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p341 Commodatum

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p341 of

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

COMMODA′TUM is one of those obligationes which are contracted re. He who lends to another a thing, for a definite time, to be used for a definite purpose, without any pay or reward, is called by modern writers commodans; the person who receives the thing is called commodatarius; and the contract is called commodatum. The genuine Roman name for the lender is commodator (Dig. 13 tit. 6 s7), and the borrower (commodatarius) is "is qui rem commodatam accepit." It is distinguished from mutuum in this, that the thing lent is not one of those things quae pondere, numero, mensurave constant, as wine, corn,º &c.; and the thing commodata does not become the property of the receiver, who is therefore bound to restore the same thing. The lender retains both the ownership of the thing and the possession. It differs from locatio et conductio in this, that the use of the thing is gratuitous. The commodatarius is liable to the actio commodati, if he does not restore the thing; and he is bound to make good all injury which befalls the thing while it is in his possession, provided it be such injury as a careful person could have prevented, or provided it be an injury which the thing has sustained in being used contrary to the conditions or purpose of the lending. If a thing was lent to two persons, each was severally liable for the whole (in solidum). In some cases the commodatarius had an actio contraria against the commodans, who was liable for any injury sustained by the commodatarius through his dolus, or culpa; as, for instance, if he knowingly lent him bad vessels, and the wine or oil of the commodatarius was thereby lost or injured. The actio commodati was one of those in which there were two formulae, in jus and in factum. (Gaius, IV.47; Dig. 13 tit. 6; Inst. III.14 §2; Thibaut, System, &c. § 477, &c. 9th ed.


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