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PRAES According to Ausonius (Idyll. 12.9), Vas was one who gave security or went bail for another in a causa capitalis, and he who gave security for another in a civil action was called Praes: similarly Festus (s. v. Vadem) says that. Vas is a sponsor in a res capitalis. But the application of the word Vadimonium in civil causes (e. g. Gaius, 4.184-187) shows that this distinction is not perfectly accurate, and Varro (L. L. 6.74) defines Vas as any person who promised Vadimonium or security for another in any legal proceeding: so that possibly Vas may have both a general and a specific sense, in the latter of which it is occasionally (as by Ausonius and Festus) contrasted with Praes (cf. Sallust, Sal. Jug. 35, 61; Hor. Sat. 1.1, 11, and Heindorf's note). Praes really seems to be a contraction of prae-vas (Rivier, Untersuchungen über die cautio praedibus praediisque, p. 14), and Vas itself may relate to the freedom which the party obtains by means of the security given ( “Vades ideo dicti quod qui eos dedit potestatem vadendi id est discedendi habet,” Acron ad Hor. loc. cit.: cf. Gellius, 7.19), or more probably, as Rivier holds, it is connected with the old Norse ved and high German wetti, words denoting “pledge,” so that vas would mean a surety, and prae-vas perhaps a surety who besides pledging his person pledges his property [PRAEDA; PRAEDIUM] for the discharge by another of his obligations, or his appearance in court. Another but very dubious etymology of the word is given by Festus (s. v. Manceps), who says that Manceps signifies him who buys or hires any public property, and that he is also called Praes because he is bound to make good his contract (praestare quod promisit) as well as he who is his Praes (see also Varro, l.c.), so that according to this Praes is a surety of one who is under some liability to the state. The passage of Festus explains some lines in the life [p. 2.480]of Atticus (Cornelius Nepos, 6), in which it is said that he never bought anything at a public auction (ad hastam publicam), and never was either Manceps or Praes. The use of Praes as a surety in a civil action occurs under the Legis actio as well as the formulary procedure: in the Sacramentum the defendant, to whom interim possession of the property in dispute was awarded, had to give “praedes litis et vindiciarum” (Gaius, 4.16); and under the later formulary system, when a real action was tried per sponsionem, the security given by the defendant was called “pro praede litis et vindiciarum” (Gaius, 4.91, 94a): so too in some MSS. of Dig. 10, 3, 6, 7, the reading is praedibus or praediis cavere, but in the latest edition of Krüger and Mommsen pro dedibus is adopted as correct. According to the Pseudo-Asconius (in Verr. 1.54, 142) the goods of a Praes were called Praedia (see PRAEDIUM), and in Cicero (l.c.) and Livy (22.60) “praedibus et praediis” come together (Rivier's treatise on the topic has been already referred to): but it is clear from Varro that this use of praedia is confined to the case of a debtor to the state, whose sureties were liable both in their persons (praedibus) and their property (praediis). If, in such a case, the debtor did not pay, the property of the surety was sold by auction under the authority of the state, and the purchaser (praediator, Gaius, 2.61) became owner ex jure Quiritium, though the surety might recover it by an anomalous form of usucapio (Gaius, l.c.). The chief authority on the jus praediatorium is now the Lex Municipalis Malacitana, cap. 63-65.


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