Severitas and clementia in punishing the crimen maiestatis from Principate to Dominate

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2013, vol. 18, iss. 1, pp. [149]-158
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
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In this paper, the image of immense cruelty of emperors and their officials under the Dominate, presented with lots of details by Ammianus Marcellinus, will be discussed as an aspect of the emperors' attitude towards the law in political charges evolving from the Principate to the Dominate. Using the example of judicial torture which should have been excluded in criminal trials of free citizens until the late Principate, and of trials mostly concerning political magic that supplied one of the most questionable sort of charges during the Dominate, the paper endeavors to demonstrate that atrocities formed part of the criminal investigation already under the Principate while death was not the only punishment for crimes associated with politics under the Dominate, even though the law recommended it.
Summary language
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