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p257 Caupo

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on pp257‑258 of

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

CAUPO. The nature of the business of a caupo is explained by Gaius (Ad Edict. Provinc. Dig. 4 tit. 9 s5): "caupo . . . mercedem accipit p258non pro custodia, sed . . . ut viatores manere in caupona patiatur . . . et tamen custodiae nomine tenetur." The caupo lodged travellers in his house, and, though his house was not opened for the safe keeping of travellers' goods, yet he was answerable for their goods if stolen out of his house, and also for damage done to them there. The praetor's edict was in this form: "Nautae (carriers by sea), caupones, stabularii (persons who kept stables for beasts), quod cujusque salvum fore receperint, nisi restituent, in eos judicium dabo." By this edict such persons were made generally liable for the things which came into their care; for the words "quod cujusque salvum fore receperint," are explained thus, "quamcumque rem sive mercem receperint." But, if the goods of the traveller were lost or damaged owing to any unavoidable calamity, as robbery, fire, or the like, the caupo was not answerable. The action which the edict gave was "in factum," or an action on the case; and it was Honoraria, that is, given by the praetor. The reason why an Honoraria actio was allowed, though there might be actiones civiles, is explained by Pomponius (quoted by Ulpian, Ad Edictum, Dig. 4 tit. 9 s3 §1): in certain cases there might be an actio locati et conducti, or an actio depositi, against the caupo; but in the actio locati et conducti, the caupo would be answerable only for culpa, and in the actio depositi he would be answerable only for dolus, whereas in this honoraria actio he was liable even if there was no culpa, except in the excepted cases. The English law as to liability of an innkeeper is the same (Kent v. Shuckard, 2 B. & Ad. 803).


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