Venefici (poisoners, sorcerers) were magicians who practice their arts against the lives of men. In the laws of the early Christian emperors of Rome, which granted indulgence to criminals at the Easter festival, the Venefici were always excepted as guilty of too heinous a crime to be comprised within the general pardon granted to other offenders. See Bingham, Christ. Antiq. bk. 16, ch. 5, § 5.