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DISPENSA´TOR a steward in the urbana familia, who had the charge of the accounts and made the payments. (Cic. Att. 11.1; Cic. ap. Non. p. 193; Fest. p. 72, M.; Juv. 1.91, 7.219; Mart. 5.42; Macr. 2.4, 31; Suet. Aug. 67, Galb. 12, Vesp. 22.) The dispensator was usually, perhaps always, a slave; though under the empire, Orelli maintains, he was sometimes ingenuus (Orelli, Inscr. 4002). If there was a procurator in the house, the dispensator was under him, and acted simply as cashier. Thus we read in Petronius (30) that the procurator rationes accipiebat, while the dispensator paid out the golden money in the atrium. If there was a dispensator on the country estate, he was nearly the same as the villicus (Dig. 50, 16, 166). The imperial procuratores discharged important duties not only at the court, but in Rome and the provinces (cf. Plin. Nat. 7.129). How valuable was the appointment may be seen from the fact that Otho extorted a million of sesterces from a slave whom he had recommended to Galba for the office of dispensator (Suet. Oth. 5). A slave of Claudius, who was dispensator in Nearer Spain, had a silver dish 500 pounds in weight, and many of his companions had similar dishes, but of less weight (Plin. Nat. 33.145; Tertull. de Pall. 5). In a columbarium on the Appian way is an inscription respecting an imperial dispensator in Gallia Lugdunensis, erected by sixteen of his slaves (vicarii), who had accompanied him to Rome, where he died (Orelli-Henzen, Inscr. 6651). (Becker-Göll, Gallus, ii. p. 136; Friedländer, Sittengesch. Roms, i. p. 97 ; Marquardt, Privatl. d. Römer, p. 152.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 11.1
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 67
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 5.42
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