[Quintilian], The Lesser Declamations

LCL 500: 8-9

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<Adultera a marito exule occisa>

Imprudentis caedis damnatus quinquennio exulet. Adulterum cum adultera liceat occidere. <Imprudentis caedis damnatus cum ante expletum poenae quinquennium noctu domum ad visendam uxorem reversus esset,1 in adulterio eam deprehendit; occidit. Reversus post quintum annum caedis reus est.>


1. . . manifestum est, et in hac tamen civitate extra controversiam praecipue . . . positum . . . . eos2 qui a se homines occisos esse fateantur teneri lege. Qui distingues? <Ex>igis sanare adulteras? <Occidisti.>3 Quis igitur dubitat hoc in <hac>4 civitate a legibus permissum? ‘Adulterum’ inquit ‘cum adultera liceat occidere’: quid aliud feci? ‘Sed non licuit occidere tibi’: et in hoc omnem calumniam suam contrahit, <ut>5 neget mihi licuisse occidere: primum quod ius civis non habuerim eo tempore quo exul eram; nec ad


Declamation 244


<Adulteress killed by exiled husband>1

Let one found guilty of involuntary homicide be exiled for five years. Let it be lawful to kill an adulterer along with an adulteress.2 <A person found guilty of involuntary homicide returned at night to visit his wife before completing his five years of punishment. Finding her in adultery, he killed her. Returning after the five years, he is charged with homicide.>


* * * is clear, and anyway in this of all communities it is beyond dispute that <not all> persons admitting to a homicide <automatically> come under the law. How shall you distinguish * * * Do you require that I cure adultresses? <You killed them.> So who doubts that this is legal in this community? “Let it be lawful to kill an adulterer along with the adulteress,” so it runs. Isn’t that just what I did? “But you had no right to kill,” and his whole quibble boils down to this, his denial of my right to kill: first, because I did not have citizen rights during my time in exile and laws

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.quintilian-lesser_declamations.2006