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(1) In ancient Rome, an association of certain patrician families (gentes) that was analogous to the Greek phratry. According to tradition there were 30 curiae, ten in each tribe. Originally the curia was part of the clan organization—possibly, a men’s group connected with coming-of-age ceremonies. (There is evidence for this hypothesis in the worship of the goddess Juno, which was associated with initiations—rituals during which a youth was consecrated as a man.) During the period when the state was formed the curiae became extremely important military and political cells in Roman society. Evidently, each curia was headed by an elected curio who had priestly functions. Each curia had its own place for holding assemblies (which was also called the curia), as well as its own sanctuaries.

The curiate assembly (comitia curiata)— that is, assembly of male soldiers—elected kings during the royal period and magistrates in the early stages of the republic. But with the establishment of the centuriate assembly (comitia centuriata), the curiae confirmed elected officials and entrusted the symbols of authority to them. Under the republic all the curiae were headed by a grand curio, and plebeians were allowed to vote in the curiate assembly. During the imperial period the curiae came to be known as municipal councils.

(2) In Western Europe during the Middle Ages the feudal curia was a council consisting of a lord and his vassals. The royal curia (Curia Regis)—a feudal curia made up of the king’s direct vassals—was an advisory assembly of feudal magnates convoked by the king and granted broad but not strictly defined functions, most of which were judicial. As the royal power grew stronger, this curia became a more limited council of the king’s closest advisers (the Royal Council). Moreover, financial and judicial affairs were assigned to special offices.

(3) The Roman curia (Curia Romana) is made up of a number of institutions that are subordinate to the pope.

(4) In bourgeois countries and in prerevolutionary Russia curiae were separate categories into which voters were divided according to property, nationality, and other criteria (electoral curiae).


The council house in a Roman municipality.
References in periodicals archive ?
On the other hand, Pius X's reform was the apogee of Roman centralization and practices of government, effectively extending to every faithful Catholic the right to have recourse to the Roman Curia in order to request a pardon or obtain a waiver.
The curia spent a total of 7 years and 9 1/2 months in Orvieto during the thirteenth century.
It seems that today's Curia was afraid that the council would attack its understanding of its right to use power to enforce the commandments as church tradition defined them.
Classical sources refer to the closure (years after the murder) of the Curia, a place that would become a chapel-memory.
Although challenging to use, the volumes of this series are valuable for the study of the Roman Curia in its relationship to ordinary lives of both clergy and laity.
The French Episcopal Conference could and should have resisted the pressures of the Roman Curia.
I personally can see no significant reason that would necessitate a reform of the Curia at the moment," the official said.
Only Cardinal Bertello has any experience serving in the offices of the Roman Curia.
Dandelet is an always conscientious and often subtle student of the archives, using a variety of documents to look closely at how patronage worked on the ground, both in the Curia and in Roman neighborhoods.
The Vatican bureaucrats of the Roman Curia had long been used to the notion that they knew what was best for the pope's "subjects.
Your writer reporting Pope Francis' exhortation to the Curia (NCR, Jan.
Vatican City -- Pope Benedict told the Roman Curia December 22, 2006 in his annual pre-Christmas speech that there is "an unbreakable connection between the relationship of people with God and their relationships with each other;" and that the world would have greater peace and hope for the future if more of us believed in God and recognized each other as his children.