Tribunus laticlavius

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In the Roman army of the late Republic and the Principate, the tribunus laticlavius ("broad-striped tribune") was one of the six military tribunes in a legion. The person who held the position was usually a young man belonging to a wealthy family or that was friends with the legatus.The position of tribunus laticlavius was the first step on the Cursus honorum.


The post was created by the Marian reforms. The tribunus laticlavius was second in command to the legatus legionis,[1][2] the legion's commander, and above the other five tribuni angusticlavii, and later the praefectus castrorum. The Roman Senate or Emperor would assign the office of tribune to a Roman noble who was younger than the age of 25.[3] They were usually around the age of 20.[4] The tribunus laticlavius would usually be a young man who might belong to one of the richest families in Rome or be a close friend to the legionary commander. The tribunus laticlavius was part of the senatorial aristocracy. The reason why the tribunus laticlavius would wear a purple stripe.[5]

After two or three years[6] as a tribunus laticlavius the tribune would go back to Rome and run for a political office, usually a quaestorship. The position was the first step of the traditional Cursus honorum.[3][7][8][9][10] The tribunus laticlavius would usually have no prior military experience.[3]

By the middle of 250s AD, at the earliest, the post of the tribunus laticlavius had disappeared from the Roman army, following the general trend of removal of the senatorial class from military commands.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Powell, Lindsay (2013). Germanicus: The Magnificent Life and Mysterious Death of Rome's Most Popular General. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen&Sword Books. ISBN 978-147-382-692-2.
  2. ^ Breeze, David (2013). Roman Frontiers in Britain. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-147-253-871-0.
  3. ^ a b c Adkins, Lesley (1998). Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. OUP USA.
  4. ^ Erdkamp, Paul (2007). A Companion to the Roman Army. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-2153-8.
  5. ^ Bohec, Yann Le (1994). The Roman Imperial Army. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22295-8.
  6. ^ Eric, Eric (1988). The Roman Army. J.C. Gieben.
  7. ^ Greenley, Ben (2017). Myth and Religion. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-135-001-489-3.
  8. ^ Millet, Martin (1990). The Romanization of Britain: An Essay in Archaeological Interpretation. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-052-142-864-4.
  9. ^ D'Amato, Raffaele (2009). Arms and Armor of the Imperial Roman Soldier. Pen&Sword Books: Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 978-147-381-189-8.
  10. ^ Brewer, Richard (2000). Caerleon and the Roman Army: Roman Legionary Museum: a Guide. National Museums & Galleries of Wales. ISBN 978-072-000-488-5.
  11. ^ Southern, Pat (2001). The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine. London and New York: Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 0-203-45159-7.