Decurion(redirected from Decurions)
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(curial), in ancient Rome, a member of the city councils (senates, later called curiae in imperial Rome) in the cities of Italy and the provinces. Members were recruited from among the former city magistrates, and their office was unpaid and conferred for life. They were responsible for city administration, the assessment and collection of taxes (arrears on which they had to make up out of their own personal property), the leasing of town lands, the expenditure of public money, and so on. Their duties also included organizing games and festivals. In the provinces their activities were strictly supervised by the Roman vicegerents. In the early days of the empire the decurion was a member of the highest class in the Italian and provincial cities. As the burden of taxes and duties paid increased during the fourth century A.D., the position of the decurion, who was now called a curial, deteriorated so much that this group endeavored to be deprived of their rank so as to be relieved of their heavy duties. Emperor Constantine issued edicts between 316 and 332 that assigned them to their curiae in perpetuity.