VII.11 How institutions changed in Rome with the government

As the domes­tic court pre­sup­po­sed mora­lity, public accu­sa­tion did also ; and for that rea­son these two things disap­pea­red along with it, and ended with the repu­blic.1

The ins­ti­tu­tion of the per­pe­tual ques­tions, in other words, the divi­sion of juris­dic­tion among the præ­tors, and the more and more pre­va­lent cus­tom that these præ­tors should them­sel­ves judge all cau­ses,2 redu­ced the use of the domes­tic court : this appears from the sur­prise of his­to­rians, who consi­der as sin­gu­lar acts and as a rene­wal of the old prac­tice the cases Tiberius had this tri­bu­nal decide.

The esta­blish­ment of the monar­chy and the change in mora­lity also brought an end to public accu­sa­tion. One might fear lest a disho­nest man pro­vo­ked by his wife’s dis­dain, indi­gnant at her refu­sals, exas­pe­ra­ted even by her vir­tue, conceive the design of being done with her. The Julian Law decreed that one could accuse a woman of adul­tery only after accu­sing her hus­band of faci­li­ta­ting her mis­conduct, which much res­trai­ned such accu­sa­tion and all but eli­mi­na­ted it.3

Sixtus V see­med to wish to re-ins­ti­tute public accu­sa­tion.4 But it takes lit­tle reflec­tion to see that this law, in a monar­chy like his, was even more out of place than in any other.

Judicio de moribus (quod antea quidem in antiquis legibus positum erat, non autem frequentabatur) penitùs abolito [‘The Actio de moribus, which was formerly inserted in ancient laws, but which was not often resorted to, is hereby absolutely abolished.’ – translation by S. P. Scott.] (leg. 11, Code de Repudiis). [Justinian Code(V.17.11.2b).]

Judicia extraordinaria.

Constantine removed it completely. “It is a shame,” he said, “that tranquil marriages should be troubled by the audacity of strangers.”

Sixtus V decreed that a husband who would not come complain to him of his wife’s debauchery would be put to death. See [Gregorio] Leti.