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Cursus honorum

The Cursus honorum or "path of offices" was the sequential order of public offices[?] held by aspiring politicians in the later Roman Republic. Each office[?] had a minimum age for election; minimum intervals applied 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. Officially presented as opportunities for public service, the offices often became mere opportunities for self-aggrandizement.

earlier system???

after the reforms of Sulla
Quaestor -- minimim age 30 (28 for patricians) -- after election to Quaestor, automatic membership in the Senate
Praetor -- minimum age 39 (37 for patricians)
Consul -- minimum age 42 (40 for patricians), 1-year term

Neither the office of Aedile nor that of Tribune formed part of the legal cursus honorum, but most office-holders had served as an Aedile in their late 20s. Similarly, former consuls became eligible for positions outside the cursus honorum, notably posts in provincial government which offered opportunities for replenishing one's coffers.

Only plebeians had the right to become Tribunes. Sulla also required a 2-year period between holding offices or before another term in the same office.

To have held each office at the youngest possible age (in suo anno, "in his year") was considered a great political success, since to miss out on a praetorship at 39 meant that one could NOT become consul at 42. Cicero expressed extreme pride both in being a novus homo ("new man") who became consul though none of his ancestors had ever served as a consul, and in having become consul "in his year".

Compare career.

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