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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


blows, or some other violence, the slayer shall undergo the same
purification as in other cases, and be exiled during three years;
but when the exile returns the wife shall separate from the husband,
and the husband from the wife, and they shall never afterwards beget
children together, or live under the same roof, or partake of the same
sacred rites with those whom they have deprived of a child or of a
brother. And he who is impious and disobedient in such a case shall be
brought to trial for impiety by any one who pleases. If in a fit of
anger a husband kills his wedded wife, or the wife her husband, the
slayer shall undergo the same purification, and the term of exile
shall be three years. And when he who has committed any such crime
returns, let him have no communication in sacred rites with his
children, neither let him sit at the same table with them, and the
father or son who disobeys shall be liable to be brought to trial
for impiety by any one who pleases. If a brother or a sister in a
fit of passion kills a brother or a sister, they shall undergo
purification and exile, as was the case with parents who killed
their offspring: they shall not come under the same roof, or share
in the sacred rites of those whom they have deprived of their
brethren, or of their children.
And he who is disobedient shall be justly liable to the law
concerning impiety, which relates to these matters. If any one is so
violent in his passion against his parents, that in the madness of his
anger he dares to kill one of them, if the murdered person before
dying freely forgives the murderer, let him undergo the purification
which is assigned to those who have been guilty of involuntary
homicide, and do as they do, and he shall be pure. But if he be not
acquitted, the perpetrator of such a deed shall be amenable to many
laws;-he shall be amenable to the extreme punishments for assault, and
impiety, and robbing of temples, for he has robbed his parent of life;
and if a man could be slain more than once, most justly would he who
in a fit of passion has slain father or mother, undergo many deaths.
How can he, whom, alone of all men, even in defence of his life, and
when about to suffer death at the hands of his parents, no law will
allow to kill his father or his mother who are the authors of his
being, and whom the legislator will command to endure any extremity
rather than do this-how can he, I say, lawfully receive any other
punishment? Let death then be the appointed punishment of him who in a
fit of passion slays his father or his mother. But if brother kills
brother in a civil broil, or under other like circumstances, if the
other has begun, and he only defends himself, let him be free from
guilt, as he would be if he had slain an enemy; and the same rule will
apply if a citizen kill a citizen, or a stranger a stranger. Or if a
stranger kill a citizen or a citizen a stranger in self-defence, let
him be free from guilt in like manner; and so in the case of a slave
who has killed a slave; but if a slave have killed a freeman in
self-defence, let him be subject to the same law as he who has
killed a father; and let the law about the remission of penalties in
the case of parricide apply equally to every other remission. Whenever
any sufferer of his own accord remits the guilt of homicide to
another, under the idea that his act was involuntary, let the
perpetrator of the deed undergo a purification and remain in exile for
a year, according to law.
Enough has been said of murders violent and involuntary and
committed in passion: we have now to speak of voluntary crimes done
with injustice of every kind and with premeditation, through the
influence of pleasures, and desires, and jealousies.
Cle. Very good.
Ath. Let us first speak, as far as we are able, of their various
kinds. The greatest cause of them is lust, which gets the mastery of
the soul maddened by desire; and this is most commonly found to
exist where the passion reigns which is strongest and most prevalent
among mass of mankind: I mean where the power of wealth breeds endless
desires of never-to-be-satisfied acquisition, originating in natural

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