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Consilium

A council, or body of advisers. Such councils were called in, according to ancient Roman custom, by the presiding magistrate in civil and criminal cases. Even in the family tribunals, which decided cases affecting the members of the gens, a consilium of kinsfolk was thought necessary. The custom was that the presiding judge bound himself by the decision of his freely chosen consilium, but took the responsibility himself. The expression consilium was afterwards transferred to the regular juries of the courts which decided civil and criminal cases. (See Centumviri; Iudices.) The emperors, too, made a practice of inviting a consilium of friends to assist them in their judicial decisions. After the time of Hadrian, the members of the imperial consilium or consistorium appear as regularly appointed and salaried officers, the Consiliarii Augusti. These were generally, though not exclusively, selected from the body of professional jurists. See Consistorium.

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