while they live, up to the very last hours of life, and when they depart they are sorely regretted; but to the bad are truly fearsome. Therefore let every man, in obedience to these counsels, honor his own parents with all the due legal honors. If however, “report convicts”1
any of deafness to such preludes, the following law will be enacted rightly to deal with them:—If any person in this State be unduly neglectful of his parents,2
and fail to consider them in all things more than
his sons or any of his offspring, or even himself, and to fulfil their wishes, let the parent who suffers any such neglect report it, either in person or by a messenger, to the three eldest Law-wardens, and to three of the women in charge of marriage; and these shall take the matter in hand, and shall punish the wrongdoers with stripes and imprisonment if they are still young—up to the age of thirty
if they are men, while if they are women they shall suffer similar punishment up to the age of forty. And if, when they have passed these limits of age, they do not desist from the same acts of neglect towards their parents, but in some cases maltreat them, they shall be summoned before a court of 101 citizens, who shall be the oldest citizens all; and if a man be convicted, the court shall assess what his fine or punishment must be, regarding no penalty as excluded which man can suffer or pay.
If any parent when maltreated is unable to report the fact, that free man who hears of it shall inform the magistrate, failing which he shall be esteemed base, and shall be liable to an action for damage at the hands of anyone who chooses. If a slave gives information he shall be set free: he shall be set free by the Board of Magistrates if he be a slave of either the injured party or the injurers; but if he belong to any other citizen, the State Treasury shall pay his owner a price for him; and the magistrates shall take care that no one does injury to such a man in revenge for his giving information.
We have already3
dealt fully with cases where one man injures another by poisons so that death is the result; but we have not as yet dealt fully with any of the minor cases in which willful and deliberate injury is caused by means of potions, foods, and unguents. A division in our treatment of poisoning cases is required by the fact that, following the nature of mankind, they are of two distinct types. The type