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p696 Lex Publilia

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p696 of

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

PUBLI′LIA LEX was proposed by Publilius Volero, a tribunus plebis, and enacted B.C. 471. The terms of the Rogatio were "ut plebeii magistratus tributis comitiis fierent" (Liv. II.56). The object of the Lex was to take these elections from the comitia centuriata, in which the patricians could determine the result of the elections by the votes of their clients. The Rogatio became a Lex after much opposition, the history of which is given in Livy. According to some authorities, the number of tribunes was also increased from two to five (Liv. II.58); and this must therefore have been provided by the Lex. In B.C. 457 (Liv. III.30) ten tribunes, two from each class, were elected for the first time; but it is not said under what legislative provision. Dionysius (Antiq. Rom. IX.43) gives a more complete account of this Lex. After Publilius failed in his first attempt to carry his Rogatio, he added a new chapter, which gave the election of the aediles (plebeian) to the Comitia Tributa, and enabled the Tributa to deliberate and decide upon any matter which could be deliberated and decided upon in the Comitia Centuriata. From the time of the enactment of this Lex, says Dionysius (IX.49) "up to my time, the election of tribunes and aediles was made without birds (augural ceremonies), and all the rest of the religious forms in the Comitia Tributa." Dionysius says nothing here of the other matter which the additional chapter contained (IX.43).


See also Smith's article on related laws, the Leges Publiliae.


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