Officium (Ancient Rome)


Officium (Ancient Rome)
Ancient Rome

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ancient Rome


Periods
Roman Kingdom
753 BC – 509 BC

Roman Republic
508 BC – 27 BC
Roman Empire
27 BCAD 1453

Principate
Western Empire

Dominate
Eastern Empire

Roman Constitution

Constitution of the Kingdom
Constitution of the Republic
Constitution of the Empire
Constitution of the Late Empire
History of the Constitution
Senate
Legislative Assemblies
Executive Magistrates

Ordinary Magistrates

Consul
Praetor
Quaestor
Promagistrate

Aedile
Tribune
Censor
Governor

Extraordinary Magistrates

Dictator
Magister Equitum
Consular tribune

Rex
Triumviri
Decemviri

Titles and Honours
Emperor

Legatus
Dux
Officium
Praefectus
Vicarius
Vigintisexviri
Lictor

Magister militum
Imperator
Princeps senatus
Pontifex Maximus
Augustus
Caesar
Tetrarch

Precedent and Law
Roman Law

Imperium
Mos maiorum
Collegiality

Roman citizenship
Auctoritas
Cursus honorum

senatus consultum
(senatus
consultum
ultimum
)

Other countries · Atlas
Politics portal
view · talk · edit

Officium (plural officia) is a Latin word with various meanings in Ancient Rome, including "service", "(sense of) duty", "courtesy", "ceremony" and the like. It also translates the Greek kathekon and was used in later Latin to render more modern offices.

However, this article is mainly concerned with the meaning of "an office" (the modern word office derives from it) or "bureau" in the sense of a dignitary's staff of administrative and other collaborators, each of whom was called an officialis (hence the modern official).

The Notitia Dignitatum gives us uniquely detailed information, stemming from the very imperial chanceries, on the composition of the officia of many of the leading court, provincial, military and certain other officials of the two Roman empires circa AD 400. While the details vary somewhat according to rank, from West (Rome) to East (Byzantium) and/or in particular cases, in general the leading staff would be about as follows (the English descriptions and other modern "equivalents" are approximate):

  • Princeps officius was the chief of staff, permanent secretary or chef de cabinet
  • Cornicularius was a military title, for an administrative deputy of various generals etc.
  • Adiutor (literally "helper") seems to have been the chief (general) assistant, or adjutant
  • Commentariensis was the keeper of "commentaries", an official diary
  • Ab actis was the keeper of records, the archivist
  • Numerarius ("accountant") seems to have been the receiver of taxes
  • Subadiuva ("under-helper") seems to have been a general assistant
  • Cura epistolarum was the curator of correspondence
  • Regerendarius may have been a registrar[disambiguation needed ]
  • Exceptor seem to have been a secretary
  • Singularius has been called a notary, but the word can also refer to a bodyguard

Below those "dignities", there were often a few hundred minor officials, often slaves or freedmen, doing the clerical drudgery, not deemed worthy of any more detailed mention. They are only referred to collectively, by various terms in the plural, such as cohortalini (apparently the diminutive of cohortalis, the very term suggesting significant number; see cohors amicorum).

See also

Sources and references


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ancient Rome — For the modern day city, see Rome. For Other uses, see Ancient Rome (disambiguation). The Roman Forum, the political, economic, cultural, and religious center of the city during the Republic and later Empire, now lies in ruins in modern day Rome …   Wikipedia

  • Ancient Rome and wine — Expansion of the Roman Empire Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences of viticulture on the Italian peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw an increase… …   Wikipedia

  • Portal:Ancient Rome — Wikipedia portals: Culture Geography Health History Mathematics Natural sciences People Philosophy Religion Society Technology …   Wikipedia

  • Omen (ancient Rome) — In the religions of ancient Rome, an omen, plural omina, was a sign intimating the future, considered less important to the community than a prodigium but of great importance to the person who heard or saw it.[1] Omens could be good or bad.… …   Wikipedia

  • Religion in ancient Rome — Ancient Roman religion Marcus Aurelius (head covered) sacrificing at the Temple of Jupiter …   Wikipedia

  • Medical community of ancient Rome — Symbolic statue of Asclepius holding the Rod of Asclepius. In later times it was confused with the Caduceus, which has two snakes. The snake shown may have originated as a parasitic worm removed on a stick, but it played a role as a healing… …   Wikipedia

  • Culture of ancient Rome — Julius Caesar, from the bust in the British Museum, in Cassell s History of England (1902). Ancient Roman culture existed throughout the almost 1200 year history of the …   Wikipedia

  • Marriage in ancient Rome — Roman couple joining hands; the bride s belt may show the knot symbolizing that the husband was belted and bound to her, which he was to untie in their bed (4th century sarcophagus)[1] Marriage in ancient Rome had mythical precedents, starting… …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of ancient Rome — Julius Caesar The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome: Ancient Rome – former civilization that thrived on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and… …   Wikipedia

  • Music of ancient Rome — Less is known about Ancient Roman music than is known about the music of ancient Greece. There is a number of at least partially extant sources on the music of the Greeks. For example, much is known about the theories of Pythagoras and… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.