- Education and Science»
- History & Archaeology»
- Ancient History»
- Greek & Roman History
Morgan Ella Fay
The Plebian powers
The Plebian Tribune was a political office that the Romans established in approx. 494 B.C. Its function was to represent the plebs (the lower class) in civil affairs. The Plebian was founded to more-or-less keep the counsel in check, due to unrest in the early fifth century.
The Plebian Tribune had three main powers, first was the sacrosanct, this was passed by the Senate to keep the Plebian from getting hurt. If anyone was to harm a Plebian then the Plebs would take vengeance out on whoever had harmed one of their representatives.
The next power, or powers, were intercession and auxilium, this meant they that Plebians could play out in front of the Senate house to keep the Senate from voting on a matter. The Plebian was able, by law, to use his own body as a block. Also, these powers let the Plebian protect privet citizens during cases of perduellio (treason).
Lastly and most important, was the power to veto. The Plebians could ban a legislative proposal, such as a new law, and, if they so wished, a political gathering, forbidding the Senate from meeting if the Plebians wanted it. Therefore the Senate had to pay attention to the Plebians and they had to keep them happy if the Senate wanted to get anything done.
The Plebian Tribune may not have been put into power as a normal Tribune, as Rome saw it, but in its time it was powerful and in some cases, they could bring the Senate to their knees.