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p984 Recepta

Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College
on pp984‑985 of

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

RECEPTA; DE RECEPTO, ACTIO. The Praetor declared that he would allow an action against Nautae, Caupones, and Stabularii, in respect of any property for the security of which they had undertaken (receperint, whence the name of the action) if they did not restore it. The meaning of the term Nauta has been explained [Exercitoria Actio]: the meaning of Caupo follows from the description of the business of a Caupo (Dig.4 tit. 9 s5). "A Nauta, Caupo, and Stabularius are paid not for the care which they take for a thing; but the Nauta is paid for carrying passengers; the Caupo for permitting travellers to stay in his Caupona; the Stabularius for allowing beasts of burden to stay in his stables, and yet they are bound for the security of the thing also (custodiae nomine tenentur)." The two latter actions are similar to such actions as arise among us against innkeepers, and livery stable keepers, on whose premises loss or injury has been sustained with respect to the property of persons which they have by legal implication undertaken the care of. At first sight there seems no reason p985for these Praetoriae actiones, as the person who had sustained loss would either have an actio locati and conducti, in cases where payment had been agreed on, or an actio depositi, where no payment had been agreed on; but Pomponius suggests that the reason was this: in a matter of Locatum and Conductum, the receiver was only answerable for loss in case he was guilty of Culpa; and in a matter of Depositum, only in case he was guilty of Dolus Malus; but the receiver was liable to these Praetoriae actiones, if the thing was lost or injured even without any Culpa on his part, and he was only excused in case of Damnum fatale, such as shipwreck, piracy, and so forth.

These praetorian actions in factum were either "rei persecutoriae" for the recovery of the thing, or "poenales" for damages. The former action might be maintained against the heres of the Nauta, Caupo, or Stabularius. The Exercitor of a ship was answerable for any loss or damage caused to property, which he had received in the legal sense of this term, by any person in his employment. The actio against him was in duplum. The liability on the part of Caupones and Stabularii was the same: a caupo for instance was answerable for loss or damage to the goods of any traveller, if caused by those who were dwelling or employed in the caupona, but not if caused by a mere traveller. The actio for damages could not be maintained against the heres (Dig.4 9; Peckii In Titt. Dig. et Cod. Ad rem nauticam pertinentes Commentarii, &c. Amstel. 1668).

As to the passages in the Digest (4 tit. 9 s1, § 1, and 47 5 §6) see Vangerow, Pandekten, &c. III. p436.

There is a title in the Digest (4 8), De Receptis, qui arbitrium receperunt ut sententiam dicant. When parties who had a matter to litigate, had agreed to refer it to an arbitrator, which reference was called Compromissum, and a person had accepted the office of arbitrator (arbitrium receperit), the praetor would compel him to pronounce a sentence, unless he had some legal excuse. The Praetor could compel a person of any rank, as a Consularis for instance, to pronounce a sentence after taking upon him the office of arbitrator; but he could not compel a person who held a Magistratus or Potestas, as a Consul or Praetor, for he had no Imperium over them. The parties were bound to submit to the award of the arbitrator; and if either party refused to abide by it, the other had against him a poenae petitio, if a poena was agreed on in the compromissum; and if there was no poena in the compromissum, he had an Incerti actio (Dig.4 8).


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