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In the Gentile world men were loose and unsettled in their principles : hence it came to pass that impurities of all sorts were scarcely reckoned faults amongst them; that they made no scruple of exposing infants h; that they were cruel and inhuman towards slaves and prisoners'; and that they had public shows, in which men were obliged to fight with wild beasts, and to murder each other for the entertainment of the assembly. The Romans were excessively Cond of this abominable diversion, and scarcely can any writer amongst them be found who declared a disapprobation of it, except Seneca the philosopher k.
There were some in the time of Cicero, and probably they were Greeks, not Romans, who condemned this bara barity, amongst whom I wish I could place Cicero himself!
h See Gerard Noodt Julius Paulus, sive de Partus Expositione, &c. and the Opuscula varii Argumenti, and Curæ secundæ of Bynkershoek. It is condemned as a kind of murder, Digest. l. xxv. tit. iii. 4. Cod. 1. viii. tit. lii. 2. Novell. clii.
i Germanicus Cæsar Tacito narratur vicos Marsorum ferro fiammisque pervastasse, additurque: ‘non sexus, non ætas miserationem attulit.' Titus Judæorum etiam pueros et feminas in spectaculo feris laniandos proposuit. Et tamen hi duo ingenio minime sævo fuisse creduntur : adeo sævitia illa in morem verterat.
Grotius de Jure B. iii. iv. 9. &c. &c.
Christianis in universum placuit bello inter ipsos orto captos servos non fieri.-Atque hoc a majoribus ad posteros pridem transiisse inter eos, qui eandem religionem profiterentur, scripsit Gregoras, nec eorum fuisse proprium qui sub Romano imperio viverent, sed commune cum Thessalis, Illyriis, Triballis, et Bulgaris. Atque ita hoc saltem, quamquam exiguum est, perfecit reverentia Christianæ legis, quod cum Græcis inter se servandum olim diceret Socrates, nihil impetraverat. Quod autem hac in parte Christiani, idem et Mahumetistæ inter se servant. Grot. de Jure B. iii. vii. 9.
k Casu in meridianum spectaculum incidi, lusus expectans et aliquid laxamenti, quo hominum oculi ab humano cruore acquiescant. Contra est. Quicquid ante pugnatum est, misericordia fuit. Nunc omissis nugis, mera homicidia sunt ; nihil habent quo tegantur. -Sed latrocinium fecit aliquis : quid ergo meruit? ut suspendatur. Occidit hominem. Qui occidit, ille meruit ut hoc pateretur : tu quid meruisti, miser, ut hoc spectes ? Senec. Epist. 7.
Homo, sacra res, homo, jam per lusum et jocum occiditur : et quem erudiri ad accipienda inferendaque vulnera nefas erat, is jam nudus inermisque producitur, satisque spectaculi in homine mors est. Idem, Epist. 95.
Crudele gladiatorum spectaculum et inhumanum nonnullis videri
The good emperor Marcus Aurelius, says Diom, so much disliked bloodshed and slaughter, that he ordered the gladiators at Rome to fight with foils, or blunted weapons.
To these we may add the Greek philosopher Demonax”, who, when the Athenians were deliberating whether they should have gladiators, as well as the Corinthians, advised them not to vote for it, till they had pulled down the altar of Mercy
It would amaze one to consider how many lives had been thrown away in these combats, and how many thousands perished thus every year P.
It was a long time before Christianity could subdue this wicked custom. Constantine made a law against it?, but it crept in again ; and Honorius at last abolished it, A. D. 403.
solet : et haud scio an ita sit, ut nunc fit: cum vero sontes ferro depugnabant, auribus fortasse multæ, oculis quidem nulla poterat esse fortior contra dolorem et mortem disciplina. Tusc. Disp. ii. 16.
η Μάρκος γε μην ούτω τι φόνοις ουκ έχαιρεν, ώστε και τους μονομάχους εν τη Ρώμη ώσπερ αθλητές ακινδύνως εώρα μαχομένους σιδήριον. γαρ ουδέποτε ουδενί αυτών οξύ έδωκεν, αλλά και αμελεσίν, ώσπερ εσφαιρωμένοις, πάντες έμαχοντο.
η Αθηναίων σκεπτομένων κατα ζήλον τον προς Κορινθίους καταστήσασθαι Θεαν μονομάχων, προσελθών εις αυτούς, Μη προτερον, έφη, ταύτα, ώ 'Αθηναίοι, ψηφίσεσθε, αν μη του Ελέου τον βωμόν καθέλητε. Lucian. Demon.
• Gladiatorium munus Romanæ consuetudinis primò majore cum terrore (Græcorum) hominum insuetorum ad tale spectaculum, quam voluptate dedit; deinde sæpius dando, et modò vulneribus tenus, modò sine missione etiam, familiare oculis, gratumque id spectaculum fecit. Livius xli. 20.
When Herod introduced such diversions, the Jews were highly and jastly offended.-Τοϊς δ' επιχωρίοις φανερά κατάλυσις των τιμωμένων παρ' αυτούς εθών. ασεβές μεν γαρ εκ προδήλου κατεφαίνετο, θηρίοις ανθρώπους υπορρίπτειν, επί τέρψει της ανθρώπων θέας. Indigenis Tero manifesta videbatur morum, qui ijisis summo in honore erant, dissolutio. Res ipsa enim indicabat plane impium esse, homines ad bestias projicere in hominum ex spectaculo delectationein. Josephus Antiq. xv. 3.
p Credo, imo scio, nullum bellum tantam cladem vastitatemque generi humano intulisse, quam hos ad voluptatem ludos. Mentior, si non unus aliquis mensis Europæ stetit vicenis capitum millibus aut trecenis. Lipsius Saturn. i. 12.
9 Cud. l. xi. iit. xliü.
The condition of slaves hath ever been deplorable', and worse than of the beasts. Cato the elder, so much celebrated by the Romans, was a bad master to his slaves, and is justly censured on that account by Plutarch. By the Roman laws a slave could not bear testimony without undergoing the rack. By the same laws, if a man was killed in his own house, all his domestic slaves were put to death, though their innocence were ever so evident .
The Romans, who kept a multitude of servants, often neglected them most inhumanly when they were sick, turned them out of doors, and sent them to the island in the Tiber, where they left them to be cured by the god Æsculapius, who had a temple there. Claudius " decreed, that the slaves thus turned out should have their liberty, if they recovered : and because some masters were so cruel that they killed them when they were sick, he ordered that they who did so should be punished as murderers. Adrian wisely took away
power of life and death, which masters exercised over them w.
Seneca * hath pleaded the cause of these unhappy persons with great strength of reason and beauty of expression, and talks like a philosopher and a Christian. Plato y hath not treäted the subject so well, but seems rather to incline too much to rigour and severity in the governing of slaves.
Laws were made or confirmed by Christian emperors in their favour?; but still they were exposed to injuries and to cruel usage a
r See how it is described by Pignorius De Servis.
* Servi sunt ? imo homines. Servi sunt ? imo contubernales, Servi sunt ? imo humiles amici. Servi sunt? imo conservi, si cogi- . taveris tantundem in utrosque licere Fortunæ, &c. Epist. 47. See the rest.
y De Leg. vi. p.777.
? Instit. 1. i. tit. viii. Digest. 1. i. tit. vi, 1, 2. 1. xlviii. tit. viii. 11. Cod. 1. ii. tit. lix. 1. ix. tit. xiv. 1. Novell. xxii. 8, &c. &c.
* As it appears from many laws de servis torquendis,' and 'de quæstionibus.
Christianity hath, in no small measure, removed these enormities.
It hath abolished polygamy, and in a great degree slavery, and thereby hath made the condition of millions far more easy than it would else have been. The gospel, indeed, hath not said that it is unlawful to have slaves; but by its mild genius and temper it seems, by degrees, to have expelled this tyranny from Christian kingdoms b.
It has had some influence upon the civil laws of nations, and made them in several respects d more gentle and mer. ciful e.
It hath been the cause of many public charities, and has provided for the education of the ignorant, and for the relief of the sick and needy.
Many laws were made by Christian emperors, which must have continually released multitudes from slavery. See Instit. 1. i. tit. v. & vii.
° Leges Romanæ duriores erant, quam lenitas Christiana patiatur. Grotius de Jure B. i. ii. $ x. 4.
We must except some laws against Jews and Pagans, and particularly the scandalous laws against Heretics in the Theodosian and Justinianian Code, and in the Novellæ, and in Leo's Constit.; for which no excuse can be made. All that we can say is, that perhaps they were seldom rigorously executed, and that some of them were often overlooked.
e Thus Constantine abolished the cruel punishment of crucifixion and of breaking the legs, and of marking the face with an hot iron,
He forbad to seize upon men's servants and cattle for the payment of taxes, and to put such debtors in common jails, or to beat them.
He ordered that prisoners should be well used and conveniently lodged, and made laws in favour of slaves, and against excessive usury.
Si quis,' says he, in orbe Romano eunuchos fecerit, capite puniatur,' Cod. I. iv. tit. xlii. 1. See also Novell. cxlii. and Leonis Constit. lx. Pagan emperors had made laws against it, Digest. 1. xlviii. tit. viï. 3. 4. 6.
Valentinian I. made laws to release prisoners not guilty of capital crimes, at Easter; and other emperors did the same afterwards.
He ordered physicians to be appointed, with salaries, who should take care of the poor at Rome.
Gratian made a law, that those women whose birth and condition obliged them to appear upon the stage, should not be compelled to it, if they were Christians.
Álso that persons condemned to die should have thirty days' respite. Theodosius confirmed this law.
Theodosius I. made laws in favour of the fortunes and families of condemned persons, and of those who had found a treasure. Adrian
We find in profane history f something that bears a resemblance to charity-schools, or a provision made for poor children by emperors or other persons of distinction, or by the public; by Nervas, by Trajan ", by Adrian', by Títus Antoninus k, by Pliny' the younger, perhaps. Constantine m, who was a very generous prince, did as much, and more.
The temples of Æsculapius seem to have been a kind of hospitals; and doubtless the priests, who were commonly physicians, used their best endeavours to cure the patients, and the honour of curing them was ascribed to
Hospitals are frequently mentioned in the Code and the Novellæ", and laws were made in favour of such houses,
and Nerva had done the latter. See Instit. 1. ii. tit. f. 39. and Philostratus de Vit. Sophist. 27.
Forbad that girls should be brought up minstrels, ' tibicinæ.'
Made a law concerning wills, which greatly favoured the natural heirs, against his own interest.
Made a law, that if any person, forgetting all modesty and decency, should revile the emperor, and censure his conduct, he should not be called to account for it, nor suffer the punishment which used to be inflicted on such offenders.
Made a law against an infamous way of punishing women convicted of adultery, who had been compelled to be common prostitutes, if Socrates be not mistaken, Hist. Eccl. v. 18. See the place : but I agree with Valesius, who says, Vix crediderim Romanos ea pena affecisse mulieres adulteras,' &c.
Ordered that all who in their infancy had been sold for slaves, should be set at liberty, many of whom belonged to the emperor.
Honorius made a very merciful law in favour of prisoners.
These laws may be found in the Theod. Code, or see Justinian's Code, 1. i. tit. iv. 3. 9. 12. 14. 22, 23, 24. 33. tit. xii, 3. 1. ix. tit. iii. 2. tit. iv. 1, 2, &c. tit. vii. 1. v. tit. iv. 28, 29. 1. vi. tit. xxiii. 20. tit. XXXV. 12. tit. li. l. ix. tit. iii. 2. tit. iv. 1, 2, 3. 6. tit. v. 1. tit. vii. tit. xlvii. 17., 20. 22, 23. 26. tit. xlix. 10. 1. x. tit. xv. tit. xix. 2. Novell. xiv. i. xvii. 12. xxii. 8. xxxii. 1. xxxiii. 1. cxxxiv. 13. de pænarum omnium moderatione. Leonis Constit. li.
f Concerning the places called Valetudinaria, Noroxquela, see Seneca Epist. xxvii. De Ira i. 16. Nat. Quæst. i. Præfat. and the Notes of Lipsius, Gruter, and Gronovius. 8 Aurel. Victor.
h Plin. Paneg. Dio lxviii. p. 771. i Spartian. in Hist. Aug.
Capitolin. in Hist. Aug.
m Cod. Theod. l. ii. t. 27. 1. 1. + Orphanotrophia, Gerontocomia, Ptochotrophia, Nosocomia, Brephotrophia.