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LIXAE were sutlers who followed the Roman legions for trading purposes. So far as they are distinguished from mercatores, they sold provisions, while the mercatores dealt in other wares; but while in Caesar the mercator stands for both (B. G. 6.37), in Livy and Tacitus we find lixae alone for petty traders of all kinds, distinct only from the negotiator who speculated on a large scale. Thus in Liv. 39.1, where there is no prospect of plunder, the army is unencumbered by lixae, i.e. traders who would have bought up what they could from the soldiers: so Liv. 5.8, “Lixarum in modum negotiabantur” (cf. Liv. 21.63); and Hirt. de Bell. Afr. 75, “Lixae mercatoresque qui plaustris merces portabant.” These traders of all descriptions had booths for their goods outside the camp, which were called canabae, so that ad canabas legionis means in the market quarter or bazaar, and in some cases out of these temporary bazaars more permanent settlements sometimes arose, becoming at last transformed [p. 2.70]into municipia.: (See Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung, 1.20.) The lixae were sometimes forbidden to follow the legion (Sall. B. J. 45), from which it is clear that they came for their own profit, and not as a necessary commissariat adjunct. They are sometimes coupled with calones, the slaves who attended soldiers, though quite different from them, merely because both were distinct from the fighting army. In emergencies both might be pressed into the service, as in Liv. 23.16, where they have somewhat the same effect as the camp-followers at Bannockburn.


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 63
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 23, 16
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