Gaius Aquilius Gallus

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Gaius Aquilius Gallus (* around 116 BC ; † before 44 BC ) was one of the most important jurists of the late Roman Republic . He came from the knighthood and went through the senatorial career ( cursus honorum ) up to the praetur 66 BC. BC Aquilius was a pupil of Quintus Mucius Scaevola and teacher of Servius Sulpicius Rufus , who attested him "the greatest respect among the people". Aquilius lived in Rome , where he owned a magnificent house on the Viminal , at times on the island of Cercina.

Aquilius did not pursue a political career after taking on the praetur. Rather, he dedicated himself to the tasks of a Roman lawyer, which included advice and appraisal in legal transactions and in court ( respondere and agere ), especially in drafting contracts ( cavere ). Several legal institutions, which can be traced back to Aquilius, testify to this activity: Cicero calls Aquilius the creator of the formulae de dolo ("fraudulent formulas"), i.e. apparently the actio de dolo ("fraudulent action") and the exceptio doli ("objection of inadmissible exercise of law ") ). The stipulatio Aquiliana , an instrument for clearing up complex business relationships, bears his name, as does the drafting of the will in the event that, after the testament has been drawn up, the testator's son dies first, then the testator, and finally a grandchild should be born from the son ( postumus Aquilianus ) .

For an activity as a judge ( iudex ) in private proceedings - never a professional one in the Roman Republic - there are two pieces of evidence, one for an arbitration / mediating function, as a legal advisor he appears in Cicero's speech for Caecina , in Cicero, pro Balbo 45 and im Connection with his bon mot in Cicero, Topica 51:

Nihil hoc ad ius; ad Ciceronem - "This does not concern the law, but Cicero".

Aquilius is associated by contemporaries and posterity with ideas of flexible application of the law, which take into account the very special circumstances of the individual case. According to Cicero in pro Caecina 78, he had "never separated the theory of civil law from equity" and was "such a just and decent man that he seemed to be legally literate by nature, not just through education".



  1. Pomponius, D (igesta) 1,2,2,42.
  2. Cicero , Brutus 154; Pomponius, ibid.
  3. Pomponius, ibid.
  4. Pliny, NH 17.2.
  5. Pomponius, D. 1,2,2,43.
  6. Cicero, ad Atticum 1,1,1.
  7. de officiis 3.60; de natura deorum 3.74.
  8. ^ Cicero, per Quinctio 1 a. passim; Valerius Maximus 8.2.2
  9. Cicero, per Quinctio 17