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In senatum boni principis.

On the senate of a good prince

LIX.

Effigies manibus truncae ante altaria divum
Hic resident, quarum lumine capta prior.
Signa potestatis summae, sanctique senatus
Thebanis fuerant ista reperta viris.[1]
Cur resident? quia mente graves decet esse quieta
Iuridicos, animo nec variare levi.
Cur sine sunt manibus? capiant ne xenia, nec se
Pollicitis flecti muneribusve sinant.
Caecus at est princeps, qud solis auribus absque
Affectu, constans iussa senatus agit.

Figures without hands sit here before the altars of the gods. The chief of them is deprived of sight. These symbols of the supreme power and of the reverend senate were discovered by men of Thebes. - Why do they sit? - Because lawgivers should be serious, of a calm mind, and not change with inconstant thoughts. - Why have they no hands? - So that they may not take gifts, nor let themselves be influenced by promises or bribes. But the president is blind, because the Senate, by hearing alone, uninfluenced by feeling, impartially discharges what it is bidden to do.

COMMENTARIA.

Thebani viri prudentissimi ex civitate The-
bae in Graecia finxerunt huiusmodi similacra
ante Deorum altaria sedentia, omnia manibus
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [g3r p101]truncatis praeter supremum manus quidem ha-
bentem, sed obcaecatum. Exprimere tali figu-
ra volentes, summae potestatis atque boni Se-
natus exemplum, sedent autem vel ideo, quia
Iudices graves quietos & constantes esse
oportet, nec facil commoveri, ut habetur apud
Iure consultos, in Lege observandum. ff.[2] de officio
Praesid. Vel quia semper observatum, ut pote-
stas seu Iudices pro tribunali sederent, ut iuri-
bus clare expressum. c. fin. de re iudic. lib. 6. Lex
qui pro tribunali. ff[3]. eodem titulo. Sic etiam alibi, & in
sacris Bibliis videre est, ex verbis Davidis in-
quientis. Ex omnibus autem filiis meis elegit
Dominus Salomonem, ut sederet in trono Re-
gni & c. 1 . Paralipomenorum 28. Carent etiam manibus,
ne videlicet Ius dicentes vel Senatores acci-
piant munera, seu donis aut promissis cor-
rumpi patiantur, quod & Legibus & poenis
hodie prohibetur, ut in Lege plebiscito. ff[4]. de officio
Praesid. & gravius in Authentico[5] scriptum est exem-
plar. quapropter. in fine Collationis[6] 2. Quod au-
tem horum Princeps caecus sit, significatur il-
lum auribus tantm absque omni affectu seu
personarum respectu, constanter, ac iust Sena-
tus decreta iussaque peragere debere, hoc ut
etiam hodie fiat, iureiurando adstringendos
esse Iudices omnes minores sancitum est, in
Authentico ius iurandum quod potesta. ab his. . &
aequus, Collatio 2. Praeter eos qui superiorem non
Link to an image of this page Link to an image of this page [g3v -p102]recognoscunt. His tamen si secus fecerint ter-
ribilius iudicium erit. Deo nanque inspectore ad
hibito causas proferet dirimendas, ut in Lege rem
non novam. . cm igitur, in fine Codicis de Iudic. [7]

Notes:

1. This is Thebes in Egypt. See Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 10; also Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.

2. 'ff.' refers to the Digest (usually D), part of Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis. The Emperor (also Saint) Justinian I (482/483-565) was responsible for a recodification of Roman Law. For more information on methods of referencing see O. F. Robinson, Sources of Roman Law (London: Routledge, 1997), esp. pp. 56-60. As can be observed, earlier practice was to cite according to abbreviated forms of the first sentence of each fragment, whereas now numbers are used.

3. See note above.

4. See note above.

5. The Authenticum was one version of Justinian’s Novels, see Robinson above, p. 59.

6. The Collatio legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum, a legal compilation in which each title is related to a text from the Septuagint. See Robinson above, p. 65.

7. The Codex or Code (usually CJ) is part of Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis. See Robinson above.


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