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COMMENTARIUS COMMENTARII (ὑπομνήματα), properly notes or note-books. Hence the word acquires a variety of meanings, of which the most important are the following:--

1. Commentarii domestici, or family memorials, the records of events interesting to the members of particular families. Possibly these are the veteres or antiqui commentarii, to which Cicero refers in Brut. 15, 60; 18, 72: they may have contained, but they were not limited to, the funeral panegyrics to which Cicero (Cic. Brut. 16, 62) and Livy (8.40) ascribe much of the falsification of early Roman history.

2. The “memoirs” drawn up by public men as to events in which they had taken part. Thus Cicero wrote a commentarius in Greek on his consulship (ad Att. 1.19, 10; 2.1, 1), and Caesar commentarii on his Gallic and Civil Wars.

3. “Memoranda” were kept by different departments of the public service, the officials in charge of them being known as a commentariis. These are frequently mentioned in inscriptions.

4. In towns a register was kept of the official acts of the municipal authorities. We have interesting extracts from the commentarii of Caere in an inscription in the Museum at Naples (Wilmanns, 2083).

5. The unofficial record of recent events at Rome, sent by Caelius to Cicero in Cilicia, is called by him commentarii rerum urbanarum (Cic. Fam. 8.2, 2).

6. The record of the daily occurrences at court was kept in commentarii diurni (Suet. Aug. 64), a kind of private diary, which must be distinguished from the formal acta, and also from

7. Commentarii principis--the register of his official decisions (Plin. Ep. 10.106), and of accusations brought before him (Tac. Ann. 13.43; Suet. Calig. 15). In Suet. Dom. 20, “praeter commentarios et acta Ti. Caesaris nihil lectitabat,” it is probable that commentarii refers to private memoirs written by that emperor (Mommsen, Röm. Staatsr. ii.2 869, note 1).

8. Tacitus once (Ann. 15.74) speaks of commentarii senatus, by which he can hardly mean anything but the acta senatus (q. v.).

9. The commentarii of the pontiffs, the augurs, and the XVviri are often mentioned. These were records of their decrees, and are to be distinguished on the one hand from their acta or minutes of their meetings, and on the other from the books (libri) which contained the ritual, and the annales maximi or chronicle of public events. (Cf. Cic. de Domo, 53, 136; de Div. 2.18, 42; Brut. 14, 55; Plin. Nat. 18.14.)

10. Varro cites more than once commentarii magistratuum, of the nature of which we know practically nothing (Madvig, Verf. und Verw. 1.324).


hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 8.2
    • Tacitus, Annales, 13.43
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 64
    • Suetonius, Domitianus, 20
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 18.14
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 10.106
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 40
    • Cicero, Brutus, 16
    • Cicero, Brutus, 62
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