A curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i.e. more or less a tribe, and with a metonymy it came to mean also the meeting place where the tribe discussed its affairs. Etymologically it is derived from the Old Latin term "co-viria," literally an "association of men." This archaic pronunciation - note that current scholarship believes that in Classical Latin "v" is always pronounced as "w" - eventually evolved into the more recognizable word.


Roman Republic

In the Roman Republic, there were three types of divisions into which the people were organized: the curiae, which were based on clans or gentes; the centuriae, which were military; and tribus, local "tribes" that were voting blocs.[1] The curiae are thought to have been created by dividing the original three tribes into ten divisions. Each curia was then further divided into ten decuriae.[2] Each curia was led by a curio, over whom presided the curio maximus.

The curia per antonomasia was the Curia Hostilia in Rome, which was the building where the Senate usually met. The Senate, initially just a meeting of the city elders from all tribes (its name comes from "senex", which means "old man"), saw its powers grow together with the conquest that brought a town of humble origins to rule a large Republic (and then decrease steadily with the advent of the Empire).

During their expansion, the Romans exported the model to every city that gained the status of Municipium, so that it had its own Senate and its own officials charged with local administration (although they weren't usually elected but nominated by the central government; the only place where officials were actually elected by the people was Rome itself, and by Imperial times even those elections, although kept for the sake of tradition, no longer had significance). Senators themselves were not elected since the early Republic, having been transformed into a hereditary nobility.

Roman Empire

By the Imperial period, a curia was any building where local government held office, i.e. judicial proceedings, government meetings, bureaucracy, etc., and shortly afterwards the term started to refer also to the people making up the local administration (see curiales). The Curia situated in the Roman Forum functioned as a senate house for meetings and discussions over the Roman Empire to be held. It was to the north of the Forum, and was particularly used to conduct the affairs of the Roman state, more effectively, although not exclusively, during the republican period. It is one of the few buildings in the Roman Forum that is still standing, making it easy to imagine its original state.

During the late Roman Empire, the government assumed a dual character, secular and religious. The fall of the Western Roman Empire ended the secular curia in the West, but not the religious one, which has continued to the present day.

Roman Catholic Church

After the end of the Roman Empire, the term Curia was used to designate the administrative apparatus of the Roman Catholic Church, and more specifically, the Vatican.

Modern usage

The term curia may refer to separate electoral colleges in a system of reserved political positions (reserved seats), e.g. during the British mandate of Palestine at the third election (1931) of the Asefat HaNivharim there were three curiae, for the Ashkenazi Jews, the Sephardi Jews and for the Yemeni Jews.[3][4][5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Lily Ross Taylor, Roman Voting Assemblies from the Hannibalic War to the Dictatorship of Caesar (University of Michigan Press, 1966, 1990), p. 3.
  2. ^ Emilio Gabba, Dionysius and The History of Archaic Rome (University of California Press, 1991), p. 166.
  3. ^ Fannie Fern Andrews, The Holy Land under mandate, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company - The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1931, 2 vol. (ch. XIV - Building a Jewish corporate life, vol. II, 1-32)
  4. ^ Moshe Burstein, Self-government of the Jews in Palestine since 1900, Tel Aviv, Hapoel Hatzair, 1934
  5. ^ ESCO Foundation for Palestine, Inc., Palestine. A study of Jewish, Arab and British policies, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1947, 2 vol. (The growth and organization of the Jewish community, vol.II, 404-414)
  6. ^ Jacob C. Hurewitz, The struggle for Palestine, New York, Norton and Company, 1950 (ch. 3 - The political structure of the Yishuv, 38-50)

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  • Curia — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ciudad de Roma durante los tiempos de la república. Grabado de Friedrich Polack 1896. Para su acepción como organización religiosa, véase Curia Romana. Para la ciudad llamada del mismo modo durante la antigua Roma,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • curia — sustantivo femenino 1. (no contable) Área: derecho Conjunto de abogados, procuradores y funcionarios de la administración de justicia: La curia ve su labor cuestionada por el mal funcionamiento de la Justicia. Locuciones 1. curia diocesana …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • curia — (Del lat. curĭa). 1. f. Tribunal donde se tratan los negocios contenciosos. 2. Conjunto de abogados, escribanos, procuradores y empleados en la Administración de Justicia. 3. Cuidado, esmero. 4. Una de las divisiones del antiguo pueblo romano. 5 …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • cúria — s. f. 1. Subdivisão de tribo, entre os romanos. 2. Lugar de reunião de cada uma dessas tribos romanas. 3. Lugar de reunião do senado romano. 4. Senado romano. 5. Classe dos curiais. 6. Corte do Papa. 7. Tribunal pontifício ou eclesiástico.… …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • curia — index bar (court), board Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 curia …   Law dictionary

  • Curia — Cu ri*a (k? r? ?), n.; pl. {Curle} ( ?). [L.] 1. (Rom. Antiq.) (a) One of the thirty parts into which the Roman people were divided by Romulus. (b) The place of assembly of one of these divisions. (c) The place where the meetings of the senate… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Curia —   [lateinisch] die, /...riae,    1) Versammlungsraum für den römischen Senat; erste Curiabauten auf dem Forum in Rom gehen in die Königszeit zurück. Der von Caesar begonnene, von Augustus eingeweihte Bau wurde 283 n. Chr. durch Brand zerstört und …   Universal-Lexikon

  • curia — / kurja/ s.f. [dal lat. curia, di etimo incerto]. (stor.) [complesso della residenza, della famiglia e delle persone addette a un sovrano: la c. siciliana ] ▶◀ corte …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • curia — (n.) c.1600, one of the ten divisions of each of the three ancient Roman tribes; also the Senate house of Rome, from L. curia court, perhaps from *co wiria community of men. Transferred to the Papal court (1840) …   Etymology dictionary

  • curia — [rō mä′nə, rōmā′nəkyoor′ē ə] n. pl. curiae [kyoor′ēē΄] [L (in ML, court) < OL * co viria, assembly of men < co , together + * viro , man: see VIRILE] 1. in ancient Rome, a) any of the ten political subdivisions into which the Latin, Sabine …   English World dictionary

  • Curia Ro|ma|na — «roh MAY nuh», the Curia …   Useful english dictionary

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