previous next


TABULA´RIUM the place, at Rome and elsewhere, where the tabulae publicae, or state archives, were kept, corresponding to the μητρῷον at Athens [ARCHEION]. The tabulae publicae comprised rogations, senatusconsulta, and plebiscita; records of finance, of public contracts, of debtors to the state, the censors' registers (tabulae censoriae), registers of births and deaths (Capitol. M. Anton. Phil. 9); records of judicial matters, not only of trials, but also of jury lists (Cic. Phil. 5.5, 15), and records of elections (Cic. Pis. 15, 36). But these were not all, at all periods of history, kept together in one place or under one control. The records of the censors and finance were probably from a very early date onwards kept in the treasury in the Temple of Saturn, and under control of the quaestors. [AERARIUM; QUAESTOR.] On the other hand, from the date 447 B.C. the plebeian aediles had charge not only of plebeian archives, but also of senatusconsulta, subject to a general control or right of inspection by the tribunes (Liv. 3.55; Zonar. 7.15); and when these records also were transferred to the Aerarium (see below), the quaestors shared with the aediles and tribunes the charge of the state archives in general (see Mommsen, Staatsr. 2.490). This arrangement, giving the custody to aediles and tribunes conjointly with the regular officials of the treasury, lasted till 12 B.C., when Augustus took it away from them on account, as Dio says, of their negligence (D. C. 54.36; cf. Cic. de Leg. Agr. 3.2. 0, 46). In consequence again of loss and decay of documents, Tiberius A.D. 16 [p. 2.755]appointed special curatores tabulariorum publ. to assist the regular officers of the treasury (D. C. 57.16). The changes made by various emperors between quaestors, praetors, and praefects of the treasury are described under AERARIUM Vol. I. p. 36 a (cf. Mommsen, Saatsr. 2.557-560).

The permanent depository, or tabularium, for plebiscita and senatusconsulta was in the Temple of Ceres until the year 187 B.C., when they were transferred to the Aerarium (Liv. 39.4), which, so far as our evidence shows, became then the sole permanent tabularium at Rome (cf. Serv. ad Georg. 2.502). It may be inferred from this that the burning of the tabularium during civil tumults early in the 1st century B.C., alluded to by Cicero (pro Rab. perd. 3, 8; de Nat. Deor. 3.30, 74), must imply that the part of the Temple of Saturn which formed the tabularium was destroyed at that time and afterwards rebuilt. The history of the remains of a so-called tabularium above the Forum, and the precise meaning of the statement that Lutatius Catulus built a tabularium in B.C. 78 (C. I. L. 6.1313, 1314), still need elucidation, but need not be discussed here. [See Dict. of Geography, s. v. Rome; Middleton, Rome, p. 232; O. Richter in Baumeister's Denkm. p. 1482; Mommsen, Ann. Inst. 1858, p. 211, who thinks that the substructio spoken of belonged to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus.] There were also temporary tabularia at Rome for the tabulae censoriae, which seem to have given rise to the belief in a number of permanent tabularia (Burn, Rome and the Campagna, p. 97). The fact is that the censors held the census of the people in the Campus Martius, and deposited the records during their term of office in the Temple of the Nymphs (Cic. pro. Mil. 27, 73), which is believed to have been in the Campus. The equestrian census was held in the Forum, and accordingly its records were deposited by the censors during their term of office in the Atrium Libertatis (Liv. 43.16), which from Cic. Att. 4.1. 6 seems to have been in or near the Forum. At the expiration of their office they deposited all their records in the Aerarium (Liv. 29.37), except possibly in very early times, when they seem to have retained them in their private tablina (Dionys. A. R. 1.74). The existence of these temporary tabularia besides the permanent tabularium of the treasury may be implied in the plural word of Verg. G. 2.502; but it is more probable that the poet speaks of the tabularium and merely uses the plural for the singular.

It is an error also to regard the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus as a tabularium (if we mean thereby a receptacle for tabulae publicae). The treaties and agreements with foreign states and the senatusconsulta ratifying such agreements were deposited in this temple, but they were always engraved on bronze plates (tabulae aeneae, χαλκώματα), and were not included in the tabulae publicae, nor was their repository called a tabularium. (Plb. 3.26; Cic. Phil. 3.12, 30; ad Fam. 13.36; Suet. Vesp. 8; Liv. 26.24; Mommsen, Staatsrecht, 1.255.)

As regards the method of entering decrees, &c., on the tabulae publicae, see SENATUSCONSULTUM p. 637; SCRIBA; Mommsen, Staatsr. 3.1011-1021. In the chief town of every province there was a tabularium in which records of surveys and the registers of the census (by Greek writers called ἀναγραφαί) were preserved (Marquardt, Staatsverw. 2.313, where numerous inscriptions are cited): it appears, however, that abstracts or copies were also sent to Rome, as is stated by both Tertullian (adv. Marcion, 4, 7) and Chrysostom (vol. ii. p. 356 c, Montf.) in treating of the ἀπογραφὴ mentioned in the Gospels (Marquardt, ib. p. 216). So also there were tabularia in Italian towns for municipal records (Cic. pro Arch. 4, 8; cf. pro Cluent. 14, 41). [For the tabularium castrense, see EXERCITUS Vol. I. p. 803 a.]


hide References (17 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (17):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.1.6
    • Polybius, Histories, 3.26
    • Cicero, For Milo, 27
    • Cicero, Against Piso, 15
    • Cicero, Against Piso, 36
    • Cicero, On the Agrarian Law, 3.2.0
    • Cicero, For Archias, 4
    • Cicero, Philippics, 3.12
    • Cicero, Philippics, 3.30
    • Cicero, Philippics, 5.15
    • Cicero, Philippics, 5.5
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.502
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 43, 16
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 29, 37
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 55
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 24
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: