It has long been taken for granted that the Roman Republic, just like the elective governments of today, placed state papers in a repository to preserve them for consultation. This is assumed both in undergraduate textbooks in Roman history and in the most respected reference works used by specialists in the field. Neither the basic texts nor the standard references hesitate to use the term archive in describing this repository. That term, in fact, is Greek and was never used by the classical Romans to describe any of their own institutions. The anachronistic use of the word in reference to Roman practices has, perhaps, been responsible for much of the current misinterpretation of the significance of some of the political institutions of Republican Rome.



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