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[27]

For though many things have been excellently settled by the laws, yet most of them have been depraved and corrupted by the genius of the lawyers. Our ancestors determined that all women, on account of the inferiority of their understanding, should be under the protection of trustees. These men have found out classes of trustees, whose power is subordinate to that of the women. The one party did not wish the domestic sacrifices to be abolished in families; by the ingenuity of the others old men were found to marry by the form called coemptio, 1 for the sake of' getting rid of these sacred ceremonies. Lastly, in every part of the civil law they neglected equity itself, but adhered to the letter of the law; as for instance, because in somebody's books they found the name of Caia, they thought that all the women who had married by coemptio were called Caias. And that often appears marvellous to me, that so many men of such ability should now for so many years have been unable to decide whether the proper expressions to use be the day after tomorrow or the third day, a judge or an arbiter, a cause or a proceeding.


1 Coemptio was “a ceremony of marriage consisting in a mock sale, whereby the bride and bridegroom sold themselves to each other.” Riddle in voce. “Coemptio was effected by mancipatio, and consequently the wife was in mancipio.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 603, § v., v. Marriage, (Roman.)

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