Oath of office (Nova Roma)

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As every human organization, Nova Roma waits that her/his members respect Its basic common contract. This contract is about respecting the Constitution, the higher law in Nova Roma, the Religio romana and the Roman values.

Among Nova Roma members and citizens, the magistrates have more duties, for they are in charge of the working of the organization, the State of Nova Roma. As such, they are thus asked to take an "oath of office".

Applicable texts

Two texts adopted in Comiata centuriata, or, rather, one law amended by a second one two years later, rules this field:

modified by:

In fact, lex Cassia just repaired a major formal omission: lex Iunia had just issued the raw oath formula, with no further explanation.

Contents of the applicable law

1st rule

"(..) An Oath of Office [is created] for any citizen assuming any magistracy of Nova Roma, whether elected or appointed." Lex Cassia Iunia de iusiurando - 2nd §.

Any citizen

The Oath of office just concerns the citizens, who are the ones who can assume a magistracy. Even if this rule seems obvious, lex Cassia wisely reminds it.
The socii cannot thus assume a magistracy.

A magistracy

This requirement of an oath does not concern the offices which are not a magistracy.

Are thus excluded:
- the civil public offices which are not called "magistracies", as the positions not mentioned as such in the Constitution, especially for these ones are offices assigned, to help them, to magistrates. Are in this group the assistants (accensi, viatores, scribes), but also all the provincial officers who sit under the responsibility of the governor;
- the religious officers;
- the members of assemblies, i.e. members of comitia or senators, but also members of provincial and local assemblies.

Any magistracy

Lex Iunia modified does not distinguish between the magistracies: every magistrate, especially recognized as such by the Constitution of Nova Roma, must take the oath.

Are thus concerned, not only the central magistrates, but the provincial and/or local ones.

Elected as appointed magistrates

The election is not the medium which create the obligation of the oath, but the type of office (magistracy) assumed. Appointed magistrates must take the oath, as provincial governors, but also as interreges and dictators.

2nd rule

""The following oath must be taken publicly in the major public fora of Nova Roma before someone elected or appointed to any magistracy can assume his or her office. It must be taken on the day, or as soon as possible afterwards, that the office is to be assumed. The office shall be considered vacant until the oath is taken. " Lex Cassia Iunia de iusiurando - 3rd §.

His or her office

Incidentally, lex Cassia reminds that our magistracies can be occupied by women or men.

Publicly in the major public fora of Nova Roma

Modified lex Iunia is well in the spirit of Nova Roma: in order our magistrates be responsible, they are to take their oath publicly, towards the People. The requirement of posting the oath in the fora of Nova Roma is thus a logical ones.

The expression "major public fora" asks however two questions.
First, and though the redundance "public+fora" may seem not necessary, the law does not say what are the major public fora of Nova Roma. This problem opens at this step two under-questions: first separating major fora from minor ones; second, defining a limited list of major fora, which thus form *the* major fora. Second, it does not specify what is a forum.

Several other texts help us to answer that every internet discussion list, especially open on Yahoo! groups networks are such fora from the moment they are open to every one, at least to the citizens of Nova Roma, the magistrates being not responsible towards socii (i.e. non Novaromans).

The major internet discussion list in Nova Roma is what is called "the Forum" or "the Main List" (abbr. 'ML'), and hosted at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nova-Roma .

But lex Iunia modified does not say what other list is placed into the group of "major public fora". Without further element, we are drawn to consider that every list, where every citizen can freely suscribe in, may be considered as a "major public" forum. Three lists can then claim for this qualification :
- the Comitia centuriata list ;
- the Comitia tributa list ;
- the Nova Roma announce list.

Every oath should thus, legally, be issued in one of these four public fora.

Before (..) any [magistrate] can assume his or her office

Lex Iunia is clear: if each of the above requirements is not obeyed, the concerned magistrate cannot, in regard of our Law, assume her/his magistracy, and can be contested in her/his office during the rest of the year term.

The following oath

The required oath is the following one :

"I, (enter the legal and Roman names here) do hereby solemnly swear to uphold the honor of Nova Roma, and to act always in the best interests of the people and the Senate of Nova Roma.

As a magistrate of Nova Roma, I, (enter the Roman name here) swear to honor the Gods and Goddesses of Rome in my public dealings, and to pursue the Roman Virtues in my public and private life.

I, (enter legal the Roman name here) swear to uphold and defend the Religio Romana as the State Religion of Nova Roma and swear never to act in a way that would threaten its status as the State Religion.

I, (enter legal the Roman name here) swear to protect and defend the Constitution of Nova Roma.

I, (enter legal the Roman name here) further swear to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities of the office of (enter the title of the office here) to the best of my abilities.

On my honor as a Citizen of Nova Roma, and in the presence of the Gods and Goddesses of the Roman people and by their will and favor, do I accept the position of (enter title of office here) and all the rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities attendant thereto."

Lex Iunia de iusiurando

It is not necessary to comment the contents of this oath. Several precisions are however necessary on its form.

First, what the oath calls the "legal name" is obviously what was called the "macronational" name, i.e. the name under which the Nova Roman citizen is registered in the current country of the world where (s-)he dwells in. For example, if Prima SECUNDA Tertia has a "macronational" passport with the name "Ashley TAGLIAPRADESH", this last one is her "legal name", in the frame of Lex Iunia de iurisiurando.
The requirement of the so-called "legal name" is necessary, in order to check if the citizen taking her/his oath is well identified, in our album civium's files, as the one whose Roman name is linked to the "legal name" displayed.

In Latin and in other languages

Second, lex Iunia has just displayed the oath in English. It means that every other version, even if created on good will reasons, have no legal value. As long as lex Iunia is not modified, it concerns every other non-English formula, even the Latin one, which is currently, in addition, not true in regard of the English version.
The magistrates are thus reminded not to forget taking their oath in the English version, every other one being indifferent. Such ones can naturally be used for communication intents, but may also, being wrong, create unwished consequences.

Third, the above oath is the only accepted one: every other one, even in English, which would change one letter, one or several words of this text, even in good will, would be regarded as void.

The oath day

It is on the day where the magistrate is required, according the law, to enter her/his office.

It means that this date is:

  • Dec. 10th for the Tribunes of the Plebs;
  • Jan. 1st for the other magistrates;
  • On or from the day following the publication of the Senate session report on, after the Senate session which has appointed, for the concerned year term, the provincial governors;
  • For the last magistrates who, for one or another reason, are elected or appointed during the civil year, from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31, the oath day is the day of or following the publication of the election or appointment.

Anyway, the oath must not be taken before the relative day, especially between the publication, for the central magistrates (except the Tribunes), of the annual elections and the following 31th of December.

We can note that, even if the day is, according the religious calendar, "ater" or "nefastus", "publicus" or not, lex Iunia modified however authorizes that the concerned magistrates take their oath. No other public act must, still, be made by the new magistrates in such a day.

A relative oath day

We see that lex Iunia also allows the magistrate to take her/his oath "as soon as possible afterwards". But it does not specify when.
Such a silence is sound: it is the full interest of the magistrate to take her/his oath as soon as possible and with no delay. For as long as (s-)he does not, "the office shall be considered vacant".

A dangerous vacancy

Such a vacancy situation have two legal consequences: first the elected magistrate cannot act as magistrate, all her/his acts being void, and she/he could probably be sued if she/he willingly ignore this requirement ; second, it allows every high magistrate, authorized to convene the comitia, in charge of the election of the category of magistrates whose vacancy has been stated, in order to have it elect a new magistrate in the place of the defaulting one.

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