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Today’s entry from A Concise Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities is coactor.
Coactor. A name applied to collectors of various sorts, e.g. to the servants of the publicani or farmers of the taxes, who collected the revenues for them (Cic. Rab. Post. 11, s. 30); also to those who collected the money at a public auction (Cic. Cluent. 64, s. 180; Hor. Sat. i. 6, 86).
The OCD does not have an entry for coactor.
Posted by Eric » Add Comment »
A slight change in format: it has been brought to my attention that my use of the OCD (namely, the frequent posting of entire articles), still under copyright, may involve a violation of the Fair Use doctrine. So instead, I’m going to use older, public-domain reference works to supply facts about antiquity chosen more or less at random. For the time being, I will use A Concise Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, by Sir William Smith and Francis Warre Cornish (John Murray, 1898). I think that I will also steal an idea of Dennis’ and from time to time compare the older entry with what we find in the OCD.
Negotiatores signified especially during the later times of the Republic Roman citizens settled in the provinces, who lent money upon interest or bought up corn on speculation (Caesar, B.G. vii. 3). Their chief business, however, was lending money upon interest as usurers; hence we find the words negotia, negotiatari, and negotiatio used in this sense. Negotiatores are distinguished from publicani (Cic. Att. ii. 16, Verr. ii. 3. 7, Leg. Manil. 7, 18), and from mercatores (Cic. Planc. 26, 64). Hence the negotiatores in the provinces corresponded to the argentarii and feneratores at Rome. The negotiatores, like the publicani, belonged to the equestrian order, but men of senatorial rank indirectly shared the gains, in return for their countenance and support. They were often accused of exacting immoderate interest from provincials; and instances of great cruelty are recorded against them.
The entry “negotiatores” in the OCD is a bit longer and provides some additional information that is helpful with respect to both terminology and the activities of such men. For instance: the term is rarely defined precisely in ancient sources. The OCD entry notes that “there were close links and involvement with the work of the publicani (tax companies), bankers, landowners, and shipping. Indeed, one rhetorical remark of Cicero’s (Font. 46) about ‘all the publicans, farmers, cattle-breeders, and the rest of the negotiatores‘ suggests that the term negotia could cover all those activities.” In general, they were simply businessman–or, better, “money-men.” They were instrumental for the “organization of markets, investment in shipping, and…credit to facilitate deals.” The term negotiator was held in higher repute than mercator, and, “while the negotiator might invest in or own ships, he did not actually sail them.”
Since, however, these figures were so closely connected to the financing of trade, by the imperial period one finds evidence that negotiator was “the normal term for trader or merchant.”
Finally, since the negotiatores were Roman citizens living in the provinces and conducting business with provincials, they were important for the process of Romanization in these areas, though the entry notes that “[t]heir overall impact on the provinces is debated.” In any case, many of these negotiatores amassed huge fortunes while in the provinces, and in the first century AD we sometimes find their descendants returning to Italy as provincial senators.
Posted by Dennis » 2 Comments »
Ennius strikes me as an author who surpasses his meager remains, and who provides a great number of verses suitable for the classroom.
Consider this much-maligned yet equally famous exercise in alliteration:
O Tite tute Tati tibi tanta, tyranne, tulisti!
It’s a line people love to hate, primarily because of it’s abuse of alliteration, but this makes it fun for the classroom. Try having students memorize the line — but with the proper quantities. Now the line becomes a perfect vehicle both for fixing the rhythm of the hexameter and for recognizing the importance of syllable length.
Ō Tite tūte Tatī tibi tanta, tyranne, tulistī!
Once again, this time with metrical divisions:
Ō Tite | tūte Ta- | -tī tibi | tanta, ty- | -ranne, tu- | -listī!
There’s an impressive alternation of short and long syllables, which, if pronounced properly by the rules of Restored Classical Pronunciation, produces an even more impressive little Latin tongue twister.
I like to spend some time every year on a unit I call EXEMPLA VIRTVTIS, focusing on the legendary figures whom Romans would look up to as exemplars of the MOS MAIORVM. (I do include what I call ‘negative exempla‘ — the people who show Romans what not to do).
There’s no better place to begin than with this fragment of Ennius:
moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque
The Roman state stands through ancient ways and ancient men.
Within such a context, fragments on various historical figures could well serve as biographical snapshots, and can be memorized and used as models for new compositions of a similar nature.
First, Ennius on M’. Curius Dentatus:
quem nemo ferro potuit superare nec auro.
And he was a man whom no one could conquer — with iron or with gold.
Compare Ennius on Q. Fabius Maximus:
unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem.
One man restored the state to us by delaying (the fight).
You might produce one, too, and help students to write their own. I’ll write one now off the cuff as an example. How about the early Republican heroine, Cloelia:
Cloelia, quae dederit spem nobis atque puellas.
Cloelia, who has given us hope, and our daughters too.
Hey, what do you know? It scans.
Try it, and let me know how it works out.