An assembly in general, sometimes used in a loose way to designate the comitia of the
centuries (Liv.ii. 28
), or any contio.
, 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
.) 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
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.
i. 503-516, and his important essay in the Ephem.
, pp. 200-214.