Despotic sta­tes, which like sim­ple laws, make great use of the law of reta­lia­tion.1 Moderate sta­tes some­ti­mes accept it, but with the dif­fe­rence that the for­mer have it applied rigo­rously, and the others almost always intro­duce conces­sions.

The law of the Twelve Tables reco­gni­zed two : it sen­ten­ced to reta­lia­tion only if it had not been pos­si­ble to appease the plain­tiff.2 One could, after the ver­dict, pay dama­ges with inte­rest,3 and the cor­po­ral punish­ment was conver­ted to pecu­niary punish­ment.4

It is established in the Coran ; see the chapter on the cow [II, 178].

Si membrum rupit ni cum eo pacit, talio esto [‘If a limb has been broken, and no agreement is made, there will be retaliation’] (Aulus Gellius, book XX., ch. i).


See also Lex Visigothorum, book VI, tit. 4, §3 and 5.