Decreta of the Comitia
2754 (2001 CE)
2755 (2002 CE)
2756 (2003 CE)
2757 (2004 CE)
2758 (2005 CE)
2759 (2006 CE)
2760 (2007 CE)
(01 Oct 2754)
This decretum determines the procedures to be used when the Comitia Generalia are convened to vote.
- The magistrate announcing an upcoming election or vote must do so no later than two weeks before voting is to begin. Every member of the Societas Via Romana not already in possession of a current one, shall be provided with a unique voter code by the Censores, which is to be used throughout the whole calendar year.
- The announcement must be made on the Comitial mailing list of the Societas Via Romana.
- Between the time of the announcement and the beginning of the actual voting there must be at least one week.
- In case of elections for official positions, there must be at least one month between the announcement and the vote.
- If there are fewer members enrolled than 50, there must be at least two weeks between the announcement and the vote.
- Voter codes are e-mailed to all members upon their approval of membership, and are re-mailed again in November, or at a private request.
- The Comitia shall remain open for voting for a period lasting two weeks. After that time, no more votes shall be registered.
- Should the Societas Via Romana have fewer than 50 members at the date that the Comita are convened, the voting period shall last five days.
- Should the Societas Via Romana have fewer than 100 members at the date that the Comitia are convened, the voting period shall last nine days.
- Should the Societas Via Romana have fewer than 200 members at the date that the Comitia are convened, the voting period shall last twelve days.
- After the votes are tallied by the Rogatores, they must announce the results to the magistrate who had the Comitia convene, and this magistrate must then make the results publically available on the Comitial and Main mailing-lists of the Societas Via Romana.
The tallying process may last no longer than five days. If it does, the results shall be nullified, and the Rogatores must give an explanation for their actions to the membership of the Societas Via Romana.
- Once a decretum passed by the Comitia has been positively confirmed, it becomes effective immediately unless it provides for a later date, and elected magistratus are authorised to take office at the normal beginning of their terms.
(30 Nov 2754)
Sit in omnibus suffragiis Comitiorum Generalium in quibus sunt plus quam una quaestio optio "abstineo" omni quaestioni, sicut suffragator possit monstrare se non malle unam ex optionibus plus quam alteram vel alias. Haec optio adhibata aequivalebit nullo suffragio in re quaestionis cui suffragator "abstineo" electus erit.
Provision shall be made for a vote of "abstineo" for each item on all ballots of the Comitia Generalia having more than one voting or electoral item upon them, such that this voting alternative can be used to express an unwillingness to express a voting preference on that item. Exercise of this alternative shall constitute the equivalent of no vote on that item.
(29 Ian 2757)
The foundation of civil law in Western civilization is that body of law referred to as Roman law. Certain principles, precepts, and definitions which are common to the legal systems of Western societies, based in Roman law, we take as the basis of the legal system within the Societas Via Romana, as it shall apply within our own unique society.
We read from the Institutiones Iustiniani, I.1: "Justice is the set and constant purpose which gives to every man his due. Jurisprudence is the knowledge of things divine and human, the science of the just and the unjust.... The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one,and to give every man his due..."
In the study of law there may be said to be three branches: international law governing the relations between nations; public law related to the welfare of the state and its operation, as well as the relationship of a private individual to the state; and private law governing relationships between private individuals. The purpose of the Decretum Moraviam de Institutionibus is to establish into the public law of the Societas Via Romana certain definitions and precepts to be followed in both our public and private law.
Our law is partly written, partly unwritten. The written law consists of the Regula Fundamentalis and decreta, plebiscita, senatusconsulta, edicta of the magistrates, arbitia of the consules and/or praetores, and responsa and rescripta of the iurisconsulti. The Regula Fundamentalis is the constitution of the Societas Via Romana. A decretum is an enactment of the Comitia Generalia, which is made on the motion of a magistratus, as for instance a consul. A senatusconsultum is an advisory letter of the Senate on any matter, or an ordinance of the Senate on certain matters for which the Regula Fundamentalis provides. Edicta of magistrates are those regulations issued by the magistrates governing the manner in which they shall perform the duties of their own offices; a magistratus may not issue an edictum governing the duties of another office. The exception to this is that a consul or praetor may rule on a point of law that would then govern magistrates of equal or lesser rank. The iurisconsulti are those individuals recognized and so named by the Senate under the Regula Fundamentalis (VI.7) as learned in the laws of the Societas Via Romana. A responsum is legal advice provided by a iurisconsultus to a judge. A rescriptum is a reply by a iurisconsultus to a question on legislation or to petitions by litigants. The unwritten law is those common notions of justice held in Western civilization and within the Societas Via Romana.
In addition to the written law are what are called notae. Provided under the Regula Fundamentalis, a Censor or a Magister Morum may issue a nota in a specific instance, which is an order that has the force of law but which cannot be taken as a precedent for setting law. In contrast, a consul or a praetor, or any other judge as may be provided by legislature of the Comitia alone, may issue an arbitrium (judicial decision) in a specific case, together with an order that is also named a nota. The collection of arbitria and judicial notae shall form the case law that is the basis of the ius civile, set as precedents for future judicial decisions.
Auctoritas is granted to consules, praetores, and aediles under the Regula Fundamentalis. Auctoritas is the authority to pass judgement within the narrow confines of the responsibilities required of a magistratus. The source of this authority lies with the membership of Societas Via Romana. All auctoritas in the Societas originates and is held by the members at all times, who then grant these specific magistrates, by election, only the use of auctoritas on a temporary basis for the term of their offices. A magisterial exercise of auctoritas is always subject to review by the members assembled in the Comita. It is through auctoritas that edicta, arbitria, judicial notae, responsa and rescripta have the same weight of law as a decretum of the Comitia Generalia. Any edictum may be overturned by the passage of decreta of the Comitia, and the arbitria and judicial notae are subject to review by the Comitia when assembled in response to a member exercising his or her right of provocatio. In contrast, all edicta, arbitria, and notae must conform to the law as set by the decreta of the Comitia. Responsa and rescripta of the iurisconsulti are opinions interpreting the law, but may not exceed the letter and intent of the law.
The Senate as a body, and not any individual senator, may also be said to have auctoritas, originating from the membership. The Regula Fundamentalis gives the Senate auctoritas to issue senatusconsulta in certain matters, such as the authority to set a budget, impose dues, fees, or other financial requirements on the members, and recognize and regulate the Collegia and Provinciae. Under the Regula Fundamentalis the Comitia Generalia must approve such senatusconsulta in order that they take effect. The auctoritas of the Senate may be passed on to magistrati extraodinarii as provided by the Regula Fundamentalis. In an exceptional case, the Senate may also grant special auctoritas to the consules by a senatusconsulum ultimum for no more than 90 days and under certain limitations as provided in the Regula Fundamentalis. The decision to issue a senatusconsultum ultimum and any actions taken by the consules and/or Senate under its authority are subject to review by the Comitia Generalia following the period that it is in effect. All auctoritas rests with the total membership and is expressed through their collective judgement in the Comitia Generalia.
Judicial institutions as may be established either by praetores under the Regula Fundamentalis or by decreta Comitiorum have authority over three considerations:
Usus is the right of each individual member to have access to and to use the sites and facilities of Societas Via Romana. The usus of an individual member may not be impaired, curtailed, transferred or revoked without judicial procedures or legislative acts. Essentially usus is covered in the Regula Fundamentalis under the rights of members to participate in the Societas Via Romana.
Iniuria may be defined in accordance with the Institutiones Iustiniani as
Obligatio may be considered under two situations, obligatio ex maleficio and obligationes ex contractu. An obligatio ex maleficio is where an inuria arises by a magistrate failing to perform his assigned duties, or in performing his assigned duties in a disparate manner that benefits some members to the detriment of others. Obligatio ex contractu is when two or more parties come to an agreement stipulating that anything shall be given by one party to another, or done by one party for another. An obligatio ex contractu must therefore have two parts, a conditio in which is stated under what conditions or in what situations the parties agree that an obligation would arise where the contract must be met, and then the stipulatio stating what must be given or act performed in order that the contract is met.
By tradition, an obligatio ex contractu had a solemn form in which one party would ask, and the other respond in the affirmative, to the three questions: Spondes? (Do you agree?), Promittis? (Do you promise?), and Fide promittis? (Do you promise in good faith?), followed by the stipulatio of Dabis? (Will you give?) or Facies? (Will you do?). The solemnity of the traditional form, amounting to an oath, is not required when the contract is made by written instrument such as a letter of agreement. An obligatio ex contractu may only be considered under the judicial authority of the Societas Via Romana when both parties are members and the conditio and stipulatio both take place within the Societas Via Romana.
The considerations of usus and obligatio come together inside the Societas Via Romana in the matter of property rights. The web sites, email lists, chat rooms and other facilities of the Societas, and any materials they contain, which are produced by a magistrate in the performance of his or her official duties, or by a group of members acting collectively for the benefit of the Societas, are held to be the property of the Societas Via Romana and for the use of all its members. Also held to be the property of the Societas are any data files held by a magistrate for the performance of his or her official duties, and any communications made to or by a magistrate in their official capacity. Therefore the communications made by an individual member to an SVR email list, and any private communications of a member to a magistrate in their official capacity are held to be the public property of the Societas and may not be taken for the private use by a magistrate.
On the other hand, when an individual member produces material for the use of the Societas on one of its web sites as a contribution under their unique nomen, that material remains the property of its originator. Each individual member shall retain editorial control over materials that they have contributed to the Societas Via Romana sites under their nomen. Only the individual member originating the material may make or approve editorial changes and alterations, and may request that materials they have previously provided be removed from SVR sites. The retarius designated by SVR to manage a particular site shall retain authority to accept or reject any original material and any revised versions of materials provided as a contribution. A retarius may not refuse to remove material at the request of its originator. Likewise a group of members producing materials for SVR sites as a contribution, on which each of their unique nomines appears, may retain control of the material provided that it has been stipulated when they provide it for the use of SVR sites. To have such collective materials removed from an SVR site each and every current member of SVR that was part of the originating group must make the request to the retarius. An individual member of the originating group may instead request that their particular nomen be removed from the material at the site, and the retarius may not refuse such a request. Providing material to SVR for use on its sites, whether by an individual or a group, amounts to an obligatio ex contractu with these above conditions implied, whether stated or not.
Henceforth the definitions given above shall be adopted in each and every adjudication that are to be placed before the consules for consideration, or that might come before the consules for review. Only matters that fall within the above considerationes or that violate published laws of the Societas may be adjudicated in the judicial proceedings of the consules of the Societas Via Romana.
Quod bonum, felix, faustumque sit.
- acts contrary to law, or those constituting an injustice or iniquity posed by a magisterial decision, whether under the law or not.
- Iniuria may also be considered when a member may pretend false claims about another member, writing, composing, or publishing libelous or defamatory prose or verse against another member, or by maliciously contriving that another does any of these things, or by any other numerous acts, when an intent is held to be present that would impair the personal reputation of credit of the individual or impair their rights to interact within the community. In order for a judgement to be made against a member on a charge of iniuria against another member, these two considerations must be met that the claims were substantially false and the intent was to impair the member's rights to interact within the community.
- Inuria is also stipulated in such cases as are outlined in the Regula III.2.c.
(29 Ian 2757)
In the event of a magisterial vacancy, the Senate, acting through the consules, may at its discretion decide to appoint a replacement in accordance with the following provisions.
- Notification of a magisterial vacancy is to be made in the Senate. Any senator may give such notification. Vacancies occur when:
- A magistratus resigns from office.
- A magistratus is recalled from office.
- A magistratus is removed from office by an adjudicial decision.
- A magistratus gives notice to the Senate of a temporary absence to exceed one month.
- A magistratus without prior notification to the Senate becomes inactive for more than four weeks and does not respond to any communications made by members of the Senate. Such a vacancy shall be considered temporary with the magistratus allowed to return to office. If, however, a magistratus remains inactive and incommunicato for more than twelve (12) weeks the Senate may at its discretion declare the office vacated and remove the magistratus from office.
- When the Senate has agreed that a vacancy in office exists, the consul currently chairing the Senate will then call for recommendations by the Senate on individuals who may fill such vacancies. The Senate may also discuss and decide whether to fill the vacancy or leave it open until the following elections of the Comitia Generalis.
- The consules will then collegially select an individual Sodalis from among those recommended by the Senate to fill the vacancy as a magistratus suffectus for a period not to exceed six (6) months.
- In the event where a temporary vacancy exceeding one month but less than six months would occur, with the elected magistratus then expected to resume his or her office, the consules may at their discretion, and with the approval of a majority of those voting in the Senate, appoint a magistratus suffectus for the duration of the absence or otherwise allow the vacancy. If the elected magistratus is expected to be absent for more than four months, any senator may request a vote of the Senate to vacate the office. If a two-thirds majority of the votes cast in the Senate are in favor of vacating the office, then the magistratus is removed from office and the consules are to proceed with appointing a magistratus suffectus by seeking the recommendations of the Senate.
- If a vacancy occurs within the first six months of the year, January through June, and if the office is so declared by the authority of the Senate to be vacated, with or without a magistratus suffectus having been appointed, the consules shall declare the office open and call for candidates in an election by the Comitia Generalis of a new magistratus suffectus for the remaining portion of the term of office. The elections will be held in concurrance with collegial elections of rectores. An appointed magistratus suffectus may stand as a candidate for the same office that he or she holds by consular appointment.
- The consules will submit to the censores the name of any individual they have appointed to fill a magisterial vacancy. Either censor may reject the appointment and the consules would then have to make an alternative selection to submit to the censores. If therefore the censores do not object to the candidate, or do not give any opinion, the consular appointment of a magistratus suffectus shall be regarded as approved and the individual admitted in office and to the Senate. [Clarification: Either censor may, in effect, veto a particular candidate for appointment as a magistratus suffectus, but may not veto the Senate's decision to vacate the office or its decision to appoint some Sodalis as a magistratus suffectus.]
- Rectores are not magistrates. Vacancies of rectorships may occur in a similar manner as with magisterial offices. A declaration of a rectorial vacancy is made in the Senate. The procedures for filling vacant rectorships, however, consists of the consules collegially appointing a prorector, or else acting as joint prorectores themselves. Advice and consent of the Senate and/or the censores is not required for the appointment of a prorector. A prorector is authorized solely to hold elections in a Collegium for a new rector. The prorector is not authorized to act as a rector. A prorector may not be a candidate in an election that he or she oversees. A vacant rectorship is filled solely by election in the respective Collegium.
XVI KAL OCT MMDCCLVI
(01 Aug 2757)
This decretum seeks to clarify and further work out the principles laid down in the Regula Fundamentalis, article III.4.f with regards to the selection of personal names in the Societas Via Romana and the historicity thereof.
- All members of the Societas Via Romana shall have a Roman name consisting of at least a praenomen (first name) and a nomen gentilicium (surname). Applicants and members alike may freely select a cognomen (nickname). Agnomina (names of honour) can only be accorded by the Senatus.
- The names of the members of the Societas Via Romana shall be Latin in form and structure, and as close to authentic Latin names as possible.
- Towards that end, the censores shall, no later than the Ides of February each calendar year, draft a list of praenomina and nomina gentilicia that applicants may choose from upon their becoming a member. The censores are encouraged to draft this list in cooperation with the Senatus.
- A censor, a consul, a praetor or at least three other Senatores have the right to put this list up for discussion and approval in the Senatus, but the same list may not be voted on by the Senate more than twice.
- The nomina gentilicia on the selected list shall automatically include, but are not limited to, the nomina gentilicia already extant in the Societas Via Romana. Applicants shall also have the liberty of creating their own nomen gentilicium, provided that they are accepted by the censores.
- Applicants shall have the liberty of creating their own cognomen, provided that they do not violate article II. The censores may optionally add a selectable list of cognomina.
- There shall be two separate selection lists for male and female names. Applicants may choose between either list, so long as their chosen Latin name is consistent in all parts (praenomen, nomen and cognomen) with regard to the name's gender.
- A censor shall have the right to refuse an applicant's choice of name on grounds other than a violation of article II if:
- The choice of name is deemed vulgar, offensive or counter the spirit of tolerance of the Societas Via Romana; or if
- The chosen name is already in use; and/or if
- The applicant has chosen more than one nomen gentilicium and/or more than one cognomen; and/or if
- The applicant has selected both male and female names.
- In all cases described under IIb, the acting censor shall try to mediate with the applicant until a solution is reached. If none is reached to the satisfaction of the applicant, said applicant may appeal to the praetores under the provisions of the Regula Fundamentalis III.1.c.
- The authority of censores shall also extend to names chosen prior to the adoption of this decretum. The members carrying a name or names in violation of article II or its subordinated articles will be privately informed by the censores of this matter, and will suggest alternatives to their choice of names. They will work towards a solution that is satisfying for both parties. If none is reached to the satisfaction of the member, said member may appeal to the praetores to impose a solution after hearing both parties.
In the procedures described in the articles above, the censores are advised to inform the Senatus of their doings.
- They may also appoint scribae with knowledge of Latin and Latin names to assist them with these specific tasks. These shall have no special status but will be granted the title of nomenclator.
- If neither of the censores has a knowledge of Latin, they shall appoint at least two scribae as described in IIIa, who have knowledge of Latin and Latin names.
(03 Oct 2757)
The position of legatus is hereby created. Each calendar year, there shall be no more than three legati in the Societas Via Romana, who shall have the following responsibilities and obligations:
Legati shall be equal to scribae consulares and shall also be appointed and dismissed in this manner.
- To be responsible for the official promotion of the Societas Via Romana. This can include but is not limited to the making and spreading of flyers,the attending of events related to the themes of the Societas or the sending of mails for promotional purposes. This is preferably carried out in cooperation with the other magistrates.
- To report at least twice a year to the consules about their activities.
(29 Ian 2759)
[Declared approved by edictum of Primus Aurelius Timavus, Curator]
[This measure is unique in our legislative history for having begun as a Senatusconsultum; been proposed to the Comitia as a decretum; and finally been put into force by Curatorial edictum, the Concilium Reforms having changed both our procedures and our institutions while it was pending.]
Preamble: This Senatus Consultum is aimed at facilitating cultural activities in the Societas Via Romana through the rearrangement of its Collegia as they exist in November 2757.
I. The Senatus hereby derecognises the Collegium Historicum and Collegium Militarium, in order to form the Collegium Historiae Antiquae, covering all topics previously covered by these two Collegia. Its field of study shall include, but is not necessarily limited to: the military, politics, diplomacy and interpretation of the history of the Roman civilisation and related cultures from that era. As long as no elections are held for this Collegium, the two rectores of the aforementioned derecognised Collegia shall jointly occupy the office of rector.
II. The Senatus hereby derecognises the Collegium Artium and Collegium Philosophicum, in order to form the Collegium Artium, Philosophiae et Scientiae. Its field of study shall include, but is not necessarily limited to: science, architecture, literature, poetry, sculpture, painting, philosophy, lifestyle and entertainment of Antiquity. As long as no elections are held for this Collegium, the two rectores of the aforementioned derecognised Collegia shall jointly occupy the office of rector.
III. The Senatus hereby derecognises the Collegium Graecum and Collegium Latinum, in order to form the Collegium Linguarum Antiquarum. Its field of study shall include, but is not necessarily limited to: the linguistics, grammar, phonology, teaching, writing, speaking and interpretation of Latin, ancient Greek and other languages of related cultures. Other responsibilities which were previously carried by the former Collegia shall be dispersed among the other Collegia where applicable. As long as no elections are held for this Collegium, the two rectores of the aforementioned derecognised Collegia shall jointly occupy the office of rector.
IV. The Senatus hereby renames the Collegium Religionis into Collegium Religionum.
V. The Senatus hereby derecognises Collegium Vitae Quotidianae. Its former rector shall remain a member of the Senatus until next elections for the Collegia.
Note: this rearranging will only take final effect in November 2758 AUC or 2005 CE, by means of a simple majority vote in the Senate and the Comitia. Until that time however, the provisions set in this Senatus Consultum are to be carried out.
(24 Ian 2760)
I, Quintus Servilius Priscus of Gens Servilia, propose the creation of the Office of Legatus for the Societas Via Romana ("SVR").
The Legatus will be an appointed official. Each Legatus shall serve a specific regio, the regiones to be defined by the leadership and/or membership of the SVR. The duties of this position will be as follows:
Legati may also perform other duties assigned by the leadership of the SVR as needed.
The Legatus shall be appointed by the leadership of the SVR. Any active Sodalis may send a request to the leadership to be considered for the post of Legatus.
A Legatus may, on his or her own authority, appoint a praefectus as an assistant.
If the Legatus steps down or attains higher office, the praefectus will temporarily fill the position. The Legatus may recommend a member to the leadership as his or her permanent replacement.
If the regio managed by the Legatus attracts enough members to become a Province, the Legatus will become its Propraetor or Provincial Governor. The new Propraetor will recommend a replacement, possibly his or her praefectus, to the leadership of the Societas.
- Outreach: The Legatus shall act as a Liaison between the SVR and other Roman living-history organizations. He or she shall help recruit new members and otherwise be responsible for the official promotion of the Societas Via Romana. This can include the making and distributing of flyers and the attending of events related to the themes of the Societas.
- Orientation: The Legatus shall serve as a newcomer’s guide (praeceptor) for new Sodales in his or her regio.
- Public Relations: The Legatus shall represent and speak for the Societas, serving as the "Face of the SVR" in his or her regio.