List of Roman tribes

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Voter casting ballot on a Roman denarius of 63 BC

Tribes (Latin tribus) were groupings of citizens in ancient Rome, originally based on location. Voters were eventually organized by tribes, with each Roman tribe having an equal vote in the Tribal Assembly.

Original tribes[edit]

Latin tribus perhaps derives from the Latin word for "three", trēs. The Romans believed that through much of the early regal period of Roman history, there were only three tribes:[1]

  • Ramnes
  • Tities
  • Luceres

These names were also preserved in the names of six of the later centuries of Roman equites.

Later tribes[edit]

Livy records that in 495 BC the number of tribes was increased to 21,[2] and the number of tribes reached 35 in 242 BC and was not expanded further.

Urban tribes[edit]

Attributed by Livy to the sixth Roman king, Servius Tullius,[3] the urban tribes were named for districts of the city and were the largest and had the least political power. In the later Republic, poorer people living in the city of Rome itself typically belonged to one of these tribes.[4] Freedmen were also traditionally assigned to one of these tribes.

  • Collina
  • Esquilina
  • Palatina
  • Suburana

Rural tribes[edit]

Inscription (CIL 13.1029) from the Narbonensis recording the enrollment of Gaius Otacilius in the tribus Voltinia (abbreviated VOL), into which Gallic citizens were frequently placed

Landowners and aristocracy traditionally belonged to the 31 smaller rural tribes. Many rural tribes derive from prominent Roman gentes, or family names, such as Cornelia or Fabia.

  • Aemilia
  • Aniensis
  • Arniensis
  • Camilia
  • Claudia
  • Clustumina
  • Cornelia
  • Fabia
  • Falerna/Falerina
  • Galeria
  • Horatia
  • Lemonia
  • Maecia
  • Menenia
  • Oufentina/Oufetina
  • Papiria
  • Poblilia
  • Pollia
  • Pomptina/Pontina
  • Pupinia
  • Quirina
  • Romilia
  • Sabatia/Sabatina
  • Scaptia
  • Sergia
  • Stellatina
  • Teretina
  • Tromentina
  • Velina
  • Voltinia/Votinia
  • Voturia

The official order of the tribes[edit]

There was an official order of the tribes. Literature and archaeological documentation show that the urban tribes are enumerated according to a counter-clockwise circuit of the city. On that basis, Lily Ross Taylor[5] suggested that the same held for the rural tribes.

Archaeological findings of tesserae led Michael Crawford[6] to suggest that the tribes were ordered according to the principal roads leading counter-clockwise from Rome (Ostiensis, Appia, Latina, Praenestina, Valeria, Salaria, Flaminia and Clodia).

Abbreviation of the tribe Name of the tribe[5][I] Character of the tribe[5] Date of establishment[5] #[6][II]
AEM Aemilia older[III] rural tribe 6th century BC VIII
ANI Aniensis later rural tribe 299 BC XXIV
ARN Arnensis later rural tribe 387 BC XXXV
CAM Camilia older rural tribe 6th century BC XXIII
CLA Claudia older rural tribes 504 BC XXII
CLU Clustumina older rural tribe 495 BC XXVIII
COL Collina urban tribe 6th century BC IV
COR Cornelia older rural tribe 6th century BC XXI
ESQ Esquilina urban tribe 6th century BC III
FAB Fabia older rural tribe 6th century BC XXV
FAL Falerna later rural tribe 318 BC XIII
GAL Galeria older rural tribe 6th century BC XXXIII
HOR Horatia older rural tribe 6th century BC IX
LEM Lemonia older rural tribe 6th century BC XIV
MAE Maecia later rural tribe 332 BC X
MEN Menenia older rural tribe 6th century BC XIX
OVF Oufentina later rural tribe 318 BC XVI
PAL Palatina urban tribe 6th century BC II
PAP Papiria older rural tribe 6th century BC XV
POB Poblilia[a] later rural tribe 358 BC XX
POL Pollia older rural tribe 6th century BC XXVI
POM Pomptina later rural tribe 358 BC XII
PVP Pupinia older rural tribe 6th century BC XVIII
QVI Quirina later rural tribe 241 BC XXIX
ROM Romilia older rural tribe 6th century BC V
SAB Sabatina later rural tribe 387 BC XXXIV
SCA Scaptia later rural tribe 332 BC XI
SER Sergia older rural tribe 6th century BC XXVII
STE Stellatina later rural tribe 387 BC XXXI
SVB Suburana urban tribe 6th century BC I
TER Teretina later rural tribe 299 BC XVII
TRO Tromentina later rural tribe 387 BC XXXII
VEL Velina later rural tribe 241 BC XXX
VOL Voltinia older rural tribe 6th century BC VI
VOT Voturia older rural tribe 6th century BC VII

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Italicized the rural tribes derived from Roman gentes
  2. ^ In bold the number documented by literature and archeological evidence
  3. ^ Before 495 BC


  1. ^ Poblilia is the only one of the later rural tribes with a gens name, but, unlike the old patrician tribal names, Poblilia was a well-known plebeian nomen.


  1. ^ 35 Tribes of Rome, accessed 2 October 2010, 4:15 am (GMT)
  2. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2.21
  3. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1.43.13)
  4. ^ Names of the 35 Tribes of Rome, accessed 2 October 2010, 4:25 am (GMT)
  5. ^ a b c d Taylor, Lily Ross (2013). The Voting Districts of the Roman Republic. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  6. ^ a b Crawford, M.H. (2002). "Tribus, tessères et régions". Comptes Rendus des Séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. 146: 1125–35.

External links[edit]