Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIV.: Sumptuary Laws among the Romans. - Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XIV.: Sumptuary Laws among the Romans. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 1 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
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Sumptuary Laws among the Romans.
WE have spoken of public incontinence, because it is the inseparable companion of luxury. If we leave the motions of the heart at liberty, how shall we be able to restrain the weaknesses of the mind?
At Rome, besides the general institutions, the censors prevailed on the magistrates to enact several particular laws for maintaining the frugality of women. This was the design of the Fannian, Licinian, and Oppian, laws. We may see, in Livy,§ the great ferment the senate was in when the women insisted upon the revocation of the Oppian law. The abrogation of this law is fixed upon, by Valerius Maximus, as the period from whence we may date the luxury of the Romans.
[§ ]Decad. IV. lib. 4.