Roman Emperors Exempt Priests From Torture, but not the Lower Clergy Hot

Roman Emperors Exempt Priests From Torture, but not the Lower Clergy

Emperor Theodosius I

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Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I exempt priests from being tortured, but not "lower clergy."

This new decree says:

"Priests will provide testimony without the outrage of torture, but only on the condition that they not make false statements. All other clerics of a lower grade and order will be heard as the laws prescribe when summoned to give testimony in the courts.

If any priest suppresses the truth, since they are directed to give their testimony under the title of a higher position without the infliction of any corporal harm, and so have nothing to fear, litigants will retain a right of legal action for falsehood.

If those who have received so much from our Our commands are discovered to be involved in a secret crime, they make themselves all the more worthy of punishment." [CT 11.39.10]

It's interesting that the "lower" clergy aren't provided the same privileges here that "higher" clergy are. This is as much about class in Roman society as it is about religion, but religion is obviously an important factor because non-Christian clerics aren't offered the same terms.


Emperors of Rome: Gratian

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