„Some laws are not written, but are more decisive than any written law.“

Book I, Chapter I; slightly modified translation from Norman T. Pratt Seneca's Drama (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983) p. 140
Controversiae
Originale: (la) Quædam iura non scripta, sed omnibus scriptis certiora sunt.

Lucio Anneo Seneca il Vecchio photo
Lucio Anneo Seneca il Vecchio5
scrittore romano -54 - 39 a.C.

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Contesto: The written law is binding, but the unwritten law is much more so. You may break the written law at a pinch and on the sly if you can, but the unwritten law — which often comprises the written — must not be broken. Not being written, it is not always easy to know what it is, but this has got to be done.

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„Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the tablets of eternity.“

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James Anthony Froude, in the lecture "The Science of History" (5 February 1864); published in Representative Essays (1885) by George Haven Putnam, p. 274; Lord Acton quoted Froude in an address "The Study of History" (11 June 1895) http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1906acton.html, which led to this being widely attributed to him. The phrase has also sometimes been misquoted as: Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity.
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Contesto: Relatively speaking, law is a product of modern times. For ages and ages mankind lived without any written law, even that graved in symbols upon the entrance stones of a temple. During that period, human relations were simply regulated by customs, habits, and usages, made sacred by constant repetition, and acquired by each person in childhood, exactly as he learned how to obtain his food by hunting, cattle-rearing, or agriculture.
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