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p517 Fabri

Unsigned article on p517 of

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

Woodcuts are from Smith's Dictionary; any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer

FABRI, are workmen who make any thing out of hard materials, as fabri tignarii, carpenters; fabri aerarii, smiths; &c. The different trades were divided by Numa (Plut. Numa, 17) into nine collegia, which correspond to our companies or guilds. In the constitution of Servius Tullius, the fabri tignarii (τέκτονες, Orelli, Inscrip. 60, 417, 3690, 4086, 4088, 4184) and the fabri aerarii or ferrarii (χαλκοτύποι) were formed into two centuries, which were called the centuriae fabrûm, and not fabrorum (Cic. Orat. 46). They did not belong to any of the five classes into which Servius divided the people; but the fabri tign. probably voted with the first class, and the fabri aer. with the second. Livy (I.43) and Dionysius (VII.59) name both the centuries together: the former says that they voted with the first class; the latter, that they voted with the second. Cicero (De Rep. II.22) names only one century of fabri, which he says voted with the first class; but as he adds the word tignariorum, he must have recognized the existence of the second century, which we suppose to have voted with the second class (Göttling, Gesch. der Röm. Staatsv. p249).

The fabri in the army were under the command of an officer called praefectus fabrûm (Caes. ap. Cic. ad Att. IX.8, Bell. Civ. I.24; Veget. II.11). It has been supposed by some modern writers that there was a praefectus fabrûm attached to each legion; and this may have been the case. No genuine inscriptions however, contain the title of praefectus fabrûm with the name of a legion added to it. There were also civil magistrates at Rome and in the municipal towns, called praefecti fabrûm; but we know nothing respecting them beyond their name. Thus we find in Gruter, Praef. Fabr. Romae (467.7), Praefectus Fabr. Caer. (235.9). The subject of the praefecti fabrûm is discussed with great accuracy in a letter of Hagenbuchius, published by Orelli (Inscrip. vol. II p95, &c.).

Marcus Stlaccius' inscription at the Porta Ostiensis, Rome,
listing the achievements of his far-flung military career.
Among them, line 3, he was PRAEF FABRVM.

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Page updated: 2 Feb 05