EDICT

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EDICT ; a public proclamation. In ancient Rome, the higher officers of state, who were elected annually, publicly declared, at their entrance upon office, the orinciples by which they should conduct 34* their administration. This was done particularly by the ^Ediles (q. v.), who superintended buildings and markets, and by the pretors, as supreme judges. These annual proclamations, by which the deficiencies of the general statutes were supplied, and the laws were adapted to the peculiar wants of the period, gradually acquired a certain permanency, as each officer retained, unaltered, most of the oregulations of his predecessor (edictum tralatitium); and they became, in fact, the source of the whole system of Roman law, which, being founded on the official authority of the authors, was called jus lwnorarium, and was opposed to the strictly formal law, jus civile. The edictum pr&toris, under the emperor Adrian, A. D. 131, was reduced to a regular form (edictum perpetuum) by Salvius Julian us, and received the sanction of legal authority, although the pretors seem to have retained for a long time their privilege of issuing edicts, till all legislative power fell exclusively into the hands of the eriiperor. The form of the edict was still made use of occasionally, although general principles were often brought forward in the decision of particular cases (decrees and rescripts). The name edict has since been applied in several monarchical countries, as a general term, to an ordinance of the supreme authority. (See Civil Law,)