In some special cases, Romans held lower offices than some they had already held, for example Quaestor while having been a consul before.

I understand that senators, expelled by the censors for various reasons, had to gain entry to the senate once more and tried to restore their former rank by starting the cursus honorum anew.

There is also the case of Agrippa, being Aedilis while consular for the purpose of urban works.

Other than that, I can't find examples of Romans willingly going down the cursus honorum ladder. That is puzzling to me, as huge advantages were to be gained (i.e. the opportunity of staging the Roman games, provincial commands after the Praetorship, etc.). Beside that, a consular holding a second Quaestorship, for example, remained consular, so there was no rank loss.

The same is true for the tribunes of the plebs. Obviously, their vetoing power (and more) should have been tempting for consular plebeians.

Are there examples of senior politicians having tried to hold junior offices and/or tribunate of the plebs?

I'm also interested in examples of Romans holding several times the same office before going up (e.g. Quaestor-Aedilis-Praetor-Praetor-Consul).

1 Answer 1


Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, consul, censor, and Princeps Senatus in the late republic took over the management of the grain supply, essentially an Aedile's post. In Colleen McCulloch's semi-fiction books he did this when the man originally having the post was (falsely) accused of corruption, IIRC.

The Wiki Quote goes way too far in claiming that this post would routinely go to a consular, or an ex-censor, in my opinion.

From Wiki:

As leader of the Roman senate he was often sent abroad to settle disputes amongst foreign kings. In 109 BC, he was elected censor in partnership with Marcus Livius Drusus, who died in the next year putting an end to the censorship. As censor, he ordered the construction of the Via Aemilia Scaura and restored several bridges. In 104 BC, he became responsible for Rome's grain supply. This was a very important office, given only to the most trustworthy persons, because the happiness of the population (and absence of mutinies) depended on it. Scaurus was throughout his political career the leader of the aristocratic conservative faction of the senate.

  • Upvote because I didn't think of the Cura Annona, but that wasn't part of the usual cursus so that's not exactly what I was looking for.
    – Laveran
    Oct 22, 2015 at 16:52
  • Its one of the jobs Aedlies did, routinely. Cicero boosted his popularity by getting grain cheap as an aedile rather than by hosting expensive games.
    – Oldcat
    Oct 22, 2015 at 16:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.