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702

LEX VOCONIA.

the Lex applied to legacies (de mulierum Ugatis ci licreditatibuS) Cic. de Repub. iii. 10). But this provision is not allowed by some of the best critics to have been a part of the Lex. Quintilian (Dedam. 264) states that by the Lex (Voconia) a woman could not take by testament more than half of a person's property ; but Quintilian says nothing of the provisions of this Lex, which incapacitated women altogether from taking under a will in certain cases, and in the passage referred to he is speaking of two women being made lieredes of a property in equal shares. The dispute between the cognati and the two women turned on the words of the Lex, " ne liceat mulieri plusquam dimidiam partem bonorum suorum relinquere," the cognati contending that the Lex did not allow the whole property to be thus given to two women in equal shares, though it was admitted that if half of the property had been given to one woman, there would have been no ground for dispute. It is quite consistent that the Lex might have allowed a woman to take half of a man's property in certain cases, and in others to take none, though the object of the Lex, which was to prevent large properties from coming into women's hands, would have been better secured by other provisions than those of the Lex as they are known to us ; for it appears from Quintilian, that a woman might take by will one half of as many properties as there were tes­tators. It might be conjectured that the clause of the Lex which forbade a woman being made heres, signified sole heres, and then the clause which forbade her taking more than half would be fitly framed to prevent an evasion of the law by making a woman heres ex deunce, for instance, and giving the rest to another person. And this conjecture derives some support from.the provision of the Lex Voconia which prevented the giving nearly all the property in legacies to the detriment of the heres ; which provision, however, it must be observed, docs not apply to women only (Gams, ii. 226). The case of Fadia, mentioned by Cicero (de Fin. ii. 17), shows that there was a provision in the Lex by which, in certain cases at least, a woman might take something ; and it also shows that the Lex prevented a man from making even his own daughter sole heres.

According to Gains and Pliny (Paneg. 42), the provisions of the Voconia Lex were in force at the time when they were writing, though Gellius (xx. 1) speaks of them as being either obsolete or re­pealed. The provisions of the Lex Julia et Papia Poppaea may have repealed some of the clauses of the Voconia Lex.

The subject of the Voconia Lex is one of con­siderable difficulty, owing to the imperfect state­ments that remain of its contents and provisions, which were probably numerous. The chief modern authorities on the matter are referred to by Rein (Das Rom. Privat. Recht, p. 367, &c.), and in Orellii Onomasticon. The latest essay on it that the writer has seen is " Die Lex Voconia &c." by Dr. J. J. Bachofen, Basel, 1843 ; but the essay does not settle all the difficulties.

This list of Leges may not be quite complete, and the dates of some of them and the statement of their purport may not be perfectly accurate. Still it contains all the Leges that are of any im-.portance for the understanding of Roman History .and Jurisprudence. Those which are not specially noticed here, are referred to their proper heads.

LIBELLUS.

particularly when there are many Leges relating to one subject, as Ambitus, Repetundae, &c. Several of the Roman Leges were modified by Senatusconsulta. The Senatusconsulta, which are properly laws, are enumerated under senatus-

CONSULTUM. [G. L.]

LEXIARCHI (^lapxot). [ecclesia, p. 441, a.]

LEXIARCHICON (\r)£tapxiK6v). [DEMus.J LEXIS (\rfcis). [Duo.] LIBELLA, instruments. [libra.] LIBELLA, a small Roman silver coin, which is mentioned by Varro (L. L. v. 36, p. 68, Miil-ler) as having existed in the early age of the city, but which in his time, and apparently for a con­siderable period before, was no longer coined. The name, however, was retained especially as a proverbial expression for a very small value. (Plant. Pseud, ii. 2. 34, Capt. v. 1. 27 ; Cic. Verr. ii. 2, pro Rose. Com. 4.) It was equal in value to the as (whence its name), and, in the system of silver money, it was the tenth part of the denarius. (Varr. I c. ; Plin. //. N. xxxiii. 3. s 13.) The words of Varro and Pliny clearly imply that the libella was equal in value to the old full-weight as; and it seems most probable that the coin ceased being struck at the time of the reduction of the as. on account of the inconveniently small

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size which it would have assumed. The libella was subdivided into the sembella, its half, and the teruncius, its quarter. Cicero (ad Alt. vii. 12) uses these words to express fractions of an estate, with reference to the denarius as the unit, the libella signifying 1-1 Oth, and the teruncius 1-4Oth of the whole (Bockh, Metrol. Untersucli. p. 453, &c.). ^ ^ ^ [P.S.]

LIBELLUS, is the diminutive form of liber, and signifies properly a little book. A libellus was distinguished from other kinds of writings, by being written like our books by pages, whereas other writings were written transversa charta. (Suet. Caes. 56.) A libellus, however, did not necessarily consist of several pages. It was used by the Ro­mans as a technical term in the following cases : —

1. Libelli accusatorum or accusatorii were the written accusations which in some cases a plaintiff, after having received the permission to bring an action against a person, drew up, signed, and sent to the judicial authorities, viz., in the city to the praetor, and in a province to the proconsul. (Cod. 9. tit. 2. s. 8 ; Dig. 48. tit. 5. s. 2. 17. 29 ; 47. tit. 2. s. 74 ; compare actio.) The form in which a libellus accusatorius was to be written, is described by Ulpian in a case of adultery. (Dig. 48. tit. 2. s. 3.) The accuser had to sign the libel­lus, and if he could not write, he was obliged to get somebody else to do it for him. If the libel­lus was not written in the proper legal form, it was invalid, but the plaintiff had still the right to bring the same action again in its legal form, (Juv. vi. 244, &c. -, Tacit. Ann. iii. 44 ; Plin. Epist, vii. 27 ; compare Brisson. de Form. v. c. 187, &c.)

2. Libelli famosi were what we call libels or pasquinades, intended to injure the character of persons. A law of the Twelve Tables inflicted very severe punishments on those who composed defamatory writings against any person. (Cic. de Re Pub. iv. 10 ; Arnob. iv. p. 151.) During the latter part of the republic this law appears to have been in abeyance, for Tacitus (Ann. i. 72) says that previous to the time of Augustus libels had never

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