previous next


INTERPRES an interpreter. This class of persons became very numerous and necessary to the Romans as their empire extended. Embassies from foreign nations to Rome, and from Rome to other states, were generally accompanied by interpreters to explain the objects of the embassy to the respective authorities (Cic. de Divin. 2.64, 131, de Finib. 5.29, 89; Plin. Nat. 25.6 Gel. 17.17, 2; Liv. 27.43). In large mercantile towns the interpreters, who formed a kind of agents through whom business was done, were sometimes very numerous, and Pliny (Plin. Nat. 6.15) states that at Dioscurias in Colchis there were at one time no less than 130 persons who acted as interpreters to the Roman merchants, and through whom all the business was carried on.

All Roman praetors, proconsuls, and quaestors who were entrusted with the administration of a province, had to carry on all their official proceedings in the Latin language (V. Max. 2.2.2); but as the provincials could not be expected to know this language, they had always among their servants [APPARITORES] one or more interpreters (hired in the province, not brought from Rome), who were generally Romans, but in most cases undoubtedly freedmen (Cic. pro Balb. 11, 28). These interpreters had not only to officiate at the conventus [CONVENTUS], but also explained to the Roman governor everything which the provincials might wish to be laid before him (Cic. in Verr. 3.37, 84, ad Fam. 13.54; Caes. Bell. Gall. 1.19; compare Dirksen, Civil. Abhandl. i. p. 16, &c.).

[L.S] [A.S.W]

hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Cicero, For Cornelius Balbus, 11
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 25.6
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 6.15
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 43
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 17.17
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 17.2
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.2.2
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: