Office of the Curule Aediles / Officium Aedilitas Curulis

Current Curule Aediles of the Res publica Romana

Role of the Curule Aedile

During Antiquity:

The Aediles were originally a plebeian office held exclusively by members of that order. In 367 BC, an extra day was added to the Roman games; the aediles, who were plebeian, refused to bear the additional expense, whereupon the patricians offered to undertake it, on condition that they were admitted to the aedileship. The plebeians accepted the offer, and accordingly two curule aediles were appointed, at first from the patricians alone, then from patricians and plebeians in turn. The Curule Aediles were elected by the Tribal Assembly. Curule Aediles, held certain honors that Plebeian Aediles did not hold. Besides having the right to sit on a Curule Chair and to wear a toga praetexta, the Curule Aediles also held the power to issue edicts. These edicts often pertained to matters such as the regulation of the public markets and the economy. Although the Curule Aediles always technically ranked higher than the plebeian equivalent, their functions gradually approximated and became virtually identical.

Within five days after the beginning of their terms, the four Aediles (two Plebeian, two Curule) were required to determine, by lot or by agreement among themselves, what parts of the city each should hold jurisdiction over. A separate set of festivals were supervised exclusively by the Curule Aediles, and it was often with these festivals that the Aediles would spend lavishly. This was often done so as to secure the support of voters in future elections. Because Aediles were not reimbursed for any of their public expenditures, most individuals who sought the office were independently wealthy. Because of this, the office became viewed as a stepping stone to higher office and the Senate.

The primary roles of the aediles were:

  • Care of the city: the repair and preservation of temples, sewers and aqueducts; street cleansing and paving; regulations regarding traffic, and buildings. They also punished those who had too large a share of the ager publicus, or kept too many cattle on the state pastures.

  • Care of provisions: investigation of the quality of the articles supplied and the correctness of weights and measures; the purchase of grain for disposal at a low price in case of necessity.

  • Care of the games: superintendence and organization of the public games, as well as of those given by themselves and private individuals (e.g. at funerals) at their own expense.

  • Within the Modern Res publica:

    The Curule Aediles are charged with organizing the public games, ludi Romani and ludi Megalensia. They may also publish edicts regulating the trade of denarii. They are also key magistrates in monitoring and investigating trade within the res publica. The Curule Aediles are also involved in the regulation of the web site and any property held in trust to the Roman Republic. In this capacity they oversee the activities of the aranearus (webmaster) of the Roman Republic.

    The Curule Aediles also hear commercial disputes involving societas, two private citizens, and elected magistrates without imperium. In hearing these disputes they may determine fault and mandate compensation.

    The specific duties of the Curule Aedile are exchangeable with the Plebeian Aediles if all parties agree to such collaboration or if an aedile is unavailable. However, the Curule Aediles may overrule any action of their Plebeian colleagues if desired.

    Curule Aedilian Records

  • Current edicts of the aediles
  • Cohors Aedilicia (Aedilian Staff)
  • Curule Aedile: archives
  • Curule Aedile: financial records
  • Past citizens who held Curule Aedilian office
  • Ludi / Public Festivals
  • Register commerical dispute
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