Brill’s New Pauly

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(398 words)

[German version]

The Latin word negotium is the negation of otium and originally meant the nonexistence of leisure. However by the time of the earliest recorded Latin texts, negotium had acquired a positive meaning : it corresponds to the English word business, the German word ‘Geschäft’, and the French affaire. Even if the etymology of the word otium and the influence of the Greek ἀσχολία (ascholía) on the concept is unclear, it is obvious that negotium and otium were regarded as opposites.

In the sphere of politics, negotium sometimes stands for one particular undertaking, but m…

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Andreau, Jean (Paris), “Negotium”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 25 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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