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All the magistrates of sufficient importance to find a place in the general state of the empire, were accurately divided into three classes. 1. The Illusirious. 2. The Speciabiles, or Respectable : And, 3. The Clarisimi; whom we may translate by the word Honourable. In the times of Roman simplicity, the last-mentioned epithet was used only as a vague expression of deference, till it became at length the peculiar and appropriated title of all who were members of the senate 77, and consequently of all who, from that venerable body, were selected to govern the provinces. The vanity of those who, from their rank and office, might claim a superior distinčtion above the rest of the senatorial order, was long afterwards indulged with the new appellation of Respeciable : but the title of Illustrious was always reserved to. some eminent personages who were obeyed or reverenced by the two subordinate classes. It was communicated only, I. To the consuls and patricians; II. To the praetorian praefects, with the praefects of Rome and Constantinople ; III. To the masters general of the cavalry and the in
77 In the Pande&ts, which may be referred to the reigns of the Antonines, Clarisimus is the ordinary and legal title of a senator. *
78 Pancirol. p. 12–17. I have not taken any notice of the two inferior ranks, Perfečissimus, and Egregius, which were given to many persons, who were not raised to the senatorial dignity.
79 Cod. Theodos. 1. vi. tit. vi. The rules of precedency are ascertained with the most minute accuracy by the emperors, and illustrated with equal prolixity by their learned interpreter.
*o Cod. Theodos. l. vi. tit. xxii.
st Ausonius (in Gratiarum A&tione) basely expatiates on this unworthy topic, which is managed by Mamertinus (Panegyr. Vet. xi. 16. 19.) with somewhat more freedom and ingenuity.
D 2 created
** Cum de Consulibus in annum creandis, solus mecum volutarem ... te Consulem et defignavi, et declaravi, et priorem nuncupavi; are some of the expressions employed by the emperor Gratian to his preceptor the poet Ausonius. *3 Immanesque . . . . dentes Qui se&ti ferro in tabulas auroque micantes, Inscripti rutilum coelato Consule nomen
Per proceres et vulgus eant.
Montfaucon has represented some of these tablets or dypticks ; see
Regius auratis Fora fascibus Ulpia lićtor.
From the reign of Carus to the sixth consulship of Honorius, there
braidered. s On
nople, from imitation; in Carthage, Antioch, and Alexandria, from the love of pleasure and the superfluity of wealth”. In the two capitals of the empire the annual games of the theatre, the circus, and the amphitheatre*, cost four thousand pounds of gold, (about) one hundred and fixty thousand pounds sterling: and if so heavy an expence surpassed the faculties or the inclination of the magistrates themselves, the sum was supplied from the Imperial treasury". As soon as the consuls had discharged these customary duties, they were at liberty to retire into the shade of private life, and to enjoy during the remainder of the year, the undisturbed contemplation of their own greatness. They no longer presided in the national councils; they no longer executed the resolutions of peace or war. Their abilities (unless they were employed in more effečtive offices) were of little moment; and their names served only as the legal date of the year in which they had filled the chair of Marius and of Cicero. Yet it was still felt and acknowledged, in the last period of Roman servitude, that this empty name might be compared, and even pre