Under the republic, criminal charges were tried by jury courts under the presidency of praetors; these are alluded to in the last sentence of Tiberius’ speech, and continued to function down into the second century. Here we see two alternative criminal courts, the emperor, sitting according to Roman usage with assessors (cf. Nos. 136–137), and the senate under the presidency of the consuls (cf. Nos. 83–84). The latter court is firmly attested under Augustus, the former is assumed in this passage to exist early in Tiberius’ reign (a.d. 20). The accuser had, it will be seen, the choice of court, but the emperor (or the senate) could refuse jurisdiction. The senatorial court was usually used for crimes of senators and political crimes.


Fellow Citizen Criminal Charge Civil Case Military Tribune Roman People 
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© A. H. M. Jones 1970

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  • A. H. M. Jones

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