The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Assarius Nummus – Assertor – Assessor – Assfdui – Astragalus


carrying burthens. (Aristot. Rhet. i. 7.) It is called avdtyopov by Aristophanes (Ran. 8). It de­serves mention here chiefly from its frequent oc­currence in works of Grecian art, of which some specimens are given in the annexed cut.


ASSERTOR, or ADSERTOR, contains the game root as the verb adserere, which, when coupled with the word manu, signifies to lay hold of a thing, to draw it towards one. Hence the phrase adserere in, libertatem, or liberaU adserere manu, applies to Lira who lays his hand on a person reputed to be a slave, and asserts, or maintains his freedom. The person who thus maintained the freedom of a re­puted slave was called adsertor (Gaius, iv. 14), and by the laws of the Twelve Tables it was enacted in favour of liberty, that such adsertor should not be called on to give security in the sacramenti actio to more than the amount of l. asses. The person whose freedom was thus claimed, was said to be adsertus. The expressions liberalis causa, and liberalis manus, which occur in classical authors, in connection with the verb adserere, will easily be understood from what has been said. (Terent. Adelph. ii. 1. 40 ; Plaut. Poen. iv. 2. 83; see also Dig. 40. tit. 12. De liberali Causa.) Some­times the word adserere alone was used as equiva­lent to adserere in libertatem. (Cic. Pro Flacco, c. 17.)

The expression asserere in servitutem, to claim a person as a slave, occurs in Livy (iii. 44, xxxiv. 18.) [G. L.]

ASSESSOR, or ADSESSOR, literally, one who sits by the side of another. The duties of an assessor, as described by Paulus (Dig. 1. tit. 21. s. 1.) related to " cognitiones, postulationes, libelli, edicta, decreta, epistolae ;" from which it appears that they were employed in and about the adminis­tration of law. The consuls, praetors, governors of provinces, and the judices, were often imperfectly acquainted with the law and the forms of proce­dure, and it was necessary that they should have the aid of those who had made the law their study. (Cic. de Oratore, i. 37, In Verrem, ii. 29). The praefectus praetorio, and praefectus urbi, and other



civil and military functionaries, had their assessors. An instance is mentioned by Tacitus (Ann. i. 75) of the Emperor Tiberius assisting at the judicia (judiciis adsidebat), and taking his seat at the corner of the tribunal; but this passage cannot be interpreted to mean, as some persons interpret it, that the emporor sat there in the character of an assessor properly so called: the remark of Tacitus shows that, though the emperor might have taken his seat under the name of assessor and affected to be such, he could be considered in no other light than as the head of the state. (Compare Sueton. Tib. Nero, 33, Tib. Claudius, 12).

Under the empire the practice of having as­sessors continued (Plin. JEp. i. 20, vi. 11, x. 19 ; Gellius, i. 22). Suetonius (Galba, 14) mentions the case of an assessor being named to the office of praefectus praetorio. The Emperor Alexander Severus gave the assessores a regular salary. (Lamprid. Aleos. Sev. 46.) Freedmen might be assessores. In the later writers the assessores are mentioned under the various names of consiliarii, juris studiosi, comites, &c. The juris studiosi, men­tioned by Gellius (xii. 13), as assistant to the judices (quos adkibere in concilium judicaturi so-lent), were the assessores. Sabinus, as it appears from Ulpian (Dig. 47. tit. 10. s. 5), wrote a book on the duties of assessors. The assessors sat on the tribunal with the magistrate. Their advice, or aid, was given during the proceedings as well as at other times, but they never pronounced a judicial sentence. As the old forms of procedure gradually declined, the assessores, according to the conjec­ture of Savigny (Geschichte des Rom. Redds im Mittelalter, vol. i. p. 79), took the place of the judices. For other matters relating to the assessores, see Holl-weg, Handbuch des Civilprozesses, p. 152. [G. L.]


ASTRAGALUS (ao-rpayaAos), literally sig­nifies that particular bone in the ankles of certain quadrupeds, which the Greeks, as well as the Ro­mans, used for dice and other purposes, as described under the corresponding Latin word talus..

As a Latin word, astragalus is used by Vitruvius, who of course borrowed it from the Greek writers on architecture, for a certain moulding (the astragal) which seems to have derived its name from its re­semblance to a string or chain of tali; and it is in fact always used in positions where it seems in­tended to bind together the parts to which it is applied. It belongs properly to the more highly decorated forms of the Ionic order, in which it appears as a lower edging to the larger mouldings, especially the echinus (ovolo), particularly in the capital, as shown in the following woodcut, which represents an Ionic capital found in the ruins of the temple of Dionysus at Teos. Still finer examples occur in the capitals of the temples of Erechtheus and Athene Polias, at Athens, where it is seen, too, on the sides of the volutes. It is also often used in the entablature as an edging to the divisions of the cornice, frieze, and architrave. The lower figure in the woodcut represents a portion of the astragal which runs beneath the crowning moulding of the architrave of the temple of Erechtheus. It is taken from a fragment in the British Museum, and is drawn of the same size as the original.

The term is also applied to a plain convex moulding of the same sectional outline as the former, but without the division into links, just like a torus on a small scale : in this form it is used

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of