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p628 Illustres

Unsigned article on p628 of

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

ILLUSTRES. When Constantine the Great re-organized the Roman administration, he divided the principal magistrates and officials into three classes:— 1. The Illustres, who held the first rank; 2. The Spectabiles; and 3. The Clarissimi. The title of Illustres belonged only to the Consules, the Patricii, the Praefectus praetorio, the Praefectus urbi, the Praepositus sacri cubiculi, the Magistri militum, the Magister officiorum, the Quaestor sacri palatii, the Comes sacrarum largitionum, and the Comes rerum privatarum. Even among the Illustres there was a gradation of rank, the Consuls and Patricii being regarded as higher in dignity than the others. the titles Sublimissimi, Excellentissimi, and Magnifici are used as synonymous with Illustres. Among the privileges of the Illustres we read that in criminal cases they could only be tried by the emperor himself or by an imperial commission, and that they could appear before the courts by means of procurators. (Cod. Theod. 6 tit. 6 &c., with the commentary of Gothofred; Walter, Geschichte des Römisches Rechts, § 380, 2nd ed.; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c17, vol. III p34, London, 1797.)


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