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The Sins of the Fathers: A Neglected Constitution of Diocletian on Incest

Corcoran, S; (2000) The Sins of the Fathers: A Neglected Constitution of Diocletian on Incest. Journal of Legal History , 21 (2) 1 - 34. 10.1080/01440362108539607.

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Abstract

This article argues that a constitution attributed to Diocletian and Maximian in a canon law ms from Paris (BN Par. Lat. 3858C), but to Justinian in four Justinian Code mss, and excluded from the main edition of the Code currently used by scholars, is a genuine tetrarchic rescript. It prevents the incest-born (not previously penalised under Roman law), from holding judicial or other posts, unless these incurred burdensome obligations, reflecting imperial concerns over demarcations of rank and performance of civic duties, but also Diocletian’s emphasis on traditional Roman morality. The addressee is probably a governor of some eastern province, in which Roman law and local practice clashed. The language suits a third-century rescript, although some wording may represent Justinianic re-editing. With no apparent influence on later legislation, its textual history is uncertain, but the Paris text with its Diocletianic attribution should represent a line of transmission superior to the other copies.

Type:Article
Title:The Sins of the Fathers: A Neglected Constitution of Diocletian on Incest
DOI:10.1080/01440362108539607
Publisher version:http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0144%2d0365&volume=21&issue=2&spage=1
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > History

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