“It was an ancient military punishment to order a soldier, because he had disgraced himself, to open his veins and let out blood. The reason for this does not survive in the ancient books, or at any rate in the ones which I could find. But I imagine that this was originally reserved for soldiers of an unsound mind, so that it seemed less a punishment than a medical treatment. Afterward, however, I think that it was used in the case of many other offences through force of habit, as if all who lapsed from discipline must be of unsound mind.”
Fuit haec quoque antiquitus militaris animadversio iubere ignominiae causa militi venam solvi et sanguinem dimitti. II. Cuius rei ratio in litteris veteribus, quas equidem invenire potui, non exstat; sed opinor factum hoc primitus in militibus stupentis animi et a naturali habitu declinatis, ut non tam poena quam medicina videretur. III. Postea tamen ob pleraque alia delicta idem factitatum esse credo per consuetudinem, quasi minus sani viderentur omnes, qui delinquerent.