Delator (plural Delatores) is Latin for a denouncer, i.e. who indicates to a court another as having committed a punishable deed.

Secular Roman law

In Roman history, properly one who gave notice (deferre) to the treasury officials of monies that had become due to the imperial fisc. This special meaning was extended to those who lodged information as to punishable offences, and further, to those who brought a public accusation (whether true or not) against any person (especially with the object of getting money). Although the word delator itself, for "common informer," is confined to imperial times, the right of public accusation had long existed. When exercised from patriotic and disinterested motives, its effects were beneficial; but the moment the principle of reward was introduced, this was no longer the case. Sometimes the accuser was rewarded with the rights of citizenship, a place in the senate, or a share of the property of the accused. At the end of the republican period, Cicero (De Officiis, ii. 14) expresses his opinion that such accusations should be undertaken only in the interests of the state or for other urgent reasons.

Under the Roman Empire the system became openly corrupt, which reached its height during the reign of Tiberius, although the delators continued to exercise their activity till the reign of Theodosius I. They were drawn from all classes of society—patricians, equites, freedmen, slaves, philosophers, literary men, and, above all, lawyers. The objects of their attacks were the wealthy, all possible rivals of the emperor, and those whose conduct implied a reproach against the imperial mode of life. Special opportunities were afforded by the law of majestas, which originally directed against attacks on the ruler by word or deed came to include all kinds of accusations with which it really had nothing to do; indeed, according to Tacitus, a charge of treason was regularly added to all criminal charges. The chief motive for these accusations was no doubt the desire of amassing wealth,[1] since by the law of majestas one-fourth of the goods of the accused, even if he committed suicide in order to avoid confiscation (which was always carried out in the case of those condemned to capital punishment), was assured to the accuser (who was hence called quadruplator).

Pliny the Elder and Martial mention instances of enormous fortunes amassed by professional delators. But it was not without its dangers. If the delator lost his case or refused to carry it through, he was liable to the same penalties as the accused; he was exposed to the risk of vengeance at the hands of the proscribed in the event of their return, or of their relatives; while emperors like Tiberius would have no scruples about banishing or putting out of the way those whom he had no further use for and who might have proved dangerous to himself.

Titus drove into exile or reduced to slavery those who had served Nero, after they had first been flogged in the amphitheatre. The abuses reappeared under Domitian; the delators, with whom Vespasian had not interfered, although he had abolished trials for majestas, were again banished by Trajan, and threatened with capital punishment in an edict of Constantine; but delating lasted till the end of the 4th century.

Canon law

The term delatores was used by the Hispanian Synod of Elvira (c. 306) to stigmatize those Christians who appeared as accusers of their brethren. This synod decided[2] that if any Christian was proscribed or put to death through the denunciation (delatio) of another Christian, such a delator was to suffer perpetual excommunication, an extreme ecclesiastical punishment.

No distinction is made between true and false accusation, but the synod probably meant only the accusation of Christianity before the pagan judges, or at most a false accusation. Any false accusation against a bishop, priest or deacon was visited with a similar punishment by the same synod. The punishment for false witness in general was proportioned by can. lxxiv to the gravity of the accusation.

The Council of Arles (314) issued a similar decree when it decided that Christians who accused falsely their brethren were to be forever excluded from communion with the faithful.

During the persecutions of the early Christians it sometimes happened that apostates denounced their fellow Christians. The younger Pliny relates in a letter to Trajan,[3] that an anonymous bill of indictment was presented to him on which were many names of Christians; we do not know if the author of this libellus was a Christian. According to can. xiii of the Council of Arles, during the persecution of Diocletian Christians were denounced by their own brethren to the pagan judges. If it appeared from the public acts that an ecclesiastic had done this, he was punished by the synod with perpetual deposition; however, his ordinations were still considered valid.

In general, false accusation is visited with severe punishments in later synods, e.g. Second Council of Arles,[4] the Council of Agde[5] and others. These decrees appear in the later medieval collections of canons.

New punitive decrees against calumny were issued by Pope Gregory IX in his Decretals.[6]

Uses as an English word

See Owen J. Blum, OFM Peter Damian Letters 31–60 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America, 1990), 49 ("being an informer and delator of my brother's crimes").

Delator is in use as the affix or kennel name of an English breeder of Belgian Shepherd Dogs but is constituted from Del and Tor, Northern English words meaning dale and hill.[7]

In the alternate reality TV series An Englishman's Castle, depicting a Nazi-occupied Britain, the word "delator" is revived in reference to informers helping the Nazi occupiers.


  1. ^ "Delatores, genus hominum publico exitio repertum...per praemia eliciebantur" (Tacitus, Annals, iv.30)
  2. ^ can. lxxiii, Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, 2d ed., I, 188.
  3. ^ Apostolic Fathers ed. Lightfoot, 2d ed., I. i, 50 sqq.
  4. ^ 443 or 453, can. xxiv.
  5. ^ 506, can. viii.
  6. ^ de calumniatoribus, V, 3 in Corp. Jur. Can.
  7. ^


  • See Mayor's note on Juvenal, Satire IV . 48 for ancient authorities; C Merivale, Hist. of the Romans under the Empire, chap. 44; W Rein, Criminalrecht der Römer (1842); T Mommsen, Romisches Strafrecht (1899); Kleinfeller in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyclopädie.
  • PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Delatores". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Delator" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 945–946.
Cornelius Lupus

Cornelius Lupus was a Roman senator active during the Principate. The offices Lupus held included Proconsul of Creta et Cyrenaica during the reign of Emperor Tiberius, and most significantly suffect consul for an unknown number of months in AD 42 as the colleague of Gaius Caecina Largus.Despite being a friend of the emperor Claudius, Lupus was one of the victims of the notorious delator or informer Publius Suillius Rufus, whose prosecution destroyed Lupus.

Cossutianus Capito

Cossutianus Capito (fl. 1st century AD) was a Roman senator and delator, often acting on behalf of the contemporary Roman emperor during the Principate. Tacitus offers a hostile portrait of Capito in his Annales, describing him as a "man stained with much wickedness", and as having "a heart eager for the worst wickedness".

Decimus Laelius Balbus (consul 46)

Decimus Laelius Balbus was a Roman senator and delator or informer, active during the Principate. He was suffect consul in the nundinium of July-August 46 as the colleague of Marcus Junius Silanus.His father has been identified as Decimus Laelius Balbus, consul in 6 BC. Balbus himself first enters history when in AD 37 he accused Acutia, the former wife of Publius Vitellius, of maiestas. Following her conviction, when the Senate voted on his reward, the plebeian tribune Junius Otho interposed with his veto. According to Tacitus, this gave rise to a feud between Vitellius and Otho which ended in Otho's banishment. That same year, Balbus was accused along with Albucilla, "notorious for the number of her lovers", was deprived of his rank as senator and exiled to an island, which was received "with intense satisfaction, as Balbus was noted for his savage eloquence and his eagerness to assail the innocent."Apparently Balbus regained his status as senator for he became consul afterwards, although Steven Rutledge raises the possibility that it is his son who was suffect consul.At some point in his career Balbus was involved in a famous legal case, the pro Voluseno Catulo, concerning Lucius Volusenus Catulus. While we know from Quintillian the names of his defenders, who include Gnaeus Domitius Afer and Gaius Passienus Crispus as well as Balbus, we know nothing of the charges, the verdict, or the prosecutors. Although one authority dates the case to before Balbus' banishment, Rutledge believes that since Balbus was restored to his former status "there is no reason not to attribute it to the reign of Gaius or the early part of Claudius' reign."Laelius Balbus is known to have a daughter Laelia, a Vestal Virgin who died in the year 64.


Denunciation (from Latin denuntiare, to denounce) is the act of publicly assigning blame of a perceived wrongdoing to a person with the hopes of bringing attention to it.

Doble Vida

Doble Vida (Spanish for Double Life) is the fourth album recorded by Argentine rock band Soda Stereo and was released on 15 September 1988. It was remastered in 2007 at Sterling Sound in New York.

Gaius Paccius Africanus

Gaius Paccius Africanus was a Roman senator and delator or informer, who was active during the reigns of Nero and Vespasian. He was suffect consul in July-August 66 as the colleague of Marcus Annius Afrinus.Steven Rutledge, in his study on delatores of this period, suggests Africanus was born in the middle of Tiberius' reign, "probably no earlier than 27". An inscription found at Terracina, possibly his tombstone, lists some local offices he held, which included serving as decemvir ad hastam (a judicial position), and sponsoring games held in honor of Honos et Virtus.According to Tacitus, Africanus had denounced the brothers Publius Sulpicius Scribonius Proculus and Publius Sulpicius Scribonius Rufus to the emperor Nero, suffect consuls in 56. As Dio Cassius tells the tale, at the time both were administering Germania Inferior and Germania Superior when Nero summoned them to Achaea for some misleading reason, only to be charged under the lex maiestas, and, unable to defend themselves, both committed suicide. After the death of Nero, when the chaos of the Year of the Four Emperors had settled, Africanus was prosecuted for his role in the deaths of the brothers Sulpicii Scribonii; unable to either confess or deny the fact, he instead implicated Quintus Vibius Crispus as also involved in the matter. In the aftermath, he was physically ejected from the Curia Julia.Despite his disreputable history, Africanus was able to remain on good enough terms with the emperor Vespasian that he was allowed to participate in the sortition and be proconsular governor of Africa for the term 77/78. He went on to be patronus municipii, most likely of Hippo Regius.


Oxymycterus is the genus of hocicudos. They are rat-like animals endemic to South America.

Species listing:

As of 2015 it includes 17 species:

O. akodontius Thomas, 1921 Argentine hocicudo

O. amazonicus Herzhkovitz, 1994 Amazon hocicudo

O. angularis Thomas, 1909 angular hocicudo

O. caparaoe Hershkovitz, 1998 Caparao hocicudo

O. dasytrichus (Schinz, 1821) Atlantic Forest hocicudo

O. delator Thomas, 1903 spy hocicudo

O. hiska Hinojosa, Anderson & Patton, 1987 small hocicudo

O. hispidus Pictet, 1843 hispid hocicudo

O. hucucha Hinojosa, Anderson & Patton, 1987 Quechuan hocicudo

O. inca Thomas, 1900 Incan hocicudo

O. josei Hoffmann, Lessa & Smith, 2002 Cook's hocicudo

O. nasutus (Waterhouse, 1837) long-nosed hocicudo

O. paramensis Paramo hocicudo

O. quaestor Thomas, 1903 Quaestor hocicudo

O. roberti Thomas, 1901 Robert's hocicudo

O. rufus (Fischer, 1814) red hocicudo

O. wayku Jayat et al., 2008 ravine hocicudo

Lucius Valerius Catullus Messalinus

Lucius Valerius Catullus Messalinus was a Roman senator during the Flavian dynasty, and is best known as the most hated and ruthless delator or informer of his age. He was feared all the more due to his blindness.Bartolomeo Borghesi supposed Messalinus was the son of Statilia Messalina, third wife of Nero, but by a previous marriage. However, as Ronald Syme pointed out, that "would make her older than Otho (who was born in 32), and bring her close in age to Valeria Messalina." So in his stemma of the descendants of Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, Syme makes Statilia and Catullus Messalinus sister and brother. However, Rutledge identifies the parents of Messalinus as Valerius Catullus and Statilia Messalina. It is unclear how he is related to the suffect consul of AD 31, Sextus Tedius Valerius Catullus, the only other consular Valerius Catullus.Messalinus was twice consul. The first time was in AD 73, when he was the colleague of the emperor Domitian; Steven Rutledge observes this was "an exceptional honor, since of the twenty-four ordinary consulships held between 70 and 81, all but six were held by Vespasian and his sons." The second time was in the year 85, as the colleague of Quintus Julius Cordinus Gaius Rutilius Gallicus.The names of none of the targets of his accusations or prosecutions have come down to us. Until August 93, Messalinus did not make any accusations in the Senate, instead playing a role behind the scenes in the consilium of the emperor Domitian; Tacitus writes how the "noisy counsels of Messalinus were not heard beyond the walls of Alba." Nonetheless, he is not known to have held any other official posts.Messalinus had died by AD 97, the date of a dinner party hosted by emperor Nerva, the successor of Domitian, where he asked, "If he had gone on living, what do you think would have become of him?"

Marcus Aquilius Regulus

Marcus Aquilius Regulus was a Roman senator, and notorious delator or informer who was active during the reigns of Nero and Domitian. Regulus is one of the best known examples of this occupation, in the words of Steven Rutledge, due to "the vivid portrait we have of his life and career in Pliny, Tacitus, and Martial." Despite this negative reputation, Regulus was considered one of the three finest orators of Roman times. Rutledge points to the judgment of Martianus Capella, who ranked him with Pliny the Younger and Fronto as the greatest Roman orators after Cicero.According to Tacitus, his father was exiled under Nero and his wealth divided amongst his creditors, but does not name him. Paul von Rohden suggests his father might be identified with Lucius Aquillius L.f. Regulus, the pontifex and quaestor of Tiberius mentioned in CIL VI, 2122. Tacitus also identifies Lucius Vipstanus Messalla as his half-brother, and it is generally assumed they shared the same mother; she has not been identified.

Marcus Arrecinus Clemens (prefect 70)

Marcus Arrecinus Clemens (fl 1st century), was a prefect of the Praetorian Guard during the reign of Vespasian. In return for his faithful service, Clemens was promoted to other important positions, including being twice consul and urban prefect of Rome.

Arrecinus Clemens was born into an equestrian family from Pisaurum, being the homonymous son of Emperor Gaius' Praetorian Prefect. Clemens' sister was Arrecina Tertulla, the first wife of the future Emperor Titus. Despite being a member of the Senate, he was placed at the head of the Praetorian Guard in 70 by Vespasian's political ally, Gaius Licinius Mucianus, amidst concerns that the current commander, Arrius Varus, was growing too politically influential. Clemens held the position until June of 71, when Vespasian's son Titus replaced him. According to Tacitus, Clemens was chosen because his father, Marcus Arrecinus Clemens, had honourably commanded the Guard during the reign of Emperor Gaius.

In the sequel Clemens held a suffect consulship in 73, governed the province of Hispania Tarraconensis, held a second consulship in 85, and was made city prefect of Rome in 86.

Suetonius relates a harrowing story concerning Clemens' end. The emperor Domitian invited Clemens to accompany him on a drive; as they passed a person both recognized, Domitian turned to Clemens and asked, "Shall we listen to that rascally fellow tomorrow?" The next day the "rascally fellow" was revealed to be a delator or informer who had brought charges on Clemens; the former Urban Prefect was found guilty and executed.

Marcus Didius Falco

Marcus Didius Falco is the fictional central character and narrator in a series of historical mystery crime novels by Lindsey Davis. Using the concepts of modern detective stories (with Falco as the private investigator, roughly translated into the classical world as a delator or "private informer"), the novels portray the world of the Roman Empire under Vespasian. The tone is arch and satirical, but the historical setting is largely accurate.

Marcus Ostorius Scapula (consul 59)

Marcus Ostorius Scapula (died AD 65) was a Roman senator, who was active during the Principate. He was suffect consul in the second half of the year 59 as the colleague of Titus Sextius Africanus. He was the son of Publius Ostorius Scapula, governor of Roman Britain (47-52).Scapula first appears in history as a soldier in one of the units stationed in his father's province of Roman Britain. During a battle against the Iceni, the younger Ostorius Scapula saved a fellow soldier's life and was afterwards awarded the civic crown. It is possible he had been commissioned a military tribune; in any case, his career after this point until he achieved the consulate is unknown. In 62, Scapula was involved in a legal suit where the praetor Antistius Sosianus was accused of violating the lex maiestas by composing verses mocking Nero which Sosianus recited at a large gathering at Scapula's house. Although Scapula claimed he had heard nothing, several witnesses present at the time were produced who attested Sosianus had recited the verses, and the accused was found guilty and punished with exile.When Sosianus was recalled from exile three years later, according to Tacitus, he learned that the occupation of delator, or informer, was favored by the emperor Nero, and Sosianus accused Scapula of seeking to make himself emperor. Nero readily believed him. At the time Scapula was living on a remote estate on the Ligurian border, whence a centurion was dispatched to ensure Scapula's death. Thus pressured, Ostorius Scapula took his own life.

Marcus Suillius Nerullinus

Marcus Suillius Nerullinus was a Roman senator, who was active during the Principate. He was consul ordinarius in the year 50 with Gaius Antistius Vetus as his colleague. He was the son of Publius Suillius Rufus, suffect consul in 41 and a feared delator, and the stepdaughter of Ovid. Suillius Caesoninus was his brother.

The wealth and power of his father facilitated Nerullinus' advancement through his senatorial career. When a number of delatores accused him of mismanagement while proconsular governor of Asia during 56/57, he claimed he had simply obeyed the emperor's commands, at which point Nero intervened and ended the prosecution.


Neoasterolepisma is a genus of primitive insects belonging to the family Lepismatidae. Many species live with ants.

Operation Car Wash

Operation Car Wash (Portuguese: Operação Lava Jato) is an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out by the Federal Police of Brazil, Curitiba Branch, and judicially commanded by, first, Judge Sérgio Moro, and, currently, Judge Gabriela Hardt.Initially a money laundering investigation, it has expanded to cover allegations of corruption at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras, where executives allegedly accepted bribes in return for awarding contracts to construction firms at inflated prices. This criminal "system" is known as "Operação Lava Jato" – "Operation Car Wash" – because it was first uncovered at a car wash in Brasilia, or occasionally "Petrolão" because the scandal involved the state-controlled oil company. The operation has included more than a thousand warrants for search and seizure, temporary and preventive detention, and plea bargain coercive measures, with the aim of ascertaining the extent of a money laundering scheme suspected of moving more than R$30 billion (~US$9.5 billion as of 23 July 2017).

Publius Egnatius Celer

Publius Egnatius Celer, (lived c. AD 60), was a Stoic philosopher, who as a result of being a delator, or informer, in the reign of Nero, was sentenced to death in the reign of Vespasian.

When treason charges were brought against Barea Soranus in 66, because he had incurred the hatred of Nero, Egnatius Celer, who had formerly been a client and the teacher of Barea Soranus, stood as chief witness against him. Barea Soranus was condemned to death together with his daughter Servilia.

Egnatius received great rewards from Nero, but was afterwards accused by Musonius Rufus, another Stoic philosopher, under Vespasian, and fell out from favor.

Publius Sulpicius Scribonius Proculus

Publius Sulpicius Scribonius Proculus (died AD 67) was a Roman senator, who was active during the reign of Nero. He was suffect consul in the nundinium of September–October 56 as the colleague of his brother Publius Sulpicius Scribonius Rufus. Both brothers were denounced by the delator Gaius Paccius Africanus to the emperor Nero, who summoned the men to Achaia under false pretenses. Once they arrived, they were charged under the lex maiestas, and forced to commit suicide.

Quintus Sanquinius Maximus

Quintus Sanquinius Maximus was a senator of the early Roman Empire, who flourished during the Principate. He is attested as suffect consul in AD 39, replacing the emperor Caligula. However, based on Tactius' enigmatic description of Maximus as "ex-consul" in the year 32, Ronald Syme asserts this attested consulate was his second, and that he was suffect consul in the year 28. If Maximus held two consulates, then he would be first person who was not a member of the imperial house to receive this honor since 26 BC; only two other men not part of the imperial house of the Julio-Claudians -- Lucius Vitellius, consul in 34, 43 and 47, and Marcus Vinicius, consul in 30 and 45 -- are known to have achieved the consulate more than once between that year and the Flavian dynasty, when multiple consulships became less rare.

The first recorded act of Sanquinius Maximus was in 32, when he defended two consuls who held the fasces in the previous year, Publius Memmius Regulus and Lucius Fulcinius Trio, against the prosecution of the delator Decimus Haterius Agrippa. Trio, an ally of the powerful praetorian prefect Sejanus, and Regulus had argued constantly during their shared tenure and had threatened to prosecute each other. During the trial, Agrippa asked why the two, who had threatened each other while in office, now were silent. Trio responded that it was more proper to efface the memories of rivalries and quarrels between colleagues. Maximus took advantage of Trio's response and proposed that the Senate defer judgment of this suit to the emperor, thus avoiding further conflict which would increase the emperor's anxieties. "This secured the safety of Regulus and the postponement of Trio's ruin," Tacitus tells us, and adds, "Haterius was hated all the more."In 39, the same year Sanquinius Maximus acceded to the consulate, he was also appointed urban prefect, an office he held until the year 41. A few years later he was appointed governor of the imperial province of Germania Inferior, where he died in the year 47, towards the end of his tenure.

Spy hocicudo

The spy hocicudo (Oxymycterus delator) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae.

It is found only in Paraguay.

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