The tribuni militum consulari potestate ("military tribunes with consular power"), in English also called consular tribunes, were tribunes elected with consular power during the so-called "Conflict of the Orders" in the Roman Republic, starting in 444 BC and then continuously from 408 BC to 394 BC and again from 391 BC to 367 BC.

Traditional account

Under Roman tradition, consular tribunes were elected in place of consuls as chief magistrates in fifty-one elections between 444 and 367 BC (seventy per cent of the time) and even more commonly between 408 and 367 BC.[1] Livy offered two explanations: that increased demands for military leadership meant more magistrates were necessary or that it was a political tactic related to the Conflict of the Orders in which patricians prevented plebeians from holding the consulship by substituting this tribunate.[2]

Livy states then that the choice whether a collegium of consular tribunes or consuls were to be elected for a given year was made by a decree of the senate.[3] The number of consular tribunes varied between three and six, and because they were considered colleagues of the two censors, there is sometimes mention of the "eight tribunes".[4]

Originally patrician office holders, they were referred to as "military tribunes", and were responsible for leading the armies into battle. It was only much later that they were given the anachronistic addition of "with consular power", in an attempt to distinguish them from the Military tribunes who were the legionary officers of the middle and late Republic.[5]

The tribunes, like their consular predecessors, exercised consular potestas,[6] indicating they must have been elected by the comitia centuriata, and that the current needs of the state could not be served by the previous consular system.[7] From their initial number of three, the consular tribunes were increased to four for the first time in 426 BC in response to the military situation which saw the Roman state capture and annex Fidenae.[7]

Then in 405 BC, the number of consular tribunes was increased to six for the first time; and after that, apart from the very occasional year in which eight or ten consular tribunes are recorded. The increase was due to the need for the consular tribunes to not only handle the military affairs of Rome, but also the administrative needs of the city as well.[8] The Roman state was led by six consular tribunes for almost every year down to the dissolution of the office and the reintroduction of the consulship and the creation of the praetorship with the Sextian-Licinian Rogations.[9]

Re-evaluation

The traditional account of the early republic has come under substantial attack that "it was a literary creation of the late republic" with little value for reconstructing the actual history of the early republic.[10]

Scholars also have rejected the emergence of the consular tribunate from the Conflict of the Orders: "Long ago [ie 1924], Meyer rejected Livy's assertion that the consular tribunate was a product of the Conflict of the Orders and instead suggested that increasing competition among patrician families drove up the annual number of commanders".[11]

Some modern scholars that the selection of consular tribunes reflected Rome's expanded military and administrative needs: that the consular tribunes, elected from the three ancient tribes of the Titienses, Ramnenses, and Luceres, were part of an overall redesign of the military structure of the Roman state to maximise military efficiency, which included the creation of the censorship (responsible for taking the census to identify the numbers of men capable of military duty) and the quaestorship (responsible for the supply of money and goods for the armies).[7]

The early history of Roman military command, however, is anomalistic and may reflect annalist "massaging their evidence to make it fit their preconceptions about the structure of Rome's early government".[12] Drogula argues that consular tribunes and fictitious proconsulships were imputed into the early republic by historians like Livy and Dionysius (or their sources) to rationalise the number of reported officeholders with their preconceived notion of a permanent two-man consulship.[13] Instead, consular tribunes may merely have been a collection of aristocrats leading warbands or raiding parties before the Roman state imposed a monopoly on military command and activity.[1]

The end of the consular tribunate in 367 BC with the Sextian-Licinian rogations also is decisively rejected as being caused by the Conflict of the Orders, attributed instead as reflecting demands for Roman government.[14] And reflecting institutionalisation of military command over a previous system without a fixed number of annual magistrate-commanders.[15]

Consular Tribunes by year

Presented by Varronian chronology. For more information on deciphering early Roman names, see Roman names.

Year Tribunes
444 BC
438 BC
434 BC
  • Ser. Cornelius Cossus
  • M. Manlius Capitolinus
  • Q. Sulpicius Camerinus Praetextatus
433 BC
  • M. Fabius Vibulanus
  • M. Folius Flaccinator
  • L. Sergius Fidenas
432 BC
426 BC
  • T. Quinctius Poenus Cincinnatus
  • C. Furius Pacilus Fusus
  • M. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
  • A. Cornelius Cossus
425 BC
424 BC
  • Ap. Claudius Crassus
  • Sp. Nautius Rutilus
  • L. Sergius Fidenas
  • Sex. Julius Iulus
422 BC
  • L. Manlius Capitolinus
  • Q. Antonius Merenda
  • L. Papirius Mugillanus
420 BC
419 BC
  • Agrippa Menenius Lanatus
  • P. Lucretius Tricipitinus
  • Sp. Nautius Rutilus
  • C. Servilius Axilla
418 BC
  • L. Sergius Fidenas
  • M. Papirius Mugillanus
  • C. Servilius Axilla
417 BC
  • P. Lucretius Tricipitinus
  • Agrippa Menenius Lanatus
  • C. Servilius Axilla
  • Sp. Rutilius Crassus
416 BC * A. Sempronius Atratinus
  • M. Papirius Mugillanus
  • Q. Fabius Vibulanus
  • Sp. Nautius Rutilus
415 BC
  • P. Cornelius Cossus
  • C. Valerius Potitus Volusus
  • N. Fabius Vibulanus
  • Q. Quinctius Cincinnatus
414 BC
  • Cn. Cornelius Cossus
  • L. Valerius Potitus
  • Q. Fabius Vibulanus
  • P. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
408 BC
407 BC
406 BC
  • P. Cornelius Rutilus Cossus
  • Cn. Cornelius Cossus
  • N. Fabius Ambustus
  • L. Valerius Potitus
405 BC
404 BC
  • C. Valerius Potitus Volusus
  • M'. Sergius Fidenas
  • P. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Cn. Cornelius Cossus
  • K. Fabius Ambustus
  • Sp. Nautius Rutilus
403 BC
  • M'. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • L. Valerius Potitus
  • Ap. Claudius Crassus Inregillensis
  • M. Quinctilius Varus
  • L. Julius Iulus
  • M. Furius Fusus
  • M. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
  • M. Postumius
402 BC
  • C. Servilius Ahala
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • L. Verginius Tricostus Esquilinus
  • Q. Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus
  • A. Manlius Vulso Capitolinus
  • M'. Sergius Fidenas
401 BC
400 BC
  • P. Licinius Calvus Esquilinus
  • P. Manlius Vulso
  • L. Titinius Pansa Saccus
  • P. Maelius Capitolinus
  • Sp. Furius Medullinus
  • L. Publilius Philo Vulscus
399 BC
  • Cn. Genucius Augurinus
  • L. Atilius Priscus
  • M. Pomponius Rufus
  • C. Duillius Longus
  • M. Veturius Crassus Cicurinus
  • Volero Publilius Philo
398 BC
397 BC
396 BC
  • L. Titinius Pansa Saccus
  • P. Licinius Calvus Esquilinus
  • P. Maelius Capitolinus
  • Q. Manlius Vulso Capitolinus
  • Cn. Genucius Augurinus
  • L. Atilius Priscus
395 BC
  • P. Cornelius Cossus
  • P. Cornelius Scipio
  • K. Fabius Ambustus
  • L. Furius Medullinus
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • M. Valerius Lactucinus Maximus
394 BC
391 BC
  • L. Lucretius Tricipitinus Flavus
  • Ser. Sulpicius Camerinus
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • L. Furius Medullinus
  • Agrippa Furius Fusus
  • C. Aemilius Mamercinus
390 BC
389 BC
  • L. Valerius Publicola
  • L. Verginius Tricostus
  • P. Cornelius
  • A. Manlius Capitolinus
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • L. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
388 BC
  • T. Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • L. Julius Iulus
  • L. Aquilius Corvus
  • L. Lucretius Flavus Tricipitinus
  • Ser. Sulipicius Rufus
387 BC
  • L. Papirius Cursor
  • Cn. Sergius Fidenas Coxo
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • Licinus Menentius Lanatus
  • L. Valerius Publicola
  • L. Cornelius
386 BC
385 BC
  • A. Manlius Capitolinus
  • P. Cornelius
  • T. Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
  • L. Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
  • L. Papirius Cursor
  • Cn. Sergius Fidenas Coxo
384 BC
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • P. Valerius Potitus Publicola
  • M. Furius Camillus
  • Ser. Sulpicius Rufus
  • C. Papirius Crassus
  • T. Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
383 BC
  • L. Valerius Publicola
  • A. Manlius Capitolinus
  • Ser. Sulpicius Rufus
  • L. Lucretius Flavus Tricipitinus
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • M. Trebonius
382 BC
  • Sp. Papirius Crassus
  • L. Papirius Mugillanus
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • C. Sulpicius Camerinus
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
381 BC
  • M. Furius Camillus
  • A. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
  • L. Postumius Albinus Regillensis
  • L. Furius Medullinus
  • L. Lucretius Tricipitinus Flavus
  • M. Fabius Ambustus
380 BC
  • L. Valerius Publicola
  • P. Valerius Potitus Publicola
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Licinus Menentius Lanatus
  • C. Sulpicius Peticus
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • Cn. Sergius Fidenas Coxo
  • Ti. Papirius Crassus
  • L. Papirius Mugillanus
379 BC
  • P. Manlius Capitolinus
  • C. Manlius
  • L. Julius Iulus
  • C. Sextilius
  • M. Albinius
  • L. Antistius
378 BC
  • Sp. Furius
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • Licinus Menenius Lanatus
  • P. Cloelius Siculus
  • M. Horatius
  • L. Geganius Macerinus
377 BC
  • L. Aemilius Mamercinus
  • P. Valerius Potitus Publicola
  • C. Veturius Crassus Cicurinus
  • Ser. Sulpicius Rufus
  • L. Quinctius Cincinnatus
  • C. Quinctius Cincinnatus
376 BC
  • L. Papirius Mugillanus
  • Licinus Menenius Lanatus
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Ser. Sulpicius Praetextatus
370 BC
  • L. Furius Medullinus
  • A. Manlius Capitolinus
  • Ser. Sulpicius Praetextatus
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • P. Valerius Potitus Publicola
  • C. Valerius Potitus
369 BC
  • Q. Servilius Fidenas
  • C. Veturius Crassus Cicurinus
  • A. Cornelius Cossus
  • M. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Q. Quinctius Cincinnatus
  • M. Fabius Ambustus
368 BC
  • T. Quinctius Cincinnatus Capitolinus
  • Ser. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • Ser. Sulpicius Praetextatus
  • Sp. Servilius Structus
  • L. Papirius Crassus
  • L. Veturius Crassus Cicurinus
367 BC
  • A. Cornelius Cossus
  • M. Cornelius Maluginensis
  • M. Geganius Macerinus
  • P. Manlius Capitolinus
  • L. Veturius Crassus Cicurinus
  • P. Valerius Potitus Publicola

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Drogula 2015, p. 25.
  2. ^ Drogula 2015, pp. 25–6.
  3. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita libri, IV.12.4
  4. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray. 1875. pp. 1148‑1152.
  5. ^ Bringmann 2007, p. 15.
  6. ^ Brennan 2001, 49 et seq.
  7. ^ a b c Forsythe 2005, p. 236.
  8. ^ Forsythe 2005, pp. 236–7.
  9. ^ Forsythe 2005, p. 237.
  10. ^ Drogula 2015, pp. 8–9.
  11. ^ Drogula 2015, p. 37.
  12. ^ Drogula 2015, pp. 26–7.
  13. ^ Drogula 2015, p. 26.
  14. ^ Drogula 2015, p. 38.
  15. ^ Drogula 2015, p. 35.

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