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The Visigothic Code: (Forum judicum)

ed. S. P. Scott



Book IV: Concerning Natural Lineage

Title IV: Concerning Foundlings

[135]
I. Where Anyone Casts Away, or Abandons, a Freeborn Child, he shall Serve as its Slave.
II. Where a Male or Female Slave shall be proved to have Cast Away a Child, with, or without the Knowledge of his or her Master.
III. What Compensation for Support anyone shall Receive for the Bringing up of a Child committed to his Care by its Parents.

I. Where Anyone Casts Away, or Abandons, a Freeborn Child, he shall Serve as its Slave.

If anyone, induced by compassion, should rescue, and care for a child, of either sex, who has been abandoned, and such child, after having been brought up, should be acknowledged by its parents; where the latter are freeborn persons, they shall either give a slave, or the price of one, as compensation for the service performed. If they should neglect to do this, compensation shall be made by order of the judge of the district; and the parents who have been guilty of such wickedness shall be condemned to perpetual exile. Where he who casts away the child has not sufficient property to redeem it, he shall serve as its slave; and he whom the pity of others has preserved, shall enjoy complete freedom. It shall be lawful for the judge both to prosecute and impose sentence for this crime whenever committed.

II. Where any Male or Female Slave shall be Proved to have Cast Away a Child, with or without the Knowledge of his or her Master.

If a slave, of either sex, in order to defraud his or her master, should expose and abandon their own child, without the knowledge of said master, and anyone should bring it up, the latter shall be entitled to receive the third part of its value; but, under such circumstances, the master must swear or prove that he was ignorant that his slave had abandoned [136] the child, if, however, it should be shown that the master was aware of the fact, the child shall become the slave of him who reared it.

III. What Compensation for Support anyone shall Receive for the Bringing up of a Child committed to his Care by its Parents.

If anyone should accept from its parents a little child to be reared, he shall receive as compensation one solidus every year, until the child has reached the age of ten; but he shall be entitled to no further compensation after it has completed its tenth year, because after that time the services of the child should be sufficient to pay for its support. And if he who seeks to take the child again should be unwilling to pay this sum, it shall be held in slavery by him who reared it.