corn-dealers or corn-merchants (Cic. de
3.13.57; Liv. 4.12
latter passage shows their unpopularity in times of scarcity; they were
liable to the same charges of “forestalling and regrating” as
the Athenian σιτοπῶλαι,
and, we may be
reminded, as the corn-dealers of modern Europe, England included, until the
present century [SITOS
]. On the
Frumentarii of the legions, see EXERCITUS
p. 793 a;
commissariat in general, p. 812 a.
further particulars may be given here. The frumentarii mentioned by Caesar,
or rather Hirtius (B. G.
8.35), are not, as sometimes stated,
Roman legionary officers, but Gauls supplying the enemy; and it is uncertain
when they were first introduced into the Roman armies. The earliest notice
of their employment as spies occurs under Hadrian (Spart.
11); not only in the provinces, but in Rome itself,
they were constantly sending private reports to the emperor (Capitolin.
Max. et Balb.
10; Trebell. Poll. Claud.
17). This led naturally to false accusation and blackmailing (cuncta foede diripiebant,
Aurel. Vict. de
39.44); and their office was at length abolished by
Diocletian. (Cf. Marquardt, Staatsverw.
ii.2 492-3 = ii.1 476-7; Henzen, in Bull.
1884, pp. 21-29.)