tribuneship, n.tribunitial, tribunicial /trib'yeuh nish"euhl/, adj.
/trib"yoohn, tri byoohn"/, n.
1. a person who upholds or defends the rights of the people.
2. Rom. Hist.
a. any of various administrative officers, esp. one of 10 officers elected to protect the interests and rights of the plebeians from the patricians.
b. any of the six officers of a legion who rotated in commanding the legion during the year.
[1325-75; ME < L tribunus, deriv. of tribus TRIBE]
/trib"yoohn, tri byoohn"/, n.
1. a raised platform for a speaker; a dais, rostrum, or pulpit.
2. a raised part, or gallery, with seats, as in a church.
3. (in a Christian basilica) the bishop's throne, occupying a recess or apse.
4. the apse itself.
5. tribunal (def. 3).
[1635-45; < ML tribuna; r. L tribunale TRIBUNAL]

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In ancient Rome, any of various military and civil officials.

Military tribunes were originally infantry commanders. In the early republic there were six to a legion; some were appointed by consuls or military commanders, others elected by the people. During the Roman empire (from 27 BC), the emperor nominated military tribunes, the office of which was considered preliminary to a senatorial or equestrian career (see eques). Of the civil tribunes, the most important were the tribunes of the plebs (see plebeian), who were elected in the plebeian assembly. By 450 BC there were 10 plebeian tribunes, who were elected annually with the right to intervene in cases of unjust acts of consuls or magistrates by saying "Veto" (meaning "I forbid it"). The office became powerful; its powers were curtailed by Sulla but restored by Pompey. Under the empire the powers of the plebeian tribunes passed to the emperor.

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▪ Roman official
Latin  Tribunus,  

      any of various military and civil officials in ancient Rome.

      Military tribunes (tribuni militum) were originally infantry commanders. Under the early republic there were six to a legion; some were appointed by the consuls (chief executives) or military commanders, and others were elected by the people. Under the empire (after 27 BC) the military tribunate was a preliminary part of a senatorial or an equestrian career and subject to the emperor's nomination. Tribunes commanded bodyguard units and auxiliary cohorts.

      The tribuni plebis (tribunes of the plebs, or lower classes) were in existence by the 5th century BC; their office developed into one of the most powerful in Rome. The exact date of its institution, the original mode of election, and the original extent of its powers are uncertain. From 471 BC the tribunes of the plebs were elected in the plebeian assembly (concilium plebis), over which they presided, and thus could express, and agitate for, plebeian demands. Their power was exercised through the veto (intercessio), which could invalidate the acts of consuls and lower magistrates and of their own colleagues. Their persons were legally inviolable. By 450 they were 10 in number. It was their duty to protect persons against the acts of magistrates, but they could also initiate prosecutions of offenders against the state. From 300 BC most legislation was introduced by tribunes because the legislative process in the plebeian assembly was less cumbersome than in the centuriate assembly (see comitia). After 287 BC, when the people they represented began to rise in the social scale, some tribunes began to use their powers to thwart more sweeping popular proposals. Others, like Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus in the 2nd century BC, continued to champion them, even in the area of land reform and debtor relief. Their powers were curtailed by Sulla, then restored by Pompey in the 1st century BC. Under the empire (after 27 BC) the tribunes themselves were without authority, but the “tribunician power” (tribunicia potestas) was held by the emperor, and was a major element in his authority. By virtue of it, he had personal inviolability, could veto measures freely, summon the organs of government, and propose decrees and legislation. He numbered the years of his power by it, thus exploiting to the full the old democratic tradition of the champion of the plebs.

      Treasury tribunes (tribuni aerarii) were probably originally the officials who collected the tribute and distributed the soldiers' pay in the tribes. After 168 BC they remained a distinct order ranking below the equites.

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Universalium. 2010.

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