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Tribune of the Plebs

Fifteen years after the expulsion of the kings and establishment of the Roman Republic, the plebeians were burdened by the weight of crushing debt. A series of clashes between the people and the ruling patricians in and BC tribuno de la plebe the plebeians to the brink of revolt, and there was talk of assassinating the consuls.

Tribuno de la plebe was well-received, and told the fable of the belly and the limbs, likening the people to the limbs who chose not to support the belly, and thus starved themselves; just as the belly and the limbs, the city, he explained, could not survive without both the patricians and plebeians working in concert.

No member of the senatorial class would be eligible for this office in practice, this meant that only plebeians were eligible for the tribunateand the tribunes should be sacrosanct; any person who laid hands tribuno de la plebe one of the tribunes would be outlawed, and the whole body of the plebeians entitled to kill such person without fear of penalty.

The senate agreeing to these terms, the people returned to the city.

Soon afterward, the tribunes themselves appointed Sicinius and two others as their colleagues. If the former, the college of tribunes was expanded to five in BC.

Either way, the college was increased to ten in BC, and remained at this number throughout Roman tribuno de la plebe. They were assisted by two aediles plebisor plebeian aediles.

Only plebeians were eligible for these offices, although there were at least two exceptions. However, they functioned very much like magistrates of the Roman state. They could convene the concilium plebis, which was entitled to pass legislation affecting the tribuno de la plebe alone plebiscitaand beginning in BC to elect the plebeian tribunes and aediles.


From the institution of the tribunate, any one of the tribunes of the plebs was entitled to preside over this assembly. The tribunes were entitled to propose legislation before the assembly.

  • Catalog Record: Jorge Volio, el tribuno de la plebe | Hathi Trust Digital Library
  • Tribune of the Plebs - Wikipedia
  • TRIBUNO DE LA PLEBE by Juliana Marquez Hernandez on Prezi

By the third century BC, the tribunes also had the right to call the senate to order, and lay proposals before it. Because they were not technically magistrates, and thus possessed no maior potestas, they relied on their sacrosanctity to obstruct actions tribuno de la plebe to the plebeians.


Being sacrosanct, no person could harm the tribunes or interfere with their activities. To do so, or to disregard the tribuno de la plebe of a tribune, was punishable by death, and the tribunes could order the death of persons who violated their sacrosanctity.


This could be used as a protection when a tribune needed to arrest someone. This sacrosanctity also made the tribunes independent of all magistrates; no magistrate could veto the action of a tribune. If a magistrate, the senate, or any other assembly disregarded the orders tribuno de la plebe a tribune, he could "interpose the sacrosanctity of his person" to prevent such action.

Catalog Record: Jorge Volio, el tribuno de la plebe | Hathi Trust Digital Library

Only a dictator or perhaps an interrex was exempted from the veto power. The tribune Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus imposed his veto on all government functions in BC, when the senate attempted to block his agrarian reforms by imposing the veto of another tribune. This entitled a citizen to appeal the actions of a magistrate by shouting appello tribunos!

Any action taken in defiance of this right was illegal on its face. In effect, this gave the tribunes of the people unprecedented power to protect individuals from the arbitrary exercise of state tribuno de la plebe, and afforded Roman citizens a degree of liberty unequalled in the ancient world.

If the tribune decided to act, he would impose his ius intercessionis "right tribuno de la plebe intercession".

Tribuno de la plebe - English Translation - Word Magic Spanish-English Dictionary

Limitations[ edit ] Although a tribune could veto any action of the magistrates, senate, or other assemblies, he had to be tribuno de la plebe present in order to do so. Because the sacrosanctity of the tribunes depended on the oath of the plebeians to defend them, their powers were limited to the boundaries of the city of Rome.

A tribune traveling abroad could not rely on his authority to intervene on behalf of the plebeians.