Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> Siam to The Growth And Con >> Tribune

Tribune

tribunes, military and roman

TRIBUNE, the designation of certain Roman officials, civil and military, with varying rank and power. The _title is plainly derived from the tribes which the tribunes represented and the early tribunes were no doubt com manders of the horse and foot furnished to the Roman army by the original tribes. The num ber of these military tribunes was increased with the number of the tribes; the kings, it is assumed, appointing them while the monarchy lasted, and the consuls succeeding to that power. As the division between patricians and plebeians grew wider the popular assembly became jealous of the consuls and demanded and ob tained a voice in the appointment of military tribunes, the tribunes nominated by the popular body ranking as magistrates of the Roman people, as well as military officers. One of the tribunes, known as the tribunus ararius, was the paymaster of the troops.

Far superior to the military tribunes and armed with a power of veto which made them superior even to the consuls, when it came to an issue of authority, were the "tribunes of the commons," created as the result of a long struggle between patricians and plebeians. In

494 s.c. the commons seceded, and took refuge on the Sacred Mount and bound themselves to stand by each other until the patricians should consent to the appointment of two officers to protect the plebeians in their rights. The patricians agreed to the demand and the tri bunes of the people, who figured so prominently in the subsequent history of Rome, were created. Their powers increased enormously in the later years of the republic and were ultimately ab sorbed by the emperors. Consult Botsford, G. W., The Roman Assemblies' (New York 1909) ; Abbott, F. F., 'History and Description of Roman Political Institutions' (Boston 1911). See Rome