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An assembly in general, sometimes used in a loose way to designate the comitia of the centuries (Liv.ii. 28), or any contio. For the concilium plebis, see Comitia. The word also denotes the assemblies or meetings of confederate towns or nations, at which either their deputies alone, or any of the citizens who had time and inclination, met, and thus formed a representative assembly (Liv.i. 50). We find frequent traces of this, not only among the Italian nations, but also in the Greek States (τὸ κοινόν). (See Achaean League.) As the Romans conquered the neighbouring States of Italy, it was a regular part of their policy to break up the union of the vanquished tribes by forbidding the existence of such concilia (Liv. viii. 14,10). But Augustus not merely allowed the concilia to continue where they had previously been held, but instituted them also in other provinces; and this representative character was recognized. In theory, they were associations fermed for the worship of the imperial house. The president was the ἀρχιερεύς, or sacerdos provinciae, an official elected annually by the deputies (legati) from the most important towns. This dignitary was usually one of the most eminent and wealthy of the provincials, and had the immediate direction of the finances of the temple and its festivals; at a later time he had a certain power of control over all the priests of the province. After the concilium had taken part in the religious festival, it met again for the conduct of business. Its first duty was to pass the accounts of the expenditure connected with the provincial temple to Augustus, and to provide for the maintenance of the worship for the coming year; but then it was entitled to criticise the conduct of the governor, and either vote thanks to him or lay a complaint before the emperor (cf. the Inscription of Torigny, edited by Mommsen), which was frequently followed by his accusation (Epist. vii. 6). In this manner some control was exercised over the governor, and there was some approach to the creation of a representative body. See Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverw. i. 503-516, and his important essay in the Ephem. Epigr. (1872), pp. 200-214.

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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 28
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 50
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