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THE MILITARY TRIBUNES WITH CONSULAR POWER Shortly after the codification of the Twelve Tables, the chief executive office of the Roman state was reorganized.1 Beginning in 444 B.C. and extending down to 367 B.C., the eponymous officials of the Roman state fluctuated between two consuls and a board of military tribunes with consular power (also termed consular tribunes), who were at first three in number but were later increased to four and finally to six.2 As already discussed in connection with the prohibition of intermarriage between patricians and plebeians (see above p. 226), the accounts of Livy (4.1–7) and Dionysius (11.53–61) are rather different for the alleged political controversy between the senate and people during the year 445 B.C. Although Dionysius fails to treat the passage of the Canuleian Law, which Livy portrays in great detail, the two authors agree in reporting that the decision to create the office of consular tribune resulted from a compromise between the two orders over the issue Chapter 8 Evolution and Growth of the Roman State, 444–367 B.C. 234 1. For other modern treatments of the events covered in this chapter, see Ogilvie’s commentary on Livy Books IV–V in 1965, 526–752; Heurgon 1973, 173–75 and 180–86; Scullard 1980, 97–108 and 115–19; Cornell in CAH VII.2 1989, 298–338; Cornell 1995, 309–22 and 327–40; and Oakley’s commentary on Livy Book VI in 1997, 344–733. 2. The consular tribunate has been much discussed by modern scholars, with a variety of opinions expressed as to its nature and the cause(s) of its creation (e.g., political, military, or administrative). See Beloch 1926, 247–64; Cornelius 1940; von Fritz 1950; Staveley 1953; Adcock 1957; Boddington 1959; Sealey 1959; Ogilvie 1965, 539–50; Pinsent 1975, 29–61; Gutberlet 1985, 98 ff.; Ridley 1986; Drummond in CAH VII.2 1989, 192–95; Richard 1990; Cornell 1995, 334–39; Walt 1997, 313–18; Oakley 1997, 367–76; and Stewart 1998, 54–94. For the reliability of the fasti for these years, see Pinsent 1975 and Drummond 1980. For an explication of Roman thought concerning curule magistrates and the auspices, see Linderski in Eder 1990, 34–48. evolution and growth of the roman state 235 of plebeian access to the consulship. In order to avoid the passage of a tribunician bill legalizing plebeian access to the consulship, the senate succeeded in preserving the patrician monopoly of this office by creating the consular tribunate and allowing plebeians to hold this office instead. Consequently , according to the later annalistic tradition found in Livy and Dionysius, the domestic political history of Rome during the period 444–367 B.C. was punctuated by yearly disputes as to whether consuls or consular tribunes should be elected for the next year. After describing in considerable detail how the plebeian tribunes, consuls, and senate clashed over the proposal to open up the consulship to plebeian candidates and how they arrived at their political compromise, Livy (4.7.2) remarks: There are those who, without mentioning the proposed law concerning electing consuls from the plebs, say that because the two consuls were not able to handle so many wars at the same time due to a Veientine war being added to the war with the Aequians and Volscians as well as the defection of Ardea, three military tribunes were elected, and they exercised imperium and enjoyed the consular insignia. This statement clearly indicates that there was not unanimity in the ancient historical tradition concerning the reasons why the consular tribunate was established. Some writers interpreted it in terms of the struggle of the orders and the plebeians’ quest to attain Rome’s highest office, whereas others believed that the office was created merely out of military necessity. Given the rather monotonous and unimaginative way in which some of the later annalists interpreted virtually every step in early Rome’s internal development as an aspect of the struggle between patricians and plebeians, we are justified in viewing this ancient approach to the consular tribunate with considerable suspicion. As argued in chapter 7 (see above p. 227), the citations of Licinius Macer, the Linen Books, and the treaty with Ardea in Livy 4.7.10–12, concerning the names of the suffect consuls of 444 B.C., make it likely that Livy’s primary source for the first seven chapters of his...


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