Cursus honorum

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ancient Rome

Roman Republic
508 BC27 BC
Roman Empire
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Cursus honorum

The cursus honorum (Latin: "course of honours") was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Empire. It was designed for men of senatorial rank. The cursus honorum comprised a mixture of military and political administration posts. Each office had a minimum age for election. There were minimum intervals between holding successive offices and laws forbade repeating an office. These rules were altered and flagrantly ignored in the course of the last century of the Republic. For example, Gaius Marius held consulships for five years in a row between 104 BC and 100 BC. Officially presented as opportunities for public service, the offices often became mere opportunities for self-aggrandizement. The reforms of Lucius Cornelius Sulla required a ten year period between holding another term in the same office.

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