XXVI.18 That it must be examined whether laws that seem contradictory are of the same order

In Rome a hus­band was allo­wed to lend his wife to ano­ther. Plutarch sta­tes this for­mally1 ; we know that Cato lent his wife to Hortensius,2 and Cato was not a man to vio­late his coun­try’s laws.

On the other hand, a hus­band who suf­fe­red his wife’s debau­chery, who did not place her in judg­ment, or who took her back once condem­ned, was puni­shed.3 These laws appear to contra­dict each other, and do not. The law that allo­wed a Roman to lend his wife is visi­bly a Lacedæmonian ins­ti­tu­tion, esta­bli­shed to give the repu­blic chil­dren of a good kind, if I dare use that term ; the object of the other was to pre­serve morals. The first was a poli­ti­cal law, the second a civil law.

Plutarch, in his comparison of Lycurgus and Numa.

Plutarch, Life of Cicero.

Law 11, last § following ad Legem Juliam de adulteriis coercindis.