Decemviri, is the Latin for a tribunal of “ten men” in ancient Rome, ut could be any official commission of 10. The designation is most often used in reference to decemviri legibus scribundis, which was a commission that supplanted the regular magistracy in 451 BC. It was to construct a code of laws that would resolve the power struggle between the patricians and the plebeians. The first decemvirs prepared 10 tables of law which, after being approved of by the Senate and the comitia, were engraved tablets of metal, and set up in the comitium. But the second Decemviri added two additional tablets that were more in favor of the patricians and was eventually forced to abdicate.
The Senate, which were a group of older men of prominence and means, did not legislate laws and was first merely a representative chosen by the leaders of ten men who were heads of families, “decanus”,
Decemviri Litibus or Stlitibus Judicandis in 292 C, were magistrates forming a court of justice similar to a Supreme Court, which took cognizance of civil cases.
decemvirī, decemviri Latin noun (m., indeclinable declension)
- a college or commission of ten men, the decemviri or decemvirs
- the composers of the Twelve Tables
- a standing tribunal for deciding causes involving liberty or citizenship, and which represented the praetor
- a commission for distributing the public land to the people
- a college of priests who preserved the Sibylline books, had charge of the Apollinaria
- its number in the time of the emperors was increased to sixty
The Latin Lexicon Numen from An Elementary Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis and A Latin Dictionary by Lewis & Short.
decem-viri (in MSS. and old edd. often Xviri), um or ōrum (gen.-virum, Cic. Agr. 2, 15, 39; 2, 21, 56; id. Rep. 2, 36, 61; Varr. L. L. 9, § 85 Mull.; Liv. 27, 8; 40, 12: -virorum only in Liv., where it is very freq.), m. vir, a college or commission of ten men, the decemviri or decemvirs, Roman magistrates of various kinds. The most famous were called decemviri legibus scribundis, the composers of the Twelve Tables, who ruled alone, and absolutely, in the years of Rome 303 to 305 (legally only 303 and 304; hence "neque decemviralis potestas ultra biennium," Tac. A. 1, 1), Cic. Rep. 2, 36 sq.; Liv. 3, 32 sq.; Gell. 20, 1, 3.
—In sing., Cic. Rep. 2, 36 fin.; Liv. 3, 33 fin.; 40; 46; 48 al. The fragments which remain of these laws form one of the most important monuments of the early Latin language; and have been critically edited by R. Schoell, Leips., 1866; cf. Momms. Rom. Hist. book 2, ch. 2; Lange, Rom. Alter. 1, 535 sqq.; Wordsworth, Fragm. p. 503 sq.
— Decemviri stlitibus (litibus) judicandis, a standing tribunal for deciding causes involving liberty or citizenship, and which represented the praetor, Cic. Or. 46, 156; Suet. Aug. 36; Dig. 1, 2, 2, § 29; Corp. Inscr. Lat. 8, 38 (A. U. C. 615); cf. Cic. Caec. 33, 97.
—In the sing., Inscr. Orell. no. 133 and 554.
— Decemviri agris dividundis, a commission for distributing the public land to the people, Cic. Agr. 1, 6 sq.; 2, 7 sq.; Liv. 31, 4 and 42; cf.: X. VIR. A. D. A. (i. e. decemviri agris dandis assignandis), Inscr. Orell. 544.
— Decemviri sacris faciundis, a college of priests who preserved the Sibylline books, had charge of the Apollinaria, etc.; its number in the time of the emperors was increased to sixty, Liv. 10, 8; 25, 12 al.—In sing., Inscr. Orell. 554.
- The Latin Lexicon Numen from An Elementary Latin Dictionary by Charlton T. Lewis and A Latin Dictionary by Lewis & Short.
- decānus, decāni, m. decem.
- "A chief of ten, one set over ten persons (late Lat.). Over soldiers, Veg. Mil. 2, 8." Also,
- Over monks, a dean, Hier. Ep. 22, no. 35.
- The chief of the corpse-bearers, Cod. Just. 1, 2, 4; 9.
- As a judge, Vulg. Exod. 18, 21; Deut. 1, 15.
- A kind of officer at the imperial court, Cod. 12, 27, 1.