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p340 Commentarius

Article by Benjamin Jowett, M.A., Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford
on p340 of

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

COMMENTA′RIUS, or COMMENTA′RIUM, meant a book of memoirs or memorandum-book, whence the expression Caesaris Commentarii ("Hinc Caesar libros de bellis a se gestis commentarios inscripsit, quod nudi essent omni ornatu orationis, tanquam veste detracto," Cic. Brutus, c75).º Hence it is used for a lawyer's brief, the notes of a speech, &c. (Sen. Controv. lib. III Proëm.).

In the imperial period the word commentariensis occurs in the sense of a notary or clerk of the Fiscus (40 tit. 14 s45), and also of a keeper of a prison (Walter, Geschichte des Römischen Rechts, §§818, 819, 2d ed.). A military officer so called is mentioned by Asconius (in Ver. III.28), who probably had similar duties. The word is also employed in the sense of a notary or secretary of any sort. Most of the religious colleges had books called commentarii, as commentarii augurum, pontificum.


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