[ocr errors]

ower 9'. , P The

' 97- iosimus, l. ii. p. 93. Anonym. Valefian. p. 713. Eutro

pins, x. 5. Aurelius Victor£ Euseb, in Lhron. Sozomen,-l. i. c. 2.,

Four of these writers affirm that the promotion of the Czsars Was ' an

C H A P.

Treaty of peace. December.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

. The reconciliation- of Constantine and Licinius, though it was embitter-ed by resentment and jealousy, by the remembrance of recent injuries, and by the apprehension of future dangers, maintained, however, above eight years, the tranquillity of the Roman world. As _a very regular series of the Imperial laws commences about this period, it would not be difficult to transcribe the civil regulations which employed the leisure of Constantine, But the most important of his institutions are intimately connected with the new system of policy and religion, which was not perfectly established till the last and peaceful years of his reign. There are many of his laws, which, as far as they concern' the rights andtproperty of individuals, and the. practice of the bar, are more properly referred to the private'v than to the public jurisprudence of_ the empire; and he published many edicts of so local and temporary a nature, that they would ill deserve the notice of a general history. Two laws, however, may be selected from the crowd; the one, for its importance, the other, for its fingularity;

the former for its remarkable benevolence, the

latter for its excessive severity. 1. The horrid practice, so familiar to the ancients, of exposing or murdering their new-born infants, was be

an article of the treaty. It is however certain, that the younger Constantine and Licinius were not yet born; and it is highly probable that the promotion was made the rst of March, A. D. 317. The treaty had probably stipulated that two Caesars might be created' by the wenern, and one only ssby the eastern emperor; but each of them referred to himself the choice of the persons.

22 come

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tine against rapes were dictated with'very little
indulgence, for the most amiable weaknesses of
human nature; since the description of that
crime was applied not only to the brutal violence r
which compelled, but even to the gentle seduc-_
tion which might persuade, an unmarried wo-
Aman, under the age of twenty-five, to leave the
house of her parents. " The successful ravisher
'5 was punished with death; and as if simple
'5 death was inadequate to the enormity of his
V guilt, he was either burnt alive, or torn in
pieces by wild beasts in the amphitheatre.
The virgin's declaration that she had been car-
ried away with her own consent, instead of
saving her lover, exposed her to share his fate.
The duty of a public prosecution was intrusted
to the parents of the guilty or unfortunate
maid; and if the sentiments of Nature pre-
vailed on them to dissemble the injury, and
to repair by a subsequent marriage the honour
of their family, they were themselves punished
by exile and confiscation. The slaves, whe-
ther male or female, who were convicted of
having been accessary to the rape or seduction,
were burnt alive, or put to death by the in-
genious torture of pouring down their throats
a quantity of. melted lead. As the crime was
of a public kind, the accusation was permitted
even to strangers. The commencement of
the action was not limited to any term of
years, and the consequences of the sentence

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was pronounced on the day of the Qtlinquennalia of the Czshrs, the rst of March, A. D. 321.

zo f© were

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »