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The aediles (Latin: aediles , singular aedilis , from aedes , German temple) held a minor office of the official career ( cursus honorum ) of the Roman republic of antiquity . They were each elected for one year. The aediles get their name from their original function as the temple guardians of the Cere temple (Latin aedis Cereris ), which then housed the state archive, among other things.

In the capital Rome

Since 495/494 BC There were two plebeian aediles (aediles plebei) who held police power in the city of Rome . The assumption is that the office was a result of the class struggles that took place, because the aediles assisted the tribunes to a certain extent and derived their authority from their sacrosanct legal status. Possibly they themselves were sacrosanct (Latin sacrosanctitas : something like "inviolability, inviolability").

Since 367/366 BC They were given two curule aediles (aediles curules) , which were provided alternately by the patricians and the plebeians. They were especially responsible for the big games and supervised the temples . The annual commencement of office of the aediles coincided with that of the consuls and praetors . Like all Roman officials, the aediles were elected for a year , but not in a meeting, but the plebeian aediles in the concilium plebis , the curular aediles in the comitia tributa . Furthermore, the principles of all Roman magistrates applied to the office: iteration (repeated assumption of the same office), continuation (direct transition to a higher office) and accumulation (accumulation of offices) were prohibited.

All four aediles basically supervised public buildings , thermal baths , brothels , aqueducts , streets , traffic , construction and markets and exercised market jurisdiction , i. that is, they supervised the prices, dimensions and weights of the goods sold in the marketplace. In the context of this area of ​​responsibility, they created the legal institutions of change ( actio redhibitoria ) and reduction ( actio quanti minoris ), which are therefore called "ädilizische legal remedies". The tasks of the curulic aediles included the purchase of grain and its sale in Rome or distribution to the needy; the plebeian aediles supervised the plebeian temples. The aediles had to take over the organization of gladiatorial games at their own expense, which required a large fortune, but on the other hand also brought in the necessary popularity to be later elected to higher offices within the framework of the official career. Little is known about the aediles' criminal and criminal justice powers, but it can be assumed that they had regulatory tasks as subordinate magistrates. The minimum age for applying for an aedile was 37 years in the late republic.

Under Gaius Iulius Caesar , the number of aediles was increased to six, with the two newly created offices, the so-called aediles cereales , mainly responsible for supplying the population with cheap or even free grain. At least since then, there have been no more differences in status or rank between the aediles; they were a college in the service of the city.

The office of aediles continued in the Roman Empire as part of the cursus honorum , but no longer had any political significance.

In the colonies

Following the urban Roman pattern, there were two duoviri aediles in each of the Roman colonies . They were elected by the city council ( ordo decurionum ) from among the free-born Roman citizens . Their skills are comparable to those of the urban Roman aediles.


Web links

Wiktionary: Aedile  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andrew Lintott: The Constitution of the Roman Republic , p. 129.
  2. Lintott, p. 130
  3. Julius Rosenbaum : History of the lust epidemic in antiquity together with detailed studies of the Venus and phallic cults, brothels, Νούσος ϑήλεια of the Scythians, paederasty and other sexual excesses of the ancients as contributions to the correct explanation of their writings . 7th edition, H. Barsdorf, Berlin 1904, p. 107 f.
  4. Lintott, p. 131 f. and Dahlheim, p. 61
  5. ^ Lintott, p. 133