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Moschis’ case On the execution of fiscal debts and the beneficium excussionis

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Moschis, a debtress to the fiscus whom Paulus mentions in a case in his Decreta (D. 49,14,47pr.), is identified on prosopographic grounds as Numitoria Moschis (CIL 14.3626). In the case mentioned by Paulus, the emperor Septimius Severus introduced the beneficium excussionis (personalis) for third parties who were sued for an outstanding debt to the fiscus on account of their (bonitary) possession of goods sold by the debtor’s heirs. The best explanation is that the fiscus had a general hypothec on the patrimony of Moschis. The emperor’s verdict, that the fiscus ought to sue the principal debtors first, and only afterwards every possessor, is shown to be a singular decision grounded in perceived aequitas.


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