~  CXLIII  ~

S. P. Scott, The Civil Law, XVII, Cincinnati, 1932 ).

  The Emperor Justinian, Augustus, to Areobindus, Most Glorious Praetorian Prefect, Ex-Prefect of Constantinople and Ex-General of the Army.
  No one doubts that the interpretation of the law belongs solely to the sovereign, since he has the right to promulgate it. We remember to have formerly enacted a constitution having reference to the rape of betrothed and married women, unmarried females, and widows; and of having subjected to capital punishment not only their ravishers, but also the accomplices of the latter, and all other persons who were known to have assisted them at the time when the act was committed. We have also, by the same law, permitted the ascendants of the women in question, as well as their other blood-relatives and their guardians and curators, to prosecute a rape; and We have especially punished the violation of women already married or betrothed, because, under these circumstances, both rape and adultery have been perpetrated. One of the penalties which We prescribed was the right to claim the property of the ravisher, as well as that of his accomplices, for the benefit of the woman concerned; and the payment to the husband, out of the estate of the ravisher, of an amount equal to the dowry brought him by his wife. We have especially added that no woman nor virgin should be permitted to marry her ravisher, but if her parents should desire to marry her to anyone (her ravisher excepted), We have already forbidden him to marry her at any time; and in conclusion We have decreed that if her parents should consent to a marriage of this kind, they shall be deported. We are, however, surprised that certain authorities have attempted to hold that if the woman who was violated, either with her consent or without it, should marry her ravisher against the tenor of Our Constitution, she would be entitled to his estate, either under the terms of the law, or by will, if one had been made. Those who presume to entertain such opinions have not been able to understand the meaning of the aforesaid law; for if We have prohibited matrimony of this kind, even when the woman consented to it, and, on this account, have subjected her parents to the penalty of deportation where they had consented to the union, why should We honor women who have suffered violation, and choose to marry their ravishers, by giving them rewards? Therefore, rejecting this unfounded doubt, We have deemed it proper to interpret the former law by the present one, and, with this end in view, We decree that if the ravished woman, no matter what her status or age may be, should desire to contract a marriage with her ravisher, and especially without the consent of her parents, she shall not be entitled to the estate of her ravisher, under any circumstances, either through the indulgence of the law, or by testamentary provision; but his property, as well as that of his accomplices, which Our law places at the disposal of the ravished woman, shall, from the date of the perpetration of the crime, be transferred to his father and mother, whether both, or only one of them be living, provided they are not proved to have given their express consent to the marriage; and the woman who did not hesitate to defile herself by marrying her ravisher shall have no claim to his estate, which shall, as aforesaid, go to her father and mother; but where the parents of the woman are already dead, or gave their consent to an act of this kind, the property of the ravisher, as well as that of his accomplices, shall be confiscated. We order that the present interpretation shall apply, not only to all future cases, but also to those which have passed; just as if this Our law had, in the beginning, with its construction, been communicated to you, Most Glorious, Illustrious, and Beloved Prefect.
  (1) Therefore Your Highness will order what We have decreed by this Our law to be observed and carried into effect.