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p480 Exercitoria Actio

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on pp480‑481 of

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

EXERCITORIA ACTIO, was an action granted by the edict against the exercitor navis. By the term navis was understood any vessel, whether used for the navigation of rivers, lakes, or the sea. The exercitor navis is the person to whom all the ship's gains and earnings (obventiones et reditus) belong, whether he is the owner, or has hired the ship (per aversionem) from the owner for a time definite or indefinite. The magister navis is he who has the care and management of the ship, and was appointed (praepositus) by the exercitor. The exercitor was bound generally by the contracts of the magister, who was his agent, but with this limitation, that the contract of the magister must be with reference to furthering the object for which he was appointed; as, for instance, if he purchased things useful for the navigation of the ship, or entered into a contract or incurred expense for the ship's repairs, the exercitor was bound by such contract: the terms of the master's appointment (praepositio) accordingly determine the rights of third parties against the exercitor. If the magister, being appointed to manage the ship and to use it for a particular purpose, used it for a different purpose, his employer was not bound by the contract. If there were several magistri, without any partition of their duties (non divisis officiis), a contract with one was the same as a contract with all. If there were several exercitores, who appointed a magister either out of their own number or not, they were severally answerable (in solidum) for the contracts of the magister. The contracting party might have his action either against the exercitor or the magister, so long as the magister continued to be such.

A party might have an action ex delicto against an exercitor in respect of the act either of the magister or of the sailors, but not on the contract of the sailors. If the magister substituted a person in his place, though he was forbidden to do so, the exercitor would still be bound by any proper contract of such person.

The term Nauta properly applies to all persons who are engaged in navigating a ship; but in the Praetor's Edict (Dig.4 tit. 9 s1) the term Nauta means Exercitor (qui navem exercet).

(Dig. 14 tit. 1; Peckius, in Titt. Dig. et Cod. p481ad Rem Nauticam pertinentes Comment.; Abbott on Shipping, Index, Exercitor Navis).


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