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p143 Assertor

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p143 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ASSERTOR, or ADSERTOR, contains the same root as the verb adserere, which, when coupled with the word manu, signifies to lay hold of a thing, to draw it towards one. Hence the phrase adserere in libertatem, or liberali adserere manu, applies to him who lays his hand on a person reputed to be a slave, and asserts, or maintains his freedom. The person who thus maintained the freedom of a reputed slave was called adsertor (Gaius, IV.14), and by the laws of the Twelve Tables it was enacted in favour of liberty, that such adsertor should not be called on to give security in the sacramenti actio to more than the amount of L asses. The person whose freedom was thus claimed, was said to be adsertus. The expressions liberalis causa, and liberalis manus, which occur in classical authors, in connection with the verb adserere, will easily be understood from what has been said (Terent. Adelph. II.1.40; Plaut. Poen. IV.2.83; see also Dig. 40 tit. 12 De liberali Causa). Sometimes the word adserere alone was used as equivalent to adserere in libertatem (Cic. Pro Flacco, c17).

The expression adserere in servitutem, to claim a person as a slave, occurs in Livy (III.44, XXXIV.18).

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Page updated: 7 Dec 06