|—n , pl -virs, -viri|
|1.||(in ancient Rome) a member of a board of ten magistrates, esp either of the two commissions established in 451 and 450 |
|2.||a member of any governing body composed of ten men|
|[C17: from Latin, from decem ten + virī men]|
(Latin: "ten men"), in ancient Rome, any official commission of 10. The designation is most often used in reference to decemviri legibus scribundis, a temporary legislative commission that supplanted the regular magistracy from 451 to 449 BC. It was directed to construct a code of laws that would resolve the power struggle between the patricians and the plebeians. The first board of decemvirs ruled with moderation and prepared 10 tables of law in 451 BC. A second board completed the laws of the Twelve Tables with two laws less favourable to the plebeians. In 449 BC, when they became tyrannical, the decemvirs were forced to abdicate.
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