Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Equal Before The Law

In a previous post I remarked how all Roman citizens were largely considered equal before the law.  I recently stumbled across another story attesting to this claim.

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (ruling from 161 to 180 CE) was traveling on an Italian country road when a peasant woman approached, waving a petition and saying, "Emperor, hear my petition!"    When Emperor Aurelius replies that he does not have time, the peasant responds, "Then stop being Emperor!"

At that point, the Emperor stops and sits under a tree with the woman, because even though she was a peasant, she was also a Roman citizen.

Dr. Kenneth W. Harl
World of Byzantium
Lecture 1: Imperial Crisis and Reform
The Teaching Company

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