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Local Political Life• The main sources of evidence for local political life in Pompeii and Herculaneum are: – inscriptions, which often list the offices held by individuals – Electoral graffiti, which show that people took a lively interest in local elections – The remains of buildings used in the political process
Local Political Life• Electoral graffiti (programatta) in the form of slogans were usually painted in red on shop fronts and walls facing busy streets and crossroads• Typically such slogans included: – the name of the candidate, – the office he was standing for, – his particular qualities – and often the names of his supporters – 2000+ electoral slogans have been recorded from Pompeii
Local Political Life• From the time they came under Roman rule, both towns were administered by locally elected officials according to Roman law• This determined who could stand for office and who could vote• It also determined the composition and functions of magistrates and town councils
Local Government at PompeiiBody or Office How Elected/Constituted FunctionsNumber PrivilegesElectoral Assembly All Roman citizens of the Met once a year in March to elect duumviriComitium town who met together as a and aediles. May have met in a publicNumber Unknown voting assembly building known as the comitium in the forum at Pompeii, may also have met in a theatre or amphitheatreTown Council Drawn from a census of Controlled all aspects of public life: civicCuria prominent citizens of a good finances and taxation, public religion, public80-100 reputation and honourable buildings and regulations for commerce, profession, at least 25 years granted significant citizens the right to erect old and wealthy enough to tombs outside the city walls. No military pay the expenses the duties of powers. office required. Ex-aediles May have met in the curia in Pompeii. were probably admitted No curia yet uncovered in Herculaneum. automatically
Local Governmentat Pompeii Local Government at PompeiiChief Magistrates Elected by the comitium in March Presided over the curia and carried outDuumviri/Duoviri and served for 1 year starting in its decisions, handled local law cases2 July. (eg. Misuse of public funds, robberies While in office wore a toga with a and murder). Every 5 years conducted a purple border, were accompanied census of citizen and council rolls, in public by lictors carrying replaced on the council caused by death fasces, had the best seats at the or expulsion. theatre and the games and had a Expected to provide spectacles and personal staff of 5-6 public games at their own expenseMagistrates Elected by the comitium in March Responsible for the administration ofAediles and served for 1 year beginning in the temples, public buildings,2 July. supervision of the markets, maintenance While in office wore a toga with a of the roads and paths, water and purple border, had special seats at sewerage systems. the theatre and the games and had Expected to provide public games at a personal staff of 3-4 their own expense
Links with Rome • Although they were self-governing, Pompeii and Herculaneum had some direct contact with Rome • A town patron (patronus), could represent the citizens of the town in dealings with the government at Rome • Proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus was the patronus of Herculaneum
Links with Rome• On at least 1 occasion the emperor intervened in local affairs• After a riot in the amphitheatre in Pompeii in AD59 in which people were killed, the emperor Nero dismissed the 2 chief magistrates, banned gladiator combat for 10 years and appointed a prefect to carry our his instructions
Links with Rome• As it turned out the 10 year ban was lifted• Dedicated statues, inscriptions and shrines are evidence of the towns’ loyalty to Rome and the imperial family
Links with Rome• The Augustales were priests of a cult dedicated to emperor worship• The cult began in the time of Augustus and continued with subsequent emperors• Both freeborn and freedmen could be Augustales, but they had to reasonably wealthy because they were expected to pay the expenses involved in carrying out the rituals of the cult