The Ancient Library

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times a chapter of a lex was referred to under the title of the lex, with the addition of a reference to the contents of the chapter, as Lex Julia de Fundo Dotali, which was a chapter of the Lex Julia de Adulteriis. A lex sometimes took its name from the chief contents or its first chapter, as Lex Julia de Maritandis Ordinibus. Sometimes a lex comprised very various provisions, relating to matters essentially different, and in that case it was called Lex Saturn. [lex caecilia didia, lex julia municipal is.]

The terms in which a Lex was expressed were fixed by the person who proposed it ; but in many cases probably he would require the assistance of some person who was acquainted with technical language. A Lex was proposed to the Comitia in its entire form for acceptance or rejection: there-was no discussion on the clauses, and no alteration of them in the Comitia, and indeed discussion of details and alteration were impossible. The Sanctio of a Lex (Rliet. ad Herenn. ii. 10 ; Papi-nian, Dig. 48. tit. 19. s. 41) made a Lex which the Romans call Perfecta. In a Lex Perfecta, the act which is done contrary to the provisions of the Lex, is declared by the Lex to be null. If a Lex did not contain this Sanctio, it was called Imperfecta. A Lex was called minus quam per-fecta, when the act which was done contrary to its provisions was not declared null, but the Lex im­posed a penalty. (Savigny, System, &c. vol. iv. p. .549, &c.) This division of Leges into Perfectae, &e. is obviously only applicable to such Leges as referred to what the Romans called the department of Privatum Jus.

The number of Leges was greatly increased in the later part of the republican period (Tacit. Ann. iii. 25—28), and Julius Caesar is said to have con­templated a revision of the whole body. Under him and Augustus numerous enactments were passed, which are known under the general name of Juliae Leges. [juliae leges.] It is often stated that no Leges, properly so called, or Plebis-cita, were passed after the time of Augustus ; but this is a mistake. Though the voting might be a mere form, still the form was kept; find if this were not so, the passage of Gains (i. 2, £c.)> in which he speaks of leges and plebiscita as forms of legislation still in use, would not be correct. Besides, various leges are mentioned as having been passed under the Empire, such as the Lex Visellia, a Lex Agraria under Caligula, and a Lex Claudia on the tutela of women. (Gaius, i. 157, 371.) It does not appear when the ancient forms of legislation were laid aside, but they certainly long survived the popular elections to which alone the passage of Tacitus (Ann. i. 15) refers.

In the Digest a Senatusconsultum is sometimes referred to as a Lex (14. tit. 6. s. ,9. § 4 ; s. 14) ; in which there was no great impropriety if we have regard to the time, for Senatusconsulta were then laws. Still a Senatusconsultum, properly so called, must not be confounded with a Lex properly so called ; and there is no reason for supposing that the Lex Claudia of Gaius was a Senatuscon­sultum, for when he speaks of a Senatusconsultum of the time of Claudius, he calls it such (i. 84, 91). However there is no mention of any Lex being enacted later than the time of Nerva. (Dig. 47. tit. 21. s. 3. § 1.)

It remains further to explain the words Rogatio and Privilegium.


Rogatio is defined by Festus to be, a command of the Populus relating to one or more persons, but not to all persons j or relating to one or more things, but not to all. That which the Populug has commanded (scivlt) with respect to all per­sons or things is a Lex ; and Aelius Gallus says, Rogatio is a genus legis ; that which is Lex is not consequently (continuo) Rogatio ; but Rogatio must be Lex, if it has been proposed (rogata) at legal comitia (justis comitiis). According to this defini­tion a rogatio, when enacted, is Lex ; there is also Lex which is not rogatio: therefore we must assume a general name Lex, comprehending Lex Proper and Rogatio. The passage of Aelius Gal­lus is emended by Goettling (Geschichte der Rom. Staatsv. &.c. p. 310); but his emendation is founded on mistaking the sense of the passage, and it con­verts the clear meaning of Gallus into nonsense. According to the definition of Gallus, Rogatio was equivalent to Privilegium, a term which occurred in the Twelve Tables (Cic. de Leg. iii. 19) ; and it signified, according to Gallus (Festus, s. v. Rogatio) an enactment that had for its object a single per­son, which is indicated by the form of the word (privi-legiuni}, " pri\ae res" being the same as " singulae res." The word privilegium. according to the explanation of Gallus, did not convey any notion of the character of the legislative measures : it might be beneficial to the party to whom it re -f erred, or it might not. It is generally used by Cicero in the unfavourable sense (pro Domo, 17 ; pro Scstio, 30 ; rogationem primlegii similem. Brut. 23). Accordingly in the Republican period Privi-legia were not general Laws or parts of the general Law: they bear the character of an exception to the-general rule. In the Corpus Juris Privilegium is the common name for a Jus Singulare, the mean­ing of which is explained by Savigny (System, &c. i. p. 61).

The meaning of Lex, as contrasted with Jus, is stated in the article Jus.

Some other significations of Lex, which are not its proper significations, are easily explained ; for instance. Lex is used to express the terms or con­ditions of a contract, apparently with reference to the binding force of all legal contracts. In English instruments which contain covenants, it is often expressed that it shall be " lawful" for one or more of the parties to do a certain act, by which is simply meant that the parties agree about some­thing, which is legal, and which therefore makes a valid agreement. The work of Marcus Manilius (Cos. b.c. 149) on sales is quoted by Cicero (de Or. i. 58) as " Manilianas venalium vendendorum leges." (See Dig. 18. tit. 1. s. 40, where Lex means conditions of sale.) Accordingly we find the expression Leges Censoriae to express the con­ditions on which the censors let the public pro­perty to farm ; and perhaps the term also signified certain standing regulations for such matters, which the censors were empowered to make. (Frag, do jureFisci, s. 18 ; Dig. 50. tit. 16. s. 203.) In both the cases just referred to, the phrase Lex Cen-soria is used (in the singular number) ; and this Lex, whether a Law proper or not, seems to have been divided into chapters.

Lex simply sometimes signifies the laws of the Twelve Tables.

The extant authorities for the Roman Leges are the works of the classical Roman writers, of the Roman Jurists, and inscriptions. The Miont useful

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