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Comitia Centuriata

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Servian Reforms | Comitia Curiata | Comitia Centuriata

The supreme power in the Roman Republic was the assembly which was made up of all the citizens of Rome. There were two assemblies, the assembly of centuries (comitia centuriata) and the assembly of tribes (comitia tributa).

The comitia centuriata divided Romans on the basis of age and wealth as well as residence.

The citizens in each tribe were divided into 5 classes based on property and then each class was divided into 2 centuries+ on the basis of age. By the late Republican period, this created 350 units or centuries, based on the 35 tribes (a limit reached by 241 B.C.), to which another 18 were added from the richest (known as the centuries of knights) and five centuries from the poorest. In all, there were 373 centuries.* The assembly of tribes gave one vote to each of 373 centuries created on the basis of wealth and age.

Like the assembly of tribes, each century had one vote.

The Comitia Centuriata elected the judicial magistrates known as Praetors, the Censors, and the Consuls, all of whom had imperium 'power' [see Early Roman Power].

Main Sources:

  • +Taylor, Lily Ross, "The Centuriate Assembly Before and After the Reform," p. 344.
  • *Marsh, Frank Burr; revised by H.H. Scullard. A History of the Roman World From 146 to 30 B.C. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1971.

For an analysis of conflicting figures for membership in the Comitia Centuriata, see:

  • T.J. Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome. Chapter 7;
  • "The Reform of the Comitia Centuriata," by E. S. Staveley. The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 74, No. 1 (1953), pp. 1-33;
  • "Cicero on the Comitia Centuriata: De Re Publica, II, 22, 39-40," by G. V. Sumner. The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 81, No. 2 (Apr., 1960), pp. 136-156; and
  • "The Centuriate Assembly Before and After the Reform," by Lily Ross Taylor. The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 78, No. 4 (1957), pp. 337-354.

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