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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

Footnote 127 Valerius Maximus


[Footnote 126: Sacellum Viriplacae, (Valerius Maximus, l. ii. c. 1,) in the Palatine region, appears in the time of Theodosius, in the description of Rome by Publius Victor.]

[Footnote 127: Valerius Maximus, l. ii. c. 9. With some propriety he judges divorce more criminal than celibacy: illo namque conjugalia sacre spreta tantum, hoc etiam injuriose tractata.]

[Footnote 128: See the laws of Augustus and his successors, in Heineccius, ad Legem Papiam-Poppaeam, c. 19, in Opp. tom. vi. P. i. p. 323--333.]

[Footnote 129: Aliae sunt leges Caesarum, aliae Christi; aliud Papinianus, aliud Paulus nocter praecipit, (Jerom. tom. i. p. 198. Selden, Uxor Ebraica l. iii. c. 31 p. 847--853.)]

[Footnote 130: The Institutes are silent; but we may consult the Codes of Theodosius (l. iii. tit. xvi., with Godefroy's Commentary, tom. i. p. 310--315) and Justinian, (l. v. tit. xvii.,) the Pandects (l. xxiv. tit. ii.) and the Novels, (xxii. cxvii. cxxvii. cxxxiv. cxl.) Justinian fluctuated to the last between civil and ecclesiastical law.]

[Footnote 131: In pure Greek, it is not a common word; nor can the proper meaning, fornication, be strictly applied to matrimonial sin. In a figurative sense, how far, and to what offences, may it be extended? Did Christ speak the Rabbinical or Syriac tongue? Of what original word is the translation? How variously is that Greek word translated in the versions ancient and modern! There are two (Mark, x. 11, Luke, xvi. 18) to one (Matthew, xix. 9) that such ground of divorce was not excepted by Jesus. Some critics have presumed to think, by an evasive answer, he avoided the giving offence either to the school of Sammai or to that of Hillel, (Selden, Uxor Ebraica, l. iii. c. 18--22, 28, 31.) * Note: But these had nothing to do with the question of a divorce made by judicial authority.--Hugo.]

The freedom of love and marriage was restrained among the Romans by natural and civil impediments. An instinct, almost innate and universal, appears to prohibit the incestuous commerce [132] of parents and children in the infinite series of ascending and descending generations. Concerning the oblique and collateral branches, nature is indifferent, reason mute, and custom various and arbitrary. In Egypt, the marriage of brothers and sisters was admitted without scruple or exception: a Spartan might espouse the daughter of his father, an Athenian, that of his mother; and the nuptials of an uncle with his niece were applauded at Athens as a happy union of the dearest relations. The profane lawgivers of Rome were never tempted by interest or superstition to multiply the forbidden degrees: but they inflexibly condemned the marriage of sisters and brothers, hesitated whether first cousins should be touched by the same interdict; revered the parental character of aunts and uncles, [1321] and treated affinity and adoption as a just imitation of the ties of blood. According to the proud maxims of the republic, a legal marriage could only be contracted by free citizens; an honorable, at least an ingenuous birth, was required for the spouse of a senator: but the blood of kings could never mingle in legitimate nuptials with the blood of a Roman; and the name of Stranger degraded Cleopatra and Berenice, [133] to live the concubines of Mark Antony and Titus. [134] This appellation, indeed, so injurious to the majesty, cannot without indulgence be applied to the manners, of these Oriental queens. A concubine, in the strict sense of the civilians,


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