About AD 96 )

( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 161-162, n. 200


      Pliny in his correspondence with Trajan preserves this edict, which is important, not for its style, but for its testimony to the practice of an emperor to confirm by edict his predecessor's benefactions. These benefactions usually were announced by edicts ; and edicts, if not revoked before an emperor's death, became automatically invalid thereafter.


      Edict of the deified Nerva.
      Doubtless, citizens, the very felicity of the times is an edict in some respects nor need a good emperor be watched in those matters wherein it is sufficient for him to be understood, since persuasion, even not reminded by an edict, can promise this to each of my fellow citizens : that I preferred the security of all to my own repose, in order that I both might confer new benefits and might preserve those granted before me. Nevertheless, lest either the memory of the person who gave or the diffidence of those persons who obtained should inflict some hesitation upon the public rejoicings, I believe it necessary as well as pleasant to dispel this hesitation by evidence of my favor.
      I am unwilling that anyone shall think that what he has got either privately or publicly from another emperor will be canceled by me, at least for this purpose, that he may be indebted rather to me for its restoration. These benefits shall be valid and fixed, and the joy of none on whom the Fortune of the Empire has smiled shall need renewed prayers. Let them permit me to be free for new benefits and know that only those things need be asked which they do not have.