XII.16 Defamation in the crime of lese-majesty

, par Stewart

We must give the cæsars their due : they were not the first to imagine the sorry laws they made. It was Sulla [1] who taught them that slanderers should not be punished ; soon they went so far as to reward them. [2]


[1Sulla made a law of majesty, which is mentioned in Cicero’s orations (Pro Cluentio, art. 3, In Pisonem, art. 21, second In Verrem, art. 5, Epistolæ ad familiares, book III, letter 11). Cæsar and Augustus inserted them into the Julian laws ; others added to them.

[2Et quo quis distinctior accusator eo magis honores assequebatur, ac veluti Sacrosanctus erat (Tacitus [Annals, book IV, ch. 36]).