The Ancient Library

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On this page: Commercium – Comperendinatio – Compitalia – Compluvium – Concordia – Confarreatio – Congiarium – Consecratio



middle of the 4th century b.c. the traffic of Rome was confined to Sardinia, Sicily and Africa. But, with the extension of the -Roman power, Roman commerce assumed wider dimensions. At the end of the re­publican period Roman ships were on every sea, and there was a flourishing interior trade in Italy and all the provinces. Wher­ever there was a navigable river it was used for communication with the happiest results. After the second Punic War, Rome gradually acquired the character of a great commercial city, where the products of the whole world, natural and industrial, found a market. The most considerable import was corn, and this at all periods of Roman history (see annona). The chief exports of Italy were wine and oil, to which we must add, after the development of Italian industry, manufactured goods. The trading harbour of Rome was Puteoli (Pozzuoli), on the Bay of Naples, while Ostia was used mainly by corn-ships. Petty dealing was regarded unfavourably by the Romans as by the Greeks; but trade on a large scale was thought quite respectable, though in older times members of the senate were not allowed to engage in it. Most of the larger undertakings at Rome were in the hands of joint-stock companies (see publicani), the existence of which made it possible for small capitalists to share in the profits and risks of commerce. It was indeed an old maxim of business men at Rome that it was | better to have small shares in a number of speculations than to speculate indepen­dently. The corn trade, in particular, was in the hands of these companies. The gov­ernment allowed them to transport corn from Sardinia, Sicily, Spain, Africa, and | Egypt to Rome ; whole fleets of vessels, con­structed for the purpose, being appointed to this service. Foreign trade was subjected to a number of restrictions. The exporta­tion of certain products was absolutely prohibited; for instance, iron, whether un-wrought or manufactured, arms, coin, salt, and gold ; and duties were levied on all im­ports. There were also numerous restric­tions on trade in the interior, as each province formed a unit of taxation, in which toll had to be paid on entering or leaving it. Among the state monopolies, the most important was that of salt.

Commerclum. A legal relation existing between two Italian states, according to which the citizens of each had the same right of acquiring property, especially landed property, in the territory of the other.

Commercium also included the powers of inheriting legacies and contracting obliga­tions.

Compe"rendInatI6. [The Latin name for the postponement of a trial for a definite time by consent of both parties, each being bound to appear. To be distinguished from ampliatio, which seems to have meant an indefinite postponement, in consequence of uncertainty on the part of the jury.]

Compitalla. SeeJj&RES.

Complfivium. See house.

Concordla. The Latin personification of concord or harmony, especially among Roman citizens. Shrines were repeatedly erected to Concordia during the republican period after the cessation of civil dissensions. The earliest was dedicated by Camillus in | 367 b.c. The goddess Concordia was also i invoked, together with Janus, Salua, and Pax, at the family festival of the Caristm, on the 30th March, and, with Venus and Fortuna, by married women on the 1st of April (see manes). During the imperial period Concordia Augusta was worshipped as the protectress of harmony, especially of matrimonial agreement,- in the emperor's household.

ConfarrSatlo, See makriage, 2.

Conglarlum. The Latin word for a pre­sent of oil and wine, given to the people in addition to the regular distribution of corn by magistrates and candidates for office (see annona). The custom began in repub­lican times. Under the Empire the word was further applied to the presents of oil, wine, and salt, and later of ready money, which the emperor made regularly to the people on certain festive occasions, as on his accession and on his birthday. (See DONATIVUM.)

ConsScratlo. The act of the Roman pontlficls, in virtue of which a thing was proclaimed as stiver, i.e. belonging to, or forfeited to, the gods. (On the rite of consecratio associated with the solemn dedi­cation of a sanctuary, see debicatio ; on consecratio as the apotheosis of the emperor, see apotheosis.) In case of certain offences, sentence of consecratio c&pitis et bdnorum was pronounced upon the offender, whose person and property were then made over as a sacrifice to some deity. A married man who sold his wife was devoted to the gods below; a son who beat his father, to the household gods; one who removed his neighbour's landmark to Terminus ; a patrOnus who betrayed his client, or a client who betrayed his patronus, to Jupiter;

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.