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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 theappointive 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 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]


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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

304845 news items

The Colorado Statesman

The Colorado Statesman
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:41:15 -0800

David Siegel, the Israeli consul general for the southwestern United States, met with Gov. John Hickenlooper and key members of his economic development staff last week to finalize a research and development agreement that Siegel said had the potential ...


Thu, 26 Nov 2015 20:41:15 -0800

UNIVERSITY of Southern Queensland (USQ) International was delighted to welcome honoured guest Puan Suzzaini Abdullah during her visit to Toowoomba earlier this month. The consul of the Malaysia Consulate (Sydney), who is also Director of Education ...
Daily Express
Fri, 27 Nov 2015 01:11:15 -0800

Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Chen Peijie, said this is on whether local legislation and the Government's labour policy allow more foreign workers to come and work here. "This is a very important pre-condition and I ...

Khaleej Times

Khaleej Times
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 23:52:30 -0800

HOME > International > Europe. Message from Majdi Abed, Consul General of France in Dubai. Filed on November 27, 2015. Share; More >. Vote. 0. Majdi Abed (Consul General of France in Dubai). Majdi Abed (Consul General of France in Dubai) ...
Daily Times Nigeria
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 18:48:45 -0800

Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Claire Ruffing, stated the reason why U.S. has dedicated so much time and energy in empowering girls and countering gender-based violence, because they (women) have the ability to impact the world in big ...


Wed, 25 Nov 2015 23:41:15 -0800

Informing the Governor about Azerbaijan's steady development as a free and independent nation, Consul General Aghayev stressed the great potential for fruitful cooperation between Azerbaijan and Idaho in the fields of agriculture, tourism, IT ...
Firehouse.com (press release) (registration) (blog)
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 22:11:15 -0800

As a member of the English Consul Volunteer Fire Company, Hannigan had fought the 2007 fire and was hospitalized afterward, said Darnbrough. The fire at the house, which was under renovation for rental, caused $130,000 in damage, according to a ...
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:15:00 -0800

Khartoum — Dialogue, Prof. Hashim Ali Salim, received Wednesday at the Friendship Hall the Consul of Russia to Sudan, in presence of some of the members of the 7+7 Mechanism and the rapporteur of the Secretariat General. The Secretary General has ...

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