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lothia

embezzlement

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Ave civitas,

I am writing a series of books that follow Alaric the Goth.

I have a fictional scenario where where an official accompanying the Roman army who is responsible for distribution of livestock for slaughter to the accompanying foederati units.  He has been selling rather than doling out the animals and keeping the earnings.  I would assume that this would be seen more as embezzlement than theft, but I am not sure. and if he were equestrian in rank, how would the commander (the official is a civilian) handle this case?  Would he hold jurisdiction since it is army livestock, or would he turn the case over the civil authorities since the official is not a soldier?

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By the standards of the late empire the commanding officer would be keen to get his slice of the action. The feoderati however would feel aggrieved that they were having to purchase something that they would ordinarily expect to 'requisition' or be supplied with, thus arguments and thefts would break out even if Rome's soldiers were expected to swear an oath not to steal from each other - but then, they would argue that this was not a military supply but a commercial transaction from an individual. The other side of the coin is that the bad feeling would cause issues for the smooth order of army business, something a more cautious general would most definitely be concerned about. It's also likely by the way that the legionaries would know what was going on and given their penchant for verbal messages, would no doubt inflame the situation with some mockery of the feoderati's plight. In short, you're are eventually looking at a mutiny of the feoderati who would no doubt see the official's money chest as rightfully theirs.

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