This office was originally created in the same year as the Tribunes of the People, in 494 BCE. This office originally acted as assistants to the tribunes, and maintained the the Temple of Ceres. Subsequently, they assumed responsibility for maintenance of the city's buildings as a whole. Their duties at first were simply ministerial as assistants to the tribunes. Around 446 BCE, they were given the authority to care for the decrees of the senate (senatus consulta) on behalf of the plebeians. Soon afterwards their responsibilities began to increase. Like the tribunes this office was elected only by members of the plebeian order through the Concilium Plebis. Those who held the office must also be of the plebeian order.
The primary roles of the aediles were:
The Plebeian Aediles are charged with organizing the public games, ludi Cerialia, ludi Florales and ludi Plebeii. 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 Plebeian Aediles hear commercial disputes involving collegium, non-citizens, appointed magistrates and provincial administrations. In hearing these disputes they may determine fault and mandate compensation.
The specific duties of the Plebeian Aedile are exchangeable with the Curule Aediles if all parties agree to such collaboration or if an aedile is unavailable. The Plebeian Aediles are the junior colleagues of the Curule Aediles and their edicts may be veoted by the more senior aediles.
They are elected by the Concilium Plebis and all office holders must be plebeian. In turn they may also summon the Concilium Plebis.