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 tribe having an equal vote in the Tribal Assembly.

Original tribes[edit]

Latin tribus perhaps derives from trēs ("three"), since the Romans believed that in the earliest period of Roman history, the legendary time of Romulus, there were only three tribes:[1]

  • Ramnes
  • Tities
  • Luceres

Later tribes[edit]

Livy records that, in 495 BC, the number of tribes was increased to 21,[2] and the official number of tribes was set at 35 in 242 BC:

Urban tribes[edit]

Attributed by Livy to the sixth Roman king, Servius Tullius,[3] these 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 the four urban tribes.[4]

  • 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
  • Quirina
  • Romilia
  • Sabatia/Sabatina
  • Scaptia
  • Sergia
  • Stellatina
  • Teretina
  • Tromentina
  • Velina
  • Voltinia/Votinia
  • Voturia

Two of the tribes are unclear; the thirty-fifth tribe has been found listed as both Succusana and Pupinia.

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][7] Character of the tribe[5] Date of establishment[5] #[6][8]
AEM Aemilia older[9] rural tribe VIII
ANI Aniensis later rural tribe 299 XXIV
ARN Arnensis later rural tribe 387 XXXV
CAM Camilia older rural tribe XXIII
CLA Claudia older rural tribes 504 XXII
CLU Clustumina older rural tribe 495 XXVIII
COL Collina urban tribe IV
COR Cornelia older rural tribe XXI
ESQ Esquilina urban tribe III
FAB Fabia older rural tribe XXV
FAL Falerna later rural tribe 318 XIII
GAL Galeria older rural tribe XXXIII
HOR Horatia older rural tribe IX
LEM Lemonia older rural tribe XIV
MAE Maecia later rural tribe 332 X
MEN Menenia older rural tribe XIX
OVF Oufentina later rural tribe 318 XVI
PAL Palatina urban tribe II
PAP Papiria older rural tribe XV
POB Poblilia[10] later rural tribe 358 XX
POL Pollia older rural tribe XXVI
POM Pomptina later rural tribe 358 XII
PVP Pupinia older rural tribe XVIII
QVI Quirina later rural tribe 241 XXIX
ROM Romilia older rural tribe V
SAB Sabatina later rural tribe 387 XXXIV
SCA Scaptia later rural tribe 332 XI
SER Sergia older rural tribe XXVII
STE Stellatina later rural tribe 387 XXXI
SVB Suburana urban tribe I
TER Teretina later rural tribe 299 XVII
TRO Tromentina later rural tribe 387 XXXII
VEL Velina later rural tribe 241 XXX
VOL Voltinia older rural tribe VI
VOT Voturia older rural tribe VII


  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 Votng 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.
  7. ^ Italicized the rural tribes derived from Roman gentes
  8. ^ In bold the number documented by literature and archeological evidence
  9. ^ before 495
  10. ^ 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

External links[edit]

See also[edit]