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p1195 Viator

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on pp1195‑1196 of

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

VIA′TOR was a servant who attended upon and executed the commands of certain Roman magistrates, to whom he bore the same relation as the lictor did to other magistrates. The name viatores was derived from the circumstance of their being chiefly employed on messages either to call upon senators to attend the meeting of the senate, or to summon the people to the comitia, &c. (Cic. de Senect. 16). In the earlier times of the republic we find viatores as ministers of such magistrates also as had their lictors: viatores of a dictator and of the consuls are mentioned by Livy (VI.15, XXII.11; p1196cf. Plin. H. N. XVIII.4; Liv. VIII.18). In later times however viatores are only mentioned with such magistrates as had only potestas and not imperium, such as the tribunes of the people, the censors, and the aediles. They were, in short, the attendants of all magistrates who had the jus prendendi (Gell. XIII.12; Liv. II.56, XXX.39, XXXIX.34; Lydus, de Magist. I.44). How many viatores attended each of these magistrates is not known; one of them is said to have had the right at the command of his magistrate to bind persons (ligare), whence he was called lictor (Gell. XII.3). It is not improbable that the ancient writers sometimes confound viatores and lictores (Sigonius, de Ant. Jur. Civ. Romanorum, II.15; Becker, Handb. der Röm. Alterth. vol. II pt. II p379).


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