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p613 Honores

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p613 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

HONORES. Cicero (Top. c20) speaks of the "honores populi," and Horace (Serm. I.6.5) speaks of the populus

qui stultus honores

Saepe dat indignis

In both passages the word "honores" means the high offices of the state to which qualified individuals were called by the votes of the Roman citizens. Cicero calls the quaestorship "honor" (see also Liv. VI.39); and the words "magistratus" and "honores" are sometimes coupled together. The capacity of enjoying the honores was one of the distinguishing marks of citizenship. [Civitas.] In Sulla's proscription (Vell. Pat. II.28), there was a clause that the children of the proscribed "petendorum honorum jure prohiberentur."

There appears to be no exact definition of honor earlier than in the jurists whose writings are excerpted in the Digest. "Honor muncipalis" is defined to be "administratio reipublicae cum dignitatis gradu, sive cum sumptu, sive sine erogatione contingens." Munus was either publicum or privatum. A publicum munus was concerned about administration (in administranda republica), and was attended with cost (sumptus) but not with rank (dignitas). "Honor" was properly said "deferri," "dari;" munus was said "imponi." Cicero (de Or. I.45) uses the phrase "honoribus et reipublicae numeribus perfunctum," to signify one who has attained all the honours that his state can give, and discharged all the duties which can be required from a citizen. A person who held a magistratus might be said to discharge munera, but only as incident to the office (magnificentissimo munere aedilitatis perfunctus, Cic. ad Fam. XI.17), for the office itself was the honor. Such munera as these were public games and other things of the kind (Dig. 50 tit. 4 De Muneribus et Honoribus).


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