The Problem with Liability Rules?

I found the following story in Robin Lane Fox’s The Classical World. He’s quoting from Aulus Gellius’s Attic Nights, who in turn is quoting Favorinus:

Lucius Veratius was an extremely wicked man of immense brutality. He used to consider it very amusing to slap the face of a free man with the palm of his hand. A slave used to follow him, carrying a purse full of change, and whenever he had slapped someone, he would order twenty-five small coins (asses) to be counted out, as prescribed by the Twelve Tables. As a result, the praetors later decided that this law in the Tables was obsolete and defunct, and declared by edict that they would appoint assessors to estimate personal damages instead.

Very apt.

Sorry this has not much to do with this heading…

A long time ago someone in casual and pretty drunk conversation quoted words something like this ‘if you are talking to somebody and the conversation suddenly becomes totally incomprehensible the subject of the conversation has become power’ anyone know who said it and the exact Quote?

25 small coins = $60/principal book for unauthorized scanning in the GBS.Or will Judge Chin follow this precedent from the praetors cited in Favorinus?

I wonder if Lucius Veratius thought of himself as “extremely wicked”. He may have thought it was just harmless fun. I mean it is not as if Veratius hit these free men with a clenched fist, or used a weapon or drew blood. Should not these free men be thankful to Veratius for asses that they would not otherwise have had?

Douglas Fevens, Halifax, Nova Scotia The University of Wisconsin, Google, & Me