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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter X - The Sullan Constitution


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Page 45

The court of Ten-men (-decemviri litibus iudicandis-) was a very ancient institution for the protection of the plebeians against their masters.(37)

37. Cf. II. II. Intercession

The period and circumstances in which the spear-court originated are involved in obscurity; but they must, it may be presumed, have been nearly the same as in the case of the essentially similar criminal commissions mentioned above. As to the presidency of these different tribunals there were different regulations in the respective ordinances appointing them: thus there presided over the tribunal as to exactions a praetor, over the court for murder a president specially nominated from those who had been aediles, over the spear-court several directors taken from the former quaestors.

The jurymen at least for the ordinary as for the extraordinary procedure were, in accordance with the Gracchan arrangement, taken from the non-senatorial men of equestrian census; the selection belonged in general to the magistrates who had the conducting of the courts, yet on such a footing that they, in entering upon their office, had to set forth once for all the list of jurymen, and then the jury for an individual case was formed from these, not by free choice of the magistrate, but by drawing lots, and by rejection on behalf of the parties. From the choice of the people there came only the "Ten-men" for procedure affecting freedom.

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