Rogatio Valeria de Senatu Censoribusque

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Contio?

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:09 pm

Salvete Sodales...

How long was the contio (discussion period) supposed to be on this rogatio? Seems to me we ought to have done something with it by now...

I'm also still waiting for other parts of the Plan to be introduced as concrete proposals. Ubi sunt, Quinte Valeri? Even the community memory will not retain your worthy concept forever. Vote it up, vote it down, but no part of it deserves to be yawned to death.

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:25 am

Salvete

I haven't seen an articulated proposal as of yet. Only a general concept. While Scerio as a over all plan in his mind, I don't think we need be too concerned with developing an entire reform package. We can do this in parts, and should adopt those parts as they become needed.

I am not opposed to forming a Senate again after the general manner that has been proposed. I think there should be a limit set on the number of its members, a limit set as a proportion of the total membership. There is no need for a monthly review. New members for the Senate can be adlected annually. I like the idea of two levels of magistracies screening applicants, and then having the full Senate vote on new members. That is, Consules can recommend individual Sodales of their choice, the Censores could then remove anyone they so chose before the final list of potential new members would be submitted to the Senate for a vote.

I do not think that Censores should be elected annually. In Roma antiqua they had a term as long as five years. We wouldn't necessarily have to have so long a term, but the offices of Censores provides a long term overview for SVR's development, so it is one office that might have a term of longer duration.

At the Founding of the Res Publica Roma antiqua adopted a single Praetor, and shortly afterward two Praetores, as the executive officers in place of the Magister Populi. By then the Rex had already become a religious officer rather than a political king. In time a third Praetorship was created and the two highest Praetores became known as Consules. Later still there came in a second Praetor again. Each Consul and Praetor had their areas of responsibility (provincia) assigned to them by the Senate.

My question here is what specific duties are intended for the Censores, Consules, and any other executive offices that are being considered now?

Then there was also mentioned creation of Tribuni. What are to be their function and powers?

I think that for any proposal intended to create new officers it should delineate exactly the function, area of responsibility, and limitations of authority of the office. And I would prefer that such proposals be made separate for each office intended. I do not wish to see any office created without there being an actual role to fill and a need to have such a role in SVR.

As for a Magister Populi, Dictator, Imperator, or anything else you wish to name it, I see no reason why SVR would want to submit to one officer holding arbitrary authority. We do not have a Rex in SVR and I see no reason to give anyone cause to seek becoming a Caesar. In the past, along with Marius I argued for eliminating the former ill-conceived provision that gave the Senate authority to issue a senatus consultus ultimum. The Senate never had such authority, no matter how often Cicero liked to claim it did. The only Dictators Roma antiqua had were Sulla who usurped the office by force and Caesar who coerced the Senate in bestowing the title on him. I will never agree to a provision that allows appointment of a Dictator in SVR. And as for the earlier officers, the Magister Populi and Magister Equitum, who held dictatorial powers, I see no reason to make provision for such offices in SVR. I won't support it.

The titles being bandied about would have SVR pose itself as a republic. I am not so sure we are. We once had Rectores because our organizational structure was originally intended to have the Sodales composed into Collegia. I think that whatever title s we now adopt should reflect the organization we have, or that we create. Censor, Consul, and Tribunus seems to me a bit pretentious. IMHO it would be better to first decide on what duties we wish our officers to perform, and then adopt suitable titles for their offices.

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Postby Publius Nonius Severus on Mon Jan 08, 2007 4:54 pm

Salvete!

I realize that I am quite a sodalis novus in the societas, but I hope you will hear my words as though I am speaking beyond my years...

Since I joined the SVR but a few short weeks ago I have put much thought and study into this rogatio and the related discussion threads that preceded it. I would like to share my ideas with you here:

I too believe that we are not/should not portend to be a republic. But, as a society, we do need some additional governance (magistrates and senate) for two reasons:

1) In order to rightly pursue our mission and purpose.

and

2) as noted by our friend Marius:
"But the point---the overarching principle of the thing as a whole--is to increase the level of involvement of the Sodales by giving them some things to do and some rewards for doing it."


The via romana was in a large part reflective of the Senate and People of Rome. In our current state, we are just "the people". If we are to truly pursue the via romana we need to have a senate and an accompaning cursus honorum.

So, we need magistrates and a senate...but how? As we all know, the previous form of governance (prior to the concilium reforms) was too big, too top heavy, unsustainable with our current active member base. None the less, there are still vital functions to be performed so the new regulae was chartered to keep us afloat. Our esteemd officers of the Curia have carried us well, but we have lost our romanitas along the way.

So what should the new form of governance consist of? First, the magistrates. Regarding the form and function of the magistrates, I heartily agree with our distinguished Piscinus:
I think that for any proposal intended to create new officers it should delineate exactly the function, area of responsibility, and limitations of authority of the office.


Along those lines, in my humble view, here is what needs to be done as it corresponds to historical precedence and practicaility of a moden internet-based society (before you say..."No, too big!" please read on:

Consul - Overall oversight of the mission and purpose of the society
Censor - Membership application, senatorial selection, maintenance of lists
Praetor - Guide in the absence of Consuls, membership adjudication issues
Aedile - Maintenance of the website and fora
Rector - Guidance and Leadership in the Collegia
Quaestor - Assist in guiding the Colleges (financial duties, if ever)
Tribune Sodalium - Protect the rights of the members, assist with "legislating"

But, we do not have enough active membership (yet - I like to stay positive) to field so many positions, so I would propose to start small with the following "consolidated" positions:

-2 Consuls (Who perform Consular, Censorial, and Praetorial duties)
-2 Aediles (Who perform Aedilic and Quaestorial duties)

So, why these positions with duties as such? Primarily, they are structured to attend to the most vital needs of the society: the furtherance of its mission, and the "physical" infrastructure necessary to sustain itself. Secondly, as Piscinus excellently stated, the government of the Res Publica Antiqua grew and evolved over time.

Specifically, the Consuls are to oversee the furtherance of the mission of the society. There should be two so that they can work collegially to that end and sufficiently meet the demands of their office. Why also have the Consuls take on the role of Censor and Praetor? Well, firstly, as previously stated, we do not have a large enough membership (yet) to fill so many roles, but the duties must still be performed. And secondly, as a historical precedent...the Censura and Praetura were functions of the early republican Consuls until the duties became sufficient enough to spin them off into unique positions. I would propose the same for us until our membership is large enough to sustain these positions.

Specifically regarding the Aediles, the maintenance of the physical infrastructue of the Res Publica Antiqua were the responsibility of the aediles. Our "physical" infrastructure (web site, fora) needs to be maintained as well. As far as the quaestorial duties go, since there is little (if any) real need for financial dealings related to the society, there would not (now) seem to be much need for quaestors, but, quaestors were also elected and then appointed to serve the Rectores Provinciae as well. I like to think of our Collegia as our "Provinciae" or our "legions" (legions in the sense that they are a manifestation of our greatness (in our case collective knowledge), not of any martial intentions or power). As such, quaestors appointed to governors or armies in the field played a vita roll in keeping the province or army functioning. Quaestors (or Aedile taking on that role) can do the same for our fora. I'll have more to say on this when I discuss our own cursus honorum below.

Eventually as we grow, we can "break" out these colateral duties and elect magistrates to take them on. A likely configuration would be in order and in addition to the above positions like 2 Censors, 1-2 Praetors, 1-4 Quaestors, 1-2 Tribuni Sodalium (Rectors should be appointed by the Senate (from amongst pronconsuls and propraetors - again more on this in a later post)).

As we grow and expand, there should indeed be a cursus honorum. (Quaestor/Tribune-->Aedile--->Praetor-->Consul-->(Censor)) but again only after we are big enough) Why a cursus? 1) As Marius stated, to encourage particiaption and reward as such (attaing higher office and thus recognition dignitas), and 2) to ensure that our Conuls, our guides, have a deep appreciation of the make up and operation of our society - the only way to do that is to serve in all (most) of the positions.

I do have specific duties in mind for each of the positions I have proposed above that closely resemble their descriptions in the original Regula Fundamentalis with some minor adaptations, but I will refrain from burdening you with them now until I can better gauge your reflections on the above.

I would like to now turn to the Senate. My thoughts on the Senate are not as profound as the magistrates above. Again I agree with Piscinus when he states:

I think there should be a limit set on the number of its members, a limit set as a proportion of the total membership

and
There is no need for a monthly review. New members for the Senate can be adlected annually


Whatever the number of senators is to be, the Censors should apply appropriate qualificatons when considering a sodalis seeking a seat in the Senate.

So, what should the qualifications be? They should be based on wealth (wait, not what you think, please read on). Just as in the Res Publica Antiqua, you could not be a member of the Senate without being in the upper economic class (I am actually planning on posting some thoughts on this in the Collegium Historicum later, but I degress) so to should a sodalis not be a member of our Senate until he or she has exhibited considerable "wealth" in the form of active particiaption in the society (fora discussions, articles & essays, etc.) Remember, one of the pillars of having a Senate and Magistrates is to encourage sodales to participate and be rewarded for it (in this case recognition of their contributions to the society by being accepted to the Senate). Accordingly, the Senate should be comprised of current magistrates and promagistrates who maintain their "wealth".

Once we determine the appropriate size of the Senate, I am confident that the censors will admit worthy members.

As to the function of the Senate, I do not have much to add beyond what has already been said, but the originall RF is a good starting place. I do think we should have Rectors *again, but appointed by the Senate amongst the proconsuls and propraetors. *The main purpose of the Rectors would be to re-vitalize the collegia (our backbone)...they seem a little stagnant as of late.

In summary, as I have articulated above, I think a restored Senate and appropriately enabled and titled magistrates are essential in restoring the romanitas of the SVR by encouraging our sodales to actively participate AND demonstrate our dignitas to prospective new sodales, the admittance of whom is essential to the society (I am not implying these measure are the only way, but they are an essential along with other means).

We need two consuls performing consular, censorial, and praetorial duties to guide the society and two aediles to maintain our infrastructure. When we grow (and I am confident that we will), additional unique offices can be added as appropriate.

I hope you have not found this post awfully presumptious from such a new soldalis. These are only my ideas on the structure of a society that I know I would like to belong to, and to that end, I plan on distinguishing myself as someone worthy of belonging to such an organization through active participation and selfless contribution.

-Severus
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De Senatus

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:52 pm

Salvete, amici Romani!

*Now* we're talkin'.

Now we, the membership of the Societas Via Romana, are talking in our Comitia about positive changes, in the hopeful direction of greater Romanitas, and this discussion has been joined by everyone from our senior members to our very newest.

Think about it. Is this not a remarkable thing? Has anything like it taken place in 1600 years? You who read this may or may not agree with the things that have been or will be said...but can't you just feel the Heritage within you, warm and deep as home-fire? I do, and I think it's beautiful...

I just wanted to comment on that, before sharing my own perspective on the matter before us.

We need a Senate. We need something for active Sodales to aspire to; but more importantly in my own vision, we need a council of some kind to advise the Magistrates, to hand out awards and recognition, and to otherwise express the "sense of the Societas". Said recognition could be an honorific, an appreciative note in the Forum, elevation in status, an appointment to a commission or position of responsibility, even an invitation to the Senate itself. A seat in the Senate would certainly be a great honor received; but its real purpose would be as an opportunity to give back to the Societas what the Senator has gotten from it--his wisdom, his experience, his counsel, his learning. In old Rome it was the duty of the wealthy man to return wealth to the community. He did so by erecting libraries, temples, gardens and monuments, thereby enriching the lives of all the people. We of the Societas do not measure our own wealth in gold or silver...but if I may be forgiven a unit-of-currency pun, we do have our talents. >({|;-)

I differ with magister Nonius in my belief that, as the Senate would be an advisory body, it should not contain serving Magistrates. We tried that; what we wound up with was the undesirable situation of the same dozen people doing all the work and running things. I want to crack that nut wide open. Everyone here is eligible for a seat in the Senate. It is up to each Sodalis to maintain that eligibility by constructive effort towards our Internet presence and in real-world Roman activities. Do so, and the "same dozen people" (now down to about eight) will graciously pass the torch...and thank you for freeing them to pursue their own Roman projects.

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Cursus Honorum

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Jan 09, 2007 3:06 am

On the Cursus Honorum:

I love my Magistracies, but...

When a serving Quaestor walks up to me and says "Mari, will you teach me enough HTML to cover the site, and lend me the keys to the server so that I may assist you in doing so?", I will believe in the workability of a cursus honorum for the Societas Via Romana...and not a moment before.

Non-cursus fans, the present arrangement isn't working too well for me either, and for the same reason.

Candidates for elective office are hard enough to come by without requiring them to have served in other positions first. While I love the idea of the Consuls knowing how to do what I do, not everyone is a techie--and not every techie is a manager--and we shouldn't pass up a good administrator just because he hasn't pummeled any Web documents into abject submission in the last year or two.

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Postby Publius Nonius Severus on Tue Jan 09, 2007 6:23 pm

Mi Venerabilis Mari et Omnes-

I would like to follow up on your poignant comments regarding the Senate and Cursus Honorum ideas I proposed.

On the Senate:
I differ with magister Nonius in my belief that, as the Senate would be an advisory body, it should not contain serving Magistrates. We tried that; what we wound up with was the undesirable situation of the same dozen people doing all the work and running things.


So do I corrently understand that you propose that a means of entering the senate should not be by being elected a magistrate and sitting ex officio (and/or being a promagistrate). So would a current senator need to resign from the senate if he/she wanted to run for office (and was subsequently elected?) Would he/she be allowed to return to the senate when his/her term was over? Or would a senator's term be fixed and not for life? I am open to all (or most at least) of these but would like to hear more.

On the Cursus:
When a serving Quaestor walks up to me and says "Mari, will you teach me enough HTML to cover the site, and lend me the keys to the server so that I may assist you in doing so?", I will believe in the workability of a cursus honorum for the Societas Via Romana...and not a moment before.


I completely support a cursus, BUT, only after we have a much larger active member base. We are too small to support it now so I regret that I made it sound like it should be adopted immediately. I also realize that the Aedile position would require a good teal of tech-related knowledge. But to that end, the Aedile could "oversee" the site and fora and Aedilic Scribae could be the techies (non-elected, volunteer, but an excellent way of showing active contribution). Yes, I know this means more people would have to have server access codes and the like but I trust we shant have any (more?) problems in that arena

Iterum Vobis gratias ago!

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(kinda OT) The Aedile Aedilis

Postby Aldus Marius on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:07 pm

Salve iterum, mi Severe!

Gratias ago for your comments on Magistrates in the Senate. They've given me something to think about. That's the great thing about having more than one brain at work on the matter; who knows when someone is going to think of something someone else has overlooked?

Let it be said that Aldus Marius returns good for good: now I've got one for you. >({|:-)

What does it mean for an Aedilis to "oversee" the site? Is there anything concrete he could be doing, or does he just delegate everything and sit there being Dull, Boring and Omnipresent? (Old Mari is retired on disability, and this is the only purposeful thing he does all day.)

I have a better idea. Since an Aedile's work is so different from any other Magistrate's, I think the office of Aedilis should stand outside the Cursus Honorum. Let's have our code-basher be a non-elected, volunteer, excellent contributor. That would avoid the (I think patently ridiculous) spectacle of an organization electing a new Webmaster every other year.

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Postby Publius Nonius Severus on Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:32 pm

Mari et Omnes-

With your statement:
I have a better idea. Since an Aedile's work is so different from any other Magistrate's, I think the office of Aedilis should stand outside the Cursus Honorum.


I concur fully!!! Upon deeper reflection (and historical consultation* - for that is at the root of my motivation) I too feel that "if" we one day have enough active members to have a cursus, that the position of Aedile should be an optional rung in that ladder. I can also easily envision the position being an appontment rather than elected as you have said.

*The Aedileship was optional in the res publica, so it could easily (and should) be in our beloved societas.

Taking all of this into consideration, I may begin proposing specifics on the responsibilities of the magistries proposed in this thread.

Until then!

Valete!

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