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p1195 Viaticum

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p1195 of

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

VIA′TICUM (ἐφόδιον) is, properly speaking, every thing necessary for a person setting out on a journey, and thus comprehends money, provisions, dresses, vessels, &c. (Plaut. Epid. V.1.9; Plin. Epist. VII.12; Cic. de Senect. 18). When a Roman magistrate, praetor, proconsul, or quaestor went to his province, the state provided him with all that was necessary for his journey. But as the state in this as in most other cases of expenditure preferred paying a sum at once to having any part in the actual business, the state engaged contractors (redemptores), who for a stipulated sum had to provide the magistrates with the viaticum, the principal parts of which appear to have been beasts of burden and tents (muli et tabernacula). Julius Caesar introduced some modification of this system, by his Lex De Repetundis [Repetundae]; and Augustus once for all fixed a certain sum to be given to the proconsuls (probably to other provincial magistrates also) on setting out to their provinces, so that the redemptores had no more to do with it. (Cic. ad Fam. XII.3; Suet. Aug. 36; Gellius, XVII.2.13; comp. Sigonius, de Antiq. Jure Provinc. III.11; Casaubon ad Theophrast. 11).


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