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p880 Pauperies

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on p880 of

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

PAUPERIES was the legal term for mischief done by an animal (quadrupes) contrary to the nature of the animal, as if a man's ox gored another man. In such cases, the law of the Twelve Tables gave the injured person an action against the owner of the animal for the amount of the damage sustained. The owner was bound either to pay the full amount of damages or to give up the animal to the injured person (noxae dare). Pauperies excluded the notion of Injuria; it is defined to be "damnum sine injuria facientis factum," for an animal could not be said to have done a thing "injuria, quod sensu caret." The actio de pauperie belonged to the class of Noxales Actiones. According to the old law, if a bear got away from his master, he was not liable; because when the animal got away, it ceased to be the master's property. But the Aedile's edict declared that it was not lawful to keep a dog, boar, wild boar, bear, or lion, in any place which was a place of public resort. If this rule was violated, and any damage was done by one of these beasts to a freeman, the judex might condemn the owner in such sum as he should think to be "bonum et aequum." If damage was done to any thing else, the judex might condemn the owner in double the amount of the damage. There might also be an actio de pauperie in addition to the aedilitiae actiones (Dig. 9 tit. 1; Inst. 4 9).

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