A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 49 of 493
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32 A HISTORY OF VERONA
The number of statutes in the code relating to law, whether
civil or criminal, are so comparatively few in number that it
can only be assumed that the judges usually had recourse to
unwritten law, either Roman or customary, to guide them in
their decisions. It was left to the discretion (arbitrium) of the
Podesta himself to fix the penalty for the majority of crimes.
A certain number, however, had definite punishments prescribed.
Any one committing assault or murder was at once outlawed,
that is, put outside the protection of the public peace of Verona,
and executed when taken, while his goods passed at once to his
victim, if the latter were alive, to his heirs if he were dead.
The fine for bigamy was 25 lire, for marrying a woman without
the consent of her legal guardians 50 lire. In connexion with
marriage and inheritance there are a few survivals of Germanic
law; if a man died intestate the daughters did not inherit equally
with the sons, but only received a sum held adequate for their
dowry. Similarly beneficed clerks did not inherit as long as
there were any sons who were laymen. In one statute the word
meta is to be found, the term used in Lombard Law for the dos
of the Romans, the dowry given by the husband to his bride.
Nothing resembling the jury is to be found in Veronese law,
but trial by battle, the duellum or pugna, an essentially Germanic
institution, was still in vogue, and a system of substituting
hired champions for the principals had apparently been recently
introduced. Before the battle took place the Podesta was
bound to equalize the champions as far as possible (though unfortunately
no details are provided of what must have been a
very curious proceeding) and then the defendant had first
choice. He paid his champion 75 lire, while the plaintiff was
only bound to give his two-thirds of that sum. The duellum,
however, was only used on occasions when it was not possible
to discover the facts by examining witnesses. Together with
trial by ordeal,judicium, it served as a method for discovering
the perpetrators of "hidden crimes," that is, crimes of which
certain persons were suspected without there being any clear
proof, and also as a test of the good faith of witnesses. In this
latter case torture, tormentum, was permitted as another alternative,
but this is the only reference in these statutes to this mode
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Allen, A. M. A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps., book, 1910; New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1025/m1/49/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .