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Sex. Caeci'lius

A Roman jurist of this name is occasionally cited in the Corpus Juris, and is suspected by some authors to be distinct from and earlier than Africanus. [AFRICANUS, SEX. CAECILIUS.] In support of this opinion, not to mention the corrupt passage of Lampridius (Alex. Sev. 68), they urge that there is no proof, that the Sex. Caecilius Africanus to whom Julianus returned an answer upon a legal question (Dig. 35. tit. 3. s. 3.4) was identical with Africanus. He may have been a private person, and distinct from the jurists Sex. Caecilius and Africanus. This inconelusive passage is the only connecting link between Africanus and Sex. Caecilius, for elsewhere in the Digest the name Africanus always appears alone. Africanus was probably rather later (say they) than Julianus, whom he occasionally cites (e. g. Dig. 12. tit. 6. s. 38; Dig. 19. tit. 1. s. 45, pr.). On the other hand, Caecilius (they proceed) appears to be anterior to Africanus, for he is cited by Javolenus (Dig. 24. tit. 1. s. 64), who was the master of Julianus. (Dig. 40. tit. 2. s. 5.) Again, Sex. Caecilius is represented by Gellius as conversing with Favorinus, and is spoken of in the Noctes Atticae as a person deceased. "Sextus Caecilius, in disciplina juris atque legibus populi Romani noscendis interpretandisque scientia, usu, auctoritateque illustri fuit." (Gel. 20.1, pr.) Now Favorinus is known to have flourished in the reign of Hadrian, and Gellius to have completed the Noctes Atticae before the death of Antoninus Pius. (A. D. 161.) The passage in Gellius which would make the conversation take place nearly 700 years after the laws of the Twelve Tables were enacted, must be, if not a false reading, an error or exaggeration; for at most little more than 600 years could have elapsed from A. U. C. 300 in the lifetime of Gellius. If 600 be read for 700, the scene would be brought at furthest to a period not far from the commencement (A. D. 138) of the reign of Antoninus Pius.

These arguments are not sufficient to destroy the probability arising from Dig. 35. tit. 3. s. 3.4, that Sex. Caecilius and Africanus are one person. In Dig. 24. tit. 1. s. 64, some have proposed to read Caelius instead of Caecilius, and thus get rid of the passage which is the principal ground for assigning an earlier date to Sex. Caecilius; but this mode of cutting the knot, though it is assisted by fair critical analogies, is unnecessary, for Javolenus, as we learn from Capitolinus (Anton. Pius, 12), was living in the reign of Antoninus Pius, and a contemporary of Javolenus and Julianus might easily cite the younger, and be cited by the elder of the two. The pupil in the master's life-time may have acquired greater authority than the master.

To assist the inquirer in investigating this question--one of the most difficult and celebrated in the biography of Roman jurists--we subjoin a list of the passages in the Corpus Juris where Caecilius or Caecilius Sextus is cited :--Caecilius: Dig. 15. tit. 2. s. 1.7; 21. tit. 1. s. 14.3 (al. Caelius); 21. tit. 1. s. 14.10; 24. tit. 1.. 64; 35. tit. 2. s. 36.4; 48. tit. 5. s. 2.5; Cod. 7. tit. 7. s. 1, pr. Sex. Caecilius: Dig. 24. tit. 1. s. 2; 33. tit. 9. s. 3.9 (qu. Sex. Aelius; compare Gel. 4.1); 35. tit. 1. s. 71, pr.; 40. tit. 9. s. 12.2; 40. tit. 9. 12.6; 48. tit. 5. s. 13.1.

A jurist of the name Sextus is thrice quoted by Ulpian in the Digest (29. tit. 5. s. 1.27; 30. tit. un. s. 32, pr.; 42. tit. 4. s. 7.17) Whether this Sextus be identical with Sex. Caecilius must be a matter of doubt. There may have been a Sextus, known, like Gaius, by a single name. There are, moreover, several jurists with the praenomen Sextus named in the Digest, e. g. Sex. Aelius, Sex. Pedius, Sex. Pomponius. That there were two jurists named Pomponius has been inferred from Dig. 28. tit. 5. s. 41, where Pomponius appears to quote Sex. Pomponius. From this and from the other passages where Sex. Pomponius is named in full (Dig. 24. tit. 3. s. 44; 29. tit. 2. s. 30.6), the praenomen Sextus has been supposed to be distinctive of the elder Pomponius. But that Sextus, alone, did not designate any one named Pomponius is clear from the phrase "tam Sextus quam Pomponius" in Dig. 30. tit. un. s. 32 pr., and from the similar phrase " Sextum quoque et Pomponium" occurring in Vat. Frag. § 88, though Bethmann-Hollweg, the last editor (in the Bonn Corp. Jar. Rom. Antejust. i. p. 255), has thought proper to omit the et. From Dig. 42. tit. 4. s. 7.19, Vat. Frag. § 88, and Gaius, 2.218, we infer, that Sextus was contemporary with Juventius Celsus, the son, and that some of his works were digested by Julianus. If, then, Sextus be identified with Sextus Caecilius and Africanus, Africanus must have lived rather earlier than is usually supposed, and can scarcely have been a pupil of Julianus. That, however, a pupil should have been annotated by his preceptor is not without example, if we understand in its ordinary sense the expression " Servius apud Alfenum notat," in Dig. 17. tit. 2. s. 35.8. (See contra, Otto, in Ties. Jur. Romn. 5.1614-5.)

A jurist named Publius Caecilius is spoken of by Rutilius (Vitae JCtorum, 100.45) as one of the disciples of Servius Sulpicius; but the name Publius Caecilius is a mere conjectural emendation for Publicius Gellius, who figures in the text of Pomponius, Dig. 1. tit. 2. 1. un. § 44. The conjecture was invited by the unusual blending of two family names in Publicius Gellius. (Menagius, Amoen. Jur. cc. 22, 23; Heineccius, de Sexto Pomponio, Opera, ed. Genev. 3.77.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 20.1
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 4.1
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