« ForrigeFortsett »
matron”. In a civil ačtion, the plaintiff touched the ear of his witness, seized his reluctant adversary by the neck, and implored, in solemn lamentation, the aid of his fellow citizens. The two competitors grasped each other's hand as if they stood prepared for combat before the tribunal of the praetor: he commanded them to produce the objećt of the dispute; they went, they returned
at his feet to represent the field for which they contended. This occult science of the words and aćtions of law, was the inheritance of the pontiffs and patricians. Like the Chaldean astrologers, they announced to their clients the days of business and repose; these important trifles were inter-, woven with the religion of Numa; and, after the publication of the twelve tables, the Roman people was still enslaved by the ignorance of judicial proceedings. The treachery of some plebeian officers at length revealed the profitable mystery : in a more enlightened age, the legal ačtions were derided and observed ; and the same antiquity which sanctified the praćtice, obliterated the use and meaning, of this primitive language *.
A more liberal art was cultivated, however, by the sages of Rome, who, in a strićter sense, may be considered as the authors of the civil law. The alteration of the idiom and manners of the Romans, rendered the style of the twelve tables less familiar to each rising generation, and the doubtful passages were imperfectly explained by the study of legal antiquarians. To define the
ambiguities, to circumscribe the latitude, to apply.
the principles, to extend the consequences, to reconcile the real or apparent contradićtions, was a much nobler and more important task; and the province of legislation was filently invaded by the expounders of ancient statutes. Their subtle interpretations concurred with the equity of the
praetor, to reform the tyranny of the darker ages:
however strange or intricate the means, it was the aim of artificial jurisprudence to restore the fimple dićtates of nature and reason, and the skill of private citizens was usefully employed to undermine the public institutions of their country. The revolution of almost one thousand years, from the twelve tables to the reign of Justinian, may be divided into three periods almost equal in duration, and distinguished from each other by the
mode of instruction and the charaćter of the civil-,
lians ". Pride and ignorance contributed, during the
s: The series of the civil lawyers is deduced by Pomponius (de Origine Juris Pande&t. l. i tit. ii.). The moderns have discussed, with learning and criticism, this branch of literary history; and among these I have chiefly been guided by Gravina (p. 41–79.) and Heineccius (Hist J. R. No 113–35.1.). Cicero, more especially in his books de Oratore, de Claris Oratoribus, de legibus, and the C 4 Clavis
C #o the first period, to confine within narrow limits the cool, science of the Roman law. On the public days
of market or assembly, the masters of the art were seen walking in the forum, ready to impart the needful advice to the meanest of their fellowcitizens, from whose votes, on a future occasion, they might solicit a grateful return. As their years and honours increased, they seated themselves at home on a chair or throne, to expect with patient gravity the visits of their clients, who at the dawn of day, from the town and country, began to thunder at their door. The duties of social life, and the incidents of judicial proceeding, were the ordinary subjećt of these consultations, and the verbal or written opinion of the jurisconsults was framed according to the rules of prudence and law. The youths of their own order and family were permitted to listen; their children enjoyed the benefit of more private lessons, and the Mucian race was long renowned for the hereditary knowledge of the civil law. The second period, the learned and splendid age of jurisprudence, may be extended from the birth of Cicero to the reign of Severus Alexander. A system was formed, schools were instituted, books were com
Clavis Ciceron'ana of Ernesti (under the names of Mucius, &c. ), af.