were 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: e.g. si triumvirum
but it is doubtful whether there is any good authority for the
nom. plur. triumviri,
although it is often found in
our texts: MSS. seen always to give iiiviri.
following is a list of the most important of both classes, arranged in
1. TRESVIRI AGRO DIVIDUNDO
. [TRESVIRI COLONIAE DEDUCENDAE
2. TRESVIRI CAPITALES
appear to have been regularly
appointed first in about B.C. 290 (Liv. Epit.
). If Mommsen is right in identifying them with the tresviri nocturni
(cf. Ussing on Plaut.
155), there is a reference to the office somewhat
earlier in Liv. 9.46
, where he says of Cn. Flavius, curule aedile in B.C. 304,
“quem aliquanto ante desisse scriptum facere arguit Macer Licinius
tribunatu ante gesto triumviratibusque nocturno altero, altero coloniae
deducendae:” but this reference is of doubtful authority, not
only because Livy ascribes the institution of the office to a later date,
but also because it certainly was not a magistracy, as Licinius regards it,
until a much later date. 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. Festus (s. v.
) gives a quotation from the law
by which L. Papirius, a tribune of the commons, enacted that they should be
elected: “quicunque praetor posthac factus erit qui inter civis jus
dicet, tres viros capitales populum rogato.” This law must have
been after B.C. 242, for it assumes the existence of at least two praetors,
and this also disposes of the conjecture of Niebuhr, that Festus meant L.
Papirius, praetor in B.C. 292 (Hist. Rom.
3.407-8): but it must have been before B.C. 124, when they appear in the
Bantine law and the law de repetundis
(C. I. L.
In criminal cases their main duty was to look to the safer custody of the
convicted, and to execute capital punishment (Dig.
; Liv. 32.26
usual form of execution was, for the upper classes and for women, strangling
in prison (triumvirale supplicium,
Tac. Ann. 5.10
), a fate which befell the
fellow-conspirators of Catiline (Sal. Cat. 55
cf. V. Max. 5.4
, “mulierem praetor . . . capitali crimine damnatam
triumviro in carcere necandam tradidit” ): slaves were crucified,
also under their supervision (V. Max. 8.4
). They had also the duty of receiving
charges (Plaut. Aul.
131) and of arresting offenders; [p. 2.869]
and generally of
looking after the police of Rome, for which purpose they had a post in the
forum near the Columna Maenia (Cic. Clu. 13
). Their duty was to go the round of the
streets by night, and to seize and punish disorderly characters (Plaut.
ad init.: cp. V. Max.
6, “P. Villius triumvir
nocturnus a P. Aquilio trib. pl. accusatus populi judicio concidit, quia
vigilias neglegentius circumierat” ), and, as being charged with
the safety of the city, were required to be present at once in cases of fire
5). 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. Hence Arnold (Hist. of Rome,
goes too far in saying that they “tried by summary process all
offenders against the public peace, who might be taken in the
fact.” There are also indications that in cases virtually criminal,
in which private citizens acted as prosecutors by the manus injectio,
were appointed by the praetor to act as judices
(cp. Plaut. Pers.
61 ff., discussed by Götz in
30.167), and Mommsen thinks
that the number of these may have been determined with a view to this
function. They had further to exact and to pay into the treasury the
due in civil suits, and to
decide upon the obligation to serve as judices
(Cic. Brut. 31
). 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.
3. TRESVIRI COLONIAE DEDUCENDAE
appointed to superintend the formation of a colony. They are spoken of under
Vol. I. p. 479.
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
). 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
4. TRESVIRI EPULONIS. [EPULONES.
5. TRESVIRI EQUITUM TURMAS RECOGNOSCENDI,
or LEGENDIS EQUITUM 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. This was formerly part of the duties of the censors
(Suet. Aug. 37
; Tac. Ann. 3.30
6. TRESVIRI MENSARII. [ARGENTARII.
7. TRESVIRI MONETALES. [MONETA.
8. TRESVIRI REFICIENDIS AEDIBUS,
elected in the
Comitia Tributa in the time of the Second Punic War, a commission for the
purpose of repairing and rebuilding certain temples (Liv. 25.7
). We do not know why this duty was not left, as usual,
to the censors.
9. TRESVIRI REIPUBLICAE CONSTITUENDAE.
(Hist. of Rome,
vol. iii. p. 43) supposes that
magistrates under this title were appointed as early as the time of the
Licinian Rogations, in order to restore peace to the state after the
commotions consequent upon those Rogations (Lydus, de Mag.
1.35). Niebuhr also thinks that these were the magistrates intended by
Varro, who mentions among the extraordinary magistrates that had the right
of summoning the senate, Triumvirs for the regulation of the Republic, along
with the Decemvirs and Consular Tribunes (Gel.
). We have not, however, any 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 (Liv. Epit. 120
; Appian, App. BC 4.2
D. C. 46.54
; Veil. Pat. 2.65; Plut. Cic. 46
and on the expiration of the term, in B.C. 38, was conferred upon them
again, in B.C. 37, for five years more (Appian, App. BC 5.95
; D. C. 48.54
coalition between Julius Caesar, Pompeius, and Crassus, in B.C. 60 (Vell. 2.44
; Liv. Epit.
), 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 recognised as regular
magistrates under the above-mentioned title.
10. TRESVIRI SACRIS CONQUIRENDIS DONISQUE
extraordinary officers elected in the Comitia Tributa
in the time of the Second Punic War, seem to have had to take care that all
property given or consecrated to the gods was applied to that purpose (Liv. 25.7
11. TRESVIRI SENATUS LEGENDI
were officers appointed
whenever required by Augustus to admit persons into the senate. This was
previously the duty of the censors (Suet. Aug.