Local Governments in the Roman Empire
by: P. Dionysius Mus
INTRODUCTION

We already know much about the Roman central government from many authors. But what about on a more local level? What information can we gather about the local government in towns and cities throughout the Empire? Important sources on this matter are the statutes of some smaller cities in the Empire. The most important remaining texts are the Lex Tarentina; Lex Coloniae Genetivae Ursonensis; Tabula Heracliensis; Lex Malacitana; Lex Salpensana; and Lex Irnitana). Extracts from two of these (Ursonensis and Irnitana) shall be used here.

The Lex Ursonensis (in the text, “Urs.”) was discovered in 1870. Urso was a colony founded by Caius Iulius Caesar: plebeian citizens from Rome were sent over there. However, though Caesar had decreed the founding, it was Marcus Antonius who actually sent the colonists after Caesar died. The lex itself was engraved in bronze in the second half of the first century, under the Flavii; this was a local copy of the older original text.

The other source used here, the Lex Irnitana (in the text, “Irn.”), was discovered in 1981. Irni was no colony, but an existing local town that received the official title of municipium Latinum. The six bronze plates containing the surviving part of the Lex Irnitana can easily be compaired with other statutes: the bigger part of the first tablet had the same information on it as the Lex Salpensana, and two other tablets were exactly the same as in the Lex Malacitana. This shows there was possibly a sort of source text that was used whenever a new statute had to be granted. Based on two of these statutes, we are thus able to give a good and accurate view on how things were governed locally.

ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY

The most important magistrates in every city or town at that time were the decuriones. They formed an institution we can nowadays easily compare to our current town or city council. Two differences though: the decuriones were appointed for life, and there were about 100 decuriones in every town or city. Irni, for example, needed a minimum of 63 decuriones:

In any year in which there are fewer than 63 decuriones or conscripti in that municipium, which was the number by the law and custom of that municipium before the passage of this statute, unless choice or choice in replacement of decuriones or conscripti has already taken place in that year, the duumviri in charge of the administration of justice in that year, either or both of them at the earliest possible opportunity, as they may think proper, are to raise with the decuriones or conscripti, when no less than two thirds of them are present, on what day they wish to carry out the choice or choice in replacement or substitution of those whose addition to the number of decuriones or conscripti will lead to the presence of 63 decuriones or conscripti in that municipium, which was the number by the law and custom of that municipium before the passage of this statute. (Irn. 31)

The position, rights and powers of those decuriones were the same in all towns and cities throughout the Empire:

Whoever are now senators or substitute senators, or decuriones or conscripti, or substitute decuriones or conscripti in the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum and those who are hereafter chosen or chosen in replacement under this statute to be counted as decuriones or conscripti, whoever of all these ought to be decuriones or conscripti under this statute are to be decuriones or conscripti of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum, with the fullest rights and highest status as of the decuriones or conscripti of any Latin municipium. (Irn. 30)

The decuriones were divided into decuriae, who governed the town or city in turn. This division was made by the duumviri iure dicundo (see further) and determined by drawing lots. The decuriones regularly gathered to take certain decisions concerning council policy, on all different kinds of subjects. Two examples from the Lex Ursonensis:

No duumvir, aedile or prefect of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, whoever shall be one, is to raise with the decurions of the Colonia Genetiva or discuss with the decurions, or pass a decree of the decurions, or enter in the public records anything concerning that matter or order it to be entered, nor is any decurion to speak his opinion among the decurions concerning that matter, with which matter they shall be dealing, nor is he to write down a decree of the decurions, nor is he to enter it in the public records nor is he to see that it is entered, to the effect that any senator, or son of a senator, of the Roman people be adopted, be taken, or become a patron of the Colonia Genetiva, unless the decree of the decurions be passed according to the opinion of three quarters of the decurions, expressed by ballot, and in relation to a man, concerning whom the matter shall then be raised or discussed, who, when that matter shall be dealt with, shall be in Italy as a private individual without imperium.

Nor is any duumvir, aedile or prefect of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, whoever shall be one, to raise with the decurions of the Colonia Genetiva or discuss with the decurions, or pass a decree of the decurions, or enter in the public records anything concerning that matter or order it to be entered, nor is any decurion to speak his opinion among the decurions concerning that matter, with which matter they shall be dealing, nor is he to write down a decree of the decurions, nor is he to enter it in the public records nor is he to see that it is entered, to the effect that any senator, or son of a senator, of the Roman people be adopted as a hospes of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, or that there be hospitium and a terra hospitalis with any such, unless the decree of the decurions be passed according to the opinion of the majority of the decurions, expressed by ballot, and in relation to a man, concerning whom the matter shall then be raised or discussed, who, when that matter shall be dealt with, shall be in Italy as a private individual without imperium. (Urs. 130-131)

The order of voting among the decuriones was determined as follows: first came those who had most children; if there was a status quo the order was further determined by whether they had been a duumvir or not and then in order of their term of office; and then in order of when they became a decurio:

Whoever holds a meeting of the decuriones or conscripti under this statute, provided that he does not do anything in this connection contrary to statutes or decrees of the Senate or edicts or judgments of the Divine Augustus or of Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus or of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus or of the Emperor Galba Caesar Augustus or of the Emperor Vespasian Caesar Augustus or of the Emperor Titus Caesar Vespasian Augustus or of the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, chief priest, Father of his Country, or against this statute, is to take the vote, according to the rules in this statute, from the decuriones, first (from those who have children) ordo by ordo, in the sequence determined by the number of children born to each in legal marriages, or from those who are, or would be if they were Roman citizens, in the same position as they would be if they then had children. If two or more are in the same position or do not have children and do not have the ius liberorum as mentioned above, he is to take the vote first from those who have been duumviri, in order of tenure, then among the rest in the order in which each was first chosen to be a decurion or conscriptus. (Irn. B)

Every decision of the decuriones was written down in the archives and read to the people, with the person(s) who had brought the matter up, present. When it concerned important decisions, they were engraved in bronze. It was also possible for the decuriones to cancel previous decisions, but only when two thirds of them were present, and then still with a qualified majority of three quarters. Of course, like all magistrates, the decuriones were bound to their rights as well as their duties. It was thus possible for a decurio to accuse a colleague in a trial because of misconduct and the like.:

If any decurion of the Colonia Genetiva shall accuse a decurion of the Colonia Genetiva according to this statute of unworthiness [and] shall have brought about the condemnation of the person whom he shall accuse in that trial according to this statute, the person who shall have brought about the condemnation of anyone in that trial according to this statute, if he shall wish, it is to be lawful according to this statute [for him] to speak his opinion in the place of the person who shall have been condemned, and it is to be lawful for him to do that by law, statute and right without personal liability, and that place among the decurions for speaking his opinion or being asked an opinion is to belong to him according to this statute. (Urs. 124)

Like all other magistrates they also enjoyed certain privileges at the games:

Whatever place shall have been granted, assigned, or left for the decurions at the shows, from which place it shall be appropriate for the decurions to watch the shows, no-one in that place, except someone who shall then be a decurion of the Colonia Genetiva, or who shall then as a magistrate hold imperium or power by the vote of the colonists or shall have [it] by the order of C. Caesar, dictator, consul, or proconsul, or who shall then be in the Colonia Genetiva with some imperium or power, and those for whom it shall be appropriate according to a decree of the decurions of the Colonia Genetiva for a place to be granted in the space of the decurions, which the decurions shall have decreed when not less than half of the decurions shall have been present, when that matter shall have been discussed - no-one except those who are written down above is to sit in that place, which place shall have been granted, assigned or left for the decurions, nor is anyone to lead anyone else to sit in those places nor is [anyone] to order [anyone else] to be led to sit knowingly with wrongful deceit. If anyone shall have sat contrary to these rules knowingly with wrongful deceit [or] if anyone shall have led [anyone else] to sit or ordered [anyone else] to be led knowingly with wrongful deceit, he is to be condemned to pay 5.000 sesterces to the colonists of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia for each occasion, whenever he shall have done anything in that matter contrary to these rules, and there is to be action, suit and claim for that sum according to [this statute] by whoever of them shall wish in a recuperatorial trial before the duumvir or prefect and there is to be right and power. (Urs. 125)

Next to the decuriones, all towns or cities also had other magistrates, like the duumviri iure dicundo and the aediles (always two of them, like most other magistracies throughout the Empire). The duumviri iure dicundo were responsible for the administration of justice, and it was also they who called the decuriones together for a meeting. This office would also be granted to the reigning Caesar (without a colleague). He would then of course appoint a representative (praefectus) to fulfill this office in the name of the emperor:

If the decuriones or conscripti or municipes of that municipium, in the common name of the municipes of that municipium, confer the duumvirate on the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Father of his Country, and the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, Father of his Country, accepts that duumvirate and orders anyone to be praefectus in his place, that praefectus is to have the same rights as he would have if it had been appropriate for him to be appointed sole duumvir under this statute and he had been appointed under this statute sole duumvir for the administration of justice. (Irn. 24)

Such a praefectus could also be appointed by an ordinary duumvir, for example when this duumvir had to be out of town for a long or short period:

Whichever of the duumviri, who are in charge of the administration of justice in that municipium, hereafter leaves that municipium and does not think that he will return to that municipium on that day, he is to see that the person whom he decides to leave in charge as praefectus of that municipium, being over 35 and one of the decuriones or conscripti, swears by Jupiter and the Divine Augustus and the Divine Claudius and the Divine Vespasian Augustus and the Divine Titus Augustus and the genius of the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and the Penates, that he will do what is appropriate for a duumvir who is in charge of the administration of justice to do under this statute, while he is praefectus, as long as it can be done in that time, and that he will not knowingly and with wrongful intent do anything contrary to these rules. And, until one or other of the duumviri returns to that municipium, the person who has been left as praefectus in this way is to have those rights and those powers in everything, except over the leaving of a praefectus and the acquisition of Roman citizenship, as is given under this statute to the duumviri, insofar as they are in charge of the administration of justice. And that person, while he is praefectus and on every occasion that he goes outside the municipium, is not to be away for more than one day at a time. (Irn. 25)

Other important magistrates were the aediles:

The aediles who have been appointed in that municipium according to an edict of the Emperor Vespasian Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Titus Vespasian Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and now hold that aedileship, those aediles and those who are hereafter appointed aediles (Irn. 19)

They were assisted by different town slaves:

...And whoever shall be aediles in that colony, there is to be right and power for these aediles, for each one of those aediles, to have one scribe, four public slaves with girded apron, a crier, a haruspex, [and] a flute-player. He is to have [them] out of that category, who shall be colonists of that colony. (Urs. 62)

The last category of important magistrates were the quaestores:

The quaestors, who have been appointed before this statute according to an edict, judgement or order of the Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus or the Emperor Titus Vespasian Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and now hold that quaestorship, likewise those who are appointed under this statute, are to be quaestors, in both cases until the date to which their appointment runs. And they are to have the right and power of collecting, spending, keeping, administering and looking after the common funds of the municipes of that municipium at the discretion of the duumviri. And they are to be allowed to have common slaves of the municipes of that municipium with them in that municipium to attend on them. And as long as none of all those duties which are listed above is carried out contrary to statutes, plebiscites, decrees of the Senate, edicts, judgements or constitutions of the Divine Augustus or Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus or Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Galba Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Vespasian Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Titus Vespasian Caesar Augustus or the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus, chief priest, Father of his Country, they are to have rights and powers. (Irn. 20)

DIFFERENT SECTORS OF COUNCIL POLICY

A first important sector here is religion and cult: the Roman religion and its rituals created a certain bond between people. Much of the religious tasks were fulfilled by the ordinary magistrates mentioned above. But there were also some officials with specific religious tasks, such as the pontifices, augures, flamines and sacerdotes publici. On the pontifices and augures we read in the Lex Ursonensis:

Whichever pontiffs and whichever augurs C. Caesar, or whoever shall have founded the colony at his command, shall have appointed from the Colonia Genetiva, they are to be the pontiffs, and they the augurs, of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, and they are to be the pontiffs and the augurs in the college of pontiffs or augurs in that colony, in the same way as those who are or shall be pontiffs and augurs with the best conditions and the best status in any colony. And for those pontiffs and augurs, who shall be in each of their colleges, and for their children, there is to be exemption from military service and compulsory public service [prescribed] by what is sacred, as for a Roman pontiff, and their periods of military service are all to be credited to them. Concerning auspices and whatever things shall pertain to those matters, jurisdiction and right of judgement are to belong to the augurs. And those pontiffs and augurs at the games, whenever the magistrates shall give them publicly, and when those pontiffs and augurs shall perform the public sacrifices of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, are to have the right and power of wearing togae praetextae. And those pontiffs and augurs are to have the right and power to watch games and combats of gladiators among the decurions.

Whoever after the issuing of this statute shall have been chosen or coopted according to this statute as pontiffs and augurs of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia into the college of pontiffs and [the college] of augurs in the place of a man who has died or been condemned, he is to be pontiff or augur in the Colonia Iulia in the college as pontiff or augur, in the same way as those who are or shall be pontiffs and augurs with the best conditions in any colony. Nor is anyone to receive or chose in replacement or coopt into the college of pontiffs, except at a time when there shall be less than three pontiffs among those who are of the Colonia Genetiva. Nor is anyone to receive or chose in replacement or coopt into the college of augurs, except at a time when there shall be less than three augurs among those who are of the Colonia Genetiva. (Urs. 66-67)

Maintaining order was possibly another important duty of the town or city council, but unfortunately nothing on this topic could be found in the extracts of the two leges at my disposal. There is one article that prohibits illegal gatherings:

No one is to take part in an illegal gathering in that municipium or to hold a meeting of a society or a college for that purpose or to conspire that it be held or to act in such a way that any of these things occur. Anyone who acts contrary to these rules is to be condemned to pay 10.000 sesterces to the municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum and the right of action, suit and claim of that money and concerning that money is to belong to any municeps of that municipium. (Irn. 74)

What could be found in the extracts were articles concerning defence against external threats, defence when the territory of the town or city was under attack. The exact territory of a town or city and its boundaries were determined at the founding, and no one could change them:

Whatever boundaries and decumani shall have been drawn and made within the territories of the Colonia Genetiva, and whatever boundary ditches there shall be on that land, which land shall have been granted or assigned by order of C. Caesar, dictator, imperator, and by the Lex Antonia, and by decrees of the senate and by plebiscites, no-one is to have the boundaries and decumani enclosed or have anything built over [them] or enclosed there, nor is he to plough them up, nor is he to block or enclose those ditches, to the effect that the water may not go or flow in its course. If anyone shall have done anything contrary to these rules, he is to be condemned to pay 1.000 sesterces to the colonists of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia for each offence, as often as he shall have done [this], and there is to be suit and claim for that sum by anyone who shall wish. (Urs. 104)

A duumvir or praefectus could call the inhabitants to arms to protect the territory, with the same rights and duties as a military tribune:

Whoever as IIvir or prefect shall be in charge of jurisdiction in the Colonia Genetiva, he, whenever the decurions shall have decided that he is to lead out the colonists and incolae and contributi under arms for the purpose of defending the territories of the colony, insofar as the majority of those who shall then be present shall have decreed [it], it is to be lawful for him to do that without personal liability. And that IIvir or whomever a IIvir shall have placed in charge of men under arms is to have the same right and the same power of punishment as a military tribune of the Roman people has in an army of the Roman people, and it is to be lawful for him to do that without personal liability and he is to have right and power, provided that that take place which the majority of the decurions, who shall then be present, shall have decreed. (Urs. 103)

Every town or city of course had its own patrimony and infrastructure they had to take care about. Lands, forests, monuments and buildings that belonged to a town's property are dealt with in the following article:

Whatever lands and woods and buildings shall have been assigned or contributed to the colonists of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia, in order that they may make public use of them, no-one is to sell those lands or those woods, or lease [them] out for longer than five years, nor is anyone to raise with the decurions or pass a decree of the decurions to the effect that those lands or those woods may be sold or leased in any other way. Nor, if they shall have been sold, are they thereby any the less to belong to the Colonia Genetiva Iulia. And whatever shall be the produce of those properties, in respect to whatever he may claim to have bought, he [is to be] condemned to pay 100 sesterces to the colonists of the Colonia Genetiva Iulia for every iugerum and for every year, [and there is to be suit and claim for that sum by whoever shall win according to this statute.] (Urs. 82)

Town planning was also important. Buildings should not have been demolished without the promise of rebuilding them afterwards:

No-one in the town of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum or where buildings are continuous with that town, is to unroof or destroy or see to the demolition of a building, except by resolution of the decuriones or conscripti, when the majority of them is present, unless he is going to replace it within the next year. Whoever acts against these rules is to be condemned to pay to the municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum as much money as the case is worth, and the right of action, suit and claim of that money and concerning that money is to belong to any municeps of that municipium who wishes and who is entitled under this statute. (Irn. 62)

It is also prohibited to do damage to an individual's property:

The duumviri, either or both, are to have the right and power of creating, or altering the course of, whatever roads, ways, rivers, ditches or drains of that municipium the duumviri, either or both, wish, provided that this takes place by decree of the decuriones or conscripti and within the boundaries of that municipium and without damage to private interests. Whatever is created or altered in this way, it is to be right for it so to be and remain. (Irn. 82)

All paths and roads, rivers, streams and other waters, and large tile works are to be publicly accessible, and cannot be or become property of an individual:

No-one is to have tile works with a capacity of more than 300 tiles or tile-like objects in the town of the Colonia Iulia. Whoever shall have had [one], that building and place is to be the public property of the Colonia Iulia, and whoever shall be in charge of the jurisdiction in the Colonia Genetiva Iulia is to pay into public hands that sum [derived] from that building.

Whatever roads, ditches or drains a IIvir or aedile shall wish publicly to construct, to introduce, to change, to build or to pave within those boundaries which shall be those of the Colonia Iulia, whatever of that shall be done without damage to private individuals, it is to be lawful for them to do that.

Whatever public roads or public ways there are or have been within those boundaries, which shall have been assigned to the colony, whatever boundaries and whatever roads and whatever ways there are or shall be or have been across those lands, those roads and those boundaries and those ways are to be public.

Whatever rivers, streams, fountains, pools, waters, ponds or marshes there are within the land, which shall have been divided among the colonists of this colony, there is to be passage for men and animals to those streams, fountains or pools and to those waters, ponds or marshes and access to water for those who shall hold or shall possess that land, in the same way as there was for those who held or possessed that land. And the condition and law for passage to water is to exist in the same way for those who hold or possess or shall hold or shall possess that land. (Urs. 76-79)

Most towns or cities had important relations with the world outside their boundaries. For many different reasons ambassadors could be sent; in most cases these were important citizens who were sent:

When it is necessary for one or more ambassadors to be sent anywhere on the common business of the municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum, then the duumvir who is in charge of the administration of justice is to raise with the decuriones or conscripti the sending of ambassadors. When the matter has been thus raised, he is to send and depute so many ambassadors, to such a destination, on such business, as the decuriones or conscripti have decided are to be sent, [namely] those who are then obliged to undertake the munus of an embassy in their turn, provided he does not send or depute anyone who then or in the previous year is or has been duumvir, aedile or quaestor in that municipium and has not presented the accounts of the duumvirate, aedileship or quaestorship which has been held and had them approved by the decuriones or conscripti of that municipium; or anyone who has had in his possession funds which are the common funds of the municipes of that municipium or who has handled or managed the finances or common business of the municipes of that municipium and has not yet restored those funds to the common account of the municipes of that municipium or presented his accounts to the decuriones or conscripti, or to the person or persons to whom the commission has been given of receiving those [funds] and checking those [accounts], according to a decree of the decuriones or conscripti which has been passed when not less than two thirds of them were present, and had them approved, unless not less than two thirds of all the decuriones or conscripti decided that any of them was to be send or deputed.

Whoever has been deputed under this statute, unless the decuriones or conscripti have accepted his excuse or he has sworn in the presence of the decuriones or conscripti by Jupiter and the Divine Augustus and the Divine Claudius and the Divine Vespasian Augustus and the Divine Titus Augustus and the genius of the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and the Penates that he is 60 or over or that illness is a reason why he cannot perform that embassy, he is to perform that embassy or he is to provide a substitute at the discretion of the decuriones or conscripti from that ordo who is to perform that embassy, provided that he does not provide someone who is obliged to perform the burden of that embassy in his own name. Whoever knowingly and with wrongful intent does not perform an embassy in this way and does not provide a substitute according to this statute who may perform the embassy for him and does not swear as laid down above and does not have his excuse approved by the decuriones or conscripti, is to be condemned to pay 20.000 sesterces to the municipes of that municipium; and the right of action, suit and claim for that money and concerning that money is to belong to any of the municeps of that municipium who wishes and who is entitled under this statute.

No ambassador is to act or speak contrary to the instructions of the decuriones or conscripti (tablet VC) nor is he to apply wrongful intent so that anything happens contrary to the instructions of the decuriones or conscripti or that the embassy is completed or makes its report late. Anyone who knowingly and with wrongful intent acts contrary to these rules is to be condemned to pay the value of the case in which he did anything contrary to these rules. And the right of action, suit and claim for that money and concerning that money is to belong to any of the municipes of that municipium who wishes and who is entitled under this statute.

A duumvir is to give to each ambassador under the heading of daily expenses sa much as the decuriones or conscripti decided was to be given. (Irn. G through I)

There could be many reasons for sending these ambassadors: offering congratulations to the Caesar, consulting an oracle, or offering patronage of a town or city to an important individual. Offering this patronage was a very serious matter, and in all cases the town or city could expect certain privileges or advantages. The individual who was offered the patronage felt himself always very honoured and grateful, since it recognised his former achievements.

TOWN PERSONNEL AND FINANCES

All these institutions and magistrates need of course certain means to carry out their tasks. We already mentioned some magistrates who were assisted by a variety of scribae (town slaves). These slaves were property of the town or city, and they had to swear an oath:

Whoever shall be IIviri or aediles of the Colonia Iulia, they are to administer an oath to their scribes, who shall record public money and the accounts of the colonists, before they write or handle the public records, in a contio, openly, befor the light of day, on a market day, [facing] the forum, by Jupiter and the ancestral gods, that they will guard the public money of that colony and keep true accounts, as they shall deem it proper, without wrongful deceit, and that they will not falsify records knowingly with wrongful deceit. As each scribe shall have sworn in this way, he [the magistrate] is to see that he is entered in the public records. Whoever shall not have sworn in this way, is not to write the public accounts nor is he to receive the attendance money or fee for that matter. Whoever shall not have administered the oath, there is to be a fine of 5000 sesterces on him, and there is to be suit and claim for that sum by whoever shall wish according to this statute. (Urs. 81)

They also received payment to do their jobs: the aes apparitorium. This sum was paid from the town finances, and determined by law:

The scribes who are to write and prepare the comon records, books and accounts in that municipium, whom the decuriones or conscripti of that municipium, the majority, have approved, are to attend on the duumviri; and they, before they see the common records of their municipes or enter anything in them are to swear, each of them, by Jupiter and the Divine Augustus [and the Divine Claudius] and the Divine Vespasian Augustus and the Divine Titus Augustus and the genius of the Emperor Caesar Domitian Augustus and the Penates that they will write the common records of their municipes in good faith and that they will not knowingly and with wrongful intent enter anything false in those records or with wrongful intent leave out anything which ought to be entered in them. Anyone who does not swear in this way is not to be a scribe. The decuriones or conscripti are to appoint how much aes apparitorium it is appropriate to give to each kind of apparitor. It is to be allowed for the duumviri to spend from the common funds of the municipes of that municipium the sum which has been appointed in this way and for apparitores to receive it in this way, without incurring liability. (Irn. 73)

As all other slaves, the town slaves could also be set free (manumissio):

If any [duumvir] wishes to manumit a male or female public slave, he is to raise with the decuriones or conscripti when not less than two thirds of the decuriones or conscripti are present, concerning him or her, whether they believe that he or she should be manumitted. If not less than two thirds of those who are present decide that the manumission should take place and if he or she gives and pays to the public account for the municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum the sum which the decuriones decide should be received from him or her or gives security for it, than that duumvir in charge of the administration of justice is to manumit that male or female slave and order him or her to be free. Whatever man or woman has been manumitted and ordered to be free in this way is to be free and a Latin and they are to be municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum, nor is anyone to receive from them for their freedom more than the decuriones decide nor act in such a way that anyone receives anything for this reason or on this account; and the rights of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum in claiming the inheritance or the possession of the goods of the man or woman who has been manumitted in this way or over their operae or gifts or services are to be the same as if he or she were a freedman or freedwoman of a municipium of Italy. Whoever knowingly and with wrongful intent does anything contrary to these rules is to be condemned to pay to the public account for the municipes of the Municipium Flavium Irnitanum as much as is at issue, and the right of action, suit and claim for that money and concerning that money is to belong to any municeps of that municipium who wishes and who is entitled under this statute. (Irn. 72)

As we mentioned earlier, the town or city finances were managed by the quaestores. Most of this money came from gifts and fines. Fines were collected by the duumviri and written down in special books:

The duumviri who are in charge of the administration of justice are to order to be entered in the common records of the municipes of that municipium the fines imposed in that municipium by the duumviri or the prefect, likewise by the aediles, provided that the aediles have declared before the duumviri, both or either of them, that they have imposed them. If the person on whom the fine is imposed or someone else in his name demands that it should be raised with the decuriones or conscripti, there is to be a trial of the case by the decuriones or conscripti. And whatever fines have not been judged unjust by the decuriones or conscripti, the duumviri are to collect those fines for the public account of the municipes of that municipium. (Irn. 66)

Large and extensive gifts are not dealt with in the statutes. These were of course completely voluntary, although it seems to have been one of the major sources of income for all towns and cities throughout the Empire.

A third and special category under this heading are the chores. Either the local community as a whole, or an individual could be ordered to carry out certain jobs. The following articles deal with this matter:

Whatever business shall have been publicly assigned to anyone in the colony according to the opinion of the decurions, the person to whom the business shall have been assigned is to render and present an account of that matter to the decurions, as far as shall be possible, without wrongful deceit, within the 150 days next after [that] on which he shall have completed that business or on which he shall have ceased to undertake that business. (Urs. 80)

and

Whatever construction work the decurions of this colony shall have decreed, if the majority of the decurions shall have been present, when that matter shall be discussed, it is to be lawful for that construction work to take place, provided that they do not decree more each year for each adult man than five days' work each and for pairs of draught animals [for] each yoke three days' work each. And the aediles who shall then be [in office] are to be in charge of that construction work according to the decree of the decurions. As the decurions shall have decided, so they are to see that the construction work is done, provided that work be not exacted unwillingly of that person who shall be less than fourteen years or more than sixty years old. Whoever in that colony or within the boundaries of that colony shall have a domicile or estate and shall not be a colonist of that colony, he is to be liable to the same construction work as a colonist. (Urs. 98)

CONCLUSION

The two statutes used in this essay are rather equal to each other and other statutes throughout the Empire. Therefore we can assume that the information presented here can be used generally on all towns and cities. This information tells us how things were organised on a very local level, and I hope that I have succeeded in presenting this material as clearly as possible.
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