Ghassanids

The Ghassanids (Arabic: الغساسنة‎‎‏; al-Ghasāsinah, also Banū Ghassān "Sons of Ghassān") were an Arab kingdom, founded by descendants of the Azd tribe from Yemen, that emigrated in the early 3rd century to the Levant region, where some merged with Hellenized Christian communities, converting to Christianity in the first few centuries AD while others may have already been Christians before emigrating north to escape religious persecution.

After settling in the Levant, the Ghassanids became a client state to the Eastern Roman Empire and fought alongside them against the Persian Sassanids and its Arab vassal, Lakhmids. The lands of the Ghassanids also acted as a buffer zone protecting lands that had been annexed by the Romans against raids by Bedouin tribes.

Few Ghassanids became Muslim following the Islamic Conquest; most Ghassanids remained Christian and joined Melkite and Syriaccommunities within what is now Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

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Lakhmids

The Lakhmids (Arabic: اللخميون‎‎) or Banu Lakhm (بنو لخم) were an Arab kingdom of southern Iraq with al-Hirah as their capital, from about 300 to 602 AD. They were generally but intermittently the allies and clients of the Sassanian Empire, and participant in the Roman–Persian wars.

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Resafa

Resafa (Arabic: الرصافة‎‎ [reṣafa]), known in Byzantine times as Sergiopolis (which has namesakes) and briefly as Anastasiopolis, was a city located in the Roman province of Euphratensis, in modern-day Syria. It is an archaeological site situated southwest of the city of Raqqa and the Euphrates.

Procopius describes at length the ramparts and buildings erected there by Justinian. The walls of Resafa, which are still well preserved, are over 1600 feet in length and about 1000 feet in width; round or square towers were erected about every hundred feet; there are also ruins of a church with three apses.

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Hisham's Palace

Hisham's Palace (Arabic: خربة المفجر‎‎ Khirbat al-Mafjar or Arabic: قصر هشام‎‎ Qaṣr Hishām) is an important early Islamic archaeological site five km north of the town of Jericho, at Khirbat al-Mafjar in the West Bank. Spreading over 60 hectares (150 acres), it consists of three main parts: a palace, an ornate bath complex, and an agricultural estate. Also associated with the site is a large park or agricultural enclosure (ḥayr) which extends east of the palace. An elaborate irrigation system provided the complex with water from nearby springs.

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Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra (قصر عمرة / ALA-LC: Qaṣr ‘Amrah), also transcribed as Quseir Amra or Qusayr Amra, is the best-known of the desert castles located in present-day eastern Jordan. It was built early in the 8th century, some time between 723 and 743, by Walid Ibn Yazid, the future Umayyad caliph Walid II, whose dominance of the region was rising at the time. It is considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture. The discovery of an inscription during work in 2012 has allowed for more accurate dating of the structure.

The building is actually the remnant of a larger complex that included an actual castle, of which only the foundation remains. What stands today is a small country cabin, meant as a royal retreat, without any military function. It is most notable for the frescoes that remain on the ceilings inside, which depict, among others, a group of rulers, hunting, naked women and, above one bath chamber, an accurate representation of the zodiac. These have led to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of four in the country. That status, and its location along Jordan's major east–west highway, relatively close to Amman, have made it a frequent tourist destination.

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Torah reading

Torah reading (Hebrew: קריאת התורה, K'riat HaTorah; "Reading [of] the Torah"; Ashkenazi pronunciation: Kriyas HaToire) is a Jewishreligious tradition that involves the public reading of a set of passages from a Torah scroll. The term often refers to the entire ceremony of removing the Torah scroll (or scrolls) from the Torah ark, chanting the appropriate excerpt with special cantillation (also called trope), and returning the scroll(s) to the ark.

Regular public reading of the Torah was introduced by Ezra the Scribe after the return of the Judean exiles from the Babylonian captivity(c. 537 BCE), as described in the Book of Nehemiah. In the modern era, adherents of Orthodox Judaism practice Torah reading according to a set procedure they believe has remained unchanged in the two thousand years since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (70 CE). In the 19th and 20th centuries CE, Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism have made adaptations to the practice of Torah reading, but the basic pattern of Torah reading has usually remained the same:

As a part of the morning or afternoon prayer services on certain days of the week or holidays, a section of the Pentateuch is read from a Torah scroll. On Shabbat (Saturday) mornings, a weekly section (known as a Sedra or parashah) is read, selected so that the entire Pentateuch is read consecutively each year. On Saturday afternoons, Mondays, and Thursdays, the beginning of the following Saturday's portion is read. On Jewish holidays, Rosh Chodesh, and fast days, special sections connected to the day are read.

Many Jews observe an annual holiday, Simchat Torah, to celebrate the completion of the year's cycle of readings.

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Talmud

The Talmud (/ˈtɑːlmʊd, -mədˈtæl-/; Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד‎ talmūd "instruction, learning", from a root LMD "teach, study") is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism. It is also traditionally referred to as Shas (ש״ס‎), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the "six orders", a reference to the six orders of the Mishnah. The term "Talmud" normally refers to the collection of writings named specifically the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli), although there is also an earlier collection known as the Jerusalem Talmud (Talmud Yerushalmi) or Palestinian Talmud. When referring to post-biblical periods, namely those of the creation of the Talmud, the Talmudic academies and the Babylonian exilarchate, Jewish sources use the term "Babylonia" long after it had become obsolete in geopolitical terms.

The Talmud has two components; the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), a written compendium of Rabbinic Judaism's Oral Torah; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Hebrew Bible. "Talmud" translates literally as "instruction" in Hebrew, and the term may refer to either the Gemara alone, or the Mishnah and Gemara together.

The entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and in standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Tannaitic Hebrew and Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis (dating from before the Common Era through the fifth century CE) on a variety of subjects, including Halakha (law), Jewish ethics, philosophy, customs, history, lore and many other topics. The Talmud is the basis for all codes of Jewish law, and is widely quoted in rabbinic literature.

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Byzantine Iconoclasm

Byzantine Iconoclasm (Greek: Εἰκονομαχία, Eikonomachía) refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities within the Eastern Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy. The "First Iconoclasm", as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 726 and 787. The "Second Iconoclasm" was between 814 and 842. According to the traditional view, Byzantine Iconoclasm was started by a ban on religious images by Emperor Leo III and continued under his successors. It was accompanied by widespread destruction of images and persecution of supporters of the veneration of images. The Western church remained firmly in support of the use of images throughout the period, and the whole episode widened the growing divergence between the Eastern and Western traditions in what was still a unified church, as well as facilitating the reduction or removal of Byzantine political control over parts of Italy.

Iconoclasm, Greek for "breaker of icons" (Medieval Greek εἰκονοκλάστης, equivalent to Greek εἰκονο- icono- [icon] + κλάστης - [breaker]), is the deliberate destruction within a culture of the culture's own religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any person who breaks or disdains established dogmata or conventions. Conversely, people who revere or venerate religious images are derisively called "iconolaters" (εἰκονολάτραι). They are normally known as "iconodules" (εἰκονόδουλοι), or "iconophiles" (εἰκονόφιλοι). These terms were, however, not a part of the Byzantine debate over images. They have been brought into common usage by modern historians (from the seventeenth century) and their application to Byzantium increased considerably in the late twentieth century. The Byzantine term for the debate over religious imagery, "iconomachy" means "struggle over images" or "image struggle".

Iconoclasm has generally been motivated theologically by an Old Covenant interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbade the making and worshipping of "graven images" (Exodus 20:4, Deuteronomy 5:8, see also Biblical law in Christianity). The two periods of iconoclasm in the Byzantine Empire during the 8th and 9th centuries made use of this theological theme in discussions over the propriety of images of holy figures, including Christ, the Virgin (or Theotokos) and saints. It was a debate triggered by changes in Orthodox worship, which were themselves generated by the major social and political upheavals of the seventh century for the Byzantine Empire.

Traditional explanations for Byzantine iconoclasm have sometimes focused on the importance of Islamic prohibitions against images influencing Byzantine thought. According to Arnold J. Toynbee, for example, it was the prestige of Islamic military successes in the 7th and 8th centuries that motivated Byzantine Christians to adopt the Islamic position of rejecting and destroying idolatrous images. The role of women and monks in supporting the veneration of images has also been asserted. Social and class-based arguments have been put forward, such as that iconoclasm created political and economic divisions in Byzantine society; that it was generally supported by the Eastern, poorer, non-Greek peoples of the Empire who had to constantly deal with Arab raids. On the other hand, the wealthier Greeks of Constantinople and also the peoples of the Balkan and Italian provinces strongly opposed Iconoclasm. In recent decades in Greece, Iconoclasm has become a favorite topic of progressive and Marxist historians and social scientists, who consider it a form of medieval class struggle and have drawn inspiration from it. Re-evaluation of the written and material evidence relating to the period of Byzantine Iconoclasm by scholars including John Haldon and Leslie Brubaker, has challenged many of the basic assumptions and factual assertions of the traditional account.

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John of Damascus

Saint John of Damascus (Medieval Greek Ἰωάννης ὁ Δαμασκηνός, Ioánnis o Damaskinós, Byzantine Greek pronunciation: [ioˈanis o ðamasciˈnos]; Latin: Ioannes Damascenus, Arabic: يوحنا الدمشقي‎‎, ALA-LC: Yūḥannā ad-Dimashqī); also known as John Damasceneand as Χρυσορρόας / Chrysorrhoas (literally "streaming with gold"—i.e., "the golden speaker"; c. 675 or 676 – 4 December 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. Born and raised in Damascus, he died at his monastery, Mar Saba, near Jerusalem.

A polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included law, theology, philosophy, and music, he is said by some sources to have served as a Chief Administrator to the Muslim caliph of Damascus before his ordination. He wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still used both liturgically in Eastern Christian practice throughout the world as well as in western Lutheranism at Easter. He is one of the Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church and is best known for his strong defense of icons. The Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, often referred to as the Doctor of the Assumption due to his writings on the Assumption of Mary.

The most common source of information for the life of John of Damascus is a work attributed to one John of Jerusalem, identified therein as the Patriarch of Jerusalem. This is an excerpted translation into Greek of an earlier Arabic text. The Arabic original contains a prologue not found in most other translations, and was written by an Arab monk, Michael. Michael explained that he decided to write his biography in 1084 because none was available in his day. However, the main Arabic text seems to have been written by an earlier author sometime between the early 9th and late 10th centuries AD. Written from a hagiographical point of view and prone to exaggeration and some legendary details, it is not the best historical source for his life, but is widely reproduced and considered to contain elements of some value. The hagiographic novel Barlaam and Josaphat, traditionally attributed to John, is in fact a work of the 10th century.

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Barlaam and Josaphat

Barlaam and Josaphat (Latin: Barlamus et Iosaphatus) are two legendary Christian martyrs and saints, based ultimately on the life of the Gautama Buddha. It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. After much tribulation the young prince's father accepted the true faith, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam. The tale derives from a second to fourth century SanskritMahayana Buddhist text, via a Manichaean version, then the Arabic Kitab Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf (Book of Bilawhar and Yudasaf), current in Baghdad in the eighth century, from where it entered into Middle Eastern Christian circles before appearing in European versions. The two were entered in the Eastern Orthodox calendar with a feast-day on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.

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Cultural appropriation

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture. Cultural appropriation, often framed as cultural misappropriation, is sometimes portrayed as harmful and is claimed to be a violation of the collective intellectual property rights of the originating culture. Often unavoidable when multiple cultures come together, cultural appropriation can include using other cultures' traditions, food, fashion, symbols, technology, language, and cultural songs without permission. According to critics of the practice, cultural (mis)appropriation differs from acculturation, assimilation, or cultural exchange in that the "appropriation" or "misappropriation" refers to the adoption of these cultural elements in a colonial manner: elements are copied from a minority culture by members of a dominant culture, and these elements are used outside of their original cultural context—sometimes even against the expressly stated wishes of representatives of the originating culture.

Often, the original meaning of these cultural elements is lost or distorted, and such displays are often viewed as disrespectful by members of the originating culture, or even as a form of desecration. Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture may be reduced to "exotic" fashion or toys by those from the dominant culture. Kjerstin Johnson has written that, when this is done, the imitator, "who does not experience that oppression is able to 'play', temporarily, an 'exotic' other, without experiencing any of the daily discriminations faced by other cultures." The African-American academic, musician and journalist Greg Tate argues that appropriation and the "fetishizing" of cultures, in fact, alienates those whose culture is being appropriated. On the other hand, some scholars argue that the concept is misunderstood by the general public. Cultural appropriation is often misapplied to situations that don't accurately fit.

Conversely, cultural appropriation or borrowing can be viewed as inevitable and a contribution to diversity and free expression. This view distinguishes outright theft of cultural artifacts or exotic stereotyping from more benign borrowing or appreciation. Cultural borrowing and cross-fertilization is seen by proponents as a generally positive thing, and as something which is usually done out of admiration of the cultures being imitated, with no intent to harm them.

Trans-cultural diffusion has occurred throughout history and is subject of study by a variety of academic disciplines, including folkloristics, cultural anthropology and cultural geography. For instance, most of the world have adopted the Hindu-Arabic numerals as the common, standard form of describing numbers, which can be interpreted as a form of cultural appropriation. Opposition to cultural appropriation is seen as controversial as it may clash with the right to participate in culture.

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Troilus

Troilus (English: /ˈtrɔɪləsor /ˈtrələs/; Ancient Greek: Τρωΐλος Troïlos; Latin: Troilus) is a legendary character associated with the story of the Trojan War. The first surviving reference to him is in Homer's Iliad, which scholars believe was composed by bards and sung in the late 9th or 8th century BC.

In Greek mythology, Troilus is a young Trojan prince, one of the sons of King Priam (or Apollo) and Hecuba. Prophecies link Troilus' fate to that of Troy and so he is ambushed and murdered by Achilles. Sophocles was one of the writers to tell this tale. It was also a popular theme among artists of the time. Ancient writers treated Troilus as the epitome of a dead child mourned by his parents. He was also regarded as a paragon of youthful male beauty.

In Western European medieval and Renaissance versions of the legend, Troilus is the youngest of Priam's five legitimate sons by Hecuba. Despite his youth he is one of the main Trojan war leaders. He dies in battle at Achilles' hands. In a popular addition to the story, originating in the 12th century, Troilus falls in love with Cressida, whose father has defected to the Greeks. Cressida pledges her love to Troilus but she soon switches her affections to the Greek hero Diomedes when sent to her father in a hostage exchange. Chaucer and Shakespeare are among the authors who wrote works telling the story of Troilus and Cressida. Within the medieval tradition, Troilus was regarded as a paragon of the faithful courtly lover and also of the virtuous pagan knight. Once the custom of courtly love had faded, his fate was regarded less sympathetically.

Little attention was paid to the character during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, Troilus has reappeared in 20th and 21st century retellings of the Trojan War by authors who have chosen elements from both the classical and medieval versions of his story.

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Hector

In Greek mythology and Roman Mythology, Hector (Ἕκτωρ Hektōr, pronounced [héktɔːr]) was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. As the first-born son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, who was a descendant of Dardanus and Tros, the founder of Troy, he was a prince of the royal house and the heir apparent to his father's throne. He was married to Andromache, with whom he had an infant son, Scamandrius (whom the people of Troy called Astyanax). He acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy, "killing 31,000 Greek fighters", offers Hyginus. During the European Middle Ages, Hector figures as one of the Nine Worthies noted by Jacques de Longuyon, known not only for his courage but also for his noble and courtly nature. Indeed, Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son, husband and father, and without darker motives. James Redfield writes of Hector as a "martyr to loyalties, a witness to the things of this world, a hero ready to die for the precious imperfections of ordinary life."

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Cassandra

Cassandra or Kassandra (Ancient Greek: Κασσάνδρα, pronounced [kas̚sándra͜a], also Κασάνδρα), also known as Alexandra, was a daughterof King Priam and of Queen Hecuba of Troy in Greek mythology. In modern usage her name is employed as a rhetorical device to indicate someone whose accurate prophecies are not believed by those around them.

A common version of her story relates how, in an effort to seduce her, Apollo gave her the power of prophecy: when she refused him, he spat into her mouth to inflict a curse that nobody would ever believe her prophecies. In an alternative version, she fell asleep in a temple, and snakes licked (or whispered in) her ears so that she could hear the future. (A snake as a source of knowledge is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes the snake brings understanding of the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. Likewise, prophets without honor in their own country reflect a standard narrative trope.)

Cassandra became a figure of epic tradition and of tragedy.

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Priam

In Greek mythology, Priam (/ˈpr.əm/; Greek: Πρίαμος, Príamos, pronounced [prí.amos]) was the king of Troy during the Trojan War and youngest son of Laomedon. In the Post-Homeric History of the Fall of Troy, he was described as provided with "a handsome face and a pleasant voice", "large and swarthy".

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Pandarus

Pandarus /ˈpændərəs/ or Pandar /ˈpændər/ (Greek: Πάνδαρος, Pándaros) is a Trojan aristocrat who appears in stories about the Trojan War.

In Homer's Iliad he is portrayed as an energetic and impetuous warrior, but in medieval literature he becomes a witty and licentious figure who facilitates the affair between Troilus and Cressida.

In Shakespeare's play Troilus and Cressida, he is portrayed as an aged degenerate and coward who ends the play by telling the audience he will bequeath them his "diseases".

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Helen of Troy

In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy (Greek Ἑλένη Helénē, pronounced [helénɛː]), also known as Helen of Sparta, or simply Helen, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and was a sister of Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux. In Greek myths, she was considered the most beautiful woman in the world. By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus. Her elopement with Prince Paris of Troy brought about the Trojan War. She was described by Dares Phrygius as "She was beautiful, ingenuous, and charming. Her legs were the best; her mouth the cutest. There was a beauty-mark between her eyebrows".

Elements of her putative biography come from classical authors such as Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides and Homer (in both the Iliad and the Odyssey). Her story appears in Book II of Virgil's Aeneid.

In her youth, she was abducted by Theseus. A competition between her suitors for her hand in marriage sees Menelaus emerge victorious. An oath sworn beforehand by all the suitors (known as the Oath of Tyndareus) requires them to provide military assistance in the case of her abduction; this oath culminates in the Trojan War. When she marries Menelaus she is still very young; whether her subsequent involvement with Paris is an abduction or a seduction is ambiguous.

The legends recounting Helen's fate in Troy are contradictory. Homer depicts her as a wistful figure, even a sorrowful one, who comes to regret her choice and wishes to be reunited with Menelaus. Other accounts have a treacherous Helen who simulates Bacchic rites and rejoices in the carnage. Ultimately, Paris was killed in action, and in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead. A cult associated with her developed in Hellenistic Laconia, both at Sparta and elsewhere; at Therapne she shared a shrine with Menelaus. She was also worshipped in Attica and on Rhodes.

Her beauty inspired artists of all time to represent her, frequently as the personification of ideal beauty. Christopher Marlowe's lines from his tragedy Doctor Faustus (1604) are frequently cited: "Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships/And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?" However, in the play this meeting and the ensuing temptation are not unambiguously positive, closely preceding death and descent to Hell. Images of her start appearing in the 7th century BC. In classical Greece, her abduction by Paris—or elopement with him—was a popular motif. In medieval illustrations, this event was frequently portrayed as a seduction, whereas in Renaissance painting it is usually depicted as a rape by Paris. The fact that the terms rape and elopementwere often used interchangeably lends ambiguity to the legend.

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Tithe barn

A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the Middle Ages for storing rents and tithes — one tenth of a farm's produce which was given to the Church. Tithe barns were usually associated with the village church or rectory and independent farmers took their tithes there. The village priests would not have to pay tithes—the purpose of the tithe being their support—and some had their own farms anyway, which are now village greens in some villages.

Many were monastic barns, originally used by the monastery itself or by a monastic grange. The word 'grange' is (indirectly) derived from Latin granarium ('granary'). Identical barns were found on royal domains and country estates.

The medieval aisled barn was developed in the 12th and 13th centuries, following the examples of royal halls, hospitals and market halls. Its predecessors included Roman horrea and prehistoric longhouses.

According to English Heritage, "exactly how barns in general were used in the Middle Ages is less well understood than might be expected, and the subject abounds with myths (for example, not one of England's surviving architecturally impressive barns was a tithe barn, although such barns existed)".

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Tribal Assembly

The Tribal Assembly or Assembly of the People (comitia populi tributa) of the Roman Republic was an assembly consisting of all Roman citizens convened by the tribes (tributim). During the Roman Republic, citizens were organized on the basis of 35 tribes: four urban tribes of the citizens in the city of Rome, and 31 rural tribes of citizens outside the city. The tribes gathered in the Tribal Assembly to vote on legislative, judicial and electoral matters. Each tribe voted separately and one after the other. In each tribe, decisions were made by majority vote and its decision counted as one vote regardless of how many electors each tribe held. Once a majority of tribes voted in the same way on a given measure, the voting ended and the matter was decided. The president of the Tribal Assembly was usually either a "consul" or a "praetor". The Tribal Assembly elected the "quaestors", and the "curule aediles". it conducted trials for non-capital punishment cases. However, the Roman Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla reassigned this to special jury courts (quaestiones perpetuae) in 82 BC. There are disagreements among modern historians regarding the number and nature of the tribal assembly (see below).

The citizens did not elect legislative representatives (such as congressmen or MPs). Instead, they voted themselves on legislative matters in the popular assemblies (the comitia centuriata, the tribal assembly and the plebeian council). Bills were proposed by magistrates and the citizens only exercised their right to vote. The citizens also elected the magistrates in the popular assemblies. They were presided over by a single magistrate. It was the presiding magistrate who made all decisions on matters of procedure and legality. His power over the assembly could be nearly absolute. The only check on his power came in the form of vetoes by other magistrates. Any decision made by a presiding magistrate could be vetoed by the "plebeian tribunes".

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Plebeian Council

The Concilium Plebis (English: Plebeian Council or Plebeian Assembly) was the principal popular assembly of the ancient Roman Republic. It functioned as a legislative assembly, through which the plebeians (commoners) could pass laws, elect magistrates, and try judicial cases. The Plebeian Council was originally organized on the basis of the Curia. Thus, it was originally a "Plebeian Curiate Assembly". The Plebeian Council usually met in the well of the comitium and could only be convoked by the Tribune of the Plebs. The assembly elected the Tribunes of the Plebs and the plebeian aediles, and only the plebeians were allowed to vote.

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