aedīlis, is, m. (abl. aedili, Tac. A. 12, 64; Serv. ad Verg. A. 7, 4; Dig. 18, 6, 13; but aedile is more usual, Charis. p. 96 P.; Varr. 1, 22; Cic. Sest. 44, 95; Liv. 3, 31; Plin. 7, 48, 49, § 158; Inscr. Orell. 3787, 8; cf. Schneid. Gr. II. p. 221; Koffm. s. v.) [aedes], an œdile, a magistrate in Rome who had the superintendence of public buildings and works, such as temples, theatres, baths, aqueducts, sewers, highways, etc.; also of private buildings, of markets, provisions, taverns, of weights and measures (to see that they were legal), of the expense of funerals, and other similar functions of police. The class. passages applying here are: Plaut. Rud. 2, 3, 42; Varr. L. L. 5, § 81 Müll.; Cic. Leg. 3, 3; id. Verr. 2, 5, 14; id. Phil. 9, 7; Liv. 10, 23; Tac. A. 2, 85; Juv. 3, 162; 10, 101; Fest. s. h. v. p. 12; cf. Manut. ad Cic. Fam. 8, 3 and 6.
Further, the aediles, esp. the curule ædiles (two in number), were expected to exhibit public spectacles; and they often lavished the most exorbitant expenses upon them, in order to prepare their way toward higher offices, Cic. Off. 2, 16; Liv. 24, 33; 27, 6. They inspected the plays before exhibition in the theatres, and rewarded or punished the actors according to their deserts, Plaut. Trin. 4, 2, 148; id. Cist. ep. 3; for this purpose they were required by oath to decide impartially, Plaut. Am. prol. 72.
It was the special duty of the aediles plebeii (of whom also there were two) to preserve the decrees of the Senate and people in the temple of Ceres, and in a later age in the public treasury, Liv. 3, 55. The office of the aediles curules (so called from the sella curulis, the seat on which they sat for judgment (v. curulis), while the aediles plebeii sat only on benches, subsellia) was created A.U.C. 387, for the purpose of holding public exhibitions, Liv. 6, 42, first from the patricians, but as early as the following year from the plebeians also, Liv. 7, 1.
Julius Cæsar created also the office of the two aediles Cereales, who had the superintendence of the public granaries and other provisions, Suet. Caes. 41.
The free towns also had ædiles, who were often their only magistrates, Cic. Fam. 13, 11; Juv. 3, 179; 10, 102; Pers. 1, 130; v. further in Smith’s Dict. Antiq. and Niebuhr’s Rom. Hist. 1, 689 and 690.
Note: Plaut. uses the word once adject.: aediles ludi, œdilic sports, Poen. 5, 2, 52.