, or συναγωγή
) is properly a name which may be given to any assembly of
men who meet for a certain purpose. (Paul. Diac. p. 41, ed.
Müller.) But when the Romans had reduced foreign countries into the
form of provinces, the word conventus
also in a more definite meaning, for the meetings of the provincials in
certain places appointed by the praetor or proconsul for the purpose of
administering justice. (Cic. in
Verr. 2.20, 48
; 30, 74
; 4.29, 67
; Cic. Fam. 15.4
; Hor. Sat.
1.7, 22; Caes. Civ. 2.21
Hirt. Bell. Afr.
97.) In order to facilitate the
administration of justice, a province was divided into a number of districts
or circuits, each of which was likewise called conventus,
(Cic. in Verr. 2.26, 63
: Plin. Ep. 10.5
; H. N.
3.7, 4.117, 5.105.) In Hispania Tarraconensis there were seven such conventus,
in Baetica four, in Lusitania three, in
Illyria three, in Cilicia in the time of Pompeius eight, in Asia about
eleven (Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverw.
citizens living in a province were likewise under the jurisdiction of the
proconsul, and accordingly [p. 1.541]
all that had to settle
any business at a conventus had to make their appearance there. The towns
which had the Jus Italicum had magistrates of their own with a jurisdictio,
from whom there was no doubt an appeal to the proconsul. At certain times of
the year, fixed by the proconsul, the people assembled in the chief town of
the district. To hold a conventus was expressed by conventus agere, peragere, forum agere,
&c. (Caes. Bell. Gall.
1.54, 5.1, 8.46; Act. Apost.
19.38.) At such a conventus litigant parties applied to the proconsul, who
selected a number of judges from the conventus, generally from among the
Romans residing in the province, to try their causes. (Cic. in Verr. 2.1. 3, 32
was made a charge against Verres that he selected the judices
from among his own suite. The proconsul himself
presided at the trials, and pronounced the sentence according to the views
of the judges, who were his assessors (consiliarii
] As the proconsul had to carry on all official proceedings
in the Latin language (V. Max. 2.2
), he was always attended by an interpreter.
(Cic. in Verr. 3.37, 84
13.54.) These conventus
appear to have been generally held after the proconsul
had settled the military affairs of the province; at least when Caesar was
proconsul of Gaul he made it a regular practice to hold the conventus after
his armies had retired to their winter-quarters. In the time of the emperors
certain towns in each province were appointed as the seats of standing
courts, so that the conventus
(Cod. Just. i. tit. 40, s. 6.) The term conventus is lastly applied to
certain bodies of Roman citizens living in a province, forming a sort of
corporation, and representing the Roman people in their district or town;
and it was from among these that proconsuls generally took their assistants.
Such corporations are repeatedly mentioned, as, for example, at Syracuse
(Cic. in Verr. 2.13
29, 72; 3.13, 4.25, 31, 5.36, &c.), Capua (Caes. de Bell.
1.14; Cic. p. Sest.
), Salona (Caes. de Bell. Civ.
3.9), Puteoli (Cic. in Vat. 5
), and Corduba
(Caes. de Bell. Civ.
2.19; comp. PROVINCIA