Thursday, August 02, 2012

Some Roman law on adultery

(1) In the second chapter of the Lex Julia concerning adultery, either an adoptive or a natural father is permitted to kill an adulterer caught in the act with his daughter in his own house or in that of his son-in-law, no matter what his rank may be.
(2) If a son under paternal control, who is the father, should surprise his daughter in the act of adultery, while it is inferred from the terms of the law that he cannot kill her, still, he ought to be permitted to do so.
(3) Again, it is provided in the fifth chapter of the Lex Julia that it is permitted to detain witnesses for twenty hours, in order to convict an adulterer taken in the act.
(4) A husband cannot kill any one taken in adultery except persons who are infamous, and those who sell their bodies for gain, as well as slaves, and the freedmen of his wife, and those of his parents and children; his wife, however, is excepted, and he is forbidden to kill her.
(5) It has been decided that a husband who kills his wife when caught with an adulterer, should be punished more leniently, for the reason that he committed the act through impatience caused by just suffering.
(6) After having killed the adulterer, the husband should at once dismiss his wife, and publicly declare within the next three days with what adulterer, and in what place he found his wife.
(7) An angry husband who surprises his wife in adultery can only kill the adulterer, when he finds him in his own house.