The consul was the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic. Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague. Consuls had extensive capacities in peacetime (administrative, legislative and judicial), and in wartime often held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rights which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls also read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field.
However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls were merely a figurative representative of Rome’s republican heritage and held very little power and authority, with the emperor acting as the supreme leader. The position tended to be an appointed one, with emperors frequently appointing themselves, or their protégés or relatives, to the office. Under Constantine I, one consul served in the city of Rome, the other at Constantinople.
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