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FABRI are workers in wood, stone, or metal, as fabri tignarii, carpenters, fabri aerarii, smiths, &c. The workshop was called fabrica (Ter. Ad. 4.2, 45; Cic. N. D. 3.2. 2, 55), the name also given to the trade or art of a faber (Cic. N. D. 2.1. 3, 35). The different trades were said to have been divided by Numa (Plut. Numa, 17) into nine collegia, which correspond to our companies or guilds. In the constitution of Servius Tullius, the fabri tignarii (τέκτονες, Orelli, Inscrip. 60, 417, 3690, 4086, 4088, 4184) and the fabri aerarii or ferrarii (χαλκοτύποι) were formed into two centuries, which were called the “centuriae fabrum,” and not fabrorum. (Cic. Orat. 46, 156.) They did not belong to any of the five classes into which Servius divided the people; but the fabri tignarii probably voted with the first class, and the fabri aerarii with the second. Livy (1.43) and Dionysius (7.59) name both the centuries together: the former says that they voted with the first class; the latter, that they voted with the second. Cicero (de Rep. 2.22) names only one century of fabri, which he says voted with the first class; but as he adds the word tignariorum, he must have recognised the existence of the second century, which we suppose to have voted with the second class. (Göttling, Gesch. der röm. Staatsv. p. 249.)

The fabri or engineers in the army were under the command of an officer called praefectus fabrum. (Caes. ap. Cic. Att. 9.8, Bell. Civ. 1.24; Veget. 2.9 ff.) Vegetius asserts that there was a praefectus fabrum attached to each legion; and this may have been the case. No genuine inscriptions, however, contain the title of praefectus fabrum with the name of a legion added to it. Hence it is more probable that he was the engineer-in-chief to the army as a whole. It was the duty of the fabri not only to repair damaged armour, and to construct and keep in good order the usual siege-material, but also to build bridges, and even to superintend mining operations. Hence the praefectus fabrum held an office of the highest trust and importance (Cic. Balb. 28, 63). There were also civil officers at Rome and in the municipal towns, called praefecti fabrum; but we know nothing respecting them beyond their name. Thus we find PRAEF. FABR. ROMAE, PRAEFECTUS FABR. (Wilmanns, 1864); ROMAE ET TERGESTE (ib. 1624). The subject of the praefecti fabrum is discussed with great accuracy in a letter of Hagenbuchius, published by Orelli (Inscript. vol. ii. p. 95, &c. Cf. Borghesi, Oeuvres, v. p. 206 ff.; Mommsen in Hermes, 1.60).

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hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 9.8
    • Cicero, For Cornelius Balbus, 28
    • Cicero, For Cornelius Balbus, 63
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 43
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 2.1
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 3.2
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