Aedile was the title of an ancient Roman magistrate. According to tradition, the aedileship, which ranked above the quaestorship and below the praetorship in political importance, was created in 494 B.C., when two plebeians were elected aediles. In 367 B.C., two patricians were added to the office. Henceforth, the latter were called curule aediles, since they sat in an official chair (sella curtdis), and the former were known as plebeian aediles, with no distinctive mark of of-ce.

About 45 B.C. the aedileship reached a membership of six (probably one patrician and one plebeian were added). The aedileship disappeared before 235 a.d., by which time imperial officials had assumed aedilician duties. Aediles also acted as minor administrators in Roman municipalities and colonies and in guilds.

Urban aediles exercised jurisdiction in minor offenses. This duty evolved from their care of the city, since they supervised the maintenance of public works (streets, baths, temples, markets, aqueducts, sewers, bridges, theaters, amphitheaters, colonnades, monuments, cemeteries, public buildings), and superintended public celebrations (parades, games, shows, festivals, funerals, thanksgivings). They also regulated traffic, procured and distributed grain, controlled mercantile transactions, inspected weights and measures, stored public archives, and licensed prostitutes. As officers of the markets, they introduced important features into the laws governing sales, and administered punishment, particularly of persons selling slaves and domesticated animals under false pretenses.

Their custom of providing elaborate spectacles as a bid for future popular support of their political careers was an expensive drain on the aediles.

More by this Author

  • 2nd Century Rome

    While it lasted, the era of peace and prosperity under the good emperors brought to the world blessings that have never been wholly lost or forgotten. There was no serious threat or invasion from without or of...

  • Viking History

    The Vikings were seafaring raiders from Scandinavia during the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries, the period known as the Viking Age. They are also called Northmen or Norsemen.

  • The Rise of Ancient Greece

    The earliest inhabitants of Greece were probably Mousterian hunter-gatherers who roamed the region during the Middle Palaeolithic period. By 4000 BC Neolithic villages were established in most fertile lowland regions....


No comments yet.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article