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Red Laws (The)


The civil code of ancient Rome. Juvenal says, “Per lege rubras majoram leges” (Satires, xiv. 193). The civil laws, being written in vermillion, were called rubrīca, and rubrica vetāvit means, It is forbidden by the civil laws.

The prætor’s laws were inscribed in white letters as Quintilian informs us (xii. 3 “prœtores edicta sua in albo proponebant”), and imperial rescripts were written in purple.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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