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Comitia Curiata

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Definition: The Comitia Curiata was an archaic political assembly in ancient Rome that survived in vestigial form until the end of the Republic. Most of what is said about it is supposition. Curiata comes from the term curia, a place of meeting. This location term was applied to curiae, which refers to the 30 kinship groups into which the Roman families were divided and that provided men for the military. These curiae were split among the three tribes of the period of the first king, Romulus. The three Romulan tribes were the Ramnenses, Titienses, and Luceres, supposedly named for
  1. Romulus and connected with the Palatine Hill,
  2. the Sabine Titus Tatius and connected with the Quirinal Hill, and
  3. an Etruscan warrior named Lucumo, associated with the Caelian.

It acted on the votes of its constituent members (the curiae). Each curia had one vote that was based on the majority of the votes of the members of that curia.

The function of the Comitia Curiata was to confer imperium and to play certain formal roles, like witnessing adoptions and wills. It may have played a role in the selection of kings. The power of the king and the Senate dwarfed that of the Comitia Curiata during the Regal period.

Examples:
Edward E. Best writes: "[The] functions [of the comitia curiata] by the last century of the Republic had become a formality performed by 30 lictors representing each of the curiae."

Sources:

  • "Literacy and Roman Voting," by Edward E. Best; Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 23, H. 4 (4th Qtr., 1974), pp. 428-43.
  • A History of the Roman World 753-146 B.C., by H.H. Scullard; 1961
  • The Beginnings of Rome, by T.J. Cornell; 1995
  • "The Servian Reforms"
    Hugh Last
    The Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 35, Parts 1 and 2 (1945), pp. 30-48.

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