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Bill Thayer

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 p388  Dediticii

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p388 of

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

DEDITI′CII, are one of the three classes of libertini. The Lex Aelia Sentia provided that, if a slave was put in bonds by his master as a punishment, or branded, or put to the torture for an offence and convicted, or delivered up to fight with wild beasts, or sent into a ludus (gladiatorius), or put in confinement (custodia), and then manumitted either by his then owner, or by another owner, he merely acquired the status of a peregrinus dediticius, and had not even the privileges of a Latinus. The peregrini dediticii were those who, in former times, had taken up arms against the Roman people, and being conquered, had surrendered themselves. They were, in fact, a people who were absolutely subdued, and yielded unconditionally to the conquerors, and, of course, had no other relation to Rome than that of subjects. The form of deditio occurs in Livy (Liv. I.37).

The dediticii existed as a class of persons who were neither slaves, nor cives, nor Latini, at least as late as the time of Ulpian. Their civil condition, as is stated above, was formed by analogy to the condition of a conquered people, who did not individually lose their freedom, but as a community lost all political existence. In the case of the Volsci, Livy inclines to the opinion that the four thousand who were sold, were slaves, and not dediti. (Gaius, I.13, &c.; Ulpianus, Frag. tit. 1 s11.)​a

Thayer's Note:

a This is one of the less satisfactory articles in Smith's Dictionary, manifesting the common 19c bias against post-classical Rome by passing under silence the dediticii of later times — a different class of persons altogether; see Hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, I.927‑928.

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Page updated: 19 Feb 20