Roman Emperors: Those Suspected of Doing Magic Must be Turned Over to Authorities Hot

Roman emperors Valentinian II, Theodosius I and Arcadius issue a new decree that anyone suspected of doing magic must be turned over to authorities and not have any punishment immediately imposed on them. Under Roman law magic is a crime against the general public and as such must be publicly tried.

The new law says:

"If anyone learns that someone has contaminated themselves with the pollution of magic or if anyone apprehends such a person, he must drag that person before the public and reveal the enemy of common safety to the eyes of the courts.

But if anyone tries to contravene this or secretly punish such a person, even if he is clearly guilty of the evil art of magic, that person will be subject to the supreme penalty.

He is subject to a double suspicion: that he has secretly removed a public criminal from legal punishment and investigation either so the criminal would not expose his associates or that he has killed a personal enemy under the pretense of avenging a crime." [CT 9.16.11]

Christianity has a long history of suppressing alleged magicians, sorcerers, and others presumed to be accessing supernatural forces for their own personal gain, even in its earliest years.


Emperors of Rome: Theodosius

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