Civis Romanus Sum

This single plea sufficed to arrest arbitrary condemnation, bonds, and scourging. Hence, when the centurion commanded Paul “to be examined by scourging,” he virtually pleaded “Civis Romanus sum”; and asked, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen, and uncondemned? ” (1) No Roman citizen could be condemned unheard; (2) by the Valerian Law he could not be bound; (3) by the Sempronian Law it was forbidden to scourge him, or to beat him with rods. (See also Acts xvi. 37, etc.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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