LCL 213: 466-467
Marcus Tullius Cicero
consulendo praetores, iudices, consules appellamino;1 militiae summum ius habento, nemini parento; ollis salus populi suprema lex esto.
9Eumdem magistratum, ni interfuerint decem anni, ne quis capito; aevitatem annali lege servanto.
Ast quando duellum gravius, discordiae civium escunt, oenus ne amplius sex menses, si senatus creverit, idem iuris quod duo consules teneto, isque ave sinistra dictus populi magister esto; equitatumque qui regat habeto pari iure cum eo, quicumque erit iuris disceptator.
Ast quando consulis magisterve populi nec escunt,2 reliqui magistratus ne sunto;3 auspicia patrum sunto, ollique ec se produnto, qui comitiatu creare consules rite possit.4
Imperia, potestates, legationes, quom senatus creverit populusve iusserit, ex urbe exeunto, duella iusta iuste gerunto, sociis parcunto, se et suos5 continento, populi sui gloriam augento, domum cum laude redeunto.
- 1appellamino B; apellamino H1; appellanto AH2 (imperatives in -mino occur in early Latin. but, with this exception, only in the passive second and third persons singulur).
- 2escunt is the common reading; r̄ AB; runt H; erunt Halm.
- 3reliqui magistratus ne sunto is transposed by Huschke to the end of the preceding paragraph (afler disceptator).
- 4possit Turnebus; possim A1BH1; possint A2H2; possiet Buecheler.
- 5suos Turnebus; servos AH; servus B.
they shall be called praetors, judges, and consuls.1 In the field they shall hold the supreme military power; they shall be subject to no one; the safety of the people shall be their highest law.
No one shall hold the same office a second time except after an interval of ten years. They shall observe the age limits fixed by a law defiling the year.2
But when a serious war or civil dissensions arise, one man shall hold, for not longer than six months, the power which ordinarily belongs to the two consuls, if the Senate shall so decree. And after being appointed under favourable auspices, he shall be master of the people.3 He shall have an assistant to command the cavalry4 whose rank shall be equal to that of the administrator of justice.5
But when there are neither consuls nor a master of the people, there shall be no other magistrates, and the auspices shall be in the hands of the Seriate, which shall appoint one of its number6 to conduct the election of consuls in the customary manner.
Officials with and without imperium7 and ambassadors shall leave the city when the Senate shall so decree or the people so command; they shall wage just wars justly; they shall spare the allies; they shall hold themselves and, their subordinates in check; they shall increase the national renown; they shall return home with honour.8
- 1In the early days of the Republic the consul appears to have been called praetor (prae-itor) and iudex, names which evidently refer to his military and civil powers respectively. According to tradition these titles are older than that of consul, which the ancients derived from consulere; Mommsen thinks it to have been formed from cum and salire, and to be equivalent in meaning to collega.
- 2Leyes annales fixed the earliest ages at which the various public offices could be held.
- 3The dictator.
- 4The magister equitum.
- 5The praetor.
- 6The interrex.
- 7Imperium was the full power of the State, originally held by the king, and exercised by the higher republican magistrates. Potestas was a general word for the ordinary power of the magistrate; it is here used in reference to magistrates without imperium, such as the quaestors. Legali are ambassadors and also assistants to magistrates with imperium acting as commanders of armies or as provincial governors.
- 8From this point on, Cicero’s commentary on his laws is preserved: see §§ 18 ff.