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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


the punishments to be inflicted, and then they will not transgress the
just rule. That was an excellent practice, which we observed before,
and which now that we are resuming the work of legislation, may with
advantage be repeated by us.
Let the enactment about wounding be in the following terms:-If
anyone has a purpose and intention to slay another who is not his
enemy, and whom the law does not permit him to slay, and he wounds
him, but is unable to kill him, he who had the intent and has
wounded him is not to be pitied-he deserves no consideration, but
should be regarded as a murderer and be tried for murder. Still having
respect to the fortune which has in a manner favoured him, and to
the providence which in pity to him and to the wounded man saved the
one from a fatal blow, and the other from an accursed fate and
calamity-as a thank-offering to this deity, and in order not to oppose
his will-in such a case the law will remit the punishment of death,
and only compel the offender to emigrate to a neighbouring city for
the rest of his life, where he shall remain in the enjoyment of all
his possessions. But if he have injured the wounded man, he shall make
such compensation for the injury as the court deciding the cause shall
assess, and the same judges shall decide who would have decided if the
man had died of his wounds. And if a child intentionally wound his
parents, or a servant his master, death shall be the penalty. And if a
brother ora sister intentionally wound a brother or a sister, and is
found guilty, death shall be the penalty. And if a husband wound a
wife, or a wife a husband, with intent to kill, let him or her undergo
perpetual exile; if they have sons or daughters who are still young,
the guardians shall take care of their property, and have charge of
the children as orphans. If their sons are grown up, they shall be
under no obligation to support the exiled parent, but they shall
possess the property themselves. And if he who meets with such a
misfortune has no children, the kindred of the exiled man to the
degree of sons of cousins, both on the male and female side, shall
meet together, and after taking counsel with the guardians of the
and the priests, shall appoint a 5040th citizen to be the heir of
the house, considering and reasoning that no house of all the 5040
belongs to the inhabitant or to the whole family, but is the public
and private property of the state. Now the state should seek to have
its houses as holy and happy as possible. And if any one of the houses
be unfortunate, and stained with impiety, and the owner leave no
posterity, but dies unmarried, or married and childless, having
suffered death as the penalty of murder or some other crime
committed against the Gods or against his fellow-citizens, of which
death is the penalty distinctly laid down in the law; or if any of the
citizens be in perpetual exile, and also childless, that house shall
first of all be purified and undergo expiation according to law; and
then let the kinsmen of the house, as we were just now saying, and the
guardians of the law, meet and consider what family there is in the
state which is of the highest repute for virtue and also for good
fortune, in which there are a number of sons; from that family let
them take one and introduce him to the father and forefathers of the
dead man as their son, and, for the sake of the omen, let him be
called so, that he may be the continuer of their family, the keeper of
their hearth, and the minister of their sacred rites with better
fortune than his father had; and when they have made this
supplication, they shall make him heir according to law, and the
offending person they shall leave nameless and childless and
portionless when calamities such as these overtake him.
Now the boundaries of some things do not touch one another, but
there is a borderland which comes in between, preventing them from
touching. And we were saying that actions done from passion are of
this nature, and come in between the voluntary and involuntary. If a
person be convicted of having inflicted wounds in a passion, in the
first place he shall pay twice the amount of the injury, if the
wound be curable, or, if incurable, four times the amount of the

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