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QUINQUEVIRI or five commissioners, were frequently appointed under the Republic as extraordinary magistrates to carry any measure into effect. Thus Quinqueviri Mensarii, or public bankers, were occasionally appointed in a financial crisis, to manage loans and other banking business [ARGENTARII Vol I. p. 181]; the same number of commissioners was sometimes appointed to superintend the formation of a colony, though three (triumviri) was a more common number. [COLONIA Vol. I. p. 479 b.] We find, too, that Quinqueviri were created to superintend the repairs of the walls and of the towers of the city (Liv. 25.7), as well as for various other purposes.

Besides the extraordinary commissioners of this name, there were also permanent officers, called Quinqueviri cis Tiberim (Liv. 39.14), who were responsible for the safety of the city after sunset, especially to guard against fires, as it was inconvenient for the regular magistrates to attend to this duty at that time: they were first appointed soon after the war with Pyrrhus. (Dig. 1, 2, 2, 31.) Mommsen (Staatsrecht, 2.611) suggests that these were originally four, one for each of the old regions, and that the fifth was added for the Transtiberine region. The title cis Tiberim was still retained, and they were also called collectively Cistiberes (Dig. l.c.).

[W.S] [G.E.M]

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 7
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