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Either ordinary magistrates or officers, or else extraordinary commissioners, who were frequently appointed at Rome to execute any public office. The form triumvir is quite legitimate, and the gen. plur. is often used as a predicate of a single individual; but it is doubtful whether there is any good authority for the nom. plur. triumviri, although it is often found in our texts: MSS. seem always to give iiiviri. The following is a list of the most important of both classes, arranged in alphabetical order:


Tresvĭri Agro Dividundo. See Tresviri Coloniae Deducendae below.


Tresvĭri Capitāles appear to have been regularly appointed first in about B.C. 290 (Livy, Epit. 11). At first the tresviri were not chosen by the people, but nominated, probably by the Praetor Urbanus, who at a later time presided at their election.

In criminal cases their main duty was to look to the safer custody of the convicted, and to execute capital punishment. The usual form of execution was, for the upper classes and for women, strangling in prison (triumvirale supplicium, Tac. Ann. v. 10), a fate which befell the fellow-conspirators of Catiline (Sall. Cat. 55); slaves were crucified, also under their supervision. They had also the duty of receiving charges (Plaut. Aul. 413) and of arresting offenders; and generally of looking after the police of Rome, for which purpose they had a post in the Forum near the Columna Maenia (Pro Cluent. 13, 39). Their duty was to go the round of the streets by night, and to seize and punish disorderly characters (Plaut. Amph. ad init.), and, as being charged with the safety of the city, they were required to be present at once in cases of fire. There is no trace of any independent criminal jurisdiction; even a slave had to be condemned by a regular court; but this does not preclude the administration of such punishment as was necessary to keep order. They had further to exact and to pay into the treasury the sacramenta due in civil suits, and to decide upon the obligation to serve as iudices (Cic. Brut. 31, 117). Here, as in other cases, they appear as the assistants of the praetors. Under the Empire their functions were mainly discharged by the praefectus vigilum. See Vigiles.


Tresvĭri Coloniae Deducendae were persons appointed to superintend the formation of a colony. Since they had besides to superintend the distribution of the land to the colonists, we find them also called Tresviri Coloniae Deducendae Agroque Dividundo, and sometimes simply Tresviri Agro Dando. The number three was the most usual one, but we also find commissions of five, seven, ten, fifteen, or twenty, as might be determined by the law instituting the colony.


Tresvĭri Epulōnes. See Epulones.


Tresvĭri Equĭtum Turmas Recognoscendi, or Legendis Equĭtum Decuriis, were magistrates first appointed by Augustus to revise the lists of the equites, not at the census, but at the transvectio equitum, and to admit persons into the order, which was formerly part of the duties of the censors (Suet. Aug. 37).


Tresvĭri Monetāles. See Moneta.


Tresvĭri Reficiendis Aedĭbus, elected in the Comitia Tributa in the time of the Second Punic War, a commission for the purpose of repairing and rebuilding certain temples (Livy, xxv. 7).


Tresvĭri Reipublĭcae Constituendae. We have no certain mention of officers or magistrates under this name till towards the close of the Republic, when the supreme power was shared between Lepidus, Antonius, and Caesar (Octavianus), who administered the affairs of the State under the title of Tresviri Reipublicae Constituendae. This office was conferred upon them in B.C. 43 by a law of P. Titius the tribune for five years (Livy, Epit. 120); and on the expiration of the term, in B.C. 38, was conferred upon them again, in B.C. 37, for five years more. The coalition between Iulius Caesar, Pompeius, and Crassus, in B.C. 60 (Vell. Pat. ii. 44; Livy, Epit. 103), is usually called the First Triumvirate, and that between Octavianus, Antony, and Lepidus, the Second; but it must be borne in mind that the former never bore the title of tresviri, nor were invested with any office under that name, whereas the latter were recognized as regular magistrates under the above-mentioned title.


Tresvĭri Sacris Conquirendis Donisque Persignandis, extraordinary officers elected in the Comitia Tributa in the time of the Second Punic War, to take care that all property given or consecrated to the gods was applied to that purpose (Livy, xxv. 7). See Vota Publica.


Tresvĭri Senatus Legendi, officers appointed, whenever required by Augustus, to admit persons into the Senate, which had been the duty of the censors heretofore.

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 37
    • Tacitus, Annales, 5.10
    • Plautus, Amphitruo, 1.1
    • Plautus, Aulularia, 3.2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 7
    • Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, 55
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