The Cursus Honor In Ancient Rome

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The cursus honorum or ‘course of honors’ was the order of public offices that young Roman freeborn male citizens followed to start his political career. The cursus honorum was created to be a system of checks and balances where at least two representatives were in each magistracy with limited terms that usually lasted one year. In the Roman republic, there were initially two consuls that used to be called praetors. As Rome expanded the need for magistrates increased. Consuls lost some of their responsibilities as more offices were made. During the empire, the cursus honorum became more of an advancement of social status than an advancement of power. In the early empire, the cursus honorum was extended, following the order of quaestor, aedile,…show more content…
Praetors originally were magistrates that replaced the king, and had military command, but during the middle of the republic, praetors presided over legal matters and the consuls took on the military role. The average age for a praetor was thirty-nine. They were elected for one year by the comitia centuria in July and entered on January 1st. In 366 B.C., the praetor urbanus (city praetor) was added who was in charge of legislation in Rome, and in 241 B.C., a second praetor was added to deal with legal cases that involved foreigners and cases between foreigners and citizens. As Rome expanded the number of praetors increased and in 80 B.C., the number went up to eight praetors. The remaining six praetors, the quaestiones perpetuae supervised over criminal courts. Praetors had imperium and were attended by six lictors in the provinces and two in the city. Lictors walked single file and attended magistrates with imperium. “Imperium was supreme authority, involving command in war and interpretation and execution of the law, including the passing of the death sentence” (Adkins 43). Praetor could also convene the Senate and other meetings. When consuls were away from Rome, praetors became chief executive officers and took up consular administrative duties. The praetor’s duties also grew and became in charge of public games and festivals. After the term of praetor was complete, one could become propraetor meaning ‘in place of praetor’. Propraetors had military command and governed

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