Talk:Lex Equitia Galeria de ordinariis (Nova Roma)

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General commentary

Until the time of this lex it had always been supposed that the senate's ratification of a constitutional amendment must occur after the amendment's enactment in the comitia centuriata. This is illustrated by the treatment of the lex Octavia de comitiis centuriatis, whose essential policy was approved by the senate before its enactment by the comitia but was nonetheless brought to the senate again afterwards for formal ratification.

This lex Equitia Galeria, however, was ratified by the senate several days before it was enacted by the comitia centuriata (though after voting in the comitia had already begun). The report of the debate in the senate shows quite clearly that this was intended to be the formal act of ratification, and the lex, after it had been approved by the comitia, was universally regarded as a fully effective constitutional amendment.

The phrasing of chapter I.A.2 of the constitution is certainly open to this new interpretation:

This Constitution may be amended by a Lex passed by the comitia centuriata and approved by a vote of two thirds of the Senate.

Nonetheless, it is surprising that such a procedural innovation was made with so little public discussion. The matter is made still more puzzling by the fact that, despite the obvious advantages for the proposing magistrate of having the senate's ratification secure before going to the comitia, and although that is more in accordance with ancient constitutional practice since the lex Publilia Philonis, this procedure has not been repeated for any subsequent constitutional amendment: to date the lex Equitia Galeria remains the only constitutional amendment to have been ratified in advance.

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