A candidate for a Roman magistracy. Officially named petitor (his rivals were therefore styled competitōrēs), he was called candidatus because he wore a whitened toga when greeting electors in the forum. A slave (nōmenclātor) reminded him of the names of the electors, and he had a crowd of partisans from the plebs including his own freedmen and other clients, whose numbers were taken as an index of his likely success. In the late republic these activities often began a full year before the election, but the traditional period of canvass was over the last three market‐days; this brought the candidate's name to the notice of the presiding magistrate. Originally candidacies, even of those absent, might be accepted on election day, but such concessions were limited by laws of the late republic. Under the Principate names might be given to the presiding consul or to the emperor who would pass the names on, if he had no objection (nōminātiō). By the end of Augustus' reign, however, some senior magistrates were ‘Caesar's candidates’, who were elected without the need to canvass or the risk of rejection. See elections and voting.
Subjects: Classical Studies.