( AD 314-323 )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, p. 239, n. 302  ).

   Two chapters of this edict are preserved in CTh. 9, 5 and in CJ 9, 8, 3. Three copies of the edict on stone have been discovered : one somewhere in Asia Minor, before 1600, but now lost ; one in Lycia, also in Asia Minor, before 1902 ; one in Crete, reported in 1889, which exhibits all of the surviving part of the edict. The date is doubtful, for the superscription and the subscription preserved in the codes do not agree by an interval of about a decade, but the codes and the stones all agree in the subscription, which is dated 314 A.D.


     1) Copy of the sacred edict.
     2) . . . it has been proved that very many persons not only in respect to their fortunes . . . accusations . . . sometimes . . . by cases of this kind those who are accused as well as those who are summoned for evidence are afflicted with very serious annoyances. Wherefore, taking counsel for the security of our provinces, we provide remedies of this character, that an accuser indeed may not entirely be repulsed from court, but whoever believes that he can add proofs to his charges may have the free opporunity to approach a judge and may reveal the defendant by clear evidence of the offenses, so that according to the nature of the deeds suitable punishment may be inflicted on the person who is convicted. But if he is not at all able to establish those charges which he makes he shall know that he must be subjected to a very severe sentence.
     3) To be sure, if anyone charges someone with the crime of treason, since the accusation of such a kind not at all protects anyone by the privilege of any high rank from a very strict inquisition, he shall know that he also must be subject to torture if he is not able to establish his accusation by other clear evidences and proofs, since in the case of the person who is detected in this temerity this fact properly shall be elicited also by torture, namely, by whose advice and instigation it appears that he entered upon the accusation, so that punishment from all persons who are accessory to so great a deed can be exacted.
     4) Moreover, it is known to all how often an opportunity also to approach a judge has been denied to informers not only by the statutes of our parents, but also by our ordinances, since a hearing must not be granted to persons of this kind, because indeed they must be subjected to punishment in accordance with the daring of such great wickedness.
     5) Also in the case of slaves or of freedmen who attempt to accuse or to report their masters or their patrons we decree that the law according to the statute of the ancient law also must be observed, namely, that, to be sure, the declaration of such atrocious audacity shall be repressed immediately in the inception of its commission itself by the judge's decision, and, after a hearing has been denied, whoever proceeds to the desperate boldness of this kind shall offer, affixed to a gibbet, an example to all others, lest anyone of like audacity should appear in the future.
     6) To be sure, that everywhere counsel may be taken for the security of innocent persons, it is our pleasure that defamatory informations shall not be accepted. And if anyone discovers these displayed anonymously, he shall be bound to remove them immediately and to tear them in pieces or to consume them by fire. And in these cases it shall be proper for the judges to take note of such a kind that, if perchance such information is brought to them, they shall direct it to be burned by fire, since a writing of such kind properly shall be removed completely from a judge's hearing, but an investigation shall remain against those persons who dare to display information of such a sort, that, when discovered, they shall be subjected to the due punishments of their temerity.
     7) Accordingly, we have written about all these matters not only to our prefects but also to the governors and the treasurer and the master of our private estate, by whose other copy, when our edict has been published, it is declared most fully what kind of law and statute it contains.
     8) Publicly posted January I in the consulship of Volusianus and Annianus.