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arbĭter , tri, m. ar = ad (v. ad init.) and bito = eo, orig., that goes to something in order to see or hear it; hence, a spectator, beholder, hearer, an eye-witness, a witness (class. through all periods; used several times by Plaut., but only twice by Ter.; syn.: testis, speculator, conscius).
II. Esp.
A. In judic. lang., t. t., prop., he that is appointed to inquire into a cause (cf. adire hiberna, Tac. H. 1, 52, and intervenio) and settle it; hence, an umpire, arbiter, a judge, in an actio bonae fidei (i. e. who decides acc. to equity, while the judex decides acc. to laws), Sen. Ben. 3, 7 (cf. Zimmern, Rechtsgesch. 3 B, § 8; 3 B, § 42; 3 B, § 60 sq., and the jurists there cited).— So in the fragments of the Twelve Tables: JVDICI. ARBITROVE. REOVE. DIES. DIFFISVS. ESTO., ap. Paul. ex Fest. s. v. reus, p. 227 Müll.: PraeTOR. ARBITROS. TRES. DATO. ap. Fest. s. v. vindiciae, p. 376 Müll., and the ancient judicial formula: “P. J. A. V. P. V. D., i. e. PRAETOREM JVDICEM ARBITRVMVE POSTVLO VTI DET,Val. Prob. p. 1539 P.: “ibo ad arbitrum,Plaut. Rud. 4, 3, 101; so id. ib. 4, 3, 104: “Vicini nostri hic ambigunt de finibus: Me cepere arbitrum,Ter. Heaut. 3, 1, 90 (arbiter dabatur his, qui de finibus regendis ambigerent, Don.); so, “arbiter Nolanis de finibus a senatu datus,Cic. Off. 1, 10, 33.—Of the Hebrew judges: “subjacebit damno, quantum arbitri judicaverint,Vulg. Exod. 21, 22.—Hence, trop.: “Taurus immensus ipse et innumerarum gentium arbiter,that sets boundaries to numerous tribes, Plin. 5, 27, 27, § 97: “arbitrum familiae herciscundae postulavit,Cic. Caecin. 7: arbitrum illum adegit (i. e. ad arbitrum illum egit; cf. “adigo),id. Off. 3, 16, 66: “quis in hanc rem fuit arbiter?id. Rosc. Com. 4, 12.—In the time of Cicero, when, acc. to the Lex Aebutia, the decisions were given in definite formulae of the praetor, the formal distinction between judex and arbiter disappeared, Cic. Mur. 12 fin.
B. Transf. from the sphere of judicial proceedings, a judge, an arbitrator, umpire, in gen.: arbiter inter antiquam Academiam et Zenonem. Cic. Leg. 1, 20, 53: “Judicet Dominus, arbiter hujus diei, inter etc.,Vulg. Jud. 11, 27.—So of Paris: “arbiter formae,Ov. H. 16, 69: pugnae, the judge, umpire of the contest, βραβευτής, Hor. C. 3, 20, 11: “favor arbiter coronae,which adjudged the prize of victory, Mart. 7, 72, 10.—
C. He that rules over, governs, or manages something, a lord, ruler, master (mostly poet. or in post-Aug. prose; syn.: rex, dominus): arbiter imperii (Augustus), Ov. Tr. 5, 2, 47: “armorum (Mars),id. F. 3, 73: “bibendi,Hor. C. 2, 7, 25 (cf. id. ib. 1, 4, 18: nec regna vini sortiere talis, and in Gr. βασιλεὺς τοῦ συμποσίου): “quo (sc. Noto) non arbiter Hadriae Major,who rules over the sea, id. ib. 1, 3, 15: “arbiter Eurystheus irae Junonis iniquae,” i. e. the executor, fulfiller of her wrath, Ov. H. 9, 45 al.—In prose, Tac. A. 1, 26: “regni,id. ib. 13, 14, where Halm reads arbitrium: “rerum,id. ib. 2, 73: “di potentium populorum arbitri,id. ib. 15, 24: “(JOVI) RERVM RECTORI FATORVMQVE ARBITRO,Inscr. Orell. 1269 et saep.
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