Category talk:Senatus consulta (Nova Roma)

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Adding old senatus consulta

Could we stop adding old senatus consulta until we've discussed how to present and categorize these texts? If we add them before deciding these issues we will have to do a lot of unnecessary work changing them all to whatever new format we may choose in the end. Thanks.

- Cordus 19:01, 15 September 2007 (CEST)

No problem with stop adding. But, at last, let's start to do something. What is the better way to present and categorize these texts?

- Sabinus 20:08, 15 September 2007 (CEST)

Would it be correct to say that anything that IS a senatus consultum was in fact passed by the senate? In other words, if we have a document called "senatus consultum x", in every case it had been "passed by the senate"? What would such a document be called if it had not passed? Is there any reason to keep such a document? Is there any reason not to keep such a document? Agricola 06:04, 16 September 2007 (CEST)

Good point, amice Agricola. I agree with it. I think we can keep all documents which not passed in a specific place. Sometime we need these documents. For example, three years ago I saw that a SC about creation of Dacia-Moesia province didn't passed. Taking a look to the reasons I was able to present a correct proposal and the creation of Dacia province passed. Probably we need two categories: in force and failed proposals. Anyway, is better for our citizens to have a place where they can find only the documents in force, the active one, and another with failed documents.

-Sabinus 20:36, 16 September 2007 (CEST)

So when we make the template, we DON'T need to say "It is a SC" and "It passed". If it passed, it is an SC and if it did not pass it is something else, right? Corde? Agricola 01:10, 17 September 2007 (CEST)
Ah, um, regrettably it's not quite so simple. I take it that when we say "it passed" we mean "the vote of the senate has concluded and, according to the rules in force at the time, it received a sufficient number of votes to become a senatus consultum". If so, it is not quite correct that every relatio (proposal) which 'passes' becomes a senatus consultum. It is possible for a relatio to receive the necessary number of votes but then immediately to be vetoed by a tribunus plebis. The proposal then becomes not a senatus consultum but a senatus auctoritas. A senatus auctoritas has a rather vague and floaty status somewhere between a failed relatio and a senatus consultum. So, in short, everything which is a senatus consultum has passed but not everything which has passed is a senatus consultum. So if the template says that something is a senatus consultum it doesn't need to say that it passed, but if it says it's passed then that doesn't remove the need to specify whether it's a senatus consultum.
As regards categories, I think we need more than the two which Sabinus suggests. In fact I'm afraid we need five:
  • Senatus consulta. These are all the relationes which have been approved by the necessary number of votes, have not been vetoed, and are still in force.
  • Senatus consulta not in force. These are all relationes which have been approved by the necessary number of votes, have not been vetoed, and were therefore in force at some time, but which are no longer in force because they have been repealed or have for some other reason ceased to have any legal relevance or effect (for example because a more recent legal document has superseded them, or because whatever they were about has ceased to exist). Technically the latter - senatus consulta which have never been repealed but which have ceased to have any effect - can still be regarded as senatus consulta, but it is more helpful to categorize them together with the repealed texts since they share the important characteristic of being legally irrelevant.
  • Senatus auctoritates. These are all relationes which have been approved by the necessary number of votes but have then been immediately vetoed by a tribunus plebis.
  • Relationes. These are proposals which have been formally laid before the senate but have not yet been voted on. It would essentially be a transitional category for texts which will eventually move into one of the other categories.
  • Lapsed relationes. These are relationes which have been formally laid before the senate but never got, and will never get, as far as a vote. This will probably be because they have been withdrawn by the proposing magistrate or because they have been vetoed by another magistrate before the vote.
To answer your other questions, I think all these texts should be kept on the website. They are useful for politicians - as in the example Sabinus gives - and are also useful for historians and lawyers. The ones which have the least legal significance are the relationes and the lapsed relationes, but one compelling argument in favour of keeping them on the website is this: when the senate is in session, it is important for citizens to be able to find the texts of the proposals which are under discussion so that they can, if they wish, make their own views known to the senatores; and they are also, I think, entitled to know what happens to those proposals after the meeting is over.
- Cordus 17:44, 17 September 2007 (CEST)
I can see the other four, but...why "lapsed relationes"? Isn't that a bit like Congress keeping the text of every bill that ever died in committee? If it never got a Senate vote and never will, I don't see how it would have any status more than Marius suggesting a trip to the park. Thoughts? -- Marius Peregrinus 01:54, 20 September 2007 (CEST)
See Sabinus' comment dated 20:36, 16 September 2007 (CEST) above. Agricola 08:40, 21 September 2007 (CEST)
One answer is that we really might as well. The texts will already have been added and formatted when they were relationes currently before the senate. It seems a pity to lose the benefit of that work by deleting them when they get withdrawn or whatever, since the alternative merely involves changing the category. Secondly, it will be natural for a reader who has been following the progress of a relatio to try to find out whether it passed by going directly to the page which contained the relatio last time he looked. If we delete it after it fails to pass, that reader will find that the page had vanished with no explanation. How can he be expected to deduce that it was vetoed or withdrawn? It is more informative and convenient for him if the same link continues to take him to the text of the relatio, which has merely been recategorized and updated. Thirdly, to the historian or the politician a proposal which fails to get to a vote is often of as much interest as one which passes; occasionally one such may even be of interest to the lawyer as a guide to the interpretation of some tricky point of law. I concede that, since they have no inherent legal force, it is arguable whether, strictly speaking, they should be kept with the other legal documents; but I do think they should be kept somewhere, and really it makes more practical sense to keep them with other legal documents than to move them to somewhere else completely. Also I must point out that lapsed relationes have no less legal force than relationes which were put to a vote and rejected by the senate. So if we are going to have the latter it would seem to me illogical to delete the former.
- Cordus 15:47, 20 September 2007 (CEST)
Gotcha. So we need a "vote" variable (passed, failed, null) (and "not null" means that the vore results will appear) and a "status" variable (vetoed, lapsed, repealed, ...). I'm making a flowchart for all this... Agricola 02:03, 18 September 2007 (CEST)
Well, Corde, I think is fine; in your post you presented all possibilities and they are complete. We can move the things in this way. In the same time I want to be more explicit about that two categories proposed by me. If we want to extend that discussion to all tabularium, what do you think? Is better to have two great categories, one with "relationes" in force (Senatus consulta, Leges...) and another one not in force(Senatus auctoritates, Lapsed leges...) and what is between brackets to be considered as sub-categories?
- Sabinus 23:22, 18 September 2007 (CEST)
Hmm. I am not sure that that should be the primary way to classify legal documents. I had thought of having five primary categories: one for legal instruments relating to the comitia (leges, rogationes, &c.), one for those relating to the senate (senatus consulta, relationes, &c.), one for those created by magistrates (edicta), one for those relating to the priestly colleges (decreta, responsa, &c.), and one just for the lex constitutiva. These could be sub-categorized into "in force", "lapsed", and so on. But the benefit of categories (as Agricola has recently reminded me) is that they can be more flexible than a simple hierarchy. We could use both your idea and mine. There could be a big "in force" category cutting across the other categories and containing all the "in force" subcategories from each of the other categories (comitia, senate, magistrates, &c.). That way anyone who is purely interested in things which are currently in force can start with the "in force" category and follow it to the sub-categories which divide texts according to the body which created them.
There would be a slight difficulty about senatus auctoritates, because although they are not really "in force" they are nonetheless more "in force" than other things - they have persuasive authority and were kept by the ancient Romans in the same archive as senatus consulta. So perhaps they should be put in the "in force" category. Anyway, that can be considered further. In general, I think the idea of an "in force" category could be useful.
I don't think, however, that it would be helpful to have a specific category for "everything else". It would include a very wide range of different types of document: proposals which have not yet been voted on, proposals which will never be voted on, proposals which were rejected, proposals which were approved but later repealed, and many other things. I cannot think of any reason why anyone would want to see, gathered together in one place, all the legal documents which have nothing in common except that they are not currently in force. I think it would be enough to have the "in force" category and leave the rest to be organized in other ways.
- Cordus 01:19, 19 September 2007 (CEST)
Yes, in fact, I guess people need to know and to find quickly which are the documents in force. At last, for them, that is a priority.
- Sabinus 11:00, 21 September 2007 (CEST)
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