Interrex or "inter-rex" (Latin; plural, interreges) was literally a ruler "between kings." He was in effect a short-term regent.


The office of Interrex is said to have been instituted on the death of Romulus, when the Roman Senate wished to share the sovereign power among themselves instead of electing a king. For this purpose the senate, which then consisted of one hundred members, was divided into ten "decuries" (groups); and from each of these decuries one senator was nominated. These together formed a board of ten, with the title of Interreges, each of whom enjoyed in succession the regal power and its badges for five days; and if no king was appointed at the expiration of fifty days, the rotation began anew. The period during which they exercised their power was called an Interregnum. some historians suppose that the first interreges were exclusively Romans, and that they were the "Decem Primi", or ten leading senators, of whom the first was chief of the whole senate.

The interreges agreed among themselves who should be proposed as king and if the senate approved of their choice, they summoned the assembly of the curiae, and proposed the person whom they had previously agreed upon; the power of the curiae was confined to accepting or rejecting him. The decree of the curiae, by which they accepted the king, was called "jussus populi" .After the king had been elected, the curiae conferred the imperium upon him by a special law, lex curiata de imperio.

Interreges were appointed under the republic for holding the comitia for the election of the consuls, when the consuls, through civil commotions or other causes, had been unable to do so in their year of office. Each held the office for only five days, as under the kings. The comitia were, as a general rule, not held by the first interrex; more usually by the second or third ; but in one instance we read of an eleventh, and in another of a fourteenth interrex. The comitia for electing the first consuls were held by Sp. Lucretius as interrex was also called "praefectus urbis". The interreges under the republic, at least from B.C. 482, were elected by the senate from the whole body, and were not confined to the decem primi or ten chief senators as under the kings. Plebeians, however, were not admissible to this office; and consequently when plebeians were admitted into the senate, the patrician senators met together without the plebeian members to elect an interrex. For this reason, as well as on account of the influence which the interrex exerted in the election of the magistrates, we find that the tribunes of the plebs were strongly opposed to the appointment of an interrex. The interrex had jurisdictio.

Interreges continued to be appointed occasionally till the time of the second Punic war, but after that time we read of no interrex, till the senate, by command of Sulla, created an interrex to hold the comitia for his election as Dictator, B.C. 82. In B.C. 55 another interrex was appointed to hold the comitia, in which Pompey and Crassus were elected consuls and we also read of interreges in B.C. 53 and 52, in the latter of which years an interrex held the comitia, in which Pompey was appointed sole consul.

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

A similar institution of interrex later existed in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, whose ruling classes liked to view their Republic (Rzeczpospolita) or Commonwealth as an heir to Roman republican traditions. The Commonwealth's kings entered upon their office by free election, which often led to a relatively long interregnum. Traditionally the role of interrex fell since 1572 to the Archbishop of Gniezno and Primate of Poland.

External links

* [ List of Polish interrexes]

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  • Interrex — o inter rex (del latín; plural interreges) fue una magistratura romana. Roma La magistratura de interrex se habría instituido a la muerte de Rómulo cuando el senado romano quiso lograr la soberanía en lugar de elegir un rey; entonces el senado… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Interrex — In ter*rex , n.; pl. E. {Interrexes}, L. {Interreges}. [L., fr. inter between + rex king.] An interregent, or a regent. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Interrex — (lat., »Zwischenkönig«), der Zwischenmagistratus, der in der Königszeit von den Patriziern aus ihrer Mitte ernannt wurde, um nach dem Tod eines Königs die Neuwahl vorzunehmen, aber nach fünf Tagen immer einem Nachfolger weichen mußte, bis die… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Interrex — (lat., »Zwischenkönig«), im alten Rom der in der Zwischenzeit zwischen dem Tode eines Königs und der Wahl eines neuen oder (in der Zeit der Republik) nach dem Abgang oder dem Tode der Konsuln vom Senat aus seiner Mitte (aber immer nur auf 5 Tage) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Interrex — Interrex, lat., Zwischenkönig, Reichsverweser, auch Vicekönig; im ältesten Rom wählte der Senat bei eintretendem Interregnum einen i. aus seiner Mitte; auch in der republikan. Zeit wurden interreges gewählt, wenn man unvorhergesehen in den Fall… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • interrex — [in′tər reks΄] n. pl. interreges [in΄tərrē′jēz΄] [L < inter , between + rex (gen. regis), king: see REGAL] a person acting as ruler during an interregnum …   English World dictionary

  • Interrex — Der Interrex (wörtlich: „Zwischenkönig“) war in der Römischen Republik ein vom Senat ernannter Patrizier, der ausschließlich für die Durchführung der Konsulwahlen zuständig war, wenn dies die bisherigen Konsuln nicht mehr selbst tun konnten (nach …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • interrex — /in teuhr reks /, n., pl. interreges /in teuhr ree jeez/. a person holding supreme authority in a state during an interregnum. [1570 80; < L; see INTER , REX] * * * ▪ ancient Rome plural  interreges        in ancient Rome, a provisional ruler… …   Universalium

  • INTERREX — I. INTERREX qui Regis Demortui loco tantisper summae rerum praeest, dum alius creetur: quod spatium reinporis Interregnum dictum. Origo eius antiquissima; Nam Romulo Defuncto, ut tradit Dionys. l. 2. autequam novus crearetur Rex, integrum Annum… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Interrex — Ịnterrex   [lateinisch »Zwischenkönig«],    1) im antiken Rom der republikanischen Zeit Beamter, der bei Vakanz des Konsulats (»interregnum«) bis zur Neuwahl der Konsuln für jeweils fünf Tage aus dem Kreis der patrizischen Senatoren ernannt… …   Universal-Lexikon

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