Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 December 2022



  • Ernst Badian
  •  and Andrew Lintott


Repetundae (pecuniae), (money) to be recovered. The quaestio de repetundis (see quaestiones) was a court established to secure compensation for the illegal acquisition of money or property by Romans in authority abroad. Before the establishment of the permanent quaestio, such offences were either brought before an assembly or tried by a panel of *recuperatores in a quasi-civil suit (Livy 43. 2). A civil procedure was also used originally to bring prosecutions in the quaestio, i.e. the actio sacramento, and a verdict of guilty was followed by an assessment of damages, *litis aestimatio, and simple repayment. C. *Sempronius Gracchus, finding this court corrupt and its senatorial jurors unwilling to convict fellow-senators, had a law passed (which may not be a lex Sempronia, but the lex Acilia mentioned by Cicero), of which major fragments survive on bronze (CIL 12. 583). It was a radical reform: those liable were now all senators, ex-magistrates, or their close relatives (but not *equites who did not fall into either of the last two categories); prosecution took place through denunciation to the *praetor, not a form of civil procedure; wronged parties or their delegates, even non-Romans, were themselves expected to prosecute; a 50-strong trial jury was drawn from an album of equites with no connections with the senate; the penalty was double repayment; rewards, including Roman citizenship, were offered to successful prosecutors; the whole trial procedure was set out in minute detail with emphasis on openness and accountability.


  • Ancient Economy
  • Roman Law

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription