Blogging from A to Z: A is for Aedile

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On the left side of the photograph is a political graffito asking people to vote for one Helvius Sabinus, who was running for aedile. Photo by the author.

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the first entry in my 2020 blogging challenge. As you might recall, I’m sharing facts about Pompeii. My current work in progress is set there, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my research with you! Wherever possible, I will use photographs from my visit to the ruins earlier this year.

Our first entry is aedile. An aedile was the most junior elected office in ancient Roman times. The aedile was a magistrate, responsible for management of public roads and public buildings. He, and they were always male, had to be at least 37 years old to run for office. For much of antiquity, two pairs of aediles were elected each year, one pair from the plebeian class (the common folk) and one pair from the patrician class (the upper classes). The main difference between the two pairs had to do with managing public festivals. Some festivals were solely for the patricians, others solely for the plebeians. Regardless of which class the aedile belonged to, he would have to be wealthy. Aediles were expected to spend lavishly from their own purses on these events.

Julius Caesar added the requirement for two more aediles to be elected each year, to be specifically in charge of the food supply. However, those duties were eventually assigned to men holding the praetorship, a higher level magistracy.

9 thoughts on “Blogging from A to Z: A is for Aedile

  1. Cool to see an ancient political poster. An aedile seems like a good official post. Managing public festivals, these days, is often done by women as volunteers who get very little credit for the vast amount of work that it takes.

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