The Ancient Library

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On this page: Quadrigarius – Quaesitor – Quaestio



four horseg, used in battle and in athletic games. (See circus, games of.) The cut

QUADRKJA. (Syracusan decadrac/ima.)

represents a quadriga with weapons as the prize of victory,

ftuadrigarius. A Roman annalist. (See annalists.)

Quaesltor. The Roman title of the pre­sident of an extraordinary or ordinary criminal court (qucestiS extraorcKnaria or perpStna). According to Sulla's rules of procedure, six praetors chosen for criminal cases presided, and, when this number was not sufficient, additional judges, indices qucsstiOnis, were provided.

Qnaestlo. The Roman term for a court of inquiry, either extraordinaria, an ex­traordinary commission appointed by the senate or people for special criminal cases, or perpetua, an ordinary criminal court for certain denned offences. The first court of this kind was held b.c. 149 to try a case of extortion.

In course of time, by the laws of Gains Gracchus and of Sulla, the number of these tribunals was increased. In Cicero's time there were eight ordinary courts to try cases of extortion, high treason (maiestas), embezzlement(pecKZates), unlawful canvass­ing for an office (ambitus), violence (vis), assassination, poisoning, and forgery. Every qucestio had a president (see qu^esitor), either one of the praetors chosen by lot, or when the number of these was not sufficient, a index qucestioms, in addition to a cer­tain number of sworn judges. (See judex.)

It was open to any one except to women, infants, and those who were infames, to begin a criminal prosecution, even if he himself had not been the party injured. There was no public prosecutor; but the State, by means of pecuniary rewards and conferring of dignities, encouraged the prosecHtion of criminals. If, however, the accused party was found innocent, it was open to him to prosecute his accuser for

chicanery. (See caldmnia.) The case was begun by the posttihitio, a request, with a statement of the crime and name of the accused, for permission to prosecute, made to the praetor at an open sitting in the market-place. If several persons offered themselves as accusers, the choice was made by dlvlnatio (q.v., 2). But, besides the principal accuser, others were allowed, who signed the indictment, and were therefore called subscriptores. When permission had been obtained, there followed the nsmlnis df.latlo, the handing in of the indictment; the rlceptlo and inscriptto, the reception and entry of the same in the official list by the praetor; the intcrrOgatw, the examina­tion (also by the pr£etor)of the accused, who was now rlus (q.v.). Unless he pleaded guilty, or clearly proved his innocence, the diei dictio, or date of hearing the case, was fixed, at the earliest in ten days, in special cases not till 100 days later. It was the duty of the complainant to collect in the mean­time the necessary evidence and witnesses, and for this purpose he received an official authorization. At the sitting of the court, which was held publicly, by the sworn judges (cognitio), after the judges and parties had been cited, the accuser de­livered his accusation in a continuous speech, the subscriptores followed him, then the accused and his patroni. The duration of these speeches (actionls) was at first unlimited, but afterwards, to correct ths abuse of this privilege, a water-clock was introduced, which limited the time of each speaker; the time allowed for the defence was about a third greater than that for the accusation. Then followed the proof (pro-batto) of the case. For this documents, circumstantial evidence, and declarations of witnesses were used. Next, unless the case was adjourned for the production of further proof (ampliatio), or for a new trial on the third day (compSrendmatlo), the votes of the judges on the question of guilt or inno­cence were taken. The voting was usually in secret. The judges received from the president wooden tablets covered with wax, on the one side inscribed with a C (condemno, I condemn), on the other with an A (absolvo, I acquit). They erased one of these letters and threw the tablets into an urn. [In cases where they were unable to decide respecting the guilt or innocence of the accused, they could signify the same by writing on the tablet the letters N. L., non liqult.]

The result of the voting was then formally


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