem temporibus cum plebs a patribus secessisset anno fere septimo decimo post reges exactos, tribunos sibi in monte sacro creavit, qui essent plebeii magistratus. Dicti tribuni, quod olim in tres partes populus divisus erat et ex singulis singuli creabantur: vel quia tribuum suffragio creabantur.


[5] Lex Acilia repetundarum, 77(84), lex latina tabulae Bantinae, 1, lex Malecitana 53; 55; 60; lex Irnitana 55.


[6] In the further part of the dissertation, I shall use the term municipal only due to the fact that at the end of the republic and at the beginning of the principle, the differences between those two systems of city organization faded away.


[7] The elective system is a part of the elective law that may be understood objectively and subjectively. The objective elective law means all legal norms including the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, those concerning election of state and self-governmental bodies, and the subjective one means the whole of citizens’ entitlements resulted from the subjective law. See B. Banaszak, Prawo konstytucyjne, Warszawa 1999, 259 n.


[8] Primarily, there were three tribuses, based on clan membership of the Roman primal society, they were divided into 10 curias each, in total there were 30 curias.


[9] In total, there were 193 centurias, including 170 infantries, 18 cavalries 5 supportive units. I class included 80 centuries, II-IV 20 centuries, and in the last V class there were 30 centuries. See L.J. Grieve, Proci Patricii? A Question of Voting Order in the Centuriate Assembly, Historia 36 (1987), 302-317; L.R. Taylor, The Centuriate Assembly Before and After the Reform, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 78 (1957), No 4, 337-354; G. V. Sumner, Cicero on the Comitia Centuriata: De Re Publica, II, 22, 39-40, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 81 (1960), No 2, 136-156; E. S. Staveley, The Reform of the Comitia Centuriata, The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 74, (1953) No. 1, 1-33.


[10] Tribus were divided into into 4 urban and 31 rural ones from 241BC.


[11] See L.R. Taylor, The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic. The Thirty-five Urban and Rural Tribes, Rome 1960, 3 n.


[12] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting and Elections, Hudson 1972, 157.


[13] Cic. de leg. 3,33 n.; see T. Mommsen, Roemische Staatsrecht, t. III, 403 n.


[14] Cic. de leg. 3,16,35: Sunt enim quattuor leges tabellariae… .


[15] J. Linderski, Rzymskie zgromadzenia wyborcze od Sulli do Cezara, Wrocław 1966.


[16] A. Wiliński, Inskrypcja z Heba. Uwagi o nowym źródle do historii rzymskiego prawa wyborczego, CPH 5, 1953, 11-38; „Destinatio” w inskrypcji z Heba a system i praktyka wyborcza wczesnego pryncypatu, Annales Universitatis Mariae Curiae-Skłodowskiej II. 2, sectio G, 1955, 249-275.


[17] Tablica z Heby. Wniosek konsulów Waleriusza i Aureliusza w sprawie uhonorowania zasług Germanika Cezara, przekład T. Fabisiak, P. Sawiński, komentarz P. Sawiński, J. Wiewiórowski, Poznań 2006. See also A. Fraschetti, La Tabula Hebana, la Tabula Siarensis e il iustitium per la morte di Germanico, in: Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome, Rome 1988, 867 n.


[18] E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 121 n.


[19] U. Hall, Voting Procedure in Roman Assemblies, Historia 13 (1964), 266-306.


[20] P. Fraccaro, La procedura del voto nei comizi tribute romani, in: Atti della R. Accademia delle Scienze di Torino XLIX, 600 n.


[21] It should be added that the described voting in the board of Heba took place in the Roman Senate.


[22] The notion curia exists in lex Tarentina 2, and lex Malacitana 53 and 53.


[23] The notion tribus exists in lex Ursonensis 67 and 101.


[24] Lex Malacitana, cap. 53: Quicumque in eo municipio comitia IIviris, item aedilibus, item quaestoribus rogandis habebit, ex curiis sorte ducito unam, in qua incolae, qui cives Romani Latinive cives erunt, suffragia ferant, eisque in ea curia suffragii latio est.


[25] Cic. pro Sestio, 72; pro Milone, 87; Dio Cass., 42,23; Svet. Divus Julius 28,3. Bronze boards were used rarely because of high price of bronze.


[26] Placing the text itself in a public place was not the only requirement of publication of the candidates’ list. Ulpian 28 ad ed. (D. writes: Proscribere palam sic accipimus claris litteris, unde de plano recte legi possit…, therefore, it was necessary for the published text to have clearlry written letters. The text should be written in Latin or Greek language. Ulpian, in the above text, adjudicates that matter, giving the rule of appriopriatness of a place and language used there. See C.M. Moschetti, Gubernare navem gubernare rem publicam. Contributo alla storia del diritto pubblico romano, Milano 1966, 177 n.


[27] Dies fasti were marked on the basis of lex Fufia in the half of II century BC. See Cic. pro Sestio 33.


[28] In this case, a day off from election was intrduced on the basis of lex Hortensia in 287 BC. See Macrobius 1,16,30; Plin. N.H., 18,3,13.


[29] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 143.


[30] The date of elections in June was not always observed, as case studies described by J. Linderski, Rzymskie zgromadzenia wyborcze od Sulli do Cezara, Wrocław 1966, 104 n. prove. 


[31] See J. Linderski, Constitutional Aspects of the Consular Elections in 59 B.C., Historia 14 (1965), 428 (423-442); T. Mommsen, Roemisches Staatsrecht I,3, Leipzig 1887, 205-207, III, 370.


[32] … nullius nomine aut pauciorum, quam tot quod creari oportebit, pr*o*fessio facta erit, sive ex his, quorum nomine professio facta erit, pauciores erunt quorum hac lege comitiis rationem habere oporteat, quam tot quot creari oportebit...


[33] Requirements for the candidates for municipal posts are included in Tabula Heracleensis ll. 89-97. See B. Sitek, Tabula Heracleensis. (Lex Iulia municipalis). Tekst, tłumaczenie, komentarz, Olsztyn 2006, 58 n. According to ll. 132 Tabula Heracleensis, in the municipal law, the election of an underskilled person could not have been announced. See also A.E. Astin, „Professio” In the Abortive Election of 184 B.C., Historia 11 (1962), 252-255.


[34] Similar solutions were in effect in Rome. The period between the edict announcement and voting, determined as trinum nundinum, was implemented on the basis of lex Caecilia Didia in 98 BC. The period could have been shortened on a motion of the senate but only in particular cases. See Liv. 4,58,8; 7,33,9; 25,2,4; 27,6,2; 41,14,3; 42,28,1; 43,11,3; 44,17,2. E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 144.


[35] Rejecting a candidate by a chairperson of the meeting did not arouse impossibility to vote for him. If such a candidate had reached enough number of votes, he would have been elected. See A.E. Astin, „Professio” in the Abortive Election of 184 B.C., cit., 252-255. Although such a possibility in the municipal law was excluded. In lex Ursonensis cap. 101, there was a clear ban to announce electing a candidate not possessing by law sufficient qualifications by a chairperson of an elective meeting: Quicumque comitia magistratibus creandis subrogandis habebit, is ne quem eis comitis pro tribu accipito neve renuntiato neve renuntiari iubeto, qui in earum qua causa erit, e qua eum hac lege in colonia decurionem nominari creari inve decurionibus esse non oporteat non liceat.


[36] Cic. ad Brut. 1,5,3: quamvis liceat absentis rationem habere, tamen omnia sunt praesentibus faciliora.


[37] In 60, Julius Caesar returned to Rome in order to submit his candidacy for a council for the year 59 (Svet. Caesar 13; Dio 37,54,2). According to other sources, such a procedure had been used earlier,, (Cic. de lege agr. 2,24), in the period after passing lex agraria Rullo w 63r. See D.C. Earl, Appian B.C. 1,14 and „professio”, Historia 14 (1965), 329.


[38] Cic. de leg., 3,11.


[39] More about inhabitants of Spain during the ruling of Romans is included in A.T. Fear, Rome and Beatica. Urbanization in Southern Spain c. 50 BC-AD 150, Oxford 1996, 184 n.


[40] Varro, de lingua latina, 5,16: Tubicines a tuba et canendo, similiter liticines. Classicus a classe, qui item cornu aut lituo canit, ut tum cum classes comitiis ad comitiatum vocant. See B.M. Levick, Imperial Control of the Elections under the Early Principate: Commendatio, Suffragatio, and “Nominatio”, Historia 16 (1967), 207 n.


[41] It was a hill in the western side of Tibre outside the city walls. It was not included to the seven proverbial hills of Rome.


[42] Svet. Divus Iulius 80,4. See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 147.


[43] Other situation took place in case of voting by centurias when classes successively gave votes. Simultaneously, giving votes took place only within particular classes. Therefore, votes of first classes always had bigger significance than those of the last ones, since it could have turned out that just after 120 votes of particular centurias the other ones need not have given votes. It was enough to reach 97 votes out of 193to win an election. As many Roman experts and law historians notice properly, that voting system was injustice. Therefore, from the end of 3rd century BC, the dominating voting system was that used in tribus assemblies.


[44] Secret voting was implemented on the basis of 4 acts, determined as leges tabellariae. On the basis of lex Gabinia from 139 a secret voting was implemented in in elective assemblies, lex Cassia from 137 implemented secret voting in judicial assemblies and lex Papiria from 130, in legislative assemblies. On the basis of lex Coelia from 107 BC, a secret voting in cases included in perduellio, namely state betrayal, was implemented, adjudicated by comitia centuriata.


[45] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 158.


[46] Svet. Divius Julius 80,4: qui primum cunctati utrumne in Campo per comitia tribus ad suffragia uocantem partibus diuisis e ponte deicerent atque exceptum trucidarent. See also Cic. ad Att. 1,14; Festus, 452. A voter entered a platform and asked by a clerke called rogator, answered yes or no. During a secret voting, a rogator was substituted by custodes.


[47] See W. Wołodkiewicz, “Okręcanie” wyborców – czyli crimen ambitus w prawie rzymskim, Palestra 11-12 (2007).


[48] In literature, there is a discussion on the course of voting during legislative and judiciary assemblies. See N.D. Luisi, Sul problema delle tabelle di voto nelle votazioni legislative: contributo all’interpretazione di Cic. «ad Att.» 1.14.5, Index 23, 1995, 419-451.


[49] Tabula Hebana ll. 18-19.


[50] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 163.


[51] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 162.


[52] Idem.


[53] Quam in curia totidem suffragia duo pluresve habuerint, maritum quive maritorum numero erit caelibi liberos non habenti, qui maritorum numero non erit; habentem liberos non habenti; plures liberos habentem pauciores habenti praeferto prioremque renuntiato ita, ut bini liberi post nomen inpositum aut singuli puberes amissi virive potentes amissae pro singulis sospitibus numerentur. Si duo pluresve totidem suffragia habebunt et eiiusdem condicionis erunt, nomina eorum in sortem coicito, et uti cuiiusque nomen sorti ductum erit, ita eum priorem alis renuntiato.


[54] A group mostly affected by negative legal results in the field of public and private law in the legislation of August were byli właśnie singles – caelebs. See R. Astolfi, Femina probosa, concubina, mater solitaria, SDHI 31 (1965), 15-60.


[55] Dies lustricus został opisany przez w Sat. 1,16,36; Plut. Q.R. 102, Festus 107L, Svet. Nero 2. Tertulian, de idol. 16 uroczystość nadania imienia określa terminem nominalia. Więcej o dies lustricus zob. D.P. Hormon, The Family Festivals of Rom, [w:] ANRW 16,2, Berlin 1978, 1592-1600; L.P. Brind’Amour, Le dies lustricus, les oiseaux de l’aurore et l’aphidromie, Latomus 34 (1975), 17-58.


[56] The term cannot be connected with the institution ius trium liberorum, since it concerned anulment of a custody over a woman who gave birth to three children. A. D’Ors, [La ley Flavia Municipal (Texto y comentario), Romae 1986, 118 n.] claims however, that in lex Iulia de maritandis ordinibus from 18 BC, there was a similar solution for ius trium liberorum, but referring to fathers. The aim of that solution was not, therefore, anulment of custody but enabling to make a career. On the basis of the text Svet., Galb. 14,3, it can be assumed that ius liberorum was a priviledge given by caesars for first court clerks and than for the municipal ones who had no own children. Thanks to that priviledge, they were treated as if they had own children and most probably three.


[57] Lex Malecitana, cap. 56: Is qui ea comitia habebit, uti quisque curiae cuiius plura quam alii suffragia habuerit, ita priorem ceteris eum pro ea curia factum creatumque esse renuntiat*o*, donec is numerus, ad quem creari oportebit, expletus sit.


[58] See E.S. Staveley, Greek and Roman Voting, 180.