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1 Appius here contrasts two classes of persons, one  consisting of individuals, who are in their own power; the other, of those who are not sui juris, but are under the control either of a parent, or some other person. If the question arise concerning a person who is sui juris, whether he is to be consigned to slavery, or to be restored to liberty, then “id juris esse,” sc. that he remain free till the decision is made, because any person, as being homo sui juris, and consequently he himself, “may proceed by law;” but he says, that this does not hold good with respect to a person who is not sui juris, but is in the hands of others; such a person, he says, cannot be pronounced free, but must be subject to the power, either of the parent or master, so that no injury be done to either. Wherefore, since the girl is not sui juris, she must be in the power, either of Virginius, who says he is her father, or of Claudius, who says he is her master. But since Virginius is not present, that she can be in the power  of no one but Claudius, until Virginius arrive.I cannot resist the temptation of giving in full Mr. Gunn's note on the passage, as found in his very neat edition of our author. “Appius for his own purposes, in interpreting his own law, introduces a distinction betwixt those who were suijuris, entirely free, and those who were subject to the patria potestas. The law, according to him, can apply only to the former, because in them only is there a true claim for  liberty, and in them only could a judge give an interim decision secundum libertatem. To give such a decision in favour of Virginia, would be a variatio personarum; it would be introducing as entitled to the benefit of the law a class of persons, who were, even according to their own statements, not entitled to vindiciae  secundum libertatem. Besides, and most important of all, the law could act in the former, as any citizen was entitled to plead the cause of one presumptively free. But in this case no one could plead, but either the father as master on the one hand, or the alleged master on the other: as the father was not present, consequently no one had any legal claim to urge the law.”
2 Si nec causis nec personis variet. Sc. lex variet. Some  understand libertas as the nominative to variet.
3 Because any person. “As the law permits any strangers to interpose in vindicating an individual's liberty, they have an undoubted right so to do. But the question is not whether this maiden is free: that she cannot be in any case; for she belongs either to her father or her master. Now as her father is not present to take charge of her, no one here but her master can have any title to her.” Appius argues that he could not pronounce in favour of her temporary liberty, without prejudice to her father's right and power over her: as [7??] there was no one present, who claimed a legal right to the possession of her but M. Claudius, the judge had no alternative but to award her during the interim to his safe keep- ing. —Stocker.
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