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This article is about the term "Consul". For the office in Ancient Rome, see Roman consul. For other uses, including the office in medieval cities as well as during the French Revolution, see consul (disambiguation).

Consul (abbrev. cos.; Latin plural consules) was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic. The relating adjective is consular, from the Latin consularis.

Modern use of the term[edit]

In modern terminology, a Consul is a type of diplomat. The American Heritage Dictionary defines consul as "an official appointed by a government to reside in a foreign country and represent its interests there."

In most governments, the Consul is the head of the Consular Section of an embassy, and is responsible for all consular services such as immigrant and non-immigrant visas, passports, and citizen services for expatriates living or traveling in the host country.

Medieval city states[edit]

The Dukes of Gaeta often used also the title of "Consul" in its Greek form "Hypatos" (see List of Hypati and Dukes of Gaeta).

The city-state of Genoa, unlike ancient Rome, bestowed the title of Consul on various state officials, not necessarily restricted to the highest. Among these were Genoese officials stationed in various Mediterranean ports, whose role included helping Genoese merchants and sailors in difficulties with the local authorities. This institution, with its name, was later emulated by other powers and is reflected in the modern usage of the word (see Consul (representative)).

French Revolution[edit]

French Republic[edit]

Main article: French Consulate
A portrait of the three Consuls,Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles-François Lebrun (left to right)

After Napoleon Bonaparte staged a coup against the Directory government in November 1799, the French Republic adopted a constitution which conferred executive powers upon three Consuls, elected for a period of ten years. In reality, the First Consul, Bonaparte, dominated his two colleagues and held supreme power, soon making himself Consul for life (1802) and eventually, in 1804, Emperor.

The office was held by:

Roman Republic[edit]

The French-sponsored Roman Republic (15 February 1798 – 23 June 1800) was headed by multiple consuls:

  • Francesco Riganti, Carlo Luigi Costantini, Duke Bonelli-Crescenzi, Antonio Bassi, Gioacchino Pessuti, Angelo Stampa, Domenico Maggi, Provisional Consuls (15 February – 20 March 1798)
  • Liborio Angelucci, Giacomo De Mattheis, Panazzi, Reppi, Ennio Quirino Visconti, Consuls (20 March – September 1798)
  • Brigi, Calisti, Francesco Pierelli, Giuseppe Rey, Federico Maria Domenico Michele, Zaccaleoni, Consuls (September – 24 July 1799)

Consular rule was interrupted by the Neapolitan occupation (27 November – 12 December 1798), which installed a Provisional Government:

  • Prince Giambattista Borghese, Prince Paolo-Maria Aldobrandini, Prince Gibrielli, Marchese Camillo Massimo, Giovanni Ricci (29 November 1798 - 12 December 1798)

Rome was occupied by France (11 July – 28 September 1799) and again by Naples (30 September 1799 – 23 June 1800), bringing an end to the Roman Republic.

Bolognese Republic[edit]

The short-lived Bolognese Republic, proclaimed in 1796 as a French client republic in the Central Italian city of Bologna, had a government consisting of nine consuls and its head of state was the Presidente del Magistrato, i.e., chief magistrate, a presiding office held for four months by one of the consuls. As noted above, Bologna already had Consuls at some parts of its Medieval history.

Later modern republics[edit]

Paraguay[edit]

In between series of juntas (and various other short-lived regimes), the young republic was governed by "consuls of the republic" in power (2 consuls alternating in power every 4 months):

  • 12 October 1813 – 12 February 1814 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (1st time)
  • 12 February 1814 – 12 June 1814 Fulgencio Yegros y Franco de Torres
  • 12 June 1814 – 3 October 1814 José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (2nd time); he stayed on as "supreme dictator" 3 October 1814 – 20 September 1840 (from 6 June 1816 styled "perpetual supreme dictator")

After a few presidents of the Provisional Junta, there were again consuls of the republic, 14 March 1841 – 13 March 1844 (ruling jointly, but occasionally styled "first consul", "second consul"): Carlos Antonio López Ynsfrán (b. 1792 – d. 1862) + Mariano Roque Alonzo Romero (d. 1853) (the lasts of the aforementioned juntistas, Commandant-General of the Army) Thereafter all republican rulers were styled "president".

Other uses in antiquity[edit]

Other city states[edit]

While many cities (as in Gaul) had a double-headed chief magistracy, often another title was used, such as Duumvir or native styles such as Meddix, but Consul was used in some.

Private sphere[edit]

It was not uncommon for an organization under Roman private law to copy the terminology of state and city institutions for its own statutory agents. The founding statute, or contract, of such an organisation was called lex, 'law'. The people elected each year were patricians, members of the upper class.

Revolutionary Greece[edit]

Among the many petty local republics that were formed during the first year of the Greek Revolution, prior to the creation of a unified Provisional Government at the First National Assembly at Epidaurus, were:

  • The Consulate of Argos (from 26 May 1821, under the Senate of the Peloponnese) had a single head of state, styled consul, 28 March 1821 – 26 May 1821: Stamatellos Antonopoulos
  • The Consulate of East Greece (Livadeia) (from 15 November 1821, under the Areopagus of East Greece) was headed 1 April 1821 – 15 November 1821 by three Consuls: Lambros Nakos, Ioannis Logothetis & Ioannis Filon

Note: in Greek, the term for "consul" is "hypatos" (ὕπατος), which translates as "supreme one", and hence does not necessarily imply a joint office.

See also[edit]

Differently named, but same function

Modern UN System

Roman Empire

Sources and references[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consul — Please support Wikipedia.
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Northern Daily News
Fri, 22 May 2015 14:56:15 -0700

Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India will make his presentation May 27 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and it is open to the public to attend. In Kirkland Lake the presentation will be streamed to room G102 and at the Haileybury Campus it will be streamed ...

Leadership Newspapers

Leadership Newspapers
Fri, 22 May 2015 04:37:30 -0700

Amb. Habiba Habu, the outgoing Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, bade farewell to staff members and some Nigerian professionals on Thursday night. Habu described the send-off organised by the Consulate staff members as an opportunity to thank ...
 
Legislative Gazette
Thu, 21 May 2015 11:11:15 -0700

Sen. David Carlucci, president of the Conference of Italian-American state legislators, introduced a resolution last week to welcome to Consul General of Italy, Natalia Quintavalle, during her visit of New York state Capitol. "The state of New York is ...

The Indian Express

The Hindu
Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:00 -0700

Nepal requires a large quantity of corrugated galvanised iron roofing sheets to build shelters for people displaced by the earth quake, Consul General Chandra Kumar Ghimire said here on Thursday. He was speaking at an event organised by the Merchant ...

ABC Online

ABC Online
Thu, 21 May 2015 01:37:30 -0700

Indonesians living in New South Wales have been advised to take extra care after a letter was sent to the local diplomatic office threatening retaliation over the execution of two Australians a month ago. The Indonesian consul general in Sydney said it ...

ITV News

ITV News
Thu, 21 May 2015 23:00:00 -0700

It is a huge honour to be made the first Honorary Consul. It allows me to retain a strong connection to Latvia and provide a benefit to the Latvian residents in Guernsey. I find it hugely rewarding and interesting to engage with the community here and ...
 
Paso Robles Press
Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:00 -0700

Beth Bolyard/ Paso Robles Press. The Mexican Consul in Oxnard, Bernice Diaz Ceballos (middle), gives President Maria Elena Garcia (right) and Vice Prez Francisco Ramirez (left) of the Hispanic Business Association a certificate of recognition for the ...

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald
Sat, 16 May 2015 05:56:15 -0700

A suspicious looking package detonated outside the home of the Australian Consul-General in Bali on Saturday turned out to be a false alarm. Denpasar police chief Anak Agung Made Sudana said nothing related to a bomb was found in a bag, which had ...
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