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Beacon Lights of History, Volume III by John Lord

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Governments and laws
Oriental laws
Priestly jurisprudence
The laws of Lycurgus
The laws of Solon
The Ecclesia at Athens
Struggle between patricians and plebeians at Rome
Tribunes of the people
Roman citizens
The Roman senate
The Roman constitution
Imperial power
The Twelve Tables
Roman lawyers
Jurisprudence under emperors
Code, Pandects, and Institutes
Roman citizenship
Laws pertaining to marriage
Extent of paternal power
Transfer of property
The courts
Penal statutes
Personal rights
Security of property



Early architecture
Egyptian monuments
The Temple of Karnak
The pyramids
Babylonian architecture
Indian architecture
Greek architecture
The Doric order
The Parthenon
The Ionic order
The Corinthian order
Roman architecture
The arch
Greek sculpture
Statue of Zeus
Roman sculpture
Greek painters
The decline of art



Ancient astronomy
Chaldaean astronomers
Egyptian astronomy
The Greek astronomers
The Roman astronomers
Empirical science
Physical science



Mechanical arts
Material life in Egypt
Domestic utensils
Houses and furniture
Glass manufacture
Linen fabrics
Paper manufacture
Leather and tanners
Carpenters and boat-builders
Field sports
Ornaments of dress
Greek arts
Roman luxuries
Material wonders
Great cities
Roman roads
Ancient Rome
Architectural wonders
Roman monuments
Roman spectacles
Gladiatorial shows
Roman triumphs



The tendency to violence and war
Early wars
Progress in the art of war
Egyptian armies
Military weapons
Chariots of war
Persian armies, Cyrus
Greek warfare
Spartan phalanx
Alexander the Great
Roman armies
Hardships of Roman soldiers
Military discipline
The Roman legion
Importance of the infantry
The cavalry
Military engines
Ancient fortifications
Military officers
The praetorian cohort
Roman camps
Consolidation of Roman power



Condition of Roman society when Cicero was born
His education and precocity
He adopts the profession of the law
His popularity as an orator
Elected Quaestor; his Aedileship
Prosecution of Verres
His letters to Atticus; his vanity
His Praetorship; declines a province
His Consulship; conspiracy of Catiline
Banishment of Cicero: his weakness; his recall
His law practice; his eloquence
His provincial government
His return to Rome
His fears in view of the rivalry between Caesar and Pompey
Sides with Pompey
Death of Tullia and divorce of Terentia
Second marriage of Cicero
Literary labors: his philosophical writings
His detestation of Imperialism
His philippics against Antony
His proscription, flight, and death
His great services
Character of his eloquence
His artistic excellence of style
His learning and attainments; his character
His immortal legacy



Why Cleopatra represents the woman of Paganism
Glory of Ancient Rome
Paganism recognizes the body rather than the soul
Ancestors of Cleopatra
The wonders of Alexandria
Cleopatra of Greek origin
The mysteries of Ancient Egypt
Early beauty and accomplishments of Cleopatra
Her attractions to Caesar
Her residence in Rome
Her first acquaintance with Antony
The style of her beauty
Her character
Character of Antony
Antony and Cleopatra in Cilicia
Magnificence of Cleopatra
Infatuation of Antony
Motives of Cleopatra
Antony's gifts to Cleopatra
Indignation of the Romans
Antony gives up his Parthian expedition
Returns to Alexandria
Contest with Octavius
Battle of Actium
Wisdom of Octavius
Death of Antony
Subsequent conduct of Cleopatra
Nature of her love for Antony
Immense sacrifices of Antony
Tragic fate of Cleopatra
Frequency of suicide at Rome
Immorality no bar to social position in Greece and Rome
Dulness of home in Pagan antiquity
Drudgeries of women
Influence of women on men
Paganism never recognized the equality of women with men
It denied to them education
Consequent degradation of women
Paganism without religious consolation
Did not recognize the value of the soul
And thus took no cognizance of the higher aspirations of man
The revenge of woman under degradation
Women, under Paganism, took no interest in what elevates society
Men, therefore, fled to public amusements
No true society under Paganism
Society only created by Christianity



Glories of the ancient civilization
A splendid external deception
Moral evils
Imperial despotism
Prostration of liberties
Some good emperors
Disproportionate fortunes
Luxurious living
General extravagance
Pride and insolence of the aristocracy
Gibbon's description of the nobles
The plebeian class
Hopelessness and disgrace of poverty
Popular superstitions
The slaves
The curse of slavery
Degradation of the female sex
Bitter satires of Juvenal
Games and festivals
Gladiatorial shows
General abandonment to pleasure
The baths
General craze for money-making
Universal corruption
Saint Paul's estimate of Roman vices
Decline and ruin a logical necessity
The Sibylline prophecy



Cleopatra Tests the Poison which She Intends for Her
Own Destruction on Her Slaves.... _Frontispiece_
_After the painting by Alexander Cabanel_.

Justinian Orders the Compilation of the Pandects
_After the painting by Benjamin Constant_.

The Temple of Karnak
_After a photograph_.

The Laocooen
_After the photograph from the statue in the Vatican, Rome_.

The Death of Archimedes
_After the painting by E. Vimont_.

Race of Roman Chariots
_After the painting by V. Checa_.

Sale of Slaves in a Roman Camp
_After the painting by R. Coghe_.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
_From the bust in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence_.

Cleopatra Obtains an Interview with Caesar
_After the painting by J.L. Gerome_.

Death of Cleopatra
_After the painting by John Collier_.

A Roman Bacchanal
_After the painting by W. Kotarbinski_.



624 B.C.-550 A.D.

There is not much in ancient governments and laws to interest us, except
such as were in harmony with natural justice, and were designed for the
welfare of all classes in the State. A jurisprudence founded on the
edicts of absolute kings, or on the regulations of a priestly caste, is
necessarily partial, and may be unenlightened. But those laws which are
gradually enacted for the interests of the whole body of the
people,--for the rich and poor, the powerful and feeble alike,--have
generally been the result of great and diverse experiences, running
through centuries, the work of wise men under constitutional forms of
government. The jurisprudence of nations based on equity is a growth or
development according to public wants and necessities, especially in
countries having popular liberty and rights, as in England and the
United States.

We do not find in the history of ancient nations such a jurisprudence,
except in the free States of Greece and among the Romans, who had a
natural genius or aptitude for government, and where the people had a
powerful influence in legislation, until even the name of liberty was
not invoked.

Among the Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians the only laws were the
edicts of kings or the regulations of priests, mostly made with a view
of cementing their own power, except those that were dictated by
benevolence or the pressing needs of the people, who were ground down
and oppressed, and protected only as slaves were once protected in the
Southern States of America. Wise and good monarchs doubtless issued
decrees for the benefit of all classes, such as conscience or knowledge
dictated, whenever they felt their great responsibilities, as in some of
the absolute monarchies of Europe; but they never issued their decrees
at the suggestions or demands of those classes for whom the laws were
made. The voice of the people was ignored, except so far as it moved the
pity or appealed to the hearts and consciences of their rulers; the
people had, and claimed, no _rights_. The only men to whom rulers
listened, or by whom they were controlled, were those whom they chose as
counsellors and ministers, who were supposed to advise with a view to
the sovereign's benefit, and that of the empire generally.

The same may be said in general of other Oriental monarchies,
especially when embarked in aggressive wars, where the will of the
monarch was supreme and unresisted, as in Persia. In India and China the
government was not so absolute, since it was checked by feudatory
princes, almost independent like the feudal barons and dukes of
mediaeval Europe.

Nor was there probably among Oriental nations any elaborate codification
of the decrees and laws as in Greece and Rome, except by the priests for
their ritual service, like that which marked the jurisprudence of the
Israelites. There were laws against murder, theft, adultery, and other
offences, since society cannot exist anywhere without such laws; but
there was no complicated jurisprudence produced by the friction of
competing classes striving for justice and right, or even for the
interests of contending parties. We do not look to Egypt or to China for
wise punishment of ordinary crimes; but we do look to Greece and Rome,
and to Rome especially, for a legislation which shall balance the
complicated relations of society on principles of enlightened reason.
Moreover, those great popular rights which we now most zealously defend
have generally been extorted in the strife of classes and parties,
sometimes from kings, and sometimes from princes and nobles. Where there
has been no opposition to absolutism these rights have not been secured;
but whenever and wherever the people have been a power they have
imperiously made their wants known, and so far as they have been
reasonable they have been finally secured,--perhaps after angry
expostulations and, disputations.

Now, it is this kind of legislation which is remarkable in the history
of Greece and Rome, secured by a combination of the people against the
ruling classes in the interests of justice and the common welfare, and
finally endorsed and upheld even by monarchs themselves. It is from this
legislation that modern nations have learned wisdom; for a permanent law
in a free country may be the result of a hundred years of discussion or
contention,--a compromise of parties, a lesson in human experience. As
the laws of Greece and Rome alone among the ancients are rich in moral
wisdom and adapted more or less to all nations and ages in the struggle
for equal rights and wise social regulations, I shall confine myself to
them. Besides, I aim not to give useless and curious details, but to
show how far in general the enlightened nations of antiquity made
attainments in those things which we call civilization, and particularly
in that great department which concerns so nearly all human
interests,--that of the regulation of mutual social relations; and this
by modes and with results which have had their direct influence upon our
modern times.

When we consider the native genius of the Greeks, and their marvellous
achievements in philosophy, literature, and art, we are surprised that
they were so inferior to the Romans in jurisprudence,--although in the
early days of the Roman republic a deputation of citizens was sent to
Athens to study the laws of Solon. But neither nations nor individuals
are great in everything. Before Solon lived, Lycurgus had given laws to
the Spartans. This lawgiver, one of the descendants of Hercules, was
born, according to Grote, about eight hundred and eighty years before
Christ, and was the uncle of the reigning king. There is, however, no
certainty as to the time when he lived; it was probably about the period
when Carthage was founded by the Phoenicians. He instituted the Spartan
senate, and gave an aristocratic form to the constitution. But the
senate, composed of about thirty old men who acted in conjunction with
the two kings, did not differ materially from the council of chiefs, or
old men, found in other ancient Grecian States; the Spartan chiefs
simply modified or curtailed the power of the kings. In the course of
time the senate, with the kings included in it, became the governing
body of the State, and this oligarchical form of government lasted
several hundred years. We know but little of the especial laws given by
Lycurgus. We know the distinctions of society,--citizens and helots,
and their mutual relations,--the distribution of lands to check luxury,
the public men, the public training of youth, the severe discipline to
which all were subjected, the cruelty exercised towards slaves, the
attention given to gymnastic exercises and athletic sports,--in short,
the habits and customs of the people rather than any regular system of
jurisprudence. Lycurgus was the trainer of a military brotherhood rather
than a law-giver. Under his regime the citizen belonged to the State
rather than to his family, and all the ends of the State were warlike
rather than peaceful,--not looking to the settlement of quarrels on
principles of equity, or a development of industrial interests, which
are the great aims of modern legislation.

The influence of the Athenian Solon on the laws which affected
individuals is more apparent than that of the Spartan Lycurgus, the
earliest of the Grecian legislators. But Solon had a predecessor in
Athens itself,--Draco, who in 624 was appointed to reduce to writing the
arbitrary decisions of the archons, thus giving a form of permanent law
and a basis for a court of appeal. Draco's laws were extraordinarily
severe, punishing small thefts and even laziness with death. The
formulation of any system of justice would have, as Draco's did, a
beneficial influence on the growth of the State; but the severity of
these bloody laws caused them to be hated and in practice neglected,
until Solon arose. Solon was born in Athens about 638 B.C., and
belonged to the noblest family of the State. He was contemporary with
Pisistratus and Thales. His father having lost his property, Solon
applied himself to merchandise,--always a respectable calling in a
mercantile city. He first became known as a writer of love poems; then
came into prominence as a successful military commander of volunteer
forces in a disastrous war; and at last he gained the confidence of his
countrymen so completely that in a period of anarchy, distress, and
mutiny,--the poor being so grievously oppressed by the rich that a sixth
part of the produce of land went to the landlord,--he was chosen archon,
with authority to revise the laws, and might have made himself king. He
abolished the custom of selling the body of a debtor for debt, and even
annulled debts in a state of general distress,--which did not please the
rich, nor even the poor, since they desired a redivision of lands such
as Lycurgus had made in Sparta. He repealed the severe laws of Draco,
which inflicted capital punishment for so many small offences, retaining
the extreme penalty only for murder and treason. In order further to
promote the interests of the people, he empowered any man whatever to
enter an action for one that was injured. He left the great offices of
state, however, in the hands of the rich, giving the people a share in
those which were not so important. He re-established the council of the
Areopagus, composed of those who had been archons, and nine were
appointed annually for the general guardianship of the laws; but he
instituted another court or senate of four hundred citizens, for the
cognizance of all matters before they were submitted to the higher
court. Although the poorest and most numerous class were not eligible
for office, they had the right of suffrage, and could vote for the
principal officers. It would at first seem that the legislation of Solon
gave especial privileges to the rich, but it is generally understood
that he was the founder of the democracy of Athens. He gave the
Athenians, not the best possible code, but the best they were capable of
receiving. He intended to give to the people as much power as was
strictly needed, and no more; but in a free State the people continually
encroach on the privileges of the rich, and thus gradually the chief
power falls into their hands.

Whatever the power which Solon gave to the people, and however great
their subsequent encroachments, it cannot be doubted that he was the
first to lay the foundations of constitutional government,--that is, one
in which the people took part in legislation and in the election of
rulers. The greatest benefit which he conferred on the State was in the
laws which gave relief to poor debtors, those which enabled people to
protect themselves by constitutional means, and those which prohibited
fathers from selling their daughters and sisters for slaves,--an
abomination which had long disgraced the Athenian republic.

Some of Solon's laws were of questionable utility. He prohibited the
exportation of the fruits of the soil in Attica, with the exception of
olive-oil alone,--a regulation difficult to be enforced in a mercantile
State. Neither would he grant citizenship to immigrants; and he released
sons from supporting their parents in old age if the parents had
neglected to give them a trade. He encouraged all developments of
national industries, knowing that the wealth of the State depended on
them. Solon was the first Athenian legislator who granted the power of
testamentary bequests when a man had no legitimate children. Sons
succeeded to the property of their parents, with the obligation of
giving a marriage dowry to their sisters. If there were no sons, the
daughters inherited the property of their parents; but a person who had
no children could bequeath his property to whom he pleased. Solon
prohibited costly sacrifices at funerals; he forbade evil-speaking of
the dead, and indeed of all persons before judges and archons; he
pronounced a man infamous who took part in a sedition.

When this enlightened and disinterested man had finished his work of
legislation, 494 B.C., he visited Egypt and Cyprus, and devoted his
leisure to the composition of poems. He also, it is said, when a
prisoner in the hands of the Persians, visited Croesus, the rich king of
Lydia, and gave to him an admonitory lesson on the vicissitudes of life.
After a prolonged absence, Solon returned to Athens about the time of
the usurpation of his kinsman Peisistratus (560 B.C.), who, however,
suffered the aged legislator and patriot to go unharmed, and even
allowed most of his laws to remain in force.

The constitution and laws of Athens continued substantially for about a
hundred years after the archonship of Solon, when the democratic party
under Cleisthenes gained complete ascendency. Some modification of the
laws was then made. The political franchise was extended to all free
native Athenians. The command of the military forces was given to ten
generals, one from each tribe, instead of being intrusted to one of the
archons. The Ecclesia, a formal assembly of the citizens, met more
frequently. The people were called into direct action as _dikasts_, or
jurors; all citizens were eligible to the magistracy, even to the
archonship; ostracism,--which virtually was exile without
disgrace,--became a political necessity to check the ascendency of

Such were the main features of the constitution and jurisprudence of
Athens when the struggle between the patricians and plebeians of Rome
began, to which we now give our attention. It was the real beginning of
constitutional liberty in Rome. Before this time the government was in
the hands either of kings or aristocrats. The patricians were
descendants of the original Latin, Sabine, and Etruscan families; the
plebeians were the throng of common folk brought in by conquest or later
immigration,--mostly of Latin origin. The senate was the ruling power
after the expulsion of the kings, and senators were selected from the
great patrician families, who controlled by their wealth and influence
the popular elections, the army and navy, and all foreign relations.
Consuls, the highest magistrates, who commanded the armies, were
annually elected by the people; but for several centuries the consuls
belonged to great families. The constitution was essentially
aristocratic, and the aristocracy was based on wealth. Power was in the
hands of nobles, whether their ancestors were patricians or plebeians,
although in the early ages of the Republic they were mostly patricians
by birth. But with the growth of Rome new families that were not
descended from the ancient tribes became prominent,--like the Claudii,
the Julii, and the Servilii,--and were incorporated with the nobility.
There are very few names in Roman history before the time of Marius
which did not belong to this noble class. The _plebs_, or common people,
had at first no political privileges whatever, not even the right of
suffrage, and were not allowed to marry into patrician rank. Indeed,
they were politically and socially oppressed.

The first great event which gave the plebs protection and political
importance was the appointment of representatives called "tribunes of
the people,"--a privilege extorted from the patricians. The tribunes had
the right to be present at the deliberations of the senate; their
persons were inviolable, and they had the power of veto over obnoxious
laws. Their power continually increased, until they were finally elected
from the senatorial body. In 421 B.C. the plebs had gained sufficient
influence to establish the _connubium_, by which they were allowed to
intermarry with patricians. In the same year they were admitted to the
quaestorship, which office entitled the possessor to a seat in the
senate. The quaestors had charge of the public money. In 336 B.C. the
plebeians obtained the praetorship, a judicial office.

In the year 286 B.C. the distinctions vanished between plebeians and
patricians, and the term _populus_ instead of _plebs_, was applied to
all Roman people alike. Originally the _populus_ comprised strictly
Roman citizens, those who belonged to the original tribes, and who had
the right of suffrage. When the plebeians obtained access to the great
offices of the state, the senate represented the whole people as it
formerly represented the _populus_, and the term _populus_ was enlarged
to embrace the entire community.

The senate was an august body, and was very powerful. It was both
judicial and legislative, and for several centuries was composed of
patricians alone. Its members always belonged to the aristocracy,
whether of patrician or plebeian descent, and were supposed to be rich.
Under Augustus it required one million two hundred thousand sesterces
annually to support the senatorial dignity. The senate, the members of
which were chosen for life, had the superintendence of matters of
religion and foreign relations; it commanded the levies of troops; it
regulated duties and taxes; it gave audience to ambassadors; it
determined upon the way that war should be conducted; it decreed to what
provinces governors should be sent; it declared martial law in the
appointment of dictators; and it decreed triumphs to fortunate generals.
The senators, as a badge of distinction, wore upon their tunics a broad
purple stripe, and they had the privilege of the best seats in the
theatres. Their decisions were laws _(leges)._ A large part of them had
held curule offices, which entitled them to a seat in the senate for
life. The curule officers were the consuls, the praetors, the aediles,
the quaestors, the tribunes; so that an able senator was sure of a great
office in the course of his life. A man could scarcely be a senator
unless he had held a great office, nor could he often have held a great
office unless he were a senator. Thus it would seem that the Roman
constitution for three hundred years after the expulsion of the kings
was essentially aristocratic. The _plebs_ had but small consideration
till the time of the Gracchi.

But after the institution of tribunes a change in the constitution
gradually took place, so that it was neither aristocratic nor popular
exclusively, but was composed of both elements, and was a system of
balance of power between the various classes. The more complete the
balance of power, the closer is the resemblance to a constitutional
government. When one class acted as a check against another class, as
gradually came to pass, until the subversion of liberties by successful
generals, the senate, the magistrates, and the people in their
assemblies shared between them the political power, but the senate had a
preponderating influence. The judicial, the legislative, and the
executive authority was as well defined in Roman legislation as it is in
English or American. No person was above the authority of the laws; no
one class could subvert the liberties and prerogatives of another
class,--even the senate could not override the constitution. The
consuls, elected by the centuries, presided over the senate and over the
assemblies of the people. There was no absolute power exercised at Rome
until the subversion of the constitution, except by dictators chosen by
the senate in times of imminent danger. Nor could senators elect members
of their own body; the censors alone had the right of electing from the
ex-magistrates, and of excluding such as were unworthy. The consuls
could remain in office but a year, and could be called to account when
their terms of office had expired. The tribunes of the people ultimately
could prevent a consul from convening the senate, could seize a consul
and imprison him, and could veto an ordinance of the senate itself. The
nobles had no exclusive privilege like the feudal aristocracy of
mediaeval Europe, although it was their aim to secure the high
magistracies to the members of their own body. The term _nobilitas_
implied that some one of a man's ancestors had filled a curule
magistracy. A patrician, long before the reforms of the Gracchi, had
become a man of secondary importance, but the nobles were aristocrats to
the close of the republic, and continued to secure the highest offices;
they prevented their own extinction by admitting into their ranks those
who distinguished themselves,--that is, exercising their influence in
the popular elections to secure the magistracies from among themselves.

The Roman constitution then, as gradually developed by the necessities
and crises that arose, which I have not space to mention, was a
wonderful monument of human wisdom. The nobility were very powerful from
their wealth and influence, but the people were not ground down. There
were no oppressive laws to reduce them to practical slavery; what rights
they gained they retained. They constantly extorted new privileges,
until they were sufficiently powerful to be courted by demagogues. It
was the demagogues, generally aristocratic ones, like Catiline and
Caesar, who subverted the liberties of the people by buying votes. But
for nearly five hundred years not a man arose whom the Roman people
feared, and the proud symbol "SPQR," on the standards of the armies of
the republic, bore the name of the Roman Senate and People to the ends
of the earth.

When, however, the senate came to be made up of men whom the great
generals selected; when the tribunes played into the hands of the very
men they were created to oppose; when the high-priest of a people,
originally religious, was chosen politically and without regard to moral
or religious consideration; when aristocratic nobles left their own
ranks to steal the few offices which the people controlled,--then the
constitution, under which the Romans had advanced to the conquest of the
world, became subverted, and the empire was a consolidated despotism.

Under the emperors there was no constitution, since they combined in
their own persons all the great offices of state, and controlled the
senate, the army, the tribunals of the law, the distant provinces, the
city itself, and regulated taxes and imposed burdens as they pleased.
The senate lost its independence, the courts their justice, the army its
spirit, and the people their hopes. And yet the old forms remained; the
senate met as in the days of the Gracchi, and there were consuls and
praetors as before.

However much we may deplore the subversion of the Roman constitution and
the absolute reign of the emperors, in which most historians see a
political necessity, there was yet under these emperors, whether good or
bad, the reign of law, the bequest of five hundred years' experience.
The emperors reigned despotically, but under the forms of legislation.
Nor did they attempt to subvert laws which did not interfere with their
own political power. What is called jurisprudence they even improved, as
that later imperial despot Napoleon gave a code to the nation he ruled.
It is this science of jurisprudence, for which the Romans had a genius,
that gives them their highest claim to be ranked among the benefactors
of mankind. They created legal science. Its aim was justice,--equity in
the relations between man and man. This was the pride of the Roman
world, even under the rule of tyrants and madmen, and this has survived
all the calamities of fifteen hundred years. The Roman laws--founded by
the Republic, but symmetrically completed by the Empire--have more
powerfully affected the interests of civilization than have the
philosophy and arts of Greece. Roman jurisprudence was not perfectly
developed until five hundred years after the Christian era, when
Justinian consolidated it into the Code, the Pandects, and the
Institutes. The classical jurists, like Gaius, Ulpian, and Paulus, may
have laid the foundation, but the superstructure was raised under the
auspices of the imperial despots.

The earliest code of Roman laws was called the Twelve Tables, framed
from the report of the commissioners sent to Athens and other Greek
States, to collect what was most useful in their legal systems. The laws
of the Twelve Tables were the basis of all the Roman laws, civil and
religious. But the edicts of the praetors, who were the great equity
judges as well as the common-law magistrates, proclaimed certain changes
which custom and the practice of the courts had introduced; and these,
added to the _leges populi_, or laws proposed by the consul and passed
by the centuries, the _plebiscita_, or laws proposed by the tribunes
and passed by the tribes, and the _senatus consulta,_ or decrees of the
senate, gradually swelled the laws to a great number. Three thousand
engraved plates of brass containing these various laws were deposited in
the capitol.

Subtleties and fictions were in the course of litigations introduced by
the lawyers to defeat the written statutes, and jurisprudence became
complicated as early as the time of Cicero. Even the opinions of eminent
lawyers were adopted by the legal profession as authoritative, and were
recognized by the courts. The evils of a complicated jurisprudence were
so evident in the seventh century of the city, that Q. Mucius Scaevola,
a great lawyer, when consul, published a scientific elaboration of the
civil law. Cicero studied law under him, and his contemporaries, Varus
and Aelius Gallus, wrote learned treatises, from which extracts appear
in the Digest made under the Emperor Justinian, 528 A.D. Julius Caesar
contemplated a complete revision of the laws, but did not live long
enough to carry out his intentions. His legislation, so far as he
directed his mind to it, was very just. Among other laws established by
him was one which ordained that creditors should accept lands as payment
for their outstanding debts, according to the value determined by
commissioners. In his time the relative value of money had changed, and
was greatly diminished. The most important law of Augustus, deserving of
all praise, was that which related to the manumission of slaves; but he
did not interfere with the social relations of the people after he had
deprived them of political liberty. He once attempted, by his _Lex
Julia_, to counteract the custom which then prevailed, of abstaining
from legal marriage and substituting concubinage instead, by which the
free population declined; but this attempt to improve the morals of the
people met with such opposition from the tribes and centuries that the
next emperor abolished popular assemblies altogether, which Augustus had
feared to do. The senate in the time of the emperors, composed chiefly
of lawyers and magistrates, and entirely dependent upon them, became the
great fountain of law. By the original constitution the people were the
source of power, and the senate merely gave or refused its approbation
to the laws proposed; but under the emperors the _comitia_, or popular
assemblies, disappeared, and the senate passed decrees which had the
force of laws, subject to the veto of the Emperor. It was not until the
time of Septimus Severus and Caracalla (second century A.D.) that the
legislative action of the senate ceased, and the edicts and rescripts of
emperors took the place of all legislation.

The golden age of Roman jurisprudence was from the birth of Cicero to
the reign of the Emperor Alexander Severus, 222 A.D.; before this period
it was an occult science, confined to praetors, pontiffs, and patrician
lawyers. But in the latter days of the republic law became the
fashionable study of Roman youth, and eminent masters arose. The first
great lawyer who left behind him important works was Q. Mucius Scaevola,
who wrote a treatise in eighteen books on the civil law. "He was," says
Cicero, "the most eloquent of jurists and the most learned of orators."
This work, George Long thinks, had a great influence on contemporaries
and on subsequent jurists, who followed it as a model. It is the oldest
work from which there are any excerpts in the Digest.

Servius Sulpicius, the friend of Cicero and his fellow-student in
oratory, surpassed his teachers Balbus and Gallus, and was the equal in
reputation of the great Mucius Scaevola, the Pontifex Maximus, who said
it was disgraceful for a patrician and a noble to be ignorant of the law
with which he had to do. Cicero ascribes the great superiority of
Servius as a lawyer to the study of philosophy, which disciplined and
developed his mind, and enabled him to deduce his conclusions from his
premises with logical precision. He left behind him one hundred and
eighty treatises, and had numerous pupils, among whom A. Ofilius and
Alfenus Varus, Cato, Julius Caesar, Antony, and Cicero were great
lawyers. Labeo, in the time of Augustus, wrote four hundred books on
jurisprudence, spending six months in the year in giving instruction to
his pupils and in answering legal questions, and the other six months in
the country in writing books. Like all the great Roman jurists, he was
versed in literature and philosophy, and so devoted to his profession
that he refused political office. His rival Capito was equally learned
in all departments of the law, and left behind him as many treatises as
Labeo. These two jurists were the founders of celebrated schools, like
the ancient philosophers, and each had distinguished followers. Gaius,
who flourished in the time of the Antonines, was a great legal
authority; and the recent discovery of his Institutes has revealed the
least mutilated fragment of Roman jurisprudence which exists, and one of
the most valuable, which sheds great light on ancient Roman law; it was
found in the library of Verona. No Roman jurist had a higher reputation
than Papinian, who was praefectus praetorio under Septimius Severus (193
A.D.),--an office which made him second only to the Emperor, a sort of
grand vizier, whose power extended over all departments of the State; he
was beheaded by Caracalla. The great commentator Cujacius declares that
he was the first of all lawyers who have been, or who are to be; that no
one ever surpassed him in legal knowledge, and no one will ever equal
him. Paulus was his contemporary, and held the same office as Papinian.
He was the most fertile of Roman law-writers, and there is more taken
from him in Justinian's Digest than from any other jurist, except
Ulpian. There are two thousand and eighty-three excerpts from this
writer,--one sixth of the whole Digest. No legal writer, ancient or
modern, has handled so many subjects. In perspicuity he is said to be
inferior to Ulpian, one of the most famous of jurists, who was his
contemporary. Ulpian has also exercised a great influence on modern
jurisprudence from the copious extracts of his writings in the Digest.
He was the chief adviser of Alexander Severus, and like Paulus was
praefectus praetorio. The number of excerpts in the Digest from him is
said to be two thousand four hundred and sixty-two, and they form a
third part of it. Some fragments of his writings remain. The last of the
great civilians associated with Gaius, Papinian, Paulus, and Ulpian, as
oracles of jurisprudence, was Modestinus, who was a pupil of Ulpian. He
wrote both in Greek and Latin. There are three hundred and forty-five
excerpts in the Digest from his writings, the titles of which show the
extent and variety of his labors.

These eminent lawyers shed great glory on the Roman civilization. In the
earliest times men sought distinction on the fields of battle, but in
the latter days of the republic honor was conferred for forensic
ability. The first pleaders of Rome were not jurisconsults, but
aristocratic "patrons," who looked after their "clients,"--men of lower
social grade, who in return for protection and assistance rendered
service, sometimes political by voting, sometimes pecuniary, sometimes
military. But when law became complicated, a class of men arose to
interpret it. These men were held in great honor, and reached by their
services the highest offices,--like Cicero and Hortensius. No
remuneration was given originally for forensic pleading beyond the
services which the client gave to a patron, but gradually the practice
of the law became lucrative. Hortensius, as well as Cicero, gained an
immense fortune; he had several villas, a gallery of paintings, a large
stock of wines, parks, fish-ponds, and aviaries. Cicero had villas in
all parts of Italy, a house on the Palatine with columns of Numidian
marble, and a fortune of twenty millions of sesterces, equal to eight
hundred thousand dollars. Most of the great statesmen of Rome in the
time of Cicero were either lawyers or generals. Crassus, Pompey, P.
Sextus, M. Marcellus, P. Clodius, Asinius Pollio, C. Cicero, M.
Antonius, Julius Caesar, Caelius, Brutus, Catullus, were all celebrated
for their forensic efforts. Candidates for the bar studied four years
under a distinguished jurist, and were required to pass a rigorous
examination. The judges were chosen from members of the bar, as well as
in later times the senators. The great lawyers were not only learned in
the law, but possessed great accomplishments. Varro was a lawyer, and
was the most learned man that Rome ever produced. But under the emperors
the lawyers were chiefly distinguished for their legal attainments, like
Paulus and Ulpian.

During this golden age of Roman jurisprudence many commentaries were
written on the Twelve Tables, the Perpetual Edict, the Laws of the
People, and the Decrees of the senate, as well as a vast mass of
treatises on every department of the law, most of which have perished.
The Institutes of Gaius, already mentioned, are the most valuable that
remain, and have thrown great light on some important branches
previously involved in obscurity. Their use in explaining the Institutes
of Justinian is spoken of very highly by Mackenzie, since the latter are
mainly founded on the long-lost work of Gaius. The great lawyers who
flourished from Trajan to Alexander Severus, like Gaius, Ulpian, Paulus,
Papinian, and Modestinus, had no successors who can be compared with
them, and their works became standard authorities in the courts of law.

After the death of Alexander Severus, 235 A.D., no great accession was
made to Roman law until Theodosius II., 438 A.D., caused the
constitutions, from Constantine to his own time, to be collected and
arranged in sixteen books. This was called the Theodosian Code, which
in the West was held in high esteem. It was very influential among the
Germanic nations, serving as the chief basis of their early legislation;
it also paved the way for the more complete codification that followed
in the Justinian Code, which superseded it.

To Justinian belongs the immortal glory of reforming the jurisprudence
of the Romans. "In the space of ten centuries," says Gibbon, "the
infinite variety of laws and legal opinions had filled many thousand
volumes, which no fortune could purchase, and no capacity could digest.
Books could not easily be found, and the judges, poor in the midst of
riches, were reduced to the exercise of their illiterate discretion."
The emperors had very early begun to issue ordinances, under the
authority of the various offices gathered into their hands; and these,
together with the answers to appeals from the lower courts made to the
emperors directly, or to the sort of supreme court which they
established, were called _imperial constitutions_ and _rescripts_.
Justinian determined to unite in one body all the rules of law, whatever
may have been their origin; and in the year 528 appointed ten
jurisconsults, among whom was the celebrated Tribonian, to select and
arrange the imperial constitutions and rescripts, leaving out what was
obsolete or useless or contradictory, and to make such alterations as
the circumstances required. This was called the _Code_, divided into
twelve books, and comprising the constitutions from Hadrian to
Justinian. It was published in fourteen months after it was undertaken.

Justinian thereupon authorized Tribonian, then quaestor, _vir magnificus
magisteria dignitate inter agentes decoratus,_--"for great titles were
now given to the officers of the crown,"--to prepare, with the
assistance of sixteen associates, a collection of extracts from the
writings of the most eminent jurists, so as to form a body of law for
the government of the empire, with power to select and omit and alter;
and this immense work was done in three years, and published under the
title of Digest, or Pandects. Says Lord Mackenzie:

"All the judicial learning of former times was laid under contribution
by Tribonian and his colleagues. Selections from the works of
thirty-nine of the ablest lawyers, scattered over two thousand separate
treatises, were collected in one volume; and care was taken to inform
posterity that three millions of lines were abridged and reduced in
these extracts to the modest number of one hundred and fifty thousand.
Among the selected jurists only three names belonged to the age of the
republic,--the civilians who flourished under the first emperors are
seldom appealed to; so that most of the writers whose works have
contributed to the Pandects lived within a period of one hundred years.
More than a third of the whole Pandects is from Ulpian, and next to him
the principal writers are Paulus, Papinian, Salvius Julianus, Pomponius,
Q. Cervidius Scaevola, and Gaius. Though the variety of subjects is
immense, the Digest has no claims to scientific arrangement. It is a
vast cyclopedia of heterogeneous law badly arranged; everything is
there, but everything is not in its proper place."

Neither the Digest nor the Code was adapted to elementary instruction;
it was therefore necessary to prepare a treatise on the principles of
Roman law. This was intrusted to Tribonian and two professors,
Theophilus and Dorotheus. It is probable that Tribonian merely
superintended the work, which was founded chiefly on the Institutes of
Gaius, divided into four books. It has been universally admired for its
method and elegant precision. It was intended merely as an introduction
to the Pandects and the Code, and was entitled the Institutes.

The _Novels_, or _New Constitutions, of Justinian_ were subsequently
published, being the new ordinances of the Emperor and the changes he
thought proper to make, and were therefore of high authority. The Code,
Pandects, Institutes, and Novels of Justinian comprise the Roman law as
received in Europe, in the form given by the school of Bologna, and is
called the "Corpus Juris Civilis." Savigny says:--

"It was in that form that the Roman law became the common law of Europe;
and when, four centuries later, other sources came to be added to it,
the _Corpus Juris_ of the school of Bologna had been so universally
received, and so long established as a basis of practice, that the new
discoveries remained in the domain of science, and served only for the
theory of the law. For the same reason, the Ante-Justinian law is
excluded from practice."

After Justinian the old texts were left to moulder as useless though
venerable, and they have nearly all disappeared. The Code, the Pandects,
and the Institutes were declared to be the only legitimate authority,
and alone were admitted to the tribunals or taught in the schools. The
rescripts of the early emperors recognized too many popular rights to
suit the despotic character of Justinian; and the older jurists, like
the Scaevolas, Sulpicius, and Labeo, were distasteful from their
sympathy with free institutions. Different opinions have been expressed
by the jurisconsults as to the merits of the Justinian collection. By
some it is regarded as a vast mass of legal lumber; by others, as a
beautiful monument of human labor. After the lapse of so many centuries
it is certain that a large portion of it is of no practical utility,
since it is not applicable to modern wants. But again, no one doubts
that it has exercised a great and good influence on moral and political
science, and introduced many enlightened views concerning the
administration of justice as well as the nature of civil government, and
thus has modified the codes of the Teutonic nations that sprang up on
the ruins of the old Roman world. It was used in the Greek empire until
the fall of Constantinople. It never entirely lost authority in Italy,
although it remained buried for centuries, till the discovery of the
Florentine copy of the Pandects at the siege of Amalfi in 1135. Peter
Valence, in the eleventh century, made use of it in a law-book which he

With the rise of the Italian cities, the study of Roman law revived, and
Bologna became the seat from which it spread over Europe. In the
sixteenth century the science of theoretical law passed from Italy to
France, under the auspices of Francis I., when Cujas, or Cujacius,
became the great ornament of the school of Bourges and the greatest
commentator on Roman law until Dumoulin appeared. Grotius, in Holland,
excited the same interest in civil law that Dumoulin did in France,
followed by eminent professors in Leyden and the German universities. It
was reserved for Pothier, in the middle of the eighteenth century, to
reduce the Roman law to systematic order,--one of the most gigantic
tasks that ever taxed the industry of man. The recent discoveries,
especially that made by Niebuhr of the long-lost work of Gaius, have
given a great impulse to the study of Roman law in Germany; and to this
impulse no one has contributed so greatly as Savigny of Berlin.

The great importance of the subject demands a more minute notice of the
principles of the Roman law than the limits of this work properly allow.
I shall therefore endeavor to abridge what has been written by eminent
authorities, taking as a basis the late work of Lord Mackenzie and the
learned and interesting essay of Professor Maine.

The Institutes of Justinian began with the law of persons, recognizing
the distinction of ranks. All persons are capable of enjoying civil
rights, but not all in the same degree. Greater privileges are allowed
to men than to women, to freemen than to slaves, to fathers than
to children.

In the eye of the law all Roman citizens were equal wherever they lived,
whether in the capital or the provinces. Citizenship embraced both
political and civil rights. Political rights had reference to the right
of voting in the comitia; but this was not considered the essence of
citizenship, which was the enjoyment of the _connubium_, and
_commercium_. By the former the citizen could contract a valid marriage
and acquire the rights resulting from it, particularly the paternal
power; by the latter he could acquire and dispose of property.
Citizenship was acquired by birth and by manumission; it was lost when a
Roman became a prisoner of war, or had been exiled for crime, or became
a citizen of another State. An unsullied reputation was required by law
for a citizen to exercise his rights to their full extent.

The Roman jurists acknowledged all persons originally free by natural
law; and while they recognized slavery, they ascribed the power of
masters entirely to the law and custom of nations. Persons taken in war
were considered at the absolute control of their captors, and were
therefore, _de facto_, slaves; the children of a female slave followed
the condition of their mother, and belonged to her master. But masters
could manumit their slaves, who thus became Roman citizens with some
restrictions. After the emancipation of a slave, he was bound to render
certain services to his former master as patron, and if the freedman
died intestate his property reverted to his patron.

Marriage was contracted by the simple consent of the parties, though in
early times equality of condition was required. The _lex Canuleia_,
A.U.C. 309, authorized connubium between patricians and plebeians, and
the _lex Julia_, A.U.C. 757, allowed it between freedmen and freeborn.
By the _conventio in manum_, a wife passed out of her family into that
of her husband, who acquired all her property; without it, the woman
remained in the power of her father, and retained the free disposition
of her property. Polygamy was not permitted; and relationship within
certain degrees rendered the parties incapable of contracting marriage.
(These rules as to forbidden degrees have been substantially adopted in
England.) Celibacy was discouraged. Concubinage was allowed, if a man
had not a wife, and provided the concubine was not the wife of another
man; this heathenish custom was abrogated by Justinian. The wife was
entitled to protection and support from her husband, and she retained
her property independent of him. On her marriage the father gave his
daughter a dowry in proportion to his means, the management of which,
with its usufruct during marriage, belonged to the husband; but he could
not alienate real estate without the wife's consent, and on the
dissolution of marriage the _dos_ reverted to the wife. Divorce existed
in all ages at Rome, and was very common at the beginning of the empire;
to check its prevalence, laws were passed inflicting severe penalties on
those whose bad conduct led to it. Every man, whether married or not,
could adopt children under certain restrictions, and they passed
entirely under paternal power. But the marriage relation among the
Romans did not accord after all with those principles of justice which
we see in other parts of their legislative code. The Roman husband, like
the father, was a tyrant. The facility of divorce destroyed mutual
confidence, and inflamed every trifling dispute; for a word or a
message or a letter or the mandate of a freedman was quite sufficient to
secure a separation. It was not until Christianity became the religion
of the empire that divorce could not be easily effected without a just
cause. This facility of divorce was a great stigma on the Roman laws,
and the degradation of woman was the principal consequence. But woman
never was honored in any Pagan land, although her condition at Rome was
better than it was at Athens. She always was regarded as a possession
rather than as a person; her virtue was mistrusted, and her aspirations
were scorned; she was hampered and guarded more like a slave than the
equal companion of man. But the progress of legislation, as a whole, was
in her favor, and she continued to gain new privileges until the fall of
the empire. The Roman Catholic Church regards marriage as one of the
sacraments, and through all the Middle Ages and down to our own day the
great authority of the Church has been one of the strongest supports of
that institution, as necessary to Christianity as to civilization. We
Americans have improved on the morality of Jesus, of the early and later
Church, and of the great nations of modern Europe; and in many of our
States persons are allowed to slip out of the marriage tie about as
easily as they get into it.

Nothing is more remarkable in the Roman laws than the extent of
paternal power. It was unjust, and bears the image of a barbarous age.
Moreover, it seems to have been coeval with the foundation of the city.
A father could chastise his children by stripes, by imprisonment, by
exile, by sending them to the country with chains on their feet. He was
even armed with the power of life and death. "Neither age nor rank,"
says Gibbon, "nor the consular office, could exempt the most illustrious
citizen from the bonds of filial subjection. Without fear, though not
without danger of abuse, the Roman legislators had reposed unbounded
confidence in the sentiments of paternal love, and the oppression was
tempered by the assurance that each generation must succeed in its turn
to the awful dignity of parent and master." By an express law of the
Twelve Tables a father could sell his children as slaves. But the abuse
of paternal power was checked in the republic by the censors, and
afterward by emperors. Alexander Severus limited the right of the father
to simple correction, and Constantine declared the father who should
kill his son to be guilty of murder. The rigor of parents in reference
to the disposition of the property of children was also gradually
relaxed. Under Augustus, the son could keep absolute possession of what
he had acquired in war; under Constantine, he could retain any property
acquired in the civil service, and all property inherited from the
mother could also be retained. In later times, a father could not give
his son or daughter to another by adoption without their consent. Thus
this _patria potestas_ was gradually relaxed as civilization advanced,
though it remained a peculiarity of Roman law to the latest times, and
was severer than is ever seen in the modern world. Fathers were bound to
maintain their children when they had no separate means to supply their
wants, and children were also bound to maintain their parents if in
want. These reciprocal duties, creditable to the Roman lawgivers, are
recognized in the French Code, but not in the English, which also
recognizes the right of a father to bequeath his whole estate to
strangers,--a thing which Roman fathers had not power to do. The age
when children attained majority among the Romans was twenty-five years.
Women were condemned to the perpetual tutelage of parents, husbands, or
guardians, as it was supposed they never could attain to the age of
reason and experience. The relation of guardian and ward was strictly
observed by the Romans. They made a distinction between the right to
govern a person and the right to manage his estate, although the tutor
or guardian could do both. If the pupil was an infant, the tutor could
act without the intervention of the pupil; if the pupil was above seven
years of age, he was considered to have an imperfect will. The youth
ceased to be a pupil, if a boy, at fourteen; if a girl, at twelve. The
tutor managed the estate of the pupil, but was liable for loss
occasioned by bad management. He could sell movable property when
expedient, but not real estate, without judicial authority. The tutor
named by the father was preferred to all others.

The Institutes of Justinian pass from persons to things, or the law
relating to real rights; in other words, that which pertains to
property. Some things common to all, like air, light, the ocean, and
things sacred, like temples and churches, are not classed as property.

Two things were required for the transfer of property, for it is the
essence of property that the owner of a thing should have the right to
transfer it,--first, the consent of the owner to transfer the thing upon
some just ground; and secondly, the actual delivery of the thing to the
person who is to acquire it. Movables were presumed to be the property
of the possessors, until positive evidence was produced to the contrary.
A prescriptive title to movables was acquired by possession for one
year, and to immovables by possession for two years. Undisturbed
possession for thirty years constituted in general a valid title.

When a Roman died, his heirs succeeded to all his property by hereditary
right. If he left no will, his estate devolved upon his relatives in a
certain order prescribed by law. The power of making a testament only
belonged to citizens above puberty. Children under the paternal power
could not make a will. Males above fourteen and females above twelve,
when not under power, could make wills without the authority of their
guardian; but pupils, lunatics, prisoners of war, criminals, and various
other persons were incapable of making a testament. The testator could
divide his property among his heirs in such proportions as he saw fit;
but if there was no distribution, all the heirs participated equally. A
man could disinherit either of his children by declaring his intentions
in his will, but only for grave reasons,--such as grievously injuring
his person or character or feelings, or attempting his life. No will was
effectual unless one or more persons were appointed heirs to represent
the deceased. Wills were required to be signed by the testator, or some
person for him, in the presence of seven witnesses who were Roman
citizens. If a will was made by a parent for distributing his property
solely among his children, no witnesses were required; and the ordinary
formalities were dispensed with among soldiers in actual service, and
during the prevalence of pestilence. The testament was opened in the
presence of the witnesses, or a majority of them; and after they had
acknowledged their seals a copy was made, and the original was deposited
in the public archives.

According to the Twelve Tables, the powers of a testator in disposing
of his property were unlimited; but in process of time, laws were
enacted to restrain immoderate or unnatural bequests. By the Falcidian
law, in the time of Augustus, no one could leave in legacies more than
three fourths of his estate, so that the heirs could inherit at least
one fourth. Again, a law was passed by which the descendants were
entitled to one third of the succession, and to one half if there were
more than four. In France, if a man die leaving one lawful child, he can
dispose of only half his estate by will; if he leaves two children, he
can dispose only of one third; if he leaves three or more children, then
he can dispose by will of only one fourth of his estate. In England, a
man can disinherit both his wife and children. These, and many other
matters,--bequests in trust, succession of men dying intestate, heirs at
law, etc.,--were regulated by the Romans in ways on which our modern
legislators have improved little or none.

In the matter of contracts the Roman law was especially comprehensive,
and the laws of France and Scotland are substantially based upon the
Roman system. The Institutes of Gaius and Justinian distinguish four
sorts of obligations,--_aut re, aut verbis, aut literis, aut consensu_.
Gibbon, in his learned chapter, prefers to consider the specific
obligations of men to each other under promises, benefits, and
injuries. Lord Mackenzie treats the subject in the order of the

"Obligations contracted _re_--by the intervention of _things_--are
called by the moderns real contracts, because they are not perfected
till something has passed from one party to another. Of this description
are the contracts of loan, deposit, and pledge,--security for
indebtedness. Till the subject is actually lent, deposited, or pledged,
it does not form the special contract of loan, deposit, or pledge."

Next to the perfection of contracts by _re_,--the intervention of
things,--were obligations contracted by _verbis_, spoken _words_, and by
_literis_, or writings. The _verborum obligatio_ was contracted by
uttering certain words of formal style,--an interrogation being put by
one party, and an answer given by the other. These stipulations were
binding. In England all guarantees must be in writing.

The _obligatio literis_ was a written acknowledgment of debt, chiefly
employed when money was borrowed; but the creditor could not sue upon a
note within two years from its date, without being called upon also to
prove that the money was in fact paid to the debtor.

Contracts perfected by consent, _consensu_, had reference to sale,
hiring; partnership, and mandate, or orders to be carried out by agents.
All contracts of sale were good without writing.

Acts which caused damage to another opened a new class of cases. The
law obliged the wrong-doer to make reparation, and this responsibility
extended to damages arising not only from positive acts, but from
negligence or imprudence. In cases of libel or slander, the truth of the
allegation might be pleaded in justification. In all cases it was
necessary to show that an injury had been committed maliciously; but if
damage arose in the exercise of a right, as killing a slave in
self-defence, no claim for reparation could be maintained. If any one
exercised a profession or trade for which he was not qualified, he was
liable to all the damage his want of skill or knowledge might
occasion,--a provision that some of our modern laws might advantageously
revive. When any damage was done by a slave or an animal, the owner of
the same was liable for the loss, though the mischief was done without
his knowledge and against his will. If anything was thrown from a window
giving on the public thoroughfare so as to injure any one by the fall,
the occupier was bound to repair the damage, though done by a stranger.
Legal claims might be transferred to a third person by sale, exchange,
or donation; but to prevent speculators from purchasing debts at low
prices, it was ordered that the assignee should not be entitled to exact
from the debtor more than he himself had paid to acquire the debt, with
interest,--a wise and just regulation.

By the ancient constitution, the king had the prerogative of
determining civil causes. The right then devolved on the consuls,
afterward on the praetor, and in certain cases on the curule and
plebeian ediles, who were charged with the internal police of the city.

The praetor, a magistrate next in dignity to the consuls, acted as
supreme judge of the civil courts, assisted by a council of
jurisconsults to determine questions in law. At first one praetor was
sufficient, but as the limits of the city and empire extended, he was
joined by a colleague. After the conquest of Sicily, Sardinia, and the
two Spains, new praetors were appointed to administer justice in the
provinces. The praetor held his court in the comitium, wore a robe
bordered with purple, sat in a curule chair, and was attended
by lictors.

The praetor delegated his power to three classes of judges, called
respectively _judex_, _arbiter_, and _recuperator_. When parties were at
issue about facts, it was the custom for the praetor to fix the question
of law upon which the action turned, and then to remit to a delegate, or
judge, to inquire into the facts and pronounce judgment according to
them. In the time of Augustus there were four thousand judices, who were
merely private citizens, generally senators or men of consideration. The
judex was invested by the magistrate with a judicial commission for a
single case only. After being sworn to duty, he received from the
praetor a formula containing a summary of all the points under
litigation, from which he was not allowed to depart. He was required not
merely to investigate facts, but to give sentence; and as law questions
were more or less mixed up with the case, he was allowed to consult one
or more jurisconsults. If the case was beyond his power to decide, he
could decline to give judgment. The arbiter, like the judex, received a
formula from the praetor, and seemed to have more extensive power. The
recuperators heard and determined cases, but the number appointed for
each case was usually three or five.

The _centumvirs_ constituted a permanent tribunal composed of members
annually elected, in equal numbers, from each tribe; and this tribunal
was presided over by the praetor, and divided into four chambers, which
under the republic was placed under the ancient quaestors. The
centumvirs decided questions of property, embracing a wide range of
subjects. The Romans had no class of men like the judges of modern
times; the superior magistrates were changed annually, and political
duties were mixed with judicial. The evil was partially remedied by the
institution of legal assessors, selected from the most learned
jurisconsults. Under the empire the praetors were greatly increased;
under Tiberius there were sixteen who administered justice, besides the
consuls, six ediles, and ten tribunes of the people. The Emperor himself
became the supreme judge, and he was assisted in the discharge of his
judicial duties by a council composed of the consuls, a magistrate of
each grade, and fifteen senators. At first, the duties of the praetorian
prefects were purely military, but finally they discharged important
judicial functions. The prefect of the city, in the time of the
emperors, was a great judicial personage, who heard appeals from the
praetors themselves.

In all cases brought before the courts, the burden of proof was with the
party asserting an affirmative fact. Proof by writing was generally
considered most certain, but proof by witnesses was also admitted.
Pupils, lunatics, infamous persons, interested parties, near relatives,
and slaves could not bear evidence, nor any person who had a strong
enmity against either party. The witnesses were required to give their
testimony on oath. In most cases two witnesses were enough to prove a
fact. When witnesses gave conflicting testimony, the judge regarded
those who were most worthy of credit rather than those who were most
numerous. In the English courts the custom used to be as with the
Romans, of refusing testimony from those who were interested; but this
has been removed. On the failure of regular proof, the Roman law allowed
a party to refer the facts in a civil action to the oath of his

Under the Roman republic there was no appeal in civil suits, but under
the emperors a regular system was established. Under Augustus there was
an appeal from all the magistrates to the prefect of the city, and from
him to the praetorian prefect or even to the Emperor. In the provinces
there was an appeal from the municipal magistrates to the governors, and
from them to the Emperor, as Paul appealed from Festus to Caesar. Under
Justinian no appeal was allowed from a suit which did not involve at
least twenty pounds in gold.

In regard to criminal courts among the Romans during the republic, the
only body which had absolute power of life and death was the _comitia
centuriata_. The senate had no jurisdiction in criminal cases, so far as
Roman citizens were concerned. It was only in extraordinary emergencies
that the senate, with the consuls, assumed the responsibility of
inflicting summary punishment. Under the emperors, the senate was armed
with the power of criminal jurisdiction; and as the senate was the tool
of the imperator, he could crush whomsoever he pleased.

As it was inconvenient, when Rome had become a very great city, to
convene the comitia for the trial of offenders, the expedient was
adopted of delegating the jurisdiction of the people to persons invested
with temporary authority, called _quaestors_. These were finally
established into regular and permanent courts, called _quaestores
perpetui_. Every case submitted to these courts was tried by a judge and
jury. It was the duty of the judge to preside and regulate proceedings
according to law; and it was the duty of the jury, after hearing the
evidence and pleadings, to decide on the guilt or innocence of the
accused. As many as fifty persons frequently composed the jury, whose
names were drawn out of an urn. Each party had a right to challenge a
certain number, and the verdict was decided by a majority of votes. At
first the judices were chosen from the senate, and afterward from the
equestrians, and then again from both orders. But in process of time the
quaestores perpetui gave place to imperial magistrates. The accused
defended himself in person or by counsel.

The Romans divided _crimes_ into public and private. Private crimes
could be prosecuted only by the party injured, and were generally
punished by pecuniary fines, as among the old Germanic nations.

Of public crimes the _crimen laesae majestatis_, or treason, was
regarded as the greatest; and this was punished with death and with
confiscation of goods, while the memory of the offender was declared
infamous. Greater severity could scarcely be visited on a culprit.
Treason comprehended conspiracy against the government, assisting the
enemies of Rome, and misconduct in the command of armies. Thus Manlius,
in spite of his magnificent services, was hurled from the Tarpeian
Rock, because he was convicted of an intention to seize upon the
government. Under the empire not only any attempt on the life of the
Emperor was treason, but disrespectful words or acts. The criminal was
even tried after death, that his memory might become infamous; and this
barbarous practice was perpetuated in France and Scotland as late as the
beginning of the seventeenth century. In England men have been executed
for treasonable words. Besides treason there were other crimes against
the State, such as a breach of the peace, extortion on the part of
provincial governors, embezzlement of public property, stealing sacred
things, bribery,--most of which offences were punished by pecuniary

But there were also crimes against individuals, which were punished with
the death penalty. Wilful murder, poisoning, and parricide were
capitally punished. Adultery was punished by banishment, besides a
forfeiture of considerable property; Constantine made it a capital
offence. Rape was punished with death and confiscation of goods, as in
England till a late period, when transportation for life became the
penalty. The punishments inflicted for forgery, coining base money, and
perjury were arbitrary. Robbery, theft, patrimonial damage, and injury
to person and property were private trespasses, and not punished by the
State. After a lapse of twenty years without accusation, crimes were
supposed to be extinguished. The Cornelian, Pompeian, and Julian laws
formed the foundation of criminal jurisprudence. This however never
attained the perfection that was seen in the Civil Code, in which the
full maturity of Roman wisdom was reached. The emperors greatly
increased the severity of punishments, as was probably necessary in a
corrupt state of society. After the decemviral laws fell into disuse,
the Romans in the days of the republic passed from extreme rigor to
great lenity, as is observable in the transition from the Puritan regime
to our own times in the United States. Capital punishment for several
centuries was exceedingly rare, and was frequently prevented by
voluntary exile. Under the empire, again, public executions were
frequent and revolting.

Fines were a common mode of punishment with the Romans, as with the
early Germans. Imprisonment in a public jail was rare, the custom of
bail being in general use. Although retaliation was authorized by the
Twelve Tables for bodily injuries, it was seldom exacted, since
pecuniary compensation was taken in lieu. Corporal punishments were
inflicted upon slaves, but rarely upon citizens, except for military
crimes; but Roman citizens could be sold into slavery for various
offences, chiefly military, and criminals were often condemned to labor
in the mines or upon public works. Banishment was common,--_aquae et
ignis interdictio_; and this was equivalent to the deprivation of the
necessities of life and incapacitating a person from exercising the
rights of citizenship. Under the emperors persons were confined often on
the rocky islands off the coast, or in a compulsory residence in a
particular place assigned. Thus Chrysostom was sent to a dreary place on
the banks of the Euxine, and Ovid was banished to Tomi. Death, when
inflicted, was by hanging, scourging, and beheading; also by strangling
in prison. Slaves were often crucified, and were compelled to carry
their cross to the place of execution. This was the most ignominious and
lingering of all deaths; it was abolished by Constantine, from reverence
to the sacred symbol. Under the emperors, execution took place also by
burning alive and exposure to wild beasts; it was thus the early
Christians were tormented, since their offence was associated with
treason. Persons of distinction were treated with more favor than the
lower classes, and their punishments were less cruel and ignominious;
thus Seneca, condemned for privity to treason, was allowed to choose his
mode of death. The criminal laws of modern European States followed too
often the barbarous custom of the Roman emperors until a recent date.
Since the French Revolution the severity of the penal codes has been
much modified.

The penal statutes of Rome however, as Gibbon emphatically remarks,
"formed a very small portion of the Code and the Pandects; and in all
judicial proceedings the life or death of the citizen was determined
with less caution and delay than the most ordinary question of covenant
or inheritance." This was owing to the complicated relations of society,
by which obligations are created or annulled, while duties to the State
are explicit and well known, being inscribed not only on tables of
brass, but on the conscience itself. It was natural, with the growth and
development of commerce and dominion, that questions should arise which
could not be ordinarily settled by ancient customs, and the practice of
lawyers and the decisions of judges continually raised new difficulties,
to be met only by new edicts. It is a pleasing fact to record, that
jurisprudence became more just and enlightened as it became more
intricate. The principles of equity were more regarded under the
emperors than in the time of Cato. It is in the application of these
principles that the laws of the Romans have obtained so high
consideration; their abuse consisted in the expense of litigation, and
the advantages which the rich thus obtained over the poor.

But if delays and forms led to an expensive and vexatious administration
of justice, these were more than compensated by the checks which a
complicated jurisprudence gave to hasty or partial decisions. It was in
the minuteness and precision of the forms of law, and in the foresight
with which questions were anticipated in the various transactions of
business, that the Romans in their civil and social relations were very
much on a level with modern times. It would be difficult to find in the
most enlightened of modern codes greater wisdom and foresight than
appear in the legacy of Justinian as to all questions pertaining to the
nature, the acquisition, the possession, the use, and the transfer of
property. Civil obligations are most admirably defined, and all
contracts are determined by the wisest application of the natural
principles of justice. Nothing can be more enlightened than the laws
which relate to leases, to sales, to partnerships, to damages, to
pledges, to hiring of work, and to quasi-contracts. The laws pertaining
to the succession to property, to the duties of guardians, to the rights
of wards, to legacies, to bequests in trust, and to the general
limitation of testamentary powers were singularly clear. The regulations
in reference to intestate succession, and to the division of property
among males and females, were wise and just; we find no laws of entail,
no unequal rights, no absurd distinction between brothers, no peculiar
privileges given to males over females, or to older sons. Particularly
was everything pertaining to property and contracts and wills guarded
with the most jealous care. A man was sure of possessing his own, and of
transmitting it to his children. In the Institutes of Justinian we see
on every page a regard to the principles of natural justice: but
moreover we find that malicious witnesses should be punished; that
corrupt judges should be visited with severe penalties; that libels and
satires should subject their authors to severe chastisement; that every
culprit should be considered innocent until his guilt was proved.

No infringement on personal rights could be tolerated. A citizen was
free to go where he pleased, to do whatsoever he would, if he did not
trespass on the rights of another; to seek his pleasure unobstructed,
and pursue his business without vexatious incumbrances. If he was
injured or cheated, he was sure of redress; nor could he be easily
defrauded with the sanction of the laws. A rigorous police guarded his
person, his house, and his property; he was supreme and uncontrolled
within his family. This security to property and life and personal
rights was guaranteed by the greatest tyrants. Although political
liberty was dead, the fullest personal liberty was enjoyed under the
emperors, and it was under their sanction that jurisprudence in some of
the most important departments of life reached perfection. If injustice
was suffered it was not on account of the laws, but owing to the
depravity of men, the venality of the rich, and the tricks of lawyers;
the laws were wise and equal. The civil jurisprudence of the Romans
could be copied with safety by the most enlightened of European States;
indeed, it is already the foundation of their civil codes, especially in
France and Germany.

That there were some features in the Roman laws which we in these
Christian times cannot indorse, and which we reprehend, cannot be
denied. Under the republic there was not sufficient limit to paternal
power, and the _pater familias_ was necessarily a tyrant. It was unjust
that the father should control the property of his son, and cruel that
he was allowed an absolute control not only over his children, but also
his wife. Yet the limits of paternal power were more and more curtailed,
so that under the later emperors fathers were not allowed to have more
authority than was perhaps expedient.

The recognition of slavery as a domestic institution was another blot,
and slaves could be treated with the grossest cruelty and injustice
without possibility of redress. But here the Romans were not sinners
beyond all other nations, and our modern times have witnessed a
parallel. It was not the existence of slavery, however, which was the
greatest evil, but the facility by which slaves could be made. The laws
pertaining to debt were severe, and were most disgraceful in dooming a
debtor to the absolute power of a creditor. To subject men of the same
race to slavery for trifling debts which they could not discharge, was
the great defect of the Roman laws. But even these cruel regulations
were modified, so that in the corrupt times of the empire there was no
greater practical severity than was common in England as late as one
hundred years ago. The temptations to fraud were enormous in a wicked
state of society, and demanded a severe remedy. It is possible that our
modern laws may show too great leniency to debtors who are not merely
unfortunate, but dishonest. The problem is not yet solved, whether men
should be severely handled who are guilty of reckless and unprincipled
speculations and unscrupulous dealings, or whether they should be
allowed immunity to prosecute their dangerous and disgraceful courses.

Moreover, the penal code of the Romans in reference to breaches of trust
or carelessness or ignorance, by which property was lost or squandered,
may have been too severe, as is still the case in England in reference
to hunting game on another's grounds. It was hard to doom a man to death
who drove away his neighbor's cattle, or even entered in the night his
neighbor's house; but severe penalties alone will keep men from crimes
where there is a low state of virtue and religion, and general
prosperity and contentment become impossible where there is no efficient
protection to property. Society was never more secure and happy in
England than when vagabonds could be arrested, and when petty larcenies
were visited with certain retribution. Every traveller in France and
England feels that in regard to the punishment of crime, those older
countries, restricted as are their political privileges, are in most
questions of secure and comfortable living vastly superior to our own.
The Romans lost under the emperors their political rights, but gained
protection and safety in their relations with society. Where quiet and
industrious citizens feel safe in their homes, are protected from
scoundrels in their dealings, have ample scope for industrial
enterprise, and are free to choose their private pleasures, they resign
themselves to the loss of electing their rulers without great
unhappiness. There are greater evils in the world than the deprivation
of the elective franchise, lofty and glorious as is this privilege. The
arbitrary rule of the emperors was fatal to political aspirations and
rights and the growth of a genuine manhood; yet it is but fair to note
that the evils of political slavery were qualified and set off by the
excellence of the civil code and the privileges of social freedom.

The great practical evil connected with Roman jurisprudence was the
intricacy and perplexity and uncertainty of the laws, together with the
expense involved in litigation. The class of lawyers was large, and
their gains were extortionate. Justice was not always to be found on the
side of right. The law was uncertain as well as costly. The most learned
counsel could be employed only by the rich, and even judges were venal,
so that the poor did not easily find adequate redress. But all this is
the necessary attendant on a factitious state of society, and by many is
regarded as being quite as characteristic of modern, civilized Christian
England and America as it was of Pagan Rome. Material civilization leads
to an undue estimate of money; and when money purchases all that
artificial people desire, then all classes will prostitute themselves
for its possession, and justice, dignity, and elevation of sentiment
will be forced to retreat,--as hermits sought a solitude when society
had reached its lowest degradation, out of pure despair of its

* * * * *


The authorities for this chapter are very numerous. Since the Institutes
of Gaius have been recovered, many eminent writers on Roman law have
appeared, especially in Germany and France. Many might be cited, but for
all ordinary purposes of historical study the work of Lord Mackenzie on
Roman Law, together with the articles of George Long in Smith's
Dictionary, will be found most useful. Maine's Treatise on Ancient Law
is exceedingly interesting and valuable. Gibbon's famous chapter should
also be read by every student. There is a fine translation of the
Institutes of Justinian, which is quite accessible, by Dr. Harris of
Oxford. The Code, Pandects, Institutes, and Novels are of course the
original authority, with the long-lost Institutes of Gaius.

In connection with the study of the Roman law, it would be well to read
Sir George Bowyer's Commentaries on the Modern Civil Law. Also Irving,
Introduction to the Study of the Civil Law; Lindley, Introduction to the
Study of Jurisprudence; Wheaton's Elements of International Law; and
Vattel, Le Droit des Gens.



500-430 B.C.

My object in the present lecture is not a criticism of the principles
of art so much as an enumeration of its various forms among the
ancients, to show that in this department of civilization they reached
remarkable perfection, and were not inferior to modern Christian nations.

The first development of art among all the nations of antiquity was in
architecture. The earliest buildings erected were houses to protect
people from heat, cold, and the fury of the elements of Nature. At that
remote period much more attention was given to convenience and practical
utility than to beauty or architectural effect. The earliest houses were
built of wood, and stone was not employed until temples and palaces
arose. Ordinary houses were probably not much better than log-huts and
hovels, until wealth was accumulated by private persons.

The earliest monuments of enduring magnificence were the temples of
powerful priests and the palaces of kings; and in Egypt and Assyria
these appear earliest, as well as most other works showing civilization.
Perhaps the first great monument which arose after the deluge of Noah
was the Tower of Babel, built probably of brick. It was intended to be
very lofty, but of its actual height we know nothing, nor of its style
of architecture. Indeed, we do not know that it was ever advanced beyond
its foundations; yet there are some grounds for supposing that it was
ultimately finished, and became the principal temple of the Chaldaean

From the ruins of ancient monuments we conclude that architecture
received its earliest development in Egypt, and that its effects were
imposing, massive, and grand. It was chiefly directed to the erection of
palaces and temples, the ruins of which attest grandeur and vastness.
They were built of stone, in blocks so huge and heavy that even modern
engineers are at loss to comprehend how they could have been transported
and erected. All the monuments of the Pharaohs are wonders, especially
such as appear in the ruins of Karnak,--a temple formerly designated as
that of Jupiter Ammon. It was in the time of Sesostris, or Rameses the
Great, the first of the Pharaohs of the nineteenth dynasty, that
architecture in Egypt reached its greatest development. Then we find the
rectangular-cut blocks of stone in parallel courses, the heavy pier, the
cylindrical column with its bell-shaped capital, and the bold and
massive rectangular architraves extending from pier to pier and column
to column, surmounted by a deep covered coping or cornice.

The imposing architecture of Egypt was chiefly owing to the impressive
vastness of the public buildings. It was not produced by beauty of
proportion or graceful embellishments; it was designed to awe the
people, and kindle sentiments of wonder and astonishment. So far as this
end was contemplated it was nobly reached; even to this day the
traveller stands in admiring amazement before those monuments that were
old three thousand years ago. No structures have been so enduring as the
Pyramids; no ruins are more extensive and majestic than those of Thebes.
The temple of Karnak and the palace of Rameses the Great were probably
the most imposing ever built by man. This temple was built of blocks of
stone seventy feet in length, on a platform one thousand feet long and
three hundred wide, with pillars sixty feet in height. But this and
other structures did not possess that unity of design which marked the
Grecian temples. Alleys of colossal sphinxes formed the approach. At
Karnak the alley was six thousand feet long, and before the main body
of the edifice stood two obelisks commemorative of the dedication. The
principal structures of Egyptian temples do not follow the straight
line, but begin with pyramidal towers which flank the gateways; then
follow, usually, a court surrounded with colonnades, subordinate
temples, and houses for the priests. A second pylon, or pyramidal tower,
leads to the interior and most considerable part of the temple,--a
portico inclosed with walls, which receives light only through the
entablature or openings in the roof. Adjoining this is the cella of the
temple, without columns, enclosed by several walls, often divided into
various small chambers with monolithic receptacles for idols or mummies
or animals. The columns stand within the walls. The colonnade is not, as
among the Greeks, an expansion of the temple; it is merely the wall with
apertures. The walls, composed of square blocks, are perpendicular only
on the inside, and bevelled externally, so that the thickness at the
bottom sometimes amounts to twenty-four feet; thus the whole building
assumes a pyramidal form, the fundamental principle of Egyptian
architecture. The columns are more slender than the early Doric, are
placed close together, and have bases of circular plinths; the shaft
diminishes upward, and is ornamented with perpendicular or oblique
furrows, but not fluted like Grecian columns. The capitals are of the
bell form, ornamented with all kinds of foliage, and have a narrow but
high abacus. They abound with sculptured decorations, the designs of
which were borrowed from the vegetation of the country. The highest of
the columns of the temple of Luxor is five and a quarter times the
greatest diameter.

But no monuments have ever excited so much curiosity and wonder as the
Pyramids, not in consequence of any particular beauty or ingenuity in
their construction, but because of their immense size and unknown age.
None but sacerdotal monarchs would ever have erected them; none but a
fanatical people would ever have toiled upon them. We do not know for
what purpose they were raised, unless as sepulchres for kings. They are
supposed to have been built at a remote antiquity, between two thousand
and three thousand years before Christ. Lepsius thought that the oldest
of these Pyramids were built more than three thousand years before
Christ. The Pyramid of Cheops, at Memphis, covers a square whose side is
seven hundred and sixty-eight feet, and rises into the air nearly five
hundred feet. It is a solid mass of stone, which has suffered less from
time than the mountains near it. Possibly it stands over an immense
substructure, in which may yet be found the lore of ancient Egypt; it
may even prove to be the famous labyrinth of which Herodotus speaks,
built by the twelve kings of Egypt. According to this author, one
hundred thousand men worked on this monument for forty years.

The palaces of the kings are mere imitations of the temples, their only
difference of architecture being that their rooms are larger and in
greater numbers. Some think that the famous labyrinth was a collective
palace of many rulers.

Of Babylonian architecture we know little beyond what the Hebrew
Scriptures and ancient authors tell us. But though nothing survives of
ancient magnificence, we know that a city whose walls, according to
Herodotus, were eighty-seven feet in thickness, three hundred and
thirty-seven in height, and sixty miles in circumference, and in which
were one hundred gates of brass, must have had considerable
architectural splendor. This account of Babylon, however, is probably
exaggerated, especially as to the height of the walls. The tower of
Belus, the Palace of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Obelisk of Semiramis were
probably wonderful structures, certainly in size, which is one of the
conditions of architectural effect.

The Tyrians must have carried architecture to considerable perfection,
since the Temple of Solomon, one of the most magnificent in the ancient
world, was probably built by artists from Tyre. It was not remarkable
for size,--it was, indeed, very small,--but it had great splendor of
decoration. It was of quadrangular outline, erected upon a solid
platform of stone, and bearing a striking resemblance to the oldest
Greek temples, like those of Aegina and Paestum. The portico of the
Temple as rebuilt by Herod was one hundred and eighty feet high, and the
Temple itself was entered by nine gates, thickly coated with silver and
gold. The inner sanctuary was covered on all sides with plates of gold,
and was dazzling to the eye. The various courts and porticos and palaces
with which it was surrounded gave to it a very imposing effect.

Architectural art in India was not so impressive and grand as in Egypt,
and was directed chiefly to the erection of temples. Nor is it of very
ancient date. There is no stone architecture now remaining in India,
according to Sir James Fergusson, older than two and a half centuries
before Christ; and this is in the form of Buddhist temples, generally
traced to the great Asoka, who reigned from 272 B.C. to 236 B.C., and
who established Buddhism as a state religion. There were doubtless
magnificent buildings before his time, but they were of wood, and have
all perished. We know, however, nothing about them.

The Buddhist temples were generally excavated out of the solid rock, and
only the facades were ornamented. These were not larger than ordinary
modern parochial churches, and do not give the impression of
extraordinary magnificence. Besides these rock-hewn temples in India
there remain many examples of a kind of memorial monument called
_stupas_, or _topes_. The earliest of these are single columns; but the
later and more numerous are in the shape of cones or circular mounds,
resembling domes, rarely exceeding one hundred feet in diameter. Around
the apex of each was a balustrade, or some ornamental work, about six
feet in diameter. These topes remind one of the Pantheon at Rome in
general form, but were of much smaller size. They were built on a stone
basement less than fifty feet in height, above which was the brickwork.
In process of time they came to resemble pyramidal towers rather than
rounded domes, and were profusely ornamented with carvings. The great
peculiarity of all Indian architectural monuments is excessive
ornamentation rather than beauty of proportion or grand effect.

In course of time, however, Indian temples became more and more
magnificent; and a Chinese traveller in the year 400 A.D. describes one
in Gaudhava as four hundred and seventy feet high, decorated with every
sort of precious substance. Its dome, as it appears in a bas-relief,
must have rivalled that of St. Peter's at Rome; but no trace of it now
remains. The topes of India, which were numerous, indicate that the
Hindus were acquainted with the arch, both pointed and circular, which
was not known to the Egyptians or the Greeks. The most important of
these buildings, in which are preserved valuable relics, are found in
the Punjab. They were erected about twenty years before Christ. In size,
they are about one hundred and twenty-seven feet in diameter. Connected
with the circular topes are found what are called _rails_, surrounding
the topes, built in the form of rectangles, with heavy pillars. One of
the most interesting of these was found to be two hundred and
seventy-five feet long, having square pillars twenty-two feet in height,
profusely carved with scenes from the life of Buddha, topped by capitals
in the shape of elephants supporting a succession of horizontal stone
beams, all decorated with a richness of carving unknown in any other
country. The Amravati rail, one of the finest of the ancient monuments
of India, is found to be one hundred and ninety-five by one hundred and
sixty-five feet, having octagonal pillars ornamented with the most
elaborate carvings.

From an architectural point of view, the rails were surpassed by the
_chaityas_, or temple-caves, in western India. These were cut in the
solid rock. Some one thousand different specimens are to be found. The
facades of these caves are perfect, generally in the form of an arch,
executed in the rock with every variety of detail, and therefore
imperishable without violence. The process of excavation extended
through ten centuries from the time of Asoka; and the interiors as well
as the facades were highly ornamented with sculptures. The temple-caves
are seldom more than one hundred and fifty feet deep and fifty feet in
width, and the roofs are supported by pillars like the interior of
Gothic cathedrals, some of which are of beautiful proportions with
elaborated capitals. Though these rock-hewn temples are no larger than
ordinary Christian churches, they are very impressive from the richly
decorated carvings; they were lighted from a single opening in the
facade, sometimes in the shape of a horseshoe.

Besides these chaityas, or temples, there are still more numerous
_viharas_, or monasteries, found in India, of different dates, but none
older than the third century before Christ. They show a central hall,
surrounded on three sides by cells for the monks. On the fourth side is
an open verandah; facing this is generally a shrine with an image of
Buddha. These edifices are not imposing unless surrounded by galleries,
as some were, supported by highly decorated pillars. The halls are
constructed in several stories with heavy masonry, in the shape of
pyramids adorned with the figures of men and animals. One of these halls
in southern India had fifteen hundred cells. The most celebrated was
the Nalanda monastery, founded in the first century by Nagarjuna, which
accommodated ten thousand priests, and was enclosed by a wall measuring
sixteen hundred feet by four hundred. It was to Central India what Mount
Casino was to Italy, and Cluny was to France, in the Middle Ages,--the
seat of learning and art.

It was not until the Mohammedan conquest in India that architecture
received a new impulse from the Saracenic influence. Then arose the
mosques, minarets, and palaces which are a wonder for their
magnificence, and in which are seen the influence of Greek art as well
as that of India. There is an Oriental splendor in these palaces and
mosques which has called out the admiration of critics, although it is
different from those types of beauty which we are accustomed to praise.
But these later edifices were erected in the Middle Ages, coeval with
the cathedrals of Europe, and therefore do not properly come under the
head of ancient art, in which the ancient Hindus, whether of Aryan or
Turanian descent, did not particularly excel. It was in matters of
religion and philosophy that the Hindus felt most interest, even as the
ancient Jews thought more of theology than of art and science.

Architecture, however, as the expression of genius and high
civilization, was carried to perfection only by the Greeks, who excelled
in so many things. It was among the ancient Dorians, who descended from
the mountains of northern Greece eighty years after the fall of Troy,
that architectural art worthy of the name first appeared. The Pelasgi
erected Cyclopean structures fifteen hundred years before Christ, as
seen in the massive walls of the Acropolis at Athens, constructed of
huge blocks of hewn stone, and in the palaces of the princes of the
heroic times. The lintel of the doorway of the Mycenaean treasury is
composed of a single stone twenty-seven feet long and sixteen broad. But
these edifices, which aimed at splendor and richness merely, were
deficient in that simplicity and harmony which have given immortality to
the temples of the Dorians. In this style of architecture everything was
suitable to its object, and was grand and noble. The great thickness of
the columns, the beautiful entablature, the ample proportion of the
capital, the great horizontal lines of the architrave and cornice
predominating over the vertical lines of the columns, the severity of
geometrical forms produced for the most part by straight lines, gave an
imposing simplicity to the Doric temple.

How far the Greek architects were indebted to the Egyptian we cannot
tell, for though columns are found amid the ruins of the Egyptian
temples, they are of different shape from any made by the Greeks. In the
structures of Thebes we find both the tumescent and the cylindrical
columns, from which amalgamation might have been produced the Doric
column. The Greeks seized on beauty wherever they found it, and improved
upon it. The Doric column was not probably an entirely new creation, but
shaped after models furnished by the most original of all the ancient
nations, even the Egyptians. The Doric temples were uniform in plan. The
columns were fluted, and were generally about six diameters in height;
they diminished gradually upward from the base, with a slightly con
vexed swelling; they were surmounted by capitals regularly proportioned
according to their height. The entablature which the column supported
was also of a certain number of diameters in height. So regular and
perfect was the plan of the temple, that "if the dimensions of a single
column and the proportion the entablature should bear to it were given
to two individuals acquainted with the style, with directions to compose
a temple, they would produce designs exactly similar in size,
arrangement, and general proportions." The Doric order possessed a
peculiar harmony, but taste and skill were nevertheless necessary in
order to determine the number of diameters a column should have, and
also the height of the entablature.

The Doric was the favorite order of European Greece for one thousand
years, and also of her colonies in Sicily and Magna Graecia. It was
used exclusively until after the Macedonian conquest, and was chiefly
applied to temples. The massive temples of Paestum, the colossal
magnificence of the Sicilian ruins, and the more elegant proportions of
the Athenian structures, like the Parthenon and Temple of Theseus, show
the perfection of the Doric architecture. Although the general style of
all the Doric temples is so uniform, hardly two temples were alike. The
earlier Doric was more massive; the later was more elegant, and its
edifices were rich in sculptured decorations. Nothing could surpass the
beauty of a Doric temple in the time of Pericles. The stylobate, or
general base upon which the columnar story stood, from two thirds to a
whole diameter of a column in height, was built in three equal courses,
which gradually receded upward and formed steps, as it were, of a grand
platform. The column, simply set upon the stylobate, without base or
pedestal, was from four to six diameters in height, with twenty flutes,
having a capital of half a diameter. On this rested the entablature, two
column-diameters in height, which was divided into architrave (lower
mouldings), frieze (broad middle space), and cornice (upper mouldings).
The great beauty of the temple was the portico in front,--a forest of
columns supporting the triangular pediment, about a diameter and a half
to the apex, making an angle at the base of about fourteen degrees.
From the pediment projects the cornice, while in the apex and at the
base of the flat three-cornered gable are sculptured ornaments,
generally the figures of men or animals. The whole outline of columns
supporting the entablature is graceful, while the variety of light and
shade arising from the arrangement of mouldings and capitals produces a
grand effect.

The Parthenon, the most beautiful specimen of the Doric, has never been
equalled, and it still stands august in its ruins, the glory of the old
Acropolis and the pride of Athens. It was built of white Pentelic
marble, and rested on a basement of limestone. It was two hundred and
twenty-seven feet in length, one hundred and one in breadth, and
sixty-five in height, surrounded with forty-eight fluted columns, six
feet and two inches at the base and thirty-four feet in height, while
within the peristyle, at either end, was an interior range of columns
standing before the end of the cella. The frieze and the pediment were
elaborately ornamented with reliefs and statues, and the cella, within
and without, was adorned with the choicest sculptures of Phidias, The
remains of the exquisite sculptures of the pediment and the frieze were
in the early part of this century brought from Greece by Lord Elgin,
purchased by the English government, and placed in the British Museum,
where, preserved from further dilapidation, they stand as indisputable
evidence of the perfection of Greek art. The grandest adornment of the
temple was the colossal statue of Minerva in the eastern apartment of
the cella, forty feet in height, composed of gold and ivory; the inner
walls of the chamber were decorated with paintings, and the whole temple
was a repository of countless treasure. But the Parthenon, so regular to
the eye with its vertical, oblique, and horizontal lines, was curved in
every line, with the exception of the gable,--with its entablature,
architrave, frieze, and cornice, together with the basement, all arched
upwards; and even the columns had a slight convexity of vertical line,
amounting to 1/550 of the entire height of shaft, though so slightly as
not to be perceptible. These curved lines gave to the structure a
peculiar grace which cannot be imitated, as well as an effect
of solidity.

Nearly coeval with the Doric was the Ionic order, invented by the
Asiatic Greeks, still more graceful, though not so imposing. The
Acropolis is a perfect example of this order. The column is nine
diameters in height, with a base, while the capital is more ornamented
than the Doric. The shaft is fluted with twenty-four flutes and
alternate fillets (flat longitudinal ridges), and the fillet is about a
quarter the width of the flute. The pediment is flatter than that of
the Doric order, and more elaborate. The great distinction of the Ionic
column is a base, and a capital formed with volutes (spiral scrolls),
the shaft also being more slender. Vitruvius, the greatest authority
among the ancients in architecture, says that "the Greeks, in inventing
these two kinds of columns, imitated in the one the naked simplicity and
dignity of man, and in the other the delicacy and ornaments of woman;
the base of the Ionic was the imitation of sandals, and the volutes of
ringlets." The discoveries of many of the Ionic ornamentations among the
remains of Assyrian architecture indicate the Oriental source of the
Ionic ideas, just as the Doric style seems to have originated in Egypt.
The artistic Greeks, however, always simplified and refined upon
their masters.

The Corinthian order exhibits a still greater refinement and elegance
than the other two, and was introduced toward the end of the
Peloponnesian War. Its peculiarity consists in columns with foliated
capitals modelled after the acanthus leaf, and still greater height,
about ten diameters, surmounted with a more ornamented entablature. Of
this order the most famous temple in Greece was that of Minerva at
Tegea, built by Scopas of Paros, but destroyed by fire four hundred
years before Christ.

Nothing more distinguished Greek architecture than the variety, the
grace, and the beauty of the mouldings, generally in eccentric curves.
The general outline of the moulding is a gracefully flowing cyma, or
wave, concave at one end and convex at the other, like an Italic _f_,
the concavity and convexity being exactly in the same curve, according
to the line of beauty which Hogarth describes.

The most beautiful application of Greek architecture was in the temples,
which were very numerous and of extraordinary grandeur, long before the
Persian War. Their entrance was always from the west or the east. They
were built either in an oblong or round form, and were mostly adorned
with columns. Those of an oblong form had columns either in the front
alone, or in the eastern and western fronts, or on all the four sides.
They generally had porticos attached to them, and were without windows,
receiving their light from the door or from above. The friezes were
adorned with various sculptures, as were sometimes the pediments, and no
expense was spared upon them. The most important part of the temple was
the cell (_cella,_ or temple proper, a square chamber), in which the
statue of the deity was kept, generally surrounded with a balustrade. In
front of the cella was the vestibule, and in the rear or back a chamber
in which the treasures of the temple were kept. Names were applied to
the temples as well as to the porticos, according to the number of
columns in the portico at either end of the temple,--such as the
tetrastyle (four columns in front), or hexastyle (when there were six).
There were never more than ten columns across the front. The Parthenon
had eight, but six was the usual number. It was the rule to have twice
as many columns along the sides as in front. Some of the temples had
double rows of columns on all sides, like that of Diana at Ephesus and
of Quirinus at Rome. The distance between the columns varied from one
diameter and a half to four diameters. About five eighths of a Doric
temple were occupied by the cella, and three eighths by the portico.

That which gives to the Greek temples so much simplicity and
harmony,--the great elements of beauty in architecture,--is the simple
outline in parallelogrammic and pyramidal forms, in which the lines are
uninterrupted through their entire length. This simplicity and harmony
are more apparent in the Doric than in any of the other orders, but
pertain to all the Grecian temples of which we have knowledge. The Ionic
and Corinthian, or the voluted and foliated orders, do not possess that
severe harmony which pervades the Doric; but the more beautiful
compositions are so consummate that they will ever be taken as models

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