Wikipaedia has the following:

Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consulta ordered that the senatus consulta (the decrees of the senate) had to be kept in the temple of Ceres by the plebeian aediles, the assistants of the plebeian tribunes. This meant that the plebeian tribunes and aediles had knowledge of these decrees (previously they were kept secret).This put them in the public domain. Previously, the consuls had been in the habit of suppressing or altering them.

Is this correct? As far as I know, the term is always senatus( )consultum as a neuter substantive: I've never seen it used adjectivally, as would be required if we read de senatus consulta adjectivally (and elliptically: what omitted noun would the ablative consulta agree with?). I would therefore not expect de senatus consulta to be correct.

I've found some other phrasings of the same law:

Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consultum custodia

This could work if consultum is the archaic plural genetive, although I don't recall ever seeing this genitive used with (substantive nouns derived from) past pasticiples.

Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consultorum custodia

This would be standard Latin. But the source is of (to me) unknown quality. Perhaps the real phrase is irregular and this website couldn't resist changing the spelling on its own account into standard Latin.

Which is the proper spelling, and is there a way for the spelling at Wikipaedia to work?

1 Answer 1


The same paragraph contains lex Valeria Horatia de plebiscìtis (note the grave accent), lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consulta, and lex Valeria Horatia de provocatio. Not a single one is correct: the first one has a spurious grave accent, the second one does not make sense as you say, and the third one is missing a -ne for ablative. This seems to be a case of insufficient Latinitas by a Wikipedia editor.

There is a separate Wikipedia article on these laws, and there they are called lex Valeria Horatia de plebiscitis, lex Valeria Horatia de provocatione, and lex Valeria Horatia de tribunicia potestate. These make sense, so I am tempted to assume that these are right and the other article was sloppily edited.

  • You're probably right. The only odd thing is that the so called Lex Valeria Horatia de senatus consultorum custodia is not mentioned at all in that article? And I couldn't find another, reliable source for the spelling above.
    – Cerberus
    Apr 8, 2018 at 18:38
  • @Cerberus It is a little puzzling. The article mentions explicitly that there were three laws, and each one is named, so implicitly the one you mention is not included. Perhaps the one de senatus consultorum custodia is an alternative name for one of the laws or refers to a part of one? I have no clue, to be honest.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 8, 2018 at 20:59
  • The problem is that the content of the de senatus consultorum custodia doesn't seem to be part of the thee laws in your article...
    – Cerberus
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:02
  • @Cerberus True, but I didn't assume that the descriptions of the laws were complete in that article. Judging by name and year, lex de senatus consultorum custodia should indeed be among those laws. Perhaps there's more than three? I don't really know of an authoritative source for looking up Roman laws. (It wouldn't hurt to have one on the site, I guess.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:10
  • ♦: I'm not sure either. And I felt the site would appreciate a Question, rewarding my laziness!
    – Cerberus
    Apr 9, 2018 at 0:58

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