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- The Institutes of Justinian - 3/41 -

father or mother of the manumitter, or his son or daughter, or his natural brother or sister, or governor or nurse or teacher, or foster-son or foster-daughter or foster-brother, or a slave whom he wishes to make his agent, or a female slave whom he intends to marry; provided he marry her within six months, and provided that the slave intended as an agent is not less than seventeen years of age at the time of manumission. 6 When a motive for manumission, whether true or false, has once been proved, the council cannot withdraw its sanction.

7 Thus the lex Aelia Sentia having prescribed a certain mode of manumission for owners under twenty, it followed that though a person fourteen years of age could make a will, and therein institute an heir and leave legacies, yet he could not con- fer liberty on a slave until he had completed his twentieth year. But it seemed an intolerable hardship that a man who had the power of disposing freely of all his property by will should not be allowed to give his freedom to a single slave: wherefore we allow him to deal in his last will as he pleases with his slaves as with the rest of his property, and even to give them their liberty if he will. But liberty being a boon beyond price, for which very reason the power of manumission was denied by the older law to owners under twenty years of age, we have as it were selected a middle course, and permitted persons under twenty years of age to manumit their slaves by will, but not until they have completed their seventeenth and entered on their eighteenth year. For when ancient custom allowed persons of this age to plead on behalf of others, why should not their judgement be deemed sound enough to enable them to use discretion in giving freedom to their own slaves?


Moreover, by the lex Fufia Caninia a limit was placed on the number of slaves who could be manumitted by their master's testament: but this law we have thought fit to repeal, as an obstacle to freedom and to some extent invidious, for it was certainly inhuman to take away from a man on his deathbed the right of liberating the whole of his slaves, which he could have exercised at any moment during his lifetime, unless there were some other obstacle to the act of manumission.


Another division of the law relating to persons classifies them as either independent or dependent. Those again who are depend- ent are in the power either of parents or of masters. Let us first then consider those who are dependent, for by learning who these are we shall at the same time learn who are independent. And first let us look at those who are in the power of masters.

1 Now slaves are in the power of masters, a power recognised by the law of all nations, for all nations present the spectacle of masters invested with power of life and death over slaves; and to whatever is acquired through a slave his owner is entitled. 2 But in the present day no one under our sway is permitted to indulge in excessive harshness towards his slaves, without some reason recognised by law; for, by a constitution of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, a man is made as liable to punishment for killing his own slave as for killing the slave of another person; and extreme severity on the part of masters is checked by another constitution whereby the same Emperor, in answer to inquiries from presidents of provinces concerning slaves who take refuge at churches or statues of the Emperor, commanded that on proof of intolerable cruelty a master should be compelled to sell his slaves on fair terms, so as to receive their value. And both of these are reasonable enactments, for the public interest requires that no one should make an evil use of his own property. The terms of the rescript of Antoninus to Aelius Marcianus are as follow: -- `The powers of masters over their slaves ought to continue undiminished, nor ought any man to be deprived of his lawful rights; but it is the master's own interest that relief justly sought against cruelty, insufficient sustenance, or intoler- able wrong, should not be denied. I enjoin you then to look into the complaints of the slaves of Iulius Sabinus, who have fled for protection to the statue of the Emperor, and if you find them treated with undue harshness or other ignominious wrong, order them to be sold, so that they may not again fall under the power of their master; and the latter will find that if he attempts to evade this my enactment, I shall visit his offence with severe punishment.'


Our children whom we have begotten in lawful wedlock are in our power. 1 Wedlock or matrimony is the union of male and female, involving the habitual intercourse of daily life. 2 The power which we have over our children is peculiar to Roman citizens, and is found in no other nation. 3 The offspring then of you and your wife is in your power, and so too is that of your son and his wife, that is to say, your grandson and grand- daughter, and so on. But the offspring of your daughter is not in your power, but in that of its own father.


Roman citizens are joined together in lawful wedlock when they are united according to law, the man having reached years of puberty, and the woman being of a marriageable age, whether they be independent or dependent: provided that, in the latter case, they must have the consent of the parents in whose power they respectively are, the necessity of which, and even of its being given before the marriage takes place, is recognised no less by natural reason than by law. Hence the question has arisen, can the daughter or son of a lunatic lawfully contract marriage? and as the doubt still remained with regard to the son, we decided that, like the daughter, the son of a lunatic might marry even without the intervention of his father, according to the mode prescribed by our constitution.

1 It is not every woman that can be taken to wife: for mar- riage with certain classes of persons is forbidden. Thus, persons related as ascendant and descendant are incapable of lawfully intermarrying; for instance, father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, mother and son, grandmother and grand- son, and so on ad infinitum; and the union of such persons is called criminal and incestuous. And so absolute is the rule, that persons related as ascendant and descendant merely by adoption are so utterly prohibited from intermarriage that dissolution of the adoption does not dissolve the prohibition: so that an adoptive daughter or granddaughter cannot be taken to wife even after emancipation.

2 Collateral relations also are subject to similar prohibitions, but not so stringent. Brother and sister indeed are prohibited from intermarriage, whether they are both of the same father and mother, or have only one parent in common: but though an adoptive sister cannot, during the subsistence of the adoption, become a man's wife, yet if the adoption is dissolved by her emancipation, or if the man is emancipated, there is no imped- iment to their intermarriage. Consequently, if a man wished to adopt his son-in-law, he ought first to emancipate his daughter: and if he wished to adopt his daughter-in-law, he ought first to emancipate his son. 3 A man may not marry his brother's or his sister's daughter, or even his or her granddaughter, though she is in the fourth degree; for when we may not marry a person's daughter, we may not marry the granddaughter either. But there seems to be no obstacle to a man's marrying the daughter of a woman whom his father has adopted, for she is no relation of his by either natural or civil law. 4 The children of two brothers or sisters, or of a brother and sister, may lawfully intermarry. 5 Again, a man may not marry his father's sister, even though the tie be merely adoptive, or his mother's sister: for they are considered to stand in the relation of ascendants. For the same reason too a man may not marry his great-aunt either paternal or maternal. 6 Certain marriages again are pro- hibited on the ground of affinity, or the tie between a man or his wife and the kin of the other respectively. For instance, a man may not marry his wife's daughter or his son's wife, for both are to him in the position of daughters. By wife's daughter or son's wife we must be understood to mean persons who have been thus related to us; for if a woman is still your daughter-in-law, that is, still married to your son, you cannot marry her for another reason, namely, because she cannot be the wife of two persons at once. So too if a woman is still your stepdaughter, that is, if her mother is still married to you, you cannot marry her for the same reason, namely, because a man cannot have two wives at the same time. 7 Again, it is forbidden for a man to marry his wife's mother or his father's wife, because to him they are in the position of a mother, though in this case too our statement applies only after the relationship has finally terminated; otherwise, if a woman is still your stepmother, that is, is married to your father, the common rule of law prevents her from marrying you, because a woman cannot have two husbands at the same time: and if she is still your wife's mother, that is, if her daughter is still married to you, you cannot marry her because you cannot have two wives at the same time. 8 But a son of the husband by another wife, and a daughter of the wife by another husband, and vice versa, can lawfully intermarry, even though they have a brother or sister born of the second marriage. 9 If a woman who has been divorced from you has a daughter by a second husband, she is not your stepdaughter, but Iulian is of opinion that you ought not to marry her, on the ground that though your son's betrothed is not your daughter-in-law, nor your father's betrothed you stepmother, yet it is more decent and more in accordance with what is right to abstain from intermarrying with them. 10 It is certain that the rules relating to the prohibited degrees of marriage apply to slaves: supposing, for instance, that a father and daughter, or a brother and sister, acquired freedom by manumission. 11 There are also other persons who for various reasons are forbidden to intermarry, a list of whom we have permitted to be inserted in the books of the Digest or Pandects collected from the older law.

12 Alliances which infringe the rules here stated do not confer the status of husband and wife, nor is there in such case either wedlock or marriage or dowry. Consequently children born of such a connexion are not in their father's power, but as regards the latter are in the position of children born of promiscuous intercourse, who, their paternity being uncertain, are deemed to have no father at all, and who are called bastards, either from the Greek word denoting illicit intercourse, or because they are fatherless. Consequently, on the dissolution of such a connex- ion there can be no claim for return of dowry. Persons who contract prohibited marriages are subjected to penalties set forth in our sacred constitutions.

The Institutes of Justinian - 3/41

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