Elections and Government Buildings

Political Institutions
• Comitium (‘people’s assembly’)
• Ordo Decurionum (legislative
• Magistracy ( 2 senior and 2 junior
• Annual election- 2 duumvirs and 2 aediles
• Could be elected more than once
(Marcus Holconius Rufus=5x)
• March
• Toga candida
• Term begins 1 July
Male, freeborn citizen of good character
Property requirement
Over 25
Duumvir has to have been aedile already
• 100,000 seterces (ordo)
• Money to buy votes
• Money to pay for games and buildings.
• Inscription in black and red paint 55/56 CE
or later, House of Trebius Valens( III, ii, 1)
(CIL IV 7991)
• 20 pairs of gladiators of Gnaeus Alleius
Nigidius Maius, quinqennial, and their
substitutes will fight without any public
expense at Pompeii
Location designations
Electoral Districts
Forenses ( Southwest, Forum area)
Campanienses (Nola)
Salienienses (Herculaneum)
• Single group choice- winner
Gets majority of groups
7,500 out of 24,000 eligible to vote
• In Forum ( ?)
• Tesserula
• Tabella
• Arca/cista
Electoral Inscriptions
( Programmata)
Name and office
Abbreviations– v.b= virum bonum
D(ignum) R(ei)P(ublicae)
O (ro) V(os) F(aciatis)
Names of @ 131 candidates most (90%) after 62 CE
@ 2800 inscriptions found
Chronology determined by J. Franklin 1980
Professional sign painters
• Aemelius Celer ( signed)
• Worked by night in teams (evidence from
“ Neighbors, I beg you to elect Lucius Statius
Receptus duumvir with judicial power, a
worthy man. Aemilius Celer wrote this a
neighbor. You jealous one who destroys this
may you fall ill”. CIL IV 775(IX.vii.8)=ILS
His neighbors ask for Cn. Helvius Sabinus, an honest
man, as aedile
(CIL iV 7928 ( IX. xiii.1)
Dormis ( you sleep/do you sleep?)
Wake up (?) and vote for Helvius Sabinus for aedile
(CIL IV 2993t)
Occupational Endorsements
• Bread-bakers, carpenters, dyers, fruit
sellers, fullers, goldsmiths, grape-pickers,
mule-drivers, ointment sellers….
Occupational Endorsements
• The millers ask for and desire Gn. Helvius
Sabinus as aedile, together with his
neighbors (CIL IV 7747 ( III.vi.1)
• Hermes with the chicken-keepers asks for
Cn. Helvius as aedile (CIL IV 241(VI.xii.7)
Women’s role (more than 50
• Iunia asks for you to elect Cn. Helvius
Sabinus aedile (CIL IV 1168)
• Claudius’ little girl-friend is working for his
election as duovir
• Vote for Lucius Popidius Sabinus: his
grandmother worked hard for his last
election and is pleased with the results.
Negative campaigning?
All those asleep and Macerius ask for Vatia as
aedile (CIL IV 575)=ILS 641e
The little thieves ask for Vatia as aedile
(CIL IV 576= ILS
The late drinkers all ask you to elect Marcus
Cerrinius Vatia aedile. Florus and Fructus
wrote this. (CIL IV 581=ILS 641d)
• 79CE -Duumvirs (not many candidateshad to be aedile first)
• Gaius Gavius Rufus
• Marcus Holconius Priscus
All the fruit sellers with Helvius Vestalis call for
Marcus Holconius Priscus as duumvir for lawsuits
• 79 CE—Aediles ( competitive office)
• Gaius Cuspius Pansa
• Lucius Popidius Secundus
• Marcus Sabellius Modestus
• Gnaeus Helvius Sabinus
Patronage: Prominent families
Popidiae and the Poppaeae
House of the Citharist
House of Menander
Gnaeus Helvius Sabinus
• The Poppaei ask for Helvius Sabinus to be
elected aedile (CIL IV 357) (IX.v. 11,
Street of Nola)
• The Popidii ask for Helvius Sabinus as
aedile (CIL IV 705)
• Temple of Isis rebuilt by freedman of
Rome vs. Pompeii ( 40’s BCE)
• On another occasion, Cicero openly mocked Julius
Caesar’s willingness to appoint people to the
Senate. For when he was asked by his host
Publius Mallius to hasten his stepson’s entry to the
ordo, he replied in front of a great many people,
‘ he shall have it at Rome, if you wish; at Pompeii it
is difficult’. (Macrobius, Saturnalia, 2.3.11)
District Officials
• Within the walls districts ( vici) had
officials in charge of cult of Lares ( 2
• Area outside of walls divided into districts
with local administrators who could be
freedmen. (magistri)
• Slave attendants (ministri)
Fortunate Augustan Suburban Country
Country Districts
• Inhabitants= pagani
• Formal system for meeting and passing
decrees ( inscriptions from honorary
• To Marcus Holconius, son of Marcus,
duumvir with judicial power, quinqennial,
priest of Augustus; the inhabitants of a
country district set this up(CIL X 944)