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decemvirs (dēsĕmˈvərz) [key] [Lat., = ten men], in ancient Rome, group of 10 men appointed to a special judicial or executive capacity. The most famous were those who developed in the 5th cent. B.C. the Laws of the Twelve Tables, the primary Roman code. There was a permanent decemvirate of priests that guarded the Sibylline Books (see sibyl).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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