C. I. G
. 2053) signified specially during the later times
of the Republic Roman citizens settled in the provinces, who lent money upon
interest or bought up corn on speculation (Caes.
), which they sent to Rome as well as to other places.
Their chief business, however, was lending money upon interest as usurers;
and hence we find the words negotia,
used in this sense. The negotiatores
are distinguished from the publicani
(Cic. Att. 2.1. 6
” comp. Cic. Ver. 2.3, 7
; pro Flacc.
16, 38; pro Leg. Manil.
7, 18), and from the mercatores
(Cic. pro Planc. 26
justus” ). That the word
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
, 71; 37, 92;--Verr.
ad Q. Fr.
1.1;--Hirt. B. Afr.
in the provinces corresponded
to the argentarii
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. Att. 5.2. 1
). The negotiatores, like
the publicani, belonged to the Equestrian order, but men of senatorial rank,
though forbidden so to trade themselves, indirectly shared the gains, in
return for their countenance and support. Cato the elder was a creditable
exception to this, and exerted himself to protect the provincials (Liv. 32.27
; Plut. Cat.
6); but to
show the extent of the evil we need only cite the instance of M. Junius
Brutus, who (acting of course through another, the negotiator Scaptius) lent
money to the state of Salamis in Cyprus at 48 per cent.: Scaptius demanded
200 talents for 106 received, and, having obtained troops from Appius
Claudius, proconsul of Cilicia, so maltreated the senate of Salamis that
five senators died. Cicero, the next proconsul, had honesty enough to desire
a moderate and just settlement of the debt, but lacked the resolution to
enforce it. (Compare Ernesti, De
in his Opuscula Philologica;