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tumultus


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Was a state of emergency decreed by the Roman state when facing attack. Cicero says the ancients had distinguished two types, a war in Italy (which to Cicero and his contemporaries meant a civil war), and a Gallic attack (Gaul being the only province bordering Italy). When a tumultus was pronounced, there was a suspension of normal state business (iustitium), military leave was cancelled, and all the citizens, wearing the sagum (see dress), were levied. An emergency levy was the only time that proletarii (citizens who fell below the census qualification for military service) could be enrolled, and on a famous occasion they were for the first time armed at public expense.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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