CIVES PESSIMO IURE: ACTORS AND THE RIGHTS OF ROMAN CITIZENS IN THE PUBLIC LAW OF THE REPUBLIC AND EARLY PRINCIPATE Summary Roman public law recognised the following citizens’ rights: the right to serve in the legions, ius suffragii (the right to vote at assemblies of the people), ius honorum (the right to hold office), ius provocationis (the right to appeal to the People’s Assembly against a magistrate’s decision), ius auxilii (the right to obtain assistance from the tribune of the plebs). Sometimes a restriction of a citizen’s civil rights was due to his profession, and the actor’s profession was such a case. The legal status of actors was the resultant of many factors. They performed in public, were paid for their services, and they had a bad reputation. Even actors who were Roman citizens were not entitled to all the public rights. Citizens’ rights were interlinked, hence the lack of one of them could entail further restrictions. A ban on the right to military service prevented actors from voting in the comitia centuriata; and their exclusion from the most important tribus deprived them of the vote in the comitia tributa. Hence there was a restriction on the availability of the ius provocationis to actors; and they could neither vote nor hold office. Thespians could thus be regarded as cives pessimo iure – second-class citizens.