Author Topic: The Theodosian Code on Counterfeiting  (Read 2214 times)

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Offline Victor

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The Theodosian Code on Counterfeiting
« on: July 03, 2012, 09:37:39 PM »
Here are some of the laws found in the Theodosian Code relating to counterfeiting. Sometimes there are two possible dates given and I have chosen to give only one.

Another ancient source gives a possible reason for counterfeiting-- Firmicus Maternus, who lived in the fourth century, said that an alignment of the stars and planets influenced forgery. Maternus was probably wrong, though!

"Mars allots 20 months to Mercury. When Mercury accepts these months he rouses certain dangers from things written, or he inflicts loss from forgeries. But often he will have enemies destroyed in various ways. If Mercury and Venus are in conjunction, in square aspect, or in opposition, they indicate the crimes of forgery and counterfeiting, especially if Mercury is found in the house or terms of Saturn."          Ancient Astrology: Theory and Practice 35:6.

Theodosian Code 9:21:2
Since some imperial minters are secretly and criminally engaged in the coinage of counterfeit money, all shall know that the necessity is incumbent on them of seeking out such men, that they may be tracked down and delivered to the courts, so that they may forthwith betray the accomplices of their deeds through torture and thereupon be sentenced to suitable punishments. (20 November 321)

If any person should mold a coin by false casting, We command that all his property shall be confiscated to the fisc and that he shall be punished with statutory severity, in order that such zeal for coining money may prevail only in Our mints. (6 July 326)

It was formerly established as law that, if money should be secretly stamped and coined on a farm or at a house without the knowledge of the owner, the fisc should vindicate to its own ownership the seat of the crime. Now it is our pleasure that a distinction shall be made, namely that if the owner dwells…at a very long distance from the said house or landholding, he shall sustain no loss. (4 May 326)

A reward is offered to the accusers of any persons who can be found to be counterfeiters of solidi or who are brought before the public authorities by anyone for this crime. Such criminals shall be delivered to the consuming flames immediately and without delay. (18 Feb 343)

We have learned that some metal casters purge the majorina criminally and frequently, by separating the silver from the bronze. If any person hereafter should be apprehended in this trickery, he shall know that he has committed a capital crime. Also those persons who furnish the use of houses and lands to counterfeiters must be punished by the delivery of their property to the imperial largesses. Of course, Our Clemency must be informed of the names of such persons. (12 Feb 349)

Those persons guilty of making false money, who are commonly called counterfeiters, are held liable to the criminal charge of high treason. (27 June 389)