Constitution I - MMDCCLI (Nova Roma)
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Constitution of Nova Roma: Constitution I - MMDCCLI (Nova Roma)
Followed by: Constitution II - MMDCCLII
We the Senate and People of Nova Roma, as an independent and sovereign nation, here set forth this Constitution as the foundation and structure of our governing institutions and common society.
As the spiritual heir to the Republic of ancient Rome, Nova Roma shall endeavor to exist, in all manners practical and acceptable, as the modern restoration of the ancient Roman Republic. The culture, religion, and society of Nova Roma shall be patterned upon those of ancient Rome.
Article I: Introduction
- 1. Nova Roma, as an established Sovereign Nation, is organized as a Republic consisting of Citizens and Gentes, religious institutions, and governing institutions founded upon ancient Roman example. Nova Roma consists of held and claimed territories including: a central Sacred Capitol, established Roman religious Temples and Shrines in various locations around the world, and "temporary" Sacred Territories existing for the duration of ceremonies wherever rites of the Religio Romana are held and officiated by recognized members of the religious institutions of Nova Roma.
- 2. As a nation, Nova Roma shall be the temporal homeland and worldly focus for the Religio Romana. The primary functions of Nova Roma shall be to promote the study and practice of pagan Roman civilization, defined as the period from the founding of the City of Rome in 753 BCE to the removal of the altar of Victory from the Senate in 394 CE and encompassing such fields as religion, culture, politics, art, literature, language, and philosophy.
- 3. The legal, sacral, and accounting year of Nova Roma shall begin on the Kalends of Martius (March 1st).
- 4. This Constitution may be altered by law passed by one of the comitia; such alterations to this Constitution must be ratified by a vote of two-thirds of the entire Senate before it shall take effect.
- 5. Wherever appropriate, the term "civil law" refers to the laws and regulations of the localities, states, and countries in which Nova Roma and its Citizens finds itself operating. The term leges Novae Romae refers to only those internal laws passed by the various Comitiae and applicable only to Nova Roma and its Citizens. Where conflicts between these arise, the civil law shall prevail, but recourse to the civil law is not sufficient to prevent revocation of Citizenship for violations of the leges Novae Romae.
- 6. This Constitution shall be legally in effect when it is ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Citizens of Nova Roma. At that moment, all those who occupy pro tem positions within the organization shall be automatically installed in the appropriate magistrateship without the need for formal elections to be held. Those magistrates shall be automatically installed as members of the Senate, without having to wait for their terms of office to expire. From the time of ratification until the first scheduled elections, the Senate may fill all offices by Senatus Consulta, as necessary.
Article II: Citizens
- 1. When determining applicability for Citizenship, Nova Roma shall not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age (except where such is mandated by the civil laws of a particular locality), or sexuality. Nova Roma may discriminate on the basis of creed when it is deemed that a given creed is contrary to the interests of Roman reconstructionism. Such determinations may be made by the Censors and / or Senatus consulta.
- 2. Individual Citizenship is open to anyone eighteen years of age or older who expresses an interest in the study and practice of pagan Roman civilization, including (but not limited to) its religious, political, and cultural aspects. Individuals fifteen years or older but not yet eighteen may attain Citizenship through the normal application process with the written permission of their parent or legal guardian. Individuals under the age of fifteen may not become Citizens, but may be listed as members of a particular gens with the written permission of their parent or legal guardian as well as the Paterfamilias or Materfamilias of the gens in question.
- 3. Citizenship may be voluntarily resigned at any time by written notification to a Censor. In such cases, any taxes or other fees heretofore paid will not be refunded.
- 4. Citizenship may be involuntarily revoked, with no refunding of taxes or other fees heretofore paid, through one of several means, all of which may be appealed to the Comitia Centuriata if desired:
- 1. By Senatus consulta;
- 2. Through the judgement of a magistrate, after a trial in accordance with the leges Novae Romae in which the individual has been found guilty of a crime that warrants such punishment; and,
- 3. Through the summary judgement of a magistrate, after having been witnessed committing a felony (as defined by the civil authority) by that magistrate at an event sponsored by Nova Roma.
- 5. Any new Citizen who is not sponsored by an existing gens will be considered to be paterfamilias or materfamilias of his or her own gens, and must register as such with the Censors.
- 6. The following rights of the Citizens shall be guaranteed, but this ennumeration shall not be taken to exclude other rights that Citizens may possess:
- 1. Complete authority over their own personal and household rites, rituals, and beliefs, pagan or otherwise; except where this Constitution mandates participation in the rites of the Religio Romana, such as the case of Magistrates and Senators;
- 2. The right and obligation to remain subject to the civil rights and laws of the countries in which they reside and / or hold citizenship, regardless of their status as dual Citizens of Nova Roma;
- 3. The right to vote in elections as members of their various Assemblies, on civil and national policy matters brought before the People in such manner as is described in this Constitution;.
- 4. The right to participate in all public forums and discussions, and the right to reasonably expect such forums to be supported by the State. Such communications, regardless of their content, may not be restricted by the State, except where such represents an imminent and clear danger to the Republic.
- 5. The ability to found new soverign territory of Nova Roma. This can be done on a permanent basis by building and maintaining established Roman Pagan shrines and temples (within the guidelines established by the Pontifex Maximus and the Collegia of priesthoods), and on a temporary basis by holding public and private rites and hosting public festivals, during which an area shall be considered part of the sovereign territory of Nova Roma for the duration of the event;
- 6. The right to remain sovereign and secure within one's own home, person, and property;
- 7. The right to seek and receive assistance and advice from the State in matters of religious and social dispute occuring both within and outside the direct jurisdiction of Nova Roma; and,
- 8. The right to pursue business enterprises within Nova Roma, and the right to receive reasonable encouragement to build a strong economy through Roman-oriented commerce; the only restrictions being those informational and other materials copyrighted by the State, which shall remain the property of the State. Citizens engaging in established Roman commerce shall have the benefit of entering the Ordo Equester, as established in this Constitution.
- 7. Those Citizens who wish to do so may be enrolled in the Ordo Equester, providing they have met the following conditions and are prepared to live up to the following obligations:
- 1. Citizens wishing to enroll in the Ordo Equester shall have established and maintained a commercial venture that directly or indirectly supports the State, or the promotion of Roman culture, religion, or other aspects of classical Roman studies;
- 2. Citizens wishing to enroll in the Ordo Equester shall have provided sufficient documentation and the intention to become so enrolled to the Censors;
- 3. Citizens may expect to be encouraged by the State in such commercial ventures through various means determined by the Senate, including (but not limited to) the provision of discounted advertising space in official publications; and,
- 4. Members of the Ordo Equester shall be expected to contribute to the economic well-being of the State to a greater extent than ordinary Citizens.
Article III: Magistrates
- 1. Magistrates shall handle the daily operations of Nova Roma. There shall be two kinds of magistrates; those who are elected by the Citizens and those who are appointed by Senatus consulta. Elections for Magistrates shall take place on the Ides of December, with terms of office beginning on the Kalends of Ianvarivs (January 1st). Senatorially-appointed Magistrates shall begin their terms of office on the Kalends of Ianvarivs (January 1st), or as indicated by the Senatus consultum that appointed them. Unless otherwise noted, terms of office for magistrates last one year. Magistrates may expect to contribute to the economic well-being of the State to a greater extent than ordinary Citizens. The magistrates, in order of authority from greatest to least, with their powers, shall be as follows.
- 2. Two Consuls shall be elected, and shall be the highest-ranking magistrates in Nova Roma. Each Consul shall have the following powers:
- 1. holding Imperium;
- 2. veto over the actions of his or her fellow Consul, and over the actions of lesser magistrates;
- 3. calling the Senate to convene and undertake its deliberations;
- 4. Govern the day-to-day operations of the State, within the boundaries of the Law and under the advice of the Senate;
- 5. govern the provincia in which he or she resides, and / or shall be assigned by the Senate; and,
- 6. summon the Comitia Tributa and Comitia Centuriata and put forth matters for the people to vote upon.
- 3. Governors shall be appointed by Senatus consulta to govern those provinciae for which no Consul has been placed in charge, for a term of one year (with no limit on re-appointments to the position). The Senate shall determine the proper title for such Governors, in keeping with the ancient example of the Roman Republic. Each Governor shall have the following powers:
- 1. holding Imperium;
- 2. veto over the actions of lesser magistrates within the provincia they govern, and;
- 3. govern the provincia in which he or she resides, and / or shall be assigned by the Senate.
- 4. Two Praetores Urbanii shall be elected to administer the leges Novae Romae. Each Praetor Urbanis shall have the following powers:
- 1. holding imperium;
- 2. veto over the actions of his or her fellow Praetor, and over the actions of lesser magistrates;
- 3. calling the comitia populi together to vote; and,
- 4. to administer criminal and civil cases of law before the comitiae.
- 5. Two Censors shall be elected every five years, but may only be elected from among those individuals who had formerly held the office of Consul. Each Censor shall have the following powers:
- 1. veto over the actions of his or her fellow Censor, and over the actions of lesser magistrates;
- 2. administer the policies and procedures for attaining Citizenship;
- 3. maintain lists of Citizens and appropriate information concerning them (addresses, etc.);
- 4. maintain lists of Senators and their qualifications for inclusion in the Senate, as determined by law, or in the lack thereof, by their own judgement with the advice of the Senate, according to the ancient example of the Roman Republic;
- 5. initiate proceedings in the Senate for the removal of a Senator on the grounds of immoral or illegal behavior detrimental to the welfare of Nova Roma; and,
- 6. enforce any Senatus consultum regarding the maintenance of moral standards.
- 6. Four Aediles shall be elected to oversee the festivals of the Religio Romana and the maintenance of public properties. Two Aediles, to be known as the Plebian Aediles, must come from the class of Plebians. The remaining two, to be known as the Curule Aediles, shall come from either class. Each Aedile shall have the following powers:
- 1. the curule aediles shall hold Imperium;
- 2. veto over the actions of his or her fellow Aediles and the actions of lesser magistrates;
- 3. administer those public festivals, games, gatherings, and other such activities as may be held;
- 4. administer those religious festivals and observances as may be held;
- 5. administer those public properties including, but not limited to, temples, that may be constructed; and,
- 6. provide guidance and assistance to any local magistrate or other person who, by virtue of geography or other circumstance, must fulfill those functions normally undertaken by the Aediles.
- 7. A number of Quaestors shall be elected, as determined by the Senate, to assist magistrates in their administrative and fiscal responsibilities. Quaestors shall each be assigned by the Senate to a higher-ranking magistrate to function as an assistant within the boundaries set forth below. Each Quaestor shall have the following powers:
- 1. administer public funds as disbursed by the Senate to pay for and further the work of magistrates; and,
- 2. generally assist in the administration of the duties of the magistrate to whom the Quaestor is assigned.
- 8. Two Tribunes of the Plebs shall be elected, from the ranks of the plebian class, to prevent the Plebians from being overwhelmed by the power of the patrician class. The actions of a Tribune of the Plebs may not be vetoed except by his fellow Tribune of the Plebs and the Dictator (if one has been appointed by the Senate). Each Tribune shall have the following powers:
- 1. veto the actions of his or her fellow Tribune and all other magistrates (except the Dictator), with such vetos being subject to cancellation by a two-thirds vote of the Senate;
- 2. Participate in the deliberations of the Senate as a non-voting member; and,
- 3. convene the comitia plebis and place before it items upon which the assembly may vote.
- 9. In times of emergency, as determined by the Senate, a Dictator may be appointed by the Senate, to serve for a term not to exceed that of the emergency, not to exceed six months. The dictator shall function as the supreme magistrate and not be subject to veto or recall by the Senate, and shall hold imperium. After his or her term of office has expired, the actions of the Dictator will be subject to review and final permanent approval by the Senate and Citizens of Nova Roma.
Article IV: The Comitiae and Elections
- 1. The comitia populi is convened by either a Consul or Praetor Urbanis. Its functions are to vote upon those laws that are be presented to it for consideration by a Consul; elect the Curule Aediles and Quaestors; participate in certain religious rites; ceremonially invest magistrates of Quaestor rank or above with Imperium to formally ratify the magisterial appointments of the Senate; and approve or disapprove the recommendations of the Censors to elevate Plebian gentes to Patrician status. It shall be made up of thirty tribes, the composition of which shall be determined by the Censors, but shall be made up of all Citizens of Nova Roma, regardless of class. Each tribe shall elect one of its members to speak for it in those matters that shall be refered to the comitia populi; such speakers shall be appointed for life.
- 2. The comitia centuriata is convened by a Consul. Its functions are to vote upon those laws that are presented to it for consideration by a Consul; elect Consuls, Praetores Urbanii, and Censors; and act as a court of final appeal in cases of civil and criminal law. It shall be made up of one hundred and eighteen centuries, the composition of which shall be determined by the Censors, but shall be made up of all Citizens of Nova Roma, regardless of class. Each century shall elect one of its members to speak for it in those matters that shall be refered to the comitia centuriata; such speakers shall be appointed until the comitia is released by a Consul.
- 3. The comitia plebis is convened by a Tribune of the Plebs. Its functions are to vote upon those laws that are presented to it for consideration by a Tribune of the Plebs; elect Tribunes of the Plebs and Plebian Aediles; and hear trials of civil and criminal cases according to the leges Novae Romae, as administered by the Quaestors. It shall be made up of thirty five tribes, the composition of which shall be determined by the Censors, but which shall be made up exclusively of all Citizens from the Plebian class. Each tribe shall elect one of its members to speak for it in those matters that shall be refered to the comitia plebis; such speakers shall be appointed until the comitia is released by a Tribune of the Plebs.
Article V: The Senate
- 1. The supreme policy-making power of Nova Roma shall be invested within the Senate, which shall be made up of Citizens who have served as magistrates, or, extraordinarily, of other citizens as well, as determined by law, or, in the lack thereof, by their own judgement with the advice of the Senate, according to the ancient example of the Roman Republic.
- 2. The Senate shall be convened by one or both of the serving Consuls. Until officially convened and a quorum has been attained, the Senate may not undertake any official actions. A quorum of the Senate shall be attained when a majority of its membership is present and / or able to participate in the decision-making process.
- 3. Any member of the Senate may, at his or her discretion, resign by presenting written notification to a Censor, who maintains the rolls of the Senate.
- 4. The Senate may, by a vote of two-thirds of its membership, expell a Senator from its ranks.
- 5. The Senate may issue Senatus Consulta upon a majority vote of its quorum. There shall be no limit on the issues upon which a Senatus Consultum may be issued, and they may be regarded as the official statements of the policies of Nova Roma, but not as law, until and unless they are ratified as such by one of the three comitia. The various magistrates shall be charged with the enforcement of the Senatus Consulta as appropriate and practical.
- 6. The Senate may, by Senatus Consulta, raise taxes and declare fees necessary for the maintenance, growth, and well-being of Nova Roma.
- 7. The Senate may, with a vote of two-thirds of its entire membership, overturn the veto of the Tribunes.
- 8. Should both Consuls leave office at the same time in mid-term, the Senate shall appoint an Interrex, who shall serve for no more than thirty days, during which time he or she shall organize an election to replace the missing Consul(s). During this time the Interrex shall have all the powers and responsibilities of the Consul.
- 9. If any other magistrate should vacate his or her office before the regular end of the term, the Senate shall appoint a magistrate to fill it through the end of the term.
Article VI: Public Religious Institutions
- 1. The Religio Romana, the worship of the Gods and Goddesses of Rome, shall be the official religion of the State. All magistrates and Senators, as officers of the State, shall be required to observe the Sacred Days of the Year, and to honor and offer sacrifice to the Gods and Goddesses that made and make Rome great. Citizens need not be practitioners of the Religio Romana, but may not engage in any activity that intentionally blasphemes or defames the Gods, the Religio Romana, or its practitioners, and Magistrates and Senators shall be required to pay due honor to the Gods.
- 2. The priesthoods of the Gods of Rome shall be organized as closely as practical on the ancient Roman model. The institutions of the Religio Romana shall have authority over religious matters on the level of the state and nation only, maintaining the religious rites of the State and providing resources pertaining to the Religio Romana which Citizens may make use of if they choose. Nova Roma shall approach all other religions with a syncretistic outlook, offering friendship to all paths which acknowledge the right of those who practice and honor the Religio Romana to do so and respect the beliefs thereof. Only Citizens of Nova Roma may be members of the public institutions of the Religio Romana, which shall be organized, and have their responsibilities divided, as follows:
- 3. The collegium pontificum shall be the highest of the priestly collegiae. It shall consist of the flamen, Vestal Virgins, and fifteen Pontifices, six of whom must be of the Patrician class, six of whom must be of the Plebian class, and three of whom may be of either class. Pontifices shall ordinarily serve their term for life; when openings in the Pontiffs shall present themselves, the comitia centuriata shall elect replacements, to be elected from candidates the remaining pontifices shall nominate. Pontifices may resign or be expelled by a vote of 2/3 of their fellow pontifices. The pontifices shall control the calendar, and determine when the festivals and deis fasti and deis nefasti shall occur, and what their effects shall be, within the boundaries of the example of ancient Rome. The pontifices shall elect from their own number a Pontifex Maximus, who shall have ritual responsibilities within the Religio Romana. General authority over the institutions, rites, rituals, and priesthoods of the public Religio Romana and the collegium pontificum in particular, shall rest with the Pontifices, who shall research and administer them as necessary.
- 4. The collegium augurum shall be the second-highest ranked of the priestly collegiae. It shall consist of fifteen members (known as augurs), five of whom shall be appointed by the Pontifex Maximus of the collegium pontificum and ten of whom shall be elected by the comitia centuriata. Augurs shall hold their positions for life, with no exceptions. They shall be responsible for the interpretation of divine approval or disapproval of the actions of the State, by means of the ancient systems of reading auspices and auguries. They shall hold the exclusive prerogative of defining templum (sacred spaces).
- 5. Other institutions and priesthoods may be instituted, and the rules for such set, by the Pontifex Maximus and the collegium pontificum, in accordance with the ancient models of the Religio Romana as practiced by our spiritual ancestors.
- 6. The Pontifex Maximus shall appoint a married couple Rex and Regina Sacrorum, who shall be of the Patrician class and who shall have responsibilities within the Religio Romana. They shall hold the office for life, and shall be superior in civil rank and precedence to the Pontifex Maximus, but second to him in religious authority.
Article VII: Gentes (Families)
- 1. Families and clans being the backbone of Roman society, the prerogatives and responsibilities of the family are of primary importance to Nova Roma. Except where specifically dealt with in this constitution and the leges Novae Romae, each gens shall have the right to determine its own course of action, and parents shall have the undisputed right and responsibility to see to the education and raising of their children.
- 2. Each gens shall be registered with the Censors, who will maintain records of births, deaths, marriages, sponsorships, and adoptions. This information shall be considered public and will be made available to any who ask. Other information, including but not limited to addresses and telephone numbers, will be considered private and will only be made available under circumstances of personal emergency or under coersion of the civil law.
- 3. Individuals shall be of the same class (Patrician or Plebian) as their family, and may not alter that position except through marriage or adoption. As an indicator of their status as founding members of Nova Roma, the first thirty gens registered with the Censors shall constitute the Patrician class. All gentes that register after that point will be considered Plebian. Individuals and gentes of Patrician and Plebian class shall be equal in status and before the law, except where specifically noted within this Constitution.
- 4. No two gentes may have the same nomen (surname) unless they be differentiated by an agnomen. The Censors shall be responsible for ensuring this rule is observed.
- 5. Each gens shall, through whatever means it may determine appropriate, have a paterfamilias or materfamilias who shall act as the leader of the gens and speak for it when necessary. The holder of this position must be registered as such with the Censors. The paterfamilias or materfamilias has certain religious duties and obligations, and is able to remove members of the gens without their consent with the assent of either the comitia curiata (in the case of a Patrician gens) or the comitia plebis (in the case of a Plebian gens).
- 6. Gentes may sponsor new Citizens into Nova Roma. By doing so, the new Citizen is automatically counted as a member of the sponsoring gens, unless special arrangements are made otherwise with the Censors.
- 7. Any Citizen may voluntarily adopt another Citizen as heirs by registering the transaction with the Censors. Doing so automatically brings the adoptee into the gens of the adopter, along with all the prestige and responsibilities that might entail.
- 8. Any individual may voluntarily leave a gens at any time and declare a new gens to be in existence, after having notified the Censors of their intention.
- 9. Should the Censors determine that a given Patrician gens is extinct, they may recommend to the Senate that a given Plebian family be elevated to the rank of Patrician. The Senate may then confirm the recommendation by majority vote.