The Ancient Library

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On this page: Denicales Feriae – Dentale – Dentifricium – Depensi Actio – Deportatio – Depositi Actio – Depositum – Desertor – Designator – Desmoterion – Desposionautae – Desultor



is equal in value to the drachma ; but this is not quite correct. The Attic drachma was almost equal to 9|^?., whereas we have seen that the denarius was but little above 8^d. The later drachmae, however, appear to have fallen off in weight; and there can be no doubt that they were at one time nearly enough equal to pass for equal. Gronovius has given all the authorities upon the subject in his De Sestertiis (iii. 2).

The earliest denarii have usually, on the ob­verse, the head of Rome with a helmet, the Dioscuri, or the head of Jupiter. Many have, on the reverse, chariots drawn by two or four horses (bigae^ quadrigae}^ whence they are called respect­ively bigati'&nd. quadrigati^ sc. minimi. [BiGATUS.] Some denarii were called serrati (Tacit. Germ. 5), because their edges were notched like a saw, which appears to have been done to prove that they were solid silver, and not plated. Many of the gentile denarii, as those of the Aelian, Calpurnian, Pa-pinian, Tullian, and numerous other gentes, are marked with the numeral X, in order to show their value.

Pliny (H. N. xxxiii. 13) speaks of the denarius aureus. Gronovius (De Sester. iii. 15) says, that this coin was never struck at Rome ; but there is one of Augustus in the British Museum, weighing 60 grains, and others of less weight. The average weight of the common aureus was 120 grains. [acjrum.] In later times, a copper coin was called denarius. (Ducange, s. v. Denarius.)


DENTALE. [aratrum.]

DENTIFRICIUM (oSwro'rpwta), dentrince or tooth-powder, appears to have been skilfully prepared and generally used among the Romans. A variety of substances, such as the bones, hoofs, and horns of certain animals, crabs, egg-shells, and the shells of the oyster and the murex, constituted the basis of the preparation. Having been pre­viously burnt, and sometimes mixed with honey, they were reduced to a fine powder. Though fancy and superstition often directed the choice of these ingredients, the addition of astringents, such as myrrh, or of nitre and of hartshorn ground in a raw state, indicates science which was the result of experience, the intention being not only to clean the teeth and to render them white, but also to fix them when loose, to strengthen the gums, and to assuage tooth-ache. (Plin. H. N. xxviii. 49, xxxi. 46, xxxii. 21, 26.) Pounded pumice was a more dubious article, though Pliny (xxxvi. 42) says, " Utilissima fiunt ex his dentifricia." [J. Y.]

DEPENSI ACTIO. [intercession]

DEPORTATIO. [exsilium.]

DEPOSITI ACTIO. [depositum.]

DEPOSITUM. The notion of depositum is this: a moveable thing is given by one man to another to keep until it is demanded back, and without any reward for the trouble of keeping it. The party who makes the depositum is called de­ponens or depositor, and he who receives the thing is called depositarius. The act of deposit may be purely voluntary ; or it may be from necessity, as in the case of fire, shipwreck, or other casualty. The depositarius is bound to take care of the thing which he has consented to receive. He can­not use the thing unless he has permission to use it, either by express words or by necessary im­plication. If the thing is one " quae usu non con-sumitur," and it is given to a person to be used,


the transaction becomes a case of locatio and con- ductio [locatio], if money is to be paid for the use of it ; or a case of commodatum [commoda- tum], if nothing is to be paid for the use. If a bag of money not sealed up is the subject of the depositum, and the depositarius at any time asks for permission to use it, the money becomes a loan [mutuum] from the time when the permission is granted j if the deponens proffers the use of the money, it becomes a loan from the time when the depositarius begins to use it. (Dig. 12. tit. 1. s. 9. § 9, s. 10.) If money is deposited with the condition that the same amount be returned, the use of it is tacitly given. If the depositum continues purely a depositum, the depositarius is bound to make good any damage to it whicli happens through dolus or culpa lata ; and he is bound to restore the thing on demand to the deponens, or to the person to whom the deponens orders it to be restored. If several persons had received the deposit, they were severally liable for the whole (in solidum). The remedy of the deponens against the depositarius, is by an actio deposit! directs. The depositarius is entitled to be secured against all damage which he may have sustained through any culpa on the part of the deponens, and to all costs and expenses incurred by his charge ; and his remedy against the deponens is by an actio deposit! contraria. The actio was in duplum, if the deposit was made from necessity ; if the depositarius was guilty of dolus, infamia was a consequence. (Inst. 3. tit. 14 (15); Cod. 4. tit. 34 ; Dig. 16. tit. 3; Cic. de Of. i. 10 ; Juv. Sat. xiii. 60 ; Dirksen, Uebersickt, &c. p. 597 ; Thibaut, System, &c. § 480, &c. 9th ed.) [G. L.]

DESERTOR, is defined by Modestinus to be one " qui per prolixum tempus vagatus, reducitur,'1' and differs from an emansor^ " qui dm vagatus ad castra egreditur." (Dig. 49. tit. 16. s. 3.) Those who deserted in time of peace, were punished by loss of rank, corporal chastisement, fines, ignomini­ous dismission from the service, &c. Those who left the standards in time of war were usually punished with death. The transfugae, or deserters to the enemy, when taken, were sometimes de­prived of their hands or feet (Liv. xxvi. 12), but generally were put to death. (Lipsius, De Milit. Rom. iv. 4.)

DESIGNATOR. [funus.]

DESMOTERION (Sgo^wT^pioj/). [carcer.j

DESPOSIONAUTAE (Setriroffiomvrai.) [Ci-


DESULTOR (<x7ro§aT77s, ^ra€dT^\ lite­rally " one who leaps off," was applied to a per­son who rode several horses or chariots, leaping from one to the other. As early as the Homeric times, we find the description of a man, who keeps four horses abreast at full gallop, and leaps from one to another, amidst a crowd of admiring spec­tators. (II. xv. 679—684.) In the games of the Roman circus this sport was also very popular. The Roman desultor generally rode only two horses at the same time, sitting on them without a saddle, and vaulting upon either of them at his pleasure. (Isid. Orig. xviii. 39.) He wore a hat or cap made of felt. The taste for these exercises was carried to so great an extent, that young men of the highest rank not only drove bigae and quad­rigae in the circus, but exhibited these feats of horsemanship. (Suet. Jul. 39.) Among other na­tions this species of equestrian dexterity was

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