Each magisterial position had different responsibilities and this page will attempt to outline them. It is worth taking into account that there is not a single piece of archaeological evidence which contains all the duties, regulations and expectations of the Ordo Decurionem. In a Roman Colony there would usually be a municipal charter which would contain and explain all this information.  It is thought that, after the eruption, Pompeii’s charter was ‘lost or stolen’.[1] Without one for Pompeii we can only look at the evidence we have, which suggests and implies a limited number of duties. Some scholars look to other colonies charter’s for inspiration and take this as evidence for Pompeii’s government, as they are likely to be similar. This page will first discuss what we can take as definite evidence for the Ordo’s duties and then will show what could be possible from the study of other municipalities.


Aediles were junior magistrates, often referred to as viis aedibus sacris publicis procurandis (‘duoviri in charge of streets and of sacred and public buildings). This is rather self-explanatory and we can see evidence of these kinds of duties from around Pompeii.



On the calibration of measures by decree of decurions[2]

This was thought to have been implemented during Augustus’ Romanization period.

From the Jucundus tablets we can see that the aediles confirmed sales pitches for market traders and rented out Pompeian property (a public slave would be manager however) .[3]



The duties of the duoviri were slightly more serious, they were the senior magistrates of the Pompeian Local Government and they were referred to in inscriptions as having ‘judicial power’. This therefore shows that their duties were more in regards to the administration of law and order in Pompeii.  We can see from the Jucundus tablets that they collected taxes and from inscriptions that they permitted building and its contracts.[4]

CIL X 844


Gaius Quinctius Valgus, son of Gaius, and Marcus Porcius, son of Marcus, duumvirs, by decree of the town councillors awarded the contract for the construction of the covered theatre and also approved it. 

(By decree of the town councillors shows us that they were permitted and required to do so by the Ordo)

CIL IV 7579

We beg you to elect Marcus Epidius Sabinus as duumvir with judicial power.

Duoviri Quinquenalles-

Out of all the positions in the Pompeian Local Government the Duoviri Quinquenalles were the highest ranked in society. Elected every five years, they would take the place of the normal duoviri and have the sought after responsibility to take a census, as well as modify the album, yet to be found, which would list the names of all members of the Ordo Decurionem. They would have the responsibility of ensuring that rules and regulations were being met and would also review membership, having the power to grant admission or remove people’s memberships.

The Ordo-

The Ordo as a whole had its own responsibilities. The local government had a budget which it would use to improve the city of Pompeii, which we have seen were already raised by the Ordo, through the duoviri.


‘With the money raised from fines’ [5]


Tombstone inscriptions tell us that the Ordo also used their budget to fund public funerals and to grant people burial plots, this was often the case when a magistrate or a member of his family had died while in office.[6]The usual sum paid for this was 2000 sesterces, which was the same amount usually spent on the funeral of an Augustalis. [7]

However, although these inscriptions tell us that the Ordo did in fact use money raised by the public to pay for some things, this should be taken lightly.[8] There is a lot of evidence which suggests and proves that the members of the Pompeian Ordo were required to make public benefactions throughout their time in office. Therefore many scholars, such as Mary Beard, believe that when analysing the duties of the Ordo in terms of money spent we should turn to evidence for acts of public generosity.[9]


We don’t know the exact requirements one would have to meet to become a member of the Ordo, but we can get some insight from evidence found in Pompeii and from looking at the trends across other colonial cities. For example some inscriptions mention entering into the Ordo ‘without expense’ and therefore from this we can infer that members were usually fee-paying.

From other municipalities, we can see that there would usually be a fee to enter into local government, which would become part of the government’s spending budget. As previously mentioned, we know that Pompeii followed this same pattern. From the tombstone of Aulus Clodius Flaccus we can gain some insight into the exact amount the magistrates were required to pay. The inscription tells us that he gave 10,000 sesterces to the public account during his first year as duumvir.[10] However, the fact that it was engraved onto his tombstone tells us that this amount was deemed special by whoever commissioned it and therefore the fee one would usually pay was most probably lower than this.


[1] Beard, 2008:199

[2] Lomas, 1996:212

[3] Beard,2008:71

[4]Cooley, Cooley,2013: 813-9

[5] Beard,2008: 197

[6]Castren,1975: 162

[7]Castren,1975: 162

[8] Beard,2008: 197

[9] Beard, 2008: 197

[10]Cooley,Cooley,2013: 48