O sławnych prawodawcach w wierszach Adama Mickiewicza
About Famous Lawgivers in Poems by Adam Mickiewicz
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Adam Mickiewicz is regarded as the greatest Polish poet. His works have a timeless value, providing an inexhaustible source of inspiration for subsequent generations of readers. In the works by Adam Mickiewicz, we can ﬁnd many references to ancient laws, including the famous lawgivers. In the poem Warcaby, the poet notes that lawgi- vers often did not obey the laws which they themselves had established. He reminds the reader of the story of the Greek ruler Zaleucus, who lived in the 7th century B.C. He punished adulterers with the loss of both eyes. When his own son committed the crime, Zaleucus violated this law. He decided to have one of his son’s eyes taken out and one of his own. Another lawgiver mentioned by Adam Mickiewicz in the poem is Appius Claudius. He was a member of a special commission composed of ten men (decemviri legibus scribundis) who wrote in the years 451–450 B.C. the Law of the Twelve Tables (lex duodecim tabularum). Shortly afterwards, however, he was guilty of violating the law in an attempt to deprive a beautiful plebeian girl, Verginia, of her freedom. Ano- ther of the famous lawgivers mentioned by the poet, in his poems Walka miodowa and Jamby [Na imieninach Onufrego Pietraszkiewicza], is byzantine emperor Justinian the Great. In Jamby Adam Mickiewicz mentions the Digest (Digesta), the main part of the codiﬁca- tion of the Roman law written during the reign of Justinian. The Digest was published in Latin in 533 A.D., and later translated into Greek, so it’s also known as the Pandects.
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