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AUCTOR, a word which contains the same element as augeo, and signifies generally one who enlarges, confirms, or gives to a thing its completeness and efficient form. The numerous technical meanings of the word, some of which we proceed to explain, are more or less closely derived from this general notion. As he who gives to a thing that which is necessary for its completeness may, in this sense, be viewed as the chief actor or doer, the word auctor is also used in the sense of one who originates or proposes a thing; but this cannot be regarded as its primary meaning.

I. Political.

The word auctor, when used in connexion with lex or senatus consultum, often means him who originates and proposes, as appears from numerous passages (Liv. 6.36; Cic. pro Dom. 30, 80). When the word is applied to him who recommends but does not originate a legislative measure, it is equivalent to suasor (Cic. Att. 1.1. 9 ; Brut. 25, 97 ; 27, 106). Sometimes both auctor and suasor are used in the same sentence, and the meaning of each is kept distinct (Cic. de Off. 3.3. 0, 109). When a measure was approved by the senate before it was confirmed by the votes of the people, the senate were said auctores fieri, and this preliminary approval was called senatus auctoritas (Cic. Brut. 14, 55). The expressions patres auctores fiunt, patres auctores facti, have been the subject of much discussion, and are explained in a separate article. [AUCTORITAS PATRUM]

In the imperial time, auctor is often said of the emperor (princeps) who recommended anything to the senate, and on which recommendation that body passed a senatus consultum (Gaius, 1.30, 80; Sueton. Vesp. 11).

II. Legal.

1. With reference to dealings between individuals, auctor has the sense of owner (Cic. pro Caecin. 10, 27), and is defined thus (Dig. 50, tit. 17, s. 175): Auctor meus a quo jus in me transit. In this sense auctor is the seller (venditor), as opposed to the buyer (emptor). (Dig. 19, tit. 1, s. 4; s. 52.3.) The person who joined the seller in a warranty, or as security, was called auctor secundus, as opposed to the seller or auctor primus (Dig. 21, tit. 2, s. 4). The phrase a malo auctore emere (Cic. Ver. 5.22, 56), auctorum laudare (Gel. 2.10), will thus be intelligible. The testator, with respect to his heir, might be called auctor. (Ex Corp. Hermogen. Cod. tit. 11.)

2. A person whose concurrence is a necessary condition for giving effect to certain legal transactions, is called auctor. Thus as a person could not be arrogated without his own consent, he is said to be the auctor of the arrogation (Cic. pro Dom. 29).

3. Auctor is also used generally to express any person under whose authority any legal act is done. In this sense, it means a tutor who is appointed to aid or advise a woman on account of the infirmity of her sex (Liv. 34.2; Cic. pro Caecin. 100.25; Gaius, 1.190, 195): it is also applied to a tutor whose business it is to approve of certain acts on behalf of a ward (pupillus). (Paulus, Dig. 26, tit. 8, s. 3.)

4. In the criminal law auctor signifies the instigator of a crime, the person who induced another either alone, or in the company of the auctor, or in combination with others, to commit a crime (Suet. Tit. 9, Dom. 23, Oth. 1, Ner. 33; auctor et socius, Sal. Jug. 30). The passages in the Digest on this subject are given by Rein, Criminalrecht der Römer, p. 190.

III. auctores juris

The term auctores juris is sometimes equivalent to jurisperiti (Dig. 1, tit. 2, s. 2.13; Gel. 2.10); but the term is specially used for those jurists to whom the jus respondendi had been given by the emperor. The law writers or leaders of particular schools of law were called scholae auctores. It is unnecessary to trace the other significations of this word.

[G.L] [E.A.W]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Against Verres, 2.5.56
    • Cicero, On his House, 30
    • Cicero, On his House, 29
    • Suetonius, Divus Titus, 9
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 2
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 36
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 3.3
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 2.10
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