oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Un curieux sens des obligations : le cas atticus

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



This paper is an attempt to study the way Romans dealt with obligations, through the case of Cicero's best friend, T Pomponius Atticus, in the Late Roman Republic. In the first part we focused on some words of the vocabulary of moral obligations: and . These three words are used by Cicero to express the way to help others: and are based on , while is a bit different etymologically-speaking and is more specialised in the financial sphere. Through the evolution of the way Roman authors used these words, we can see a change between the Republic and Empire when the Princeps becomes the one who helps others with his generosity. Private generosity sometimes even becomes dangerous. The second part focuses on Atticus' life and the curious way he behaved rather independently: he was generous and helpful, but in a way that allowed him to remain free of any duties. Others were indebted to him but he was never in debt himself. He lent money, furnished fine Greek works of art, opened his library, and used all his connections to be helpful.

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