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Bill Thayer

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 p794  Negotiatores

Unsigned article on p794 of

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

NEGOTIATO′RES, signified specially during the later times of the republic Roman citizens settled in the provinces, who lent money upon interest or bought up cornº on speculation, which they sent to Rome as well as to other places. Their chief business however was lending money upon interest, and hence we find the words negotia, negotiatio, and negotiari used in this sense. The negotiatores are distinguished from the publicani (Cic. ad Att. II.16, "malo negotiatoribus satisfacere, quam publicanis;​a comp. Cic. Verr. II.3, pro Flacc. 16, pro Leg. Manil. 7), and from the mercatores (Cic. pro Planc. 26, "negotiatoribus comis, mercatoribus justus"). That the word negotiatores was, during the later times of the republic, always used in the signification above given is amply proved by Ernesti in the treatise quoted below, and is also sufficiently clear from the following passages (Cic. pro Flacc. 29, Verr. III.60, ad Q. Fr. I.1, pro Flacc. 36; Hirt. B. Afr. 36). Hence the negotiatores in the provinces corresponded to the argentarii and feneratores at Rome; and accordingly we find Cicero giving the name of feneratores to certain persons at Rome, and afterwards calling the very same persons negotiatores when they are in the provinces (Cic. ad Att. V.21, VI.1‑3). Compare Ernesti, De Negotiatoribus in his Opuscula Philologica.

Thayer's Note:

a I don't often provide translations, but this one proves irresistible. In modern American idiom, Cicero, a sensible man with a notorious sense of humor, is wryly observing that he'd rather deal with bankers than with the IRS.

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Page updated: 29 Sep 12