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In general, a plaintiff. In a civil or private action, the plaintiff was often called petitor; in a public action (causa publica) he was called accusator. The defendant was called reus, both in private and public causes: this term, however, according to Cicero, might signify either party, as indeed we might conclude from the word itself. In a private action the defendant was often called adversarius, but either party might be called adversarius with respect to the other. (See Actio.) A universitas, or corporate body, sued and was sued by its actor or syndicus.

Actor has also the sense of an agent or manager of another's business generally. The actor publicus was an officer who had the superintendence or care of slaves and property belonging to the State.

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