Conventus, ‘assembly’, is technically used
(1) for associations of Italians abroad;
(2) for provincial assizes.
(1) By the early 2nd cent. bce Italians (especially in the east) united for religious and other purposes under elected magistri. In the late republic these associations (which came to be called conventus civium Romanorum) often gained a position of great political importance locally; the governor would rely on them for service on juries and on his council (consilium) and for advice on local conditions. In the Caesarian and Augustan period such associations often formed the nucleus for the foundation of new colonies and municipia civium Romanorum. Under the empire these associations sometimes passed decrees together with the Greek city authorities; in some areas they came to be organized under curatores. In the long term with the spread of Romanization, especially in the west, these associations disappeared.
(2) In most provinces, by the late republic, assizes (where the provincial governor held court) were held in fixed centres. Under the Principate the status of assize centres became a much sought after privilege, comparable to that of being a centre for the imperial (ruler-)cult, which was in the gift of the emperor. In the province of Asia for example, which had at least 300 urban communities, there were fourteen assize centres in the 2nd cent. ce. The annual assize-tour of the provincial governor constituted the practical framework within which he exercised all his routine administrative and jurisdictional duties.