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aedile

(from Latin aedes, "temple"), magistrate of ancient Rome who originally had charge of the temple and cult of Ceres. At first the aediles were two officials of the plebeians, created at the same time as the tribunes (494 BC), whose sanctity they shared. These magistrates were elected in the assembly of the plebeians. In 366 two curule ("higher") aediles were created. These were at first patricians; but those of the next year were plebeians and so on year by year alternately until, in the 2nd century BC, the system of alternation between classes ceased. They were elected in the assembly of the tribes, with the consul presiding. The privileges of the curule aediles included a fringed toga, a curule chair, and the right to ancestral masks-privileges perhaps extended to the plebeian aediles after 100 BC. Aediles ranked between tribunes and praetors, a greater proportion of the curule ones attaining the consulship, but the office was not necessary for advancement in a senatorial career

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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