Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of corrupt Judgment

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Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of corrupt Judgment



An emperor established a law that every judge convicted of a partial administration of justice, should undergo the severest penalties. It happened that a certain judge, bribed by a large sum, gave a notoriously corrupt decision. This circumstance reaching the ears of the emperor, he commanded him to be flayed. The sentence was immediately executed, and the skin of the culprit nailed upon the seat of judgment, as an awful warning to others to avoid a similar offence. The emperor afterwards bestowed the same dignity upon the son of the deceased judge, and on presenting the appointment, said,—"Thou wilt sit to administer justice upon the skin of thy delinquent sire: should any one incite thee to do evil, remember his fate; look down upon the coverture of the judgment-seat; there thou wilt find matter to uphold thy falling virtue, and prevent the commission of an unjust act."


My beloved, the emperor is Christ; the unjust judge is any evil man, who ought to be excoriated—that is, stripped of all bad dispositions and humours. The skin nailed to the seat of judgment, is Christ's passion, which is a memorial to us of what our conduct should be.