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date: 20 November 2018

Summary and Keywords

The lex Cincia, most likely a plebiscite of 204 bce, was a law that placed restrictions on the giving and receiving of gifts. It contained both an absolute prohibition on gifts made to advocates for the pleading of cases and a general prohibition on gifts exceeding a certain (unknown) value. The general prohibition did not, however, apply to persons who enjoyed a specifically exempted relationship. The law was probably intended to curb the extortionary abuse of gift giving by social and economic elites who, after the devastation of the Second Punic War, were motivated to extract ever-more considerable gifts from their clients. The lex Cincia probably served an expressive function more than anything else, since it made no provision for voiding gifts and only provided for sanctions in limited circumstances.

Keywords: lex Cincia, lex, plebiscite, plebiscitum, gift, donatio

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