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PRAEDA signifies movable things taken by an enemy in war: when captured by a Roman. army, they were either distributed by the general among the soldiers (Liv. 2.42, 6.13; Sallust, Sal. Jug. 68), or sold by the quaestors, the proceeds being paid into the Aerarium:-- “ istos captivos duos,
Here quos emi de praeda de quaestoribus.
” (Plaut. Capt. 1.2, 1.)

Property so acquired was regarded by the early Romans as belonging to the individual who had purchased it, or to whom it had been awarded, by the highest and most indefeasible of titles: “Maxime sua esse credebant,” says Gaius (4.16), “quae ex hostibus cepissent.”

The difference between Praeda and Manubiae is explained by Gellius (13.24) to be this: Praeda denotes the things themselves that are taken in war, while Manubiae is “pecunia per quaestorem populi Romani ex praeda vendita contracta:” nor can any objection to this explanation be derived from the words of Cicero (de Lege agrar. 2.22, 59). The etymology of praeda may perhaps be prae-hida from praehendere, prendere (root hed), which would form a connecting link between the term and many other primitive Roman legal words, such as mancipium: see Pott, Etymologische Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der Indo-Germanischen Sprachen, i. pp. 142, 199.

When prisoners were sold, they were said to be sold sub corona; the true explanation of which expression is probably that given by Gellius (7.4). The mode of sale of other things than slaves was at first probably in detail, but afterwards in the lump: that is, the whole praeda might be sold to the highest bidder, or it might be sold in large lots or aggregates which contained a great number of separate things, in which cases the whole or minor aggregate would pass to the purchaser as a universitas, and he might retail it if he chose. This mode of sale was called sectio (Cic. de Invent. 1.4. 5, 85), and the purchaser was called sector. It was the practice to set up a spear at such sales, which was afterwards used at all sales conducted by a magistratus in the name of the people [SECTIO].

Corresponding to the acquisition of movable things in warfare, and their becoming private property, is the transfer of ager Publicus, which was acquired in war, to individuals, by a Lex Agraria de Coloniis deducendis, or by a sale by the quaestors (ager quaestorius).

[G.L] [J.B.M]

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 68
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 6, 13
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 2, 42
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 13.24
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 7.4
    • Cicero, De Inventione, 1.4
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