Protection of Freewomen Married to Servile Husbands, c. 530 [Vll.24.i.]
Unions between freewomen and adscripticii, previously discouraged by the Romans by
depressing the status of the freewoman, were no longer to result in loss of freedom after
Justinian's new law.
Vll.24.i. Since in our times, in which we take great pains for the liberty of our
subjects, we consider it ungodly that certain women are cheated of their liberty and,
because slavery was introduced against natural liberty by the ferocity of the enemy, and
this has been brought about by the depravity of the worst of men, we desire to suspend
from henceforth the Claudian senatusconsultus and all its observations about the
declarations and sentences of judges, lest she who is by right free, but once seduced or
taken in flagrante delictu or who was drawn down in any other way whatsoever from
the free state of her ancestors to a condition of slavery, and lest she should be the
worst disgrace on the renown of her relations---as one who, perhaps, had relations graced
with dignities---and should fall under the rule of another and, perhaps, should fear that
her lord be inferior to her relatives: therefore, in a free people it ought to be observed
that the religion of my times in no way suffers that a woman once possessed of liberty
should be reduced to servitude by such infamy. But lest slaves or adscripticii should think such effort would go unpunished, which is a thing greatly to be feared in the
case of adscripticii, and lest the condition of free women should be depressed by
marriages contrived by men of this kind, we decree that if any such thing be perpetrated,
either by a slave or by an adscripticius, his master is to have power, either
through the president of the province or of his own accord, to correct with suitable
punishment such a slave or bondsman, and to separate him from such a woman. But if he
should fail to do this, let him know that negligence of this kind will bring
From: P. Krueger, ed., Codex Justinianus, (Berlin, 1877), p. 659; reprinted in
Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic
History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo
& Tannen, 1965), pp. 266-267.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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