a jurist, one of the disciples of Servius Sulpicius. [T. CAESIUS.] From the unusual combination of two apparently gentile names, conjectural alterations of the passage in the Digest where Publicius Gellius is mentioned by Pomponius (Dig. 1
. tit. 2. s. 2.44) have been attempted by several critics. Rutilius (Vithe ICtorum,
100.45) reads Publius (aecilius, and Hotomann reads Publicola Gellius. Accordingly, the jurist has been attempted to be identified with the L. Gellius Publicola who is spoken of by Cicero (Cic. Brut. 47
) as a second-rate orator, contemporary with L. Crassus and M. Antonius ; but the disciple of Servius must have been of rather later date. Maiansius makes Publicius and Gellius distinct jurists, and alters the text of Pomponius by reading duodecim
instead of decem,
as the number of the disciples of Servius.
There is no necessity for alteration, for Publicius is used as a fictitious praenomen
by Paulus, in Dig. 36
. tit. 2. s. 24; and the jurist Publicius is cited, along with Africanus, by Ulpian (Dig. 38
. tit. 17. s. 2. §. 8); and is also cited by Modestinus (Dig. 35
. tit. 1. s. 51.1), and by Marcellus (Dig. 31
. s. 50.2).
There was a praetor Publicius, who introduced into the edict a celebrated clause (Dig. 6
. tit. 2. s. 1. pr.), which gave origin to the Publiciana in rem actio.
By this action a bona fide possessor was enabled, by the fiction of usucaption, to recover the lost possession of a thing, although he was not dominus ex jure Quirilium.
(Inst. 4. tit. 6.45.)
It is not unlikely that this Publicius was the jurist cited in the Digest; and there is some ground for identifying him with Q. Publicius, who was praetor peregrines in B. C. 69. (Cic. Clu. 45
(Bertrandus, de Jurisp.
2.16; Guil. Grotius, Vitae Jurisc.
1.11.15-18; Maiansius, ad xxx ICtorum Frag. Comment,
vol. ii. p. 154-161 ; Zimmern, R. R. G.
vol. 1.79; Hugo, R. R. G.
ed. 1832, p. 535.)