Roman Cives and the right to bear arms

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Roman Cives and the right to bear arms

Postby Anonymous on Fri Jun 30, 2006 2:13 pm

I would to know if the roman citizens were allowed to bear arms.

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:50 pm

Salve Caesar

Are you planning on standing beneath a statue of Pompeius Magnus any time soon, Caesar, that you ask this question?

Depends on what you mean by "arms," and where. Inside the pomerium even the lictores who preceded the consules were not allowed to have axeheads in the elm fasces they carried. Soldiers were generally not permitted inside the pomerium or the City limits with weapons. To carry daggers inside the pomerium was considered, for the most part, an act of rebellion. Take as an example the riot that started after the death of Saturninus, both sides had knives and broke furniture to make clubs. Or the accusation that Cicero made against the followers of Catalina was that they were storing daggers inside the City with an intent to use them in a coup d'etat. In general, Romans were not to bear arms inside the City.

On the other hand, during the Republic, to be a Roman citizen meant that you were to provide your own weapons when called up to serve in the army. Exactly where those weapons came from I don't think anyone knows for certain. The assumption is that pateri familiae kept weapons for themselves and their sons, and perhaps for some of the clients. Those weapons were kept outside the City, and even when the army assembled, technically the men mustered outside the City.

M Horatius Piscinus

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