The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Adunati – Adversaria – Adversarius – Advocatus



2. roman. Adulterium properly signifies, in the Roman law, the offence committed by a man, married or unmarried, having sexual intercourse with another man's wife. Stuprum (called by the Greeks (pOopa) signifies the commerce with a widow or a virgin. It was the condition of the female which determined the legal character of adultery; there was no adultery unless the female was married. It is stated, however (Dig. 48. tit. 5. s. 13), that a woman might commit adultery whether she was "justa uxor sive injusta," the meaning of which is not quite certain; "but pro­bably it means whether she was living in a mar­riage recognised as a marriage by the Roman law or merely by the jus gentium. The male who committed adultery was adulter. the female was

*/ 7

adultera. The Latin writers were puzzled about the etymology of the word adulterium ; but if we look to its various significations besides that of illegal sexual commerce, we may safely refer it to the same root as that which appears in adultus. The notion is that of " growing to," " fixing," or "fastening to," one thing on another and extra­neous thing: hence, among other meanings, the Romans used adulterium and adulteratio as we use the word " adulteration," to express the cor­rupting of a thing by mixing something with it of less value.

In the time of Augustus a lex was enacted (probably b.c. 17), intitled Lex Jvlia de Adul-teriis covrcendis, the first chapter of which repealed some prior enactments on the same subject, with the provisions of which prior enactments we are, however, unacquainted. Horace (Carm. iv. 5. 21) alludes to the Julian law. In this law, the terms adulterium and stuprum are used indifferently; but, strictly speaking, these two terms differed as above stated. The chief provisions of this law may be collected from the Digest (48, tit. 5), from Paulus (Sentent. Recept. ii. tit. 26. ed. Schulting), and Bris-sonius (AdLegemJuliamDeAdulteriis^ Lib. Sing.).

It seems not unlikely that the enactments re­pealed by the Julian law contained special penal provisions against adultery; and it is also not improbable that, by the old law or custom, if the adulterer was caught in the fact, he was at the mercy of the injured husband, and that the hus­band might punish with death his adulterous wife. (Dionys, ii. 25 ; Suet. Tib. 35.) It seems, also, that originally the act of adultery might be pro­secuted by any person, as being a public offence ; but under the emperors the right of prosecution was limited to the husband, father, brother, pa-truus, and avunculus of the adulteress.

By the Julian law, if a husband kept his wife after an act of adultery was known to him, and let the adulterer off, he was guilty of the offence of lenocinium. The husband or father in whose power the adulteress was, had sixty days allowed for commencing proceedings against the wife, after which time any other person might prosecute. (Tacit. Ann. ii. 85.) A woman convicted of adultery was mulcted in half of her dos and the third part of her property (bona), and banished (relegata) to some miserable island, such as Seri-phos, for instance. The adulterer was mulcted in half his property, and banished in like manner, but not to the same island as the woman. The adulterer and adulteress were subjected also to civil incapacities ; but this law did not inflict the punishment of death on either party ; and in those


instances under the emperors in which death was inflicted, it must be considered as an extraordinary punishment, and beyond the provisions of the Julian law. (Tacit. Ann. ii. 50, iii. 24; J. Lips. Excurs. ad Tacit. Ann. iv. 42 ; Noodt, Op. Omn. i. 286, &c.) But by a constitution of Constantine (Cod. ix. 30, if it is genuine), the offence in the adulterer was made capital. By the legislation of Justinian (Nov. ] 34. c. 10), the law of Con­stantine was probably only confirmed; but the adulteress was put into a convent, after being first whipped. If her husband did not take her out in two years, she was compelled to assume the habit, and to spend the rest of her life in the convent.

The Julian law permitted the father (both adoptive and natural) to kill the adulterer and adulteress in certain cases, as to which there were several nice distinctions established by the law. If the father killed only one of the parties, he brought himself within the penalties of the Cor­nelian law De Sicariis. The husband might kill persons of a certain class, described in the law, whom he caught in the act of adultery with his wife ; but he could not kill his wife. The hus­band, by the fifth chapter of the Julian law, could detain for twenty hours the adulterer whom he had caught in the fact, for the purpose of calling in witnesses to prove the adultery. If the wife was divorced for adultery, the husband was in-titled to retain part of the dos. (Ulpian, Fr. vi. 12.) The authorities for the Lex Julia de Adul-teriis, both ancient and modern, are collected by Rein, Das Criminalreclit der Homer, 1844. [G. L.]

ADVERSARIA, note-book, memorandum-book, posting-book, in which the Romans entered memoranda of any importance, especially of money received and expended, which were afterwards transcribed, usually every month, into a kind of ledger. (Tabulae justae^ codex accepti et expensi.} They were probably called Adversaria^ because they lay always open before the eyes. (Cic.p. Rose. Com. 3 ; Prop. iii. 23. 20.)


ADUNATI (aSwaroi), persons supported by the Athenian state, who, on account of infirmity or bodily defects, were unable to obtain a livelihood. The sum which they-received from the state ap­pears to have varied at different times. In the time of Lysias and Aristotle, one obolus a day was given ; but it appears to have been afterwards increased to two oboli. The bounty was restricted to persons whose property was under three minae. It was awarded by a decree of the people ; but the examination of the individuals belonged to the senate of the Five Hundred: the payments were made by prytaneias-. Peisistratus- is said to have been the first to introduce a law for the mainte­nance of those persons who had been mutilated in war ; but, according to others, this provision de­rived its origin from a law of Solon. (Plut. Solon. 31 ; Schol. ad Aesch. vol. iii. p. 738, ed. Reiske ; Aesch. g. Tim. p«123 ; Harpocrat. Suid. Hesych. s. v. ; Lysias, 'T-rrep rov 'ASwaTOf, a speech written for an individual in order to prove that he was intitled to be supported by the state ; Bockh, Public Econ. of At/tens, p. 242, &c. 2nd edit.)

ADVOCATUS seems originally to have signi­fied any person who gave another his aid in any affair or business, as a witness for instance (Varr. De Re Rust. ii. c. 5) ; or for the purpose of aiding and protecting him in taking possession of a piece


About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of