Romæ antiquæ descriptio a view of the religion, laws, customs, manners, and dispositions of the ancient Romans, and others : comprehended in their most illustrious acts and sayings agreeable to history
Valerius Maximus., Speed, Samuel, 1631-1682.

CHAP II. Of remarkable private Iudgments, whereby were condemned

  • 1. T. Claud. Centumalus.
  • 2. Octacilia Laterensis.
  • 3. C. Titinius Mintur∣nensis.
  • 4. A certain person for ri∣ding a horse farther than hired for.

TO Publick Judgments I will adde private ones, the Equity whereof in the Complainants will more delight than a great number offend the Rea∣der.

1. Claudius Centumalus being commanded by the Augurs to pull down some of the height of his House, which he had built upon the Caelian Mount, because it hindered them from observing their Auguries from the Tower, sold it to Calpurnius Lanatius, concealing the command of the Augurs. By whom Calpurnius being compelled to pluck down his House, brought Marc Porcius Cato, father of the famous Cato, to Claudius as an Arbitrator, and the form of Writing, Whatever he ought to give him, or do in good Equity. Page  355 Cato, understanding that Claudius had for the nonce supprest the Augurs Edict, presently condemned him to Calpurnius; with all the Justice in the world. For they that fell according to Conscience and Equity, ought neither to enhance the hopes of the Bargain, nor conceal the Inconveniencies.

2. I have recited a Judgment famous in those times: Yet what I am about to relate, is not quite buried in silence. C. Visellius Varro being taken with a great fit of Sickness, suffered a Judgment of three thousand pieces of Money, as borrowed of Otacilia Laterensis, with whom he had lived as her Gallant: With this designe, that if he died, she might claim that sum of the Heirs; colouring the Liberality of his Lust, under the title of a Debt. After that, Vi∣sellius, contrary to Otacilia's wishes, recovers. Who offended that she had lost her prey by his recovery, from a close Friend began to act like an open Usurer, challenging the Money, which as shamelesly as vain∣ly she gap'd for by a void contract. Which Aquillius, a man of great authority and knowledge in the Civil Law, being chosen to be Judge of, consulting with the Principal Men of the City, by his Prudence and good Conscience foyled the woman. And if by the same form Varro might have been condemned, and the adversary absolved, no question but he would have willingly punish'd his soul and unwarrantable folly. Now he stifled the calumny of a private Acti∣on, and left the crime of Adultery to publick Justice.

3. Much more stoutly and with a souldierlike Gallantry did Marius behave himself in a Judgment of the same nature. For when T. Titinius of Minturnum married Fannia his wife, because he knew her to be unchast, and having divorc'd her for the same crime, would have kept her Dower: he bing chosen Judge, nd having examined the business, took TitiniusPage  356 aside, and perswaded him to proceed no farther, but to return the woman her Dower; but finding that all his perswasions were in vain, and being forced to pronounce Sentence, he fin'd the woman for Adultery a Sesterce, and Titinius the whole summ of the Por∣tion. Telling them, that therefore he had observed that method of judgment, because it seemd to him apparent, that he had married Fannia, whom he knew to be a lewd woman, that he might cheat her of her estate. This Fannia was she, who after∣wards, when Marius was proclaimed an Enemy, re∣ceived him into her house at Minturnum, all bedaubed with mud and durt, and assisted him what lay in her power; remembring that he had adjudged her for Unchastity, out of his rigorous manner of life, but that he had saved her Dower, out of his Religion and Piety.

4. That Judgment was also much talked of, by which a certain person was condemned for their, be∣cause having borrowed a Horse to carry him to Aricia, he rode him to the furthermost cliff of that City. What can we do here but praise the Modesty of that Age, wherein such minute excesses from Honesty were punished?