), a vessel
containing that liquid measure (Paulus, in Dig. 33
In the early times of the Roman republic, the congius
was the usual measure of oil or wine which was, on
certain occasions, distributed among the people; and thus congiarium,
as Quintilian says, became a name for the gift as
well as for the measure (congiarium commune liberalitatis
6.3.52). It does not follow that all the
citizens or even heads of families received a congius
apiece. The earliest mention of a distribution of oil is
in B.C. 213, when two Cornelii, Scipio afterwards called Africanus and
Cethegus, in their aedileship gave a certain number of congii
(the numeral has dropped out) to the inhabitants of
each street (Liv. 25.2
, with Madvig's note).
Lucullus on his return from his Eastern victories distributed more than
of wine to te people (Plin. Nat. 14.96
). The name congiarium
was also applied, less accurately, to
presents of corn or other provisions. Thus Pliny speaks of king Ancus
Marcius giving 6000 modii
of salt as a congiarium
to the people (H. N.
31.89). In the later republic such congiaria,
like the giving of games and shows, were the regular passport to high office
Under the empire the tranquillity of the capital was ensured by a gigantic
system of out-door relief (FRUMENTARIAE LEGES
), supplemented by frequent doles. The general
term for these imperial presents is LARGITIO
sometimes (especially on coins) LIBERALITAS
the soldiers were called DONATIVA, to the people
20 and 54, Ner.
7; Tac. Ann. 12.41
; Plin. Paneg.
48); but sometimes the former also
are called congiaria
(Cic. Att. 16.8
; Curt. 6.2
). The sums
thus spent were enormous. Hadrian's congiarium
was three aurei
per head on his proclamation as
emperor, double that amount on his arrival in Rome; Commodus gave 725
to each citizen (cf. Casaubon's
). Marquardt has computed the imperial
at an average of
£90,000 a year from Julius Caesar to Claudius, £300,000
a year from Nero to Sept. Severus; it must have been, however, a periodical
emptying of the treasury rather than a continuous drain.
Congiarium. (Coin of Trajan: British Museum.)
was moreover used to designate
presents or pensions given by men of rank to their friends, clients, or
dependents [p. 1.529]
(Caelius to Cicero, Cic. Fam. 8.1
18; and often in Seneca, e.g.
de Brev. Vit.
8.2, “Annua congiaria homines
clarissimi accipiunt” ; cf. Cons. ad Marc.
where the sacrifice of a political victim is Seianus' congiarium
to a client). Fabius Maximus called the presents
which Augustus made to his friends, on account of their smallness, heminaria
instead of congiaria,
because a hemina
the twelfth part of a congius
). (Marquardt, Staatsverw.