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On this page: Capsarii – Capsula – Capulus – Caput



The slaves who had the charge of these Look-chests were called capsarii^ and also custodes scri-niorum; and the slaves who carried in a capsa behind their young masters the books, &c. of the sons of respectable Romans, when they went to school, were also called capsarii. (Juv. x. 117.) We accordingly find them mentioned together with the paedagogi. (Suet. Ner. 36.)

When the capsa contained books of importance, it was sealed or kept under lock and key (Mart. i. 67) ; whence Horace (Ep. i. 20. 3) says to his work, Odisti claves^ et grata sigilla pudico. (Becker, GalluS) vol. i. p. 191 ; Bottiger, Salina^ vol. i. p. 102, &c.)

CAPSARII, the name of three different classes of slaves: — 1. Of those who took care of the' clothes of persons while bathing in the public baths, [balneae, p. 189.] In later times they were subject to the jurisdiction of the praefectus vigilum. (Dig. 1. tit. 15. s. 3.) 2. Of those who had the care of the capsae, in which books and letters were kept. [capsa.] 3. Of those who carried the books, &c. of boys to school. [capsa.]

CAPSULA. [capsa.]

CAPULUS (/cefonj, Aa^). 1. The hilt of a sword, which was frequently much ornamented. [gladius.] The handles of knives were also much ornamented ; and of the beautiful work­manship sometimes bestowed on them, a judgment

may be formed from the three specimens here in­troduced. (Montfaucon, Ant. Expliquee, iii. 122. pi. 61.)

2. A bier or coffin. [ fun us.]

CAPUT, the head. The term " head " is often used by the Roman writers as equivalent to " per­son," or " human being." (Caes. Bell. Gall. iv. 15.) By an easy transition, it was used to signify " life:" thus, capite damnari^ plecti, &c. are equivalent to capital punishment.

Caput is also used to express a man's civil con­dition ; and the persons who were registered in the tables of the censor are spoken of as capita, somer times with the addition of the word civium, and sometimes not. (Liv.iii. 24, x. 47.) Thus to be registered in the census was the same thing as caput habere : and a slave and a films familias, in this sense of the word, were said to have no capiit. The lowest century of Servius Tullius comprised the proletarii and the eapite censi, of whom the


latter, having little or no property, were barely rated as so many head of citizens. (Gell. xvi. 10 j Cic. De Rep. ii. 22.)

He who changed his condition for an inferior one was said to be capite minutus, deminutus^ or capitis minor. (Hor. Carm. iii. 5. 42.) The phrase se capite deminuere was also applicable in case of a voluntary change of condition. (Cic. Top. c. 4.) The definition of Festus (s. v. deminutus) is, " De-minutus capite appellatur qui civitate mutatus est; et ex alia familia in aliam adoptatus, et qui liber alteri mancipio datus est: et qui in hostium potes-tatem venit: et cui aqua et igni interdictum est." There has been some discussion whether we should use capitis deminutio or diminutio, but it is indif­ferent which we write.

There were three divisions of Capitis deminutio — Maxima, Media, sometimes called Minor, and Minima. The maxima capitis deminutio consi'sted in the loss of libertas (freedom), in the change of the condition of a free man (whether ingenuus or libertinus) into that of a slave. The media con­sisted in the change of the condition of a civis into that of a peregrinus, as, for instance, in the case of deportatio under the empire ; or the change of the condition of a civis into that of a Latinus. The minima consisted in the change of the condition of a pater familias into that of a films familias, as by adrogation, and, in the later law, by legitimation ; and in a wife in manu, or a filius familias coming into mancipii causa ; con­sequently, when a filius familias was emancipated or adopted, there was a capitis deminutio, for both these ceremonies were inseparably connected with the mancipii causa (cum emancipari nemo possifc nisi in imaginariam servilem causam deductus. Gaius, i. 134, 162). This explains how a filius, familias, who by emancipation becomes sui juris, and thus improves his social condition, is still said to have undergone a eapitis deminutio ; which ex­pression, as observed, applies to the form by which the emancipation is effected.

Capitis minutio, which is the same as deminutio, is defined by Gaius (Big. 4. tit. 5. s. 1) to be status permutatio; but this definition is not suf­ficiently exact. That capitis deminutio which had the most consequence was the maxima, of which the media or minor was a milder form. The minima, as already explained, was of a technical character. The maxima capitis deminutio was sustained by those who refused to be registered at the census, or neglected the registration, and were thence called incensi. The incensus was liable to be sold, and so to lose his liberty ; but this being a matter which concerned citizenship and freedom, such penalty could not be inflicted directly, and the object was only effected by the fiction of the. citizen having himself abjured his freedom. Those who refused to perform military service might also be sold. (Cic. Pro Caecina, 34 ; Ulp. Frag. xi. 11.) A Roman citizen who was taken prisoner by the enemy, lost his civil rights, together with his liberty, but he might recover them on returning to his country. [postliminium.] Persons con-demned to ignominious punishments, as to the mines, sustained the maxima capitis deminutio. A free woman who cohabited with a slave, after notice given to her by the owner of the slave, be­came an ancilla, by a senatus-consultuin, passed iii the time of Claudius. (Ulp. Frag. xi. 11 ; com­pare Tacit. Ann. xii. 53, and Suet. Vezy. 11.}

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