The Ancient Library

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On this page: Obolus – Obsidionalis Corona – Obsonium – Occupatio – Ochlocratta


is a pactio sine causa. Sometimes Nuda con-ventio is used as equivalent to Nuda pactio. (Dig. 15. tit. 5. s. 15.) It is a mistake to say that Pac-tmn by itself means a one-sided contract. Pactum is a term as general as conventio (pactum a pac-tione — ext autem pactio duorum pluriumve in idem placitum conse7isus, Dig. 2. tit. 14. s. 1), and is a part of all contracts as eon ventio is. There might be a Pactum or Paetio relating to marriage, the establishment of a servitus in provincial lands (Gains, ii. 31), and other matters. But Pactum as included in the law of Obligationes, obtained a limited signification ; and it was used to signify agreements not included among the Contractus, but still binding agreements as being founded on some causa. A pactum therefore might produce a naturalis obligatio. Some of these pacta were in course of time made the foundation of an actio civilis, and some were protected by the Praetor: ait Praetor : " Pacta conventa quae neque dolo malo neque adversus leges plebiscita senatus-consul ta edicta decreta principum neque quo fraus cui eorum fiat facta erunt servabo." (Dig. 2. tit. 14. s. 7.) The parties to a Pactum were said " pacisci." Any­thing might be the subject of a "pactum " which did not involve an illegality. If an illegal pactum was made, it was still illegal, though it had been confirmed by a stipulatio or any other form. The matter relating to Pacta is not arranged in the Digest under the head of Obligationes et Actiones (Dig. 44. tit. 7), but in the same book with the titles De Jurisdictione, &c.

Savigny shows that the notion of Agreement, (vertrag\ is too narrowly conceived by jurists in general. He defines agreement to be the " union of several persons in one concordant declaration of will whereby their legal relations are determined." Consequently the notion of agreement must be ex­tended to other things than to contracts which pro­duce obligationes : for instance Traditio or delivery is characterized by all the marks of an agreement; and the fact that the declaration of their will by the parties to the traditio, is insufficient to effect Traditio without the external act by which pos­session is acquired, does not in the least affect the essence of the agreement. The imperfect concep­tion of an agreement has arisen from not separating in some cases the obligatory agreement from those acts for which such obligatory agreement is gene­rally a preparation and of which it is an accompani­ment. This becomes more apparent if we consider the case of a gift, which is a real agreement but without any obligation: it is merely a giving and receiving by mutual consent. This general notion of agreement is contained in the words of Ulpian already quoted, in which he defines Pactio to be "duorum pluriumve," &c. It does not seem how­ever that the Romans applied the terms Pactio, Pactum, and Conventio to any agreements except those which were the foundation of Obligationes of some kind. (Savigny, System des Heut. Rom. Rechts, iii. § 140, &c.)

Pollicitatio is a proffer or offer on the part of a person who is willing to agree (pollicitatio ojfcrentis solius promissum^ Dig. 50, tit. 12. s. 3). A pol-licitatio of course created no obligatio until the proffer or offer was accepted. The word is fre­quently used with reference to promises made by a person to a state, city, or other body politic, such as the promise to erect a building, to exhibit public shows, &c. Such pollicitationes were binding,



when there was a causa, as a promise made with reference to a dignity (honor) conferred or to be conferred. A pollicitatio sine causa was also obligatory, if the person began to do what he had promised, as if he laid the foundation of a building. or cleared the ground. (See Plin. Ep. x. 48. huig tlieatro eos privatorum pollieitationibus mutia de~ bentur ; and v. 12.)

A person who vowed anything, was also bound (voto obligatus).

(Gaius, iii. 88, &c. ; Inst. 3. tit. 12 (13), 4. 6; Dig. 47. tit. 7, Cod. 4. tit. 10, De Obligationibus et Actionibits ; Muhlenbruch, Doctrino, Pandec- tarum, lib. iii. De OUigationibus. The most com­ plete work on Roman Obligationes is by Unter- holzner, Quellenmassiye zusammenstelhmg der lelr& dcs Romisehen Rechts von den Schuldverhaltnissen9 Leipzig, 1840, 2 vols. 8vo. ; see also Thibaut, Pa«ofe&te?zra^; Vangerow, Pandekten, &c. ; Puchta, Inst. vol. iii.) [G. L.]

OBOLUS (oSoAo's), the smallest of the four principal denominations of weight and money among the Greeks, was l-6th of the drachma, 1-600th of the mina-, and 1-36,000th of the talent. As a coin, the obolus was of silver ; and con­ nected with it, at least in the Attic s}rstem, were silver coins weighing respectively 5, 4, 3, 2, 1£ obols, and f, i, and \ of an obol ; all which are found in collections of coins* The 11 obol piece was a quarter of a drachm. The Attic obol was also divided into 8 (or according to others 10) XaA/co?. (See pondera ; nummus; drachma ; chalcus ; and the Tables.) [P. S.]


OBSONIUM. [opsonium.]

OCCUPATIO. The word is used by Cicero (de Off. i. 7) to express the acquisition of owner­ ship by occupation or the taking possession of that which has no owner, and with the intention of keeping it as one's own. Among the modes of acquiring ownership " naturali ratione," that is, by such means as are in all nations acknowledged to be lawful means of acquiring ownership, Gaius (ii. 66, &c.) enumerates the taking possession of those things quae millius sunt, as animals of the chace, birds and fishes, and such things are said "oc- cupantis fieri.1" The same applies to the finding of things which have no owner ; but there were par­ ticular rules as to thesaurus, treasure found in the ground. (Inst. 2. tit. 1. s. 39; Dig. 49. tit. 14. s. 3. § 10 ; and Gaius, ii. 7). The latest legislation about Thesaurus is in Cod. 10. tit. 15. Things which were lost or thrown out of a ship in case of ne­ cessity were not subject to Occupatio. Things taken in war were subject to Occupatio. (Inst.2. tit. 1. s. 1 7 ; Dig. 41. tit. 1. de acquirendo rerum dominio.) [G. L.J

OCHLOCRATTA (oxAo/^a-nV), the dominion of the rabble, a name of later origin than the time of Aristotle, and applied to that perversion of a democracy, in which, through the introduction of devices for removing or counteracting the natural and wholesome inequalities of society (such as paying citizens for attendance in the popular as­sembly and on other occasions on which their civic functions might be exercised, increasing 'the; number and restricting the duration and authority. of public offices}, the exercise of nil the highest functions of government came to be practically in the hands of a mere faction, consisting of the low­est and poorest, though most numerous, cla^s of

3 & 3

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