The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

662

JUSJURANDUM.

and allow it to be carried into effect, as was the case with the lex agraria of Saturninus. The censor Q. Metellus, who refused to swear, was sent into exile. (Appian, B. C. i. 29 ; Cic. pro Seast. 47; Plut. Mar. 29.) During the time of the empire all magistrates on entering their office were obliged to pledge themselves by an oath that they would observe the acta Caesaram ( htrare in acta Cae-sarum, Suet. Tiber. 67 ; Tacit. Annal. i. 72, xiii. 26, xvi. 22 ; Dion Cass. xlvii. p. 384, &c.), and the senators had to do the same regularly every year on the first of January. (Dion Cass. Iviii. p. 724; compare Lipsius, Eoccurs. A. ad Tacit. Annal. xvi. 22.)

All Roman soldiers after they were enlisted for a campaign, had to take the military oath (sacra-mentum), which was administered in the following manner : — Each tribtinus militum assembled his regiment, and picked out one of the men to whom he put the oath, that he would obey the com­mands of his generals and execute them punctually. The other men then came forward one after an­other and repeated the same oath, saying that they would do like the first (idem in me, Polyb. vi. 21; Fest. s. v. Praejurationes}. Livy (xxii. 38) says that until the year 216 b.c. the military oath was only sacramentum, i. e. the soldiers took it voluntarily, and promised (with impreca­tions) that they would not desert from the army, and not leave the ranks except to fight against the enemy or to save a Roman citizen. But in the year 216 b.c. the soldiers were compelled by the tribunes to take the oath, which the tribunes put to them, that they would meet at the command of the consuls and not leave the standards without their orders, so that in this case the military oath became a jusjurandum. But Livy here forgets that long before that time he has represented (iii. 20) the soldiers taking the same jusjurandum. A per­fect formula of a military oath is preserved in Gel • lius (xvi. 4; compare Dionys. vi. 23.)

It may here be remarked that any oath might be taken in two ways: the person who took it, either framed, it himself, or it was put to him in a set form, and in this case he was said in verba •jurare, orjttrare verbis conceptis. Poly bins (vi. 33) speaks of a second oath which was put to all who served in the army, whether freemen or slaves, as soon as the castrametatio had taken place, and by which all promised that they would steal nothing from the camp, and that they would take to the tribunes whatever they might happen to find. The military oath was, according to Dionysius (xi. 43), the most sacred of all, and the law allowed a general to put to death without a formal trial any soldier who ventured to act contrary to his oath. It was taken upon the signa, which were them­selves considered sacred. In the time of the em­pire a clause was added to the military oath, in which the soldiers declared that they would con­sider the safety of the emperor more important than anything else, and that they loved neither them­selves nor their children more than their sovereign. (Arrian, Epict.iu. 14 ; Suet. Calig. 15; Ammian. Marc. xxi. 5.) On the military oath in general, compare Brissonius, De Formul. iv. c. 1—5.

II. Oaf/is taken in transactions with foreign na­tions in the name of the republic. The most ancient ; form of an oath of this kind is recorded by Livy (i. 24), in a treaty between the Romans and Albans. The pater patratus pronounced the oath in the

JUSJURANDUM.

name of his country, and struck the victim with a flint-stone, calling on Jupiter to destroy the Roman nation in like manner, as he (the pater patratus) destroyed the animal, if the people should violate the oath. The chiefs or priests of the other nation then swore in a similar manner by their own gods. The ceremony was sometimes different, inasmuch as the fetialis cast away the stone from his hands, saying, Si sciens fallo, turn me Diespiter salva urbe arceque bonis ejiciat, uti ego Imnc lapidem. (Fest. s. v. Lapidem.} Owing to the prominent part which the stone (lapis sileoc} played in this act. Jupiter himself was called Jupiter Lapis (Polyb, iii. 25), and hence it was in aftertimes not uncommon among the Romans in ordinary con­versation to swear by Jupiter Lapis. (Gellius, i. 21 ; Cic. ad Fain. vii. 1, 12 ; Plut. Sulla, 10.) In swearing to a treaty with a foreign nation, a victim (a pig or a lamb) was in the early times al­ways sacrificed by the fetialis (whence the expres­sions foedus icere, opKia re^veuS), and the priest while pronouncing the oath probably touched the victim or the altar. (Virg. Aen. xii. 201, &c. ; Liv. xxi. 45 ; compare fetiales.) This mode of swearing to a treaty through the sacred person of a fetialis, was observed for a long time, and after the second Punic war the fetiales even travelled to Africa to perform the ancient ceremonies. (Liv. xxx. 43.) The jus fetiale, however, fell into dis­use as the Romans extended their conquests ; and as in most cases of treaties with foreign nations, the Romans were not the party that chose to promise anything on oath, we hear no more of oaths on their part; but the foreign nation or conquered party was sometimes obliged to promise with a so­lemn oath (sacramentum) to observe the conditions prescribed by the Romans, and documents record­ing such promises were kept in the capitol. (Liv. xxvi. 24.) But in cases where the Romans had reason to mistrust, they demanded hostages as being a better security than an oath, and this was the practice which in later times they adopted most generally. At first the Romans were very scrupulous in observing their oaths in contracts or treaties with foreigners, and even with enemies ; but attempts were soon made by individuals to interpret an oath sophistically and explain away its binding character (Gellius, vii. 18 ; Liv. iii. 20, xxii. 61 ; Cic. de Off. iii. 27, &c.), and from the third Punic war to the end of the republic, perjury was common among the Romans in their dealings with foreigners as well as among them­selves.

III. Oatlis or various modes of swearing in com­mon life. The practice of swearing or calling upon some god or gods as witnesses to the truth of assertions made in common life or in ordinary conversations, was as common among the Romans as among the Greeks. The various forms used in swearing may be divided into three classes : —

1. Simple invocations of one or more gods, as Hercle or MeJiercle, that is, ita me Hercules juvet, amet, or servet (Fest. s. v. Mecastor*) • Pol, Perpol or Aedepol, that is, per Pollucem ; per Jovem La­pidem or simply per Jovem; per superos ; per deos immortales; medius fidius, that is, ita me Dius (Atos) filius juvet (Fest. s. v. ; Varro, de Ling. Lot. iv. p. 20, Bip.); ita me deus amet, ordiiament. Sometimes also two or a great number of gods were invoked by their names. (Plaut. BaccUd. iv. 8, 51 ; Terent, Andr, iii, 2, 25.) The genii of

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

661

662

663
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.