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DIRIBITO´RES

DIRIBITO´RES are said by most modern writers to have been the persons who gave to the citizens the tabella with which they voted in the comitia; but Wunder has most distinctly proved, in the preface to his Codex Frfurtensis (pp. cxxvi.--clviii.), that it was the office of the diribitores to divide the votes when taken out of the cistae, so as to determine which had the majority. He remarks that the etymology of diribere would lead us to assign to it the meaning of “separation” or “division,” as it is compounded of dis and habere in the same manner as dirimere is of dis and emere; the h disappears as in praebere and debere, which come respectively from prae and habere, and de and habere. In several passages diribitio suffragiorum immediately precedes the renuntiatio, and hence the word cannot have any other signification than that given by Wunder. (Cic. pro Planc. 20, 49 ad Qu. Fratr. 3.4.1; Varr. de Re Bust. 3.2.1, 3.5.18 ; Lex Malac. § 55, 1. 12.)

When Cicero says (in Pison. 15, 36), “vos rogatores, vos diribitores, vos custodes tabellarum,” we may presume that he mentions these officers in the order in which they discharged their duties in the comitia. It was the office of the rogatores to collect the tabellae which each century gave, as they used, before the ballot was introduced, to ask (rogare) each century for its votes, and report them to the magistrate who presided over the comitia. The diribitores, as has been already remarked, divided the votes when taken in the cistae to the villa publica, and there sorted them; the custodes, among whom were the agents of the candidates, checked them off by points marked on a tablet. [Compare CISTA , SITULA.]

[W.S]

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