Consul

Consul

Overview
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 and an appointive office under the Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

, notably in the First French Republic. The relating adjective is consular, from the Latin consularis
Consularis
Consularis is a Latin word, derived from consulo, "take counsel".-Roman history:Originally it was simple and adjective meaning "consular", but more interestingly it has also become a substantive, used in technical meanings.* Any former consul...

 (which has been used, substantiated, as a title in its own right).


During the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, the consuls were the highest civil
Civil
Civil may refer to:*Civic virtue, or civility*Civil action, or lawsuit*Civil affairs*Civil and political rights*Civil disobedience*Civil engineering*Civilian, someone not a member of armed forces*Civil law , multiple meanings...

 and military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 magistrates, serving as the heads of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 for the Republic.
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Timeline

43 BC   Octavian, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul.

535   Byzantine General Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Ostrogothic garrison of Syracuse, and ending his consulship for the year.

1924   Teheran, Persia comes under martial law after the American vice-consul, Robert Imbrie, is killed by a religious mob enraged by rumors he had poisoned a fountain and killed several people.

1975   The Japanese Red Army takes more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hostages include the U.S. consul and the Swedish chargé d’affaires. The gunmen win the release of five imprisoned comrades and fly with them to Libya.

 
Encyclopedia
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 and an appointive office under the Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

, notably in the First French Republic. The relating adjective is consular, from the Latin consularis
Consularis
Consularis is a Latin word, derived from consulo, "take counsel".-Roman history:Originally it was simple and adjective meaning "consular", but more interestingly it has also become a substantive, used in technical meanings.* Any former consul...

 (which has been used, substantiated, as a title in its own right).

Ancient Rome



During the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, the consuls were the highest civil
Civil
Civil may refer to:*Civic virtue, or civility*Civil action, or lawsuit*Civil affairs*Civil and political rights*Civil disobedience*Civil engineering*Civilian, someone not a member of armed forces*Civil law , multiple meanings...

 and military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 magistrates, serving as the heads of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 for the Republic. New consuls were elected every year. There were two consuls and they ruled together by mutual consensus, i.e. only when they agreed with each other could they exercise the authority of their office. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls were merely a figurative representative of Rome’s republican heritage and held very little power and authority, with the emperor acting as the supreme leader.

Other city states


While many cities (as in Gaul) had a double-headed chief magistracy, often another title
Title
A title is a prefix or suffix added to someone's name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may even be inserted between a first and last name...

 was used, such as Duumvir or native styles such as Meddix, but Consul was used in some.

Private sphere


It was not uncommon for an organisation under Roman private law to copy the terminology of state and city institutions for its own statutory agents. The founding statute, or contract, of such an organisation was called lex, 'law'. The people elected each year were patricians, members of the upper class.

Medieval city states


The city-state of Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, unlike ancient Rome, bestowed the title of Consul on various state officials, not necessarily restricted to the highest. Among these were Genoese officials stationed in various Mediterranean ports, whose role included helping Genoese merchants and sailors in difficulties with the local authorities. This institution, with its name, was later emulated by other powers and is reflected in the modern usage of the word (see Consul (representative)
Consul (representative)
The political title Consul is used for the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries...

).

In England, the clerks of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester
Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester
Robert Fitzroy, 1st Earl of Gloucester was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England. He was called "Rufus" and occasionally "de Caen", he is also known as Robert "the Consul"...

, made a practice of using the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word consul rather than the more common comes when translating his title of 'Earl
Earl
An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

'. Modern historians sometimes call him "Robert the Consul", for that reason, though he himself and his contemporaries did not use that name.

French Republic



After Napoleon Bonaparte in November 1799 staged a coup
18 Brumaire
The coup of 18 Brumaire was the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate...

 against the Directory
French Directory
The Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate...

 government, the French Republic adopted a constitution
Constitution of the Year VIII
The Constitution of the Year VIII was a national constitution of France, adopted December 24, 1799 , which established the form of government known as the Consulate...

, which conferred executive powers upon three Consuls, elected for a period of ten years. In reality, the First Consul, Bonaparte, dominated his two colleagues and held supreme power, soon making himself Consul for life and eventually, in 1804, Emperor
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

.

The office was held by
  • Napoleon Bonaparte, Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, Roger Ducos
    Roger Ducos
    Pierre Roger Ducos , better known as Roger Ducos, was a French political figure during the Revolution and First Empire, a member of the National Convention, and of the Directory....

    , Provisional Consuls (10 November – 12 December 1799)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte (First Consul), Jean-Jacques Cambacérès
    Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès
    Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, 1st Duke of Parma was a French lawyer and statesman during the French Revolution and the First Empire, best remembered as the author of the Napoleonic code, which still forms the basis of French civil law.-Early career:Cambacérès was born in Montpellier, into a...

     (Second Consul), Charles-François Lebrun
    Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance
    Charles-François Lebrun, 1st Duke of Plaisance, prince of the Empire was a French statesman.-Ancien Régime:...

     (Third Consul), Consuls (12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804)

Roman Republic


The French-sponsored Roman Republic
Roman Republic (18th century)
The Roman Republic was proclaimed on February 15, 1798 after Louis Alexandre Berthier, a general of Napoleon, had invaded the city of Rome on February 10....

 (15 February 1798 – 23 June 1800) was headed by multiple consuls:
  • Francesco Riganti, Carlo Luigi Costantini, Duke Bonelli-Crescenzi, Antonio Bassi, Gioacchino Pessuti, Angelo Stampa, Domenico Maggi, Provisional Consuls (15 February – 20 March 1798)
  • Liborio Angelucci, Giacomo De Mattheis, Panazzi, Reppi, Ennio Quirino Visconti
    Ennio Quirino Visconti
    Ennio Quirino Visconti was an Italian antiquarian and art historian, papal Prefect of Antiquities, and the leading expert of his day in the field of ancient Roman sculpture....

    , Consuls (20 March – September 1798)
  • Brigi, Calisti, Francesco Pierelli, Giuseppe Rey, Federico Maria Domenico Michele, Zaccaleoni, Consuls (September – 24 July 1799)


Consular rule was interrupted by the Neapolitan
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 occupation (27 November – 12 December 1798), which installed a Provisional Government:
  • Prince Giambattista Borghese
    Borghese
    Borghese is the surname of a family of Italian noble and papal background, originating as the Borghese or Borghesi in Siena, where they came to prominence in the 13th century holding offices under the commune. The head of the family, Marcantonio, moved to Rome in the 16th century and there,...

    , Prince Paolo-Maria Aldobrandini
    Aldobrandini
    The Aldobrandini are an Italian noble family from Florence, with close ties to the Vatican. Its Roman fortunes were made when Ippolito Aldobrandini became pope under the name Pope Clement VIII. He arranged the marriage that linked the Aldobrandini with the Roman family of Pamphili...

    , Prince Gibrielli, Marchese Camillo Massimo, Giovanni Ricci (29 November 1798 - 12 December 1798)


Rome was occupied by France (11 July – 28 September 1799) and again by Naples (30 September 1799 – 23 June 1800), bringing an end to the Roman Republic.

Bolognese Republic


The short-lived Bolognese Republic
Bolognese Republic
The Bolognese Republic was proclaimed in 1796 in the Central Italian city of Bologna.-History:It was a French client republic established when Papal authorities escaped from the city of Bologna on June 1796. It was annexed by the Cispadane Republic on 16 October 1796.It was given the first jacobin...

, proclaimed in 1796 as a French client republic
French client republic
During its occupation of neighboring parts of Europe during the French Revolutionary Wars, France established republican regimes in these territories...

 in the Central Italian city of Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, had a government consisting of nine consuls and its head of state was the Presidente del Magistrato, i.e., chief magistrate
Chief Magistrate
Chief Magistrate is a generic designation for a public official whose office—individual or collegial—is the highest in his or her class, in either of the fundamental meanings of Magistrate : as a major political and administrative office , and/or as a judge Chief Magistrate is a generic designation...

, a presiding office held for four months by one of the consuls. As noted above, Bologna already had Consuls at some parts of its Medieval history.

Paraguay


In between series of juntas (and various other short-lived regimes), the young republic was governed by "consuls of the republic" in power (2 consuls alternating in power every 4 months):
  • 12 October 1813 – 12 February 1814 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (1st time)
  • 12 February 1814 – 12 June 1814 Fulgencio Yegros y Franco de Torres
  • 12 June 1814 – 3 October 1814 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (2nd time); he stayed on as "supreme dictator" 3 October 1814 – 20 September 1840 (from 6 June 1816 styled "perpetual supreme dictator")


After a few presidents of the Provisional Junta, there were again consuls of the republic, 14 March 1841 – 13 March 1844 (ruling jointly, but occasionally styled "first consul", "second consul"): Carlos Antonio López Ynsfrán (b. 1792 – d. 1862) + Mariano Roque Alonzo Romero (d. 1853) (the lasts of the aforementioned juntistas, Commandant-General of the Army)
Thereafter all republican rulers were styled "president".

Revolutionary Greece


Among the many petty local republics that were formed during the first year of the Greek Revolution, prior to the creation of a unified Provisional Government at the First National Assembly at Epidaurus
First National Assembly at Epidaurus
The First National Assembly of Epidaurus was the first meeting of the Greek National Assembly, a national representative political gathering of the Greek revolutionaries.The assembly opened in December 1821 at Piada...

, were:
  • The Consulate of Argos
    Argos
    Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

     (from 26 May 1821, under the Senate of the Peloponnese
    Peloponnese
    The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

    ) had a single head of state, styled consul, 28 March 1821 – 26 May 1821: Stamatellos Antonopoulos
  • The Consulate of East Greece (Livadeia
    Livadeia
    Livadeia is a city in central Greece. It is the capital of the prefecture Boeotia. Livadeia is located 130 km NW of Athens, E of Nafpaktos, ESE of Amfissa and Desfina, SE of Lamia and west of Chalkida. Livadeia is linked with GR-48 and several kilometres west of GR-3. The area around Livadeia...

    ) (from 15 November 1821, under the Areopagus of East Greece
    Areopagus of Eastern Continental Greece
    The Areopagus of Eastern Continental Greece was a provisional regime that existed in eastern Central Greece during the Greek War of Independence.- Background :...

    ) was headed 1 April 1821 – 15 November 1821 by three Consuls: Lambros Nakos, Ioannis Logothetis & Ioannis Filon

Note: in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, the term for "consul" is "ypatos", which translates as "supreme one", and hence does not necessarily imply a joint office.

See also

  • Captain Regent (similar modern position in San Marino's government)
  • Consularis
    Consularis
    Consularis is a Latin word, derived from consulo, "take counsel".-Roman history:Originally it was simple and adjective meaning "consular", but more interestingly it has also become a substantive, used in technical meanings.* Any former consul...

     (Roman gubernatorial style)
  • Chronological listings of Roman consuls (in law always republican Magistrates):
  • List of topics related to ancient Rome
  • Political institutions of Rome
    Political institutions of Rome
    A list regarding the political institutions of ancient Rome follows.-Constitutions:* Roman Constitution* Constitution of the Roman Kingdom* Constitution of the Roman Republic* Constitution of the Roman Empire* Constitution of the Late Roman Empire...

  • Consulate

Sources and references