reus esset iudicatus, secare si vellent, atque partiri corpus addicti sibi hominis permiserunt [the laws]. Et quidem verba ipsa legis dicam ne existimes invidiam me istam forte formidare. Tertiis, inquit, Ntjndinis. Partis. Secanto. Si. Plus. Minus. Ve. Secuerunt. Se. Fraude. Esto. Nihil profecto immitius, nihil immanius: nisi, ut re ipsa apparet, eo consilio tanta immanitas poenae denuntiata est, ne ad eam unquam perveniretur. Gellius defends and admires the old law, because, as he says, its deterrent force was such that it need never be applied. Dissectum esse antiquitus neminem equidem neque legi, neque audivi. Quoniam saevitia ista poenae contemni non quita est.
It is somewhat difficult to share Gellius's optimism 1.
Grimm parallels this ancient Roman law with a mediaeval Norwegian one, which he declares to be independent of it: "Das norwegisehe Guledingsgesetz 2
1 I dare not assert that St. Matthew (24.51) The lord of that servant shall come .... and shall cut him asunder' (dixolo^qcei aviör) is to be taken literally as reflecting the state of the law or practice in regard to servants who had abused their master's property, in the Oriënt in the first century A. D. Was this Roman law ? About the time of Matthew, and before Gellius, the law was already condemned and declared obsolete by Quintilian (37—97 A. D.) .... sunt enim quaedam non laudabilia natura, sed iure concessa, ut in duodecim tabulis debitoris corpus inter creditores dividi licuit, quam leqem mos publicus repudiavü. (Inst. Oratoria. III. 6. 84). After Gellius we find the law referred to by the Christian Apologist Tertullian (d. 230 A. D.), who seems to imply that it was at first executed literally: Iudicatos in partes secari a creditoribus leges erant, consensu tarnen publico crudelitas postea erasa est, in pudoris notam capitis poena conversa est. (Apolog. 4). Unfortunately we are not told when 'this cruelty was afterwards erased by public consent, the punishment of death being converted into public disgrace'. 'Public disgrace' is wonderfully mild. (See Tertïdlian's Apology by Mayor and Souter, Cambridge 1917). * See Gtdapingsbók in Johannes Hoops, Reallexikon der Germ. Altertumskunde; and Karl von Amira, in Paul's Grundriss 1913"; the "Redaktion d?' was composed about 1200 A. D.; the earliest MS. version is ascribed to about 1100 A. D. The Frostapingslasg is similar (edition Kayser und Münch, 1846, II, p. 512).