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INTESTA´BILIS In the Twelve Tables it was declared “qui se sierit testarier, libripensve fuerit, ni testimonium fateatur, improbus intestabilisque esto” (Gel. 15.13.11; cf. id. 6.71, 7.7.4). According to this passage, a person who had been a witness on any solemn occasion, such as the making of a will by mancipium, and afterwards refused to give his testimony, was intestabilis; that is, disqualified from being a witness on any other occasion.

Thus, in the Twelve Tables and in subsequent law, a person was said to be intestabilis, who was incapable of being a witness to a solemn legal transaction. (Dig. 28, 1, 26: “Quum lege quis intestabilis jubetur esse, eo pertinet, ne ejus testimonium recipiatur.” Inst. Just. 2.10, 6: “Neque mulier, neque impubes . . . nec cui bonis interdictum est, nec is quem leges jubent improbum intestabilemque esse, possunt in numero testium adhiberi:” cf. Hor. Sat. 2.3, 181.)

The word had its meaning extended in the time of the Emperors, being used to express one who could not summon witnesses to attest his will; that is to say, one who was incapable of making a will (Dig. 28, 1, 18.1; Theoph. Par. 2.10, 6). The punishment of declaring an offender intestabilis was imposed by various statutes: e. g. by the Lex Cornelia injuriarum, the Lex Julia de adulteriis, the SC. Augusti de famosis libellis. (Marezoll, Von der bürgerl. Ehre, p. 85 ff.; Burchardi, de Infamia, 22; Danz, Lehrbuch der Geschichte d. R. R. 2.15, 107; Voigt, Die Zwölf Tafeln, 1.27, n. 5.)

[G.L] [E.A.W]

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