Monarchy

The kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, and a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga. The lictor (possibly from Latin: ligare, "to bind") was a member of a special class of Roman civil servant, with special tasks of attending and guarding magistrates of the Roman Republic and Empire who held imperium, the right and power to command; essentially, a bodyguard. The origin of the tradition of lictors goes back to the time when Rome was a kingdom, perhaps acquired from their Etruscan neighbours. In the Roman Republic, and later the Empire, the curule seat (sella curulis, supposedly from currus, "chariot") was the chair upon which senior magistrates or promagistrates owning imperium were entitled to sit, including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, censors, and the curule aediles. Additionally, the Flamen of Jupiter (Flamen Dialis) was also allowed to sit on a sella curulis, though this position lacked imperium. Livy writes that the three flamines maiores or high priests of the Archaic Triad of major gods were each granted the honor of the curule chair. According to Livy the curule seat, like the Roman toga, originated in Etruria, and it has been used on survivi g Etruscan monuments to identify magistrates, but much earlier stools supported on a cross-frame are known from the New Kingdom of Egypt. According to Cassius Dio, early in 44 BC a senate decree granted Julius Caesar the sella curulis everywhere except in the theatre, where his gilded chair and jeweled crown were carried in, putting him on a par with the gods. As a form of throne, the sella might be given as an honor to foreign kings recognized formally as friend (amicus) by the Roman people or senate. The curule chair is used on Roman medals as well as funerary monuments to express a curule magistracy; when traversed by a hasta (spear), it is the symbol of Juno. The curule chair was traditionally made of or veneered with ivory, with curved legs forming a wide X; it had no back, and low arms. Although often of luxurious construction, the Roman curule was meant to be uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time, the double symbolism being that the official was expected to carry out his public function in an efficient and timely manner, and that his office, being an office of the republic, was temporary, not perennial. The chair could be folded, and thus an easily transportable seat, originally for magisterial and promagisterial commanders in the field, developed a hieratic significance, expressed in fictive curule seats on funerary monuments, a symbol of power which was never entirely lost in post-Roman European tradition. 6th-century consular ivory diptychs of Orestes and of Constantinus each depict the consul seated on an elaborate curule seat with crossed animal legs.