Tabula Sestia

Richardson, L. jr

Tabula Sestia (Sextia): a place in, or near, the Forum Romanum where litigants and their supporters gathered to settle debts owing from the termination of partnerships (Cicero Quinct. 25), therefore either the tribunal of the praetor urbanus in the Comitium or an office of the praetor urbanus where the preliminaries to a trial were handled. Because a large part of the Licinio-Sextian laws of the fourth century dealt with debt and its regulation, it may be that a tabula with their provisions was an important part of the Edictum Perpetuum of the praetor and regularly consulted, and that this is what is meant. However, it cannot be excluded that the tabula in question was a picture, because we know that there were pictures on display in the forum, in which case it is likely to have been displayed on the façade of the Curia behind the tribunal of the praetor urbanus and to have shown the exploits of a Sextius, possibly L. Sextius Calvinus, founder of Aquae Sextiae in 122 B.C. (so Pocock on Cicero, In Vatin. 180-82). But if a picture is meant, it must have hung on the Curia a comparatively short time, only in the years around 81, when Cicero delivered the Pro Quinctio, and it is impossible to find a suitable Sextius or Sestius with whom to connect it.

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