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p980 Quadruplatores

unsigned article on p980 of

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

QUADRUPLATOR′ES, public informers or accusers, were so called, either because they received a fourth part of the criminal's property, or because those who were convicted were condemned to pay fourfold (quadrupli damnari), as in cases of violation of the laws respecting gambling, usury, &c. (Pseudo-Ascon., in Cic. Divin. p110, in Verr. II. p208, ed. Orelli; Festus, s.v.). We know that on some occasions the accuser received a fourth part of the property of the accused (Tac. Ann. IV.21); but the other explanation of the word may also be correct, because usurers, who violated the law, were subjected to a penalty of four times the amount of the loan (Cato, de Re Rust. init.). When the general right of accusation was given, the abuse of which led to the springing up of the Quadruplatores, is uncertain; but originally all fines went into the common treasury, and while that was the case the accusations no doubt were brought on behalf of the state (Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome, vol. III p37). Even under the republic an accusation of a public officer, who had merited it by his crimes, was considered a service rendered to the state; the name of Quadruplatores seems to have been given by way of contempt to mercenary or false accusers (Cic. Div. II.7, c. Verr. II.7; Plaut. Pers. I.2.10; Liv. III.72). Seneca (de Benef. VII.25) calls those who sought great returns for small favours, Quadruplatores beneficiorum suorum.


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