TRIBUNE, an officer of the ancient Romans, whose duty was to preside over a tribe for the purpose of administration, or to represent it in some official capacity. Originally a tribune represented or stood at the head of each of the three patrician tribes, which originally included the entire body of Roman citizens, Later the term came to have a wider signification. The plebeian tribunes defended their order against the patrician magistrates, and subsequently from three to six military tribunes with consular powers were elected annually. Another class of officers were the military tribunes, who were above the centurions and directly under the commander in chief. Each legion had six such tribunes. During the time of the kingdom they were appointed by the king, but the consuls exercised this power in the republic. During the later portion of the republic they were elected by the people in the assembly of the tribes.

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