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 p348  Concilium

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p348 of

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

CONCI′LIUM generally has the same meaning as conventus or conventio, but the technical import of concilium in the Roman constitution was an assembly of a portion of the people (Gell. XV.27), as distinct from the general assemblies or comitia (Fest. p50; Cic. De Leg. II.1, p. Red. in Sen. 5). Accordingly, as the comitia tributa embraced only a portion of the Roman people, viz. the plebeians, these comitia are often designated by the term concilia plebis (Liv. VII.5, XXVIII.53, XXXIX.15). Upon the same principle, it might be supposed that the comitia curiata might be called concilia, and Niebuhr (Hist. of Rome, I. p425) believes that the concilia populi which are mentioned now and then, actually were the comitia curiata; but there is no evidence of those patrician assemblies, which in the earliest times certainly never looked upon themselves as a mere part of the nation, having ever been called by that name. In fact, all the passages in which concilia populi occur, clearly show that none other but the comitia tributa are meant (Liv. I.36, II.7, 60, III.13, 16, 64, 71, XXX.24, XXXVIII.53, XXXIX.15, XLIII.16, Cic. in Vat. 7). As concilium, however, has the meaning of an assembly in general, we cannot wonder that sometimes it is used in a loose way to designate the comitia of the centuries (Liv. II.28) or any concio (Liv. II.7, 28, V.43; Gell. XVIII.7; comp. Becker, Handb. der Röm. Alterth. vol. II part I p359, note 693).

We must here notice a peculiar sense in which concilium is used by Latin writers to denote the assemblies or meetings of confederate towns or nations, at which either their deputies alone or any of the citizens met who had time and inclination, and thus found a representative assembly (Liv. I.50). Such an assembly or diet is commonly designated as commune concilium or τὸ κοινόν, e.g. Achaeorum, Aetolorum, Boeotorum, Macedoniae, and the like (Liv. XXXVI.31, XXXVIII.34, XLII.43, XLV.18; Gell. II.6). Of the same kind were the diets of the Latins in the grove of Ferentina (Liv. I.51, VI.33, VII.25, VIII.3), the meetings of the Etruscans near the temple of Voltumna (Liv. IV.23, 25, 61, V.17, VI.2), of the Hernicans in the circus of Anagnia (IX.42), of the Aequians and Samnites (III.2, IV.25, X.12).

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