The word seems originally to have indicated an
officer connected with a tribe (tribus), or who represented
a tribe for certain purposes; and this is indeed the
character of the officers who were designated by it in the
earliest times of Rome, and may be traced also in the later
officers of this name.
Definition of the Roman Tribune (Tribunus)
The Definition of a Roman
Tribune is as follows: An officer or magistrate chosen by
the people, to protect them from the oppression of the
patricians, or nobles, and to defend their liberties against
any attempts that might be made upon them by the senate and
consuls. The tribunes were at first one, but their number
was increased ultimately to ten. There were also military
tribunes, officers of the army, of whom there were from four
to six in each legion. Other officers were also called
tribunes; as, tribunes of the treasury, etc.
Roman Tribune Ranks
The following details Roman
Tribune (Latin:Tribunus) One
of six assistants to a legion commander, the Primus Pilus. Usually a
young senator learning the basics for his career
Tribunus Cohortis: Commander
of a Cohort military unit
Tribunus Cohortis Urbanae:
Urban cohort commander.
History of the Roman Tribune
Originally there was one
Roman Tribune in each legion from the three tribes called
the the Ramnes, Luceres, and Tities. In the time of Polybius
the number in each legion was six. The authority of the
Roman Tribune extended equally over the whole legion; but to
prevent confusion, it was the custom for them to divide into
three sections of two, and each pair undertook the routine
duties for two months out of six. The Tribunes nominated the
centurions, and assigned each to the company to which he
belonged. These tribunes at first were chosen the
commanders-in-chief, by the kings and consuls; but during
the days of the republic, when the patrician power was
pre-eminent, they were elected by the people, that is, the
Roman citizens. Later they were named, half by the Senate
and half by the consuls. No one was eligible to this great
office who had not served ten years in the infantry or five
in the cavalry.
Clothing of the Military Roman Tribune
The Roman tribunes were
distinguished by their dress from the common soldier. Many
Tribunes were aristocrats drawn from the upper social class.
They wore the same basic equipment, though it is likely that
the higher ranks had more heavily decorated armor. Their
Cuirass, or breastplate was defensive armor for the torso,
worn over a cloth, leather, or padded vest. These
breastplates which were often molded to form "anatomical"
cuirasses. The lower edge of the cuirass was curved and had
one or more rows of round or long tongue-shaped lappets (pteryges)
which formed a skirt.
There may also have been differences in the color of certain
garments, for instance the cloak of a Roman Tribune was
usually red. This large rectangular cloak was called the
paludamentum and was typically pinned or fixed to the right
shoulder, so as not to impede the movement of the right arm,
with a clasp, called a fibula. The paludamentum was often
draped or wrapped around the left arm. Putting on the
paludamentum was a ceremonial act on setting out for war.