Century (Nova Roma)
Voting by centuries
Following Roman traditions and practices, when the general assembly of the people of Nova Roma, the comitia centuriata is called to vote, each citizen's vote is counted only within his century. The result within the century determines the vote of each century, and it's the vote of each century that is counted when calculating the results of the voting.
The number of centuries
The official, permanent number of centuries is 23, but it may vary according to the needs of the Nova Roman society. At the moment, there are 24 centuries, numbered from I-XXV. Centuria XXI and XXII are temporarily merged, so they are one century called Centuria XXI-XXII, and there are two extra centuries, Centuria Extraordinaria XXIV and XXV. In the rest of this article, we will use the permanent, normal number of the centuries, that is, 23, for the explanation of the system.
Centuries in Nova Roma are numbered, with Centuria I in the First Class on the top, down to the Centuria XXIII under the Fifth Class for the capite censi. Out of the 23 centuries, 22 are reserved for assiduus citizens, Centuriae I-XXII, the elite of the citizenry, and only one, the Centuria XXIII is reserved for the capite censi, the masses of the less active citizens who don't pay the voluntary taxes (membership fee).
The 23 centuries are distributed across the 5 classes of citizens, the First Class being the highest. The more census points a citizen has, the higher class centuries he is placed in. Citizens in higher class centuries have more voting weight, as higher class centuries have less citizens in them, therefore each citizen's vote carries greater weight. The higher the class is, the more centuries it contains, consequently, the more voting weight it has. At the same time, higher class centuries contain less citizens than lower class centuries, so each individual in a higher class century has a larger share in the vote of the century, and this is how a citizen in a higher class century has a larger voting weight.
Out of the 22 assiduus centuries, 6 (within the First Class) are reserved for those public knights of the Equestrian Order who possess at least 400 census points.
The number of centuries is determined based on the number and distribution of assiduus citizens in Nova Roma, but there are always at least 31 centuries. The temporary addition or merger of centuries is decided by the Censorial Office according to specific regulations.
Distribution of centuries among the 5 classes
The censores are tasked to assign a citizen to a class based on his taxpayment and century points (merits, public service). Within each class, the number of citizens must be spread as equitable as possible, with the exception of the equestrian centuries (Centuriae I-VI) and the capite census century (Centuria XXIII):
- 0-24 census points: Vth Class, distributed into 3 centuries, 1 of which is reserved for the Proletarii Capite Censi, Infra Classem
- 25-49 census points: IVth Class, distributed into 2 centuries,
- 50-74 census points: IIIrd Class, distributed into 2 centuries,
- 75-99 census points: IInd Class, distributed into 2 centuries,
- 100- census points: Ist Class, distributed into 8 regular centuries, where also Equites Privati with 400 or more census points shall be allocated without any difference, and 6 equestrian centuries where a selected group of the most distinguished Equites Publici with 400 CP or more census points shall be allocated, Supra Classem, technically within the Ist Class.
Previous systems of centuries in the past of Nova Roma
Centuriate system between L. Sulla (III) cos. sine collega ‡ MMDCCLXVI a.u.c. - Q. Arrio (II) T. Domitio (III) cos. ‡ MMDCCLXXIII a.u.c.
The number of census points determined what class citizens were allocated:
- 220 or more census points and admission into the ordo equester: equestrian century within the 1st class
- 140 or more census points: 1st class centuries
- 100 – 139 census points: 2nd class centuries
- 50-99 census points: 3rd class centuries
- 35-49 census points: 4th class centuries
- 17-34 census points: 5th class centuries
- Citizens who do not meet the minimum threshold of 16 census points: capite census century within the 5th class
The number of centuries in each class was set as follows:
- Class I: 49% of the total number of centuries, with one single century (century No1) reserved exclusively for equestrians
- Class II: 10% of the total number of centuries
- Class III: 10% of the total number of centuries
- Class IV: 10% of the total number of centuries
- Class V: 15% of the total number of centuries, with one single century (century No31) reserved for the capite censi only.
Until L. Sulla (III) cos. sine collega ‡ MMDCCLXVI a.u.c., the censores first assigned a citizen to a century based on his taxpayment and century points (merits, public service), and after having placed the citizen into a century, they distributed the centuries between the five classes. So, while in ancient Rome class determined placement in century, in the previous system of Nova Roma, century determined placement in class. Until the year L. Sulla (III) cos. sine collega ‡ MMDCCLXVI a.u.c., the number of centuries was determined by dividing the number of assiduus citizens by eight, rounding down. There could be no more than 193 and no less than 51 centuries, but in practice it remained always 51. The assignment of citizens took place before every election by the censores.
The censores were allowed by the lex Octavia altera de comitiis centuriatis to determine the number of centuries in each class by edict, but no censores choose to do so, so the initial proportions set up by the law was adhered to until the new system was introduced. The relative sizes of each class was set as follows:
- Class I: 29% of the assiduus centuries.
- Class II: 24% of the assiduus centuries.
- Class III: 20% of the assiduus centuries.
- Class IV: 16% of the assiduus centuries.
- Class V: 11% of the assiduus centuries, plus 1 century reserved for the capite censi only.
The division of the centuries by the five classes as defineded by the lex Octavia altera de comitiis centuriatis resulted in the following division:
- Centuries 1-14: Class I
- Centuries 15-26: Class II
- Centuries 27-36: Class III
- Centuries 37-44: Class IV
- Centuries 45-50: Class V
- Century 51: Capite Censi