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MEDIASTI´NI the name given to slaves of all work either in town or country, who are said by the Scholiast on Horace, Hor. Ep. 1.14, 14, to be those “qui in medio stant ad quaevis imperata parati.” They would therefore be those of whom Cicero speaks (Par. 5.2, 37), “qui tergunt, qui ungunt, qui verrunt, qui spargunt.” In Ulpian they are spoken of as equivalent to vulgares servi. In Pliny (Plin. Nat. 29.4) the slaves of an apothecary used for general purposes are so called to distinguish them from skilled slaves employed as rubbers, &c. [p. 2.152]But although Horace (l.c.) seems to distinguish the mediastinus from the country slave, the distinction is only found in the context, not in the word itself; for Columella (2.13) gives the allowance of field labour for 200 jugera as two yoke of oxen, two bubulci and six mediastini: he separates them from the special labourers, vinitores and aratores (1.9), saying that, while the arator should be tall, the mediastinus might be any height provided he was industrious. To be precise therefore, the low class general slaves would be distinguished as mediastini urbani and mediastini rustici (which is a disputed reading in Cic. Cat. 2.3, 5).

[W.S] [G.E.M]

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 2.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 29.4
    • Horace, Epistulae, 1.14
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