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From Oath-Swearing To Entrenchment Clause: The Introduction Of Atimia-Terminology In Legal Inscriptions

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Chapter Summary

In classical Athens, the term atimia could refer to the deprivation of certain privileges, many of which are associated with the concept of citizenship. This chapter investigates some of the earliest direct attestations of atimia in legal documents, and on the basis of their characteristics suggest a radically different genesis for the role of atimia in the legal sphere. It observes that the inscriptional attestations often occur in so-called sanctiones legis or 'entrenchment clauses': clauses designed to ensure the authority of inscribed communal agreements, and distinguishable, as such, from penalties proper. The chapter then compares the function of such a sanctio legis in inscribed decrees to the act of communal self-imprecation, as exemplified by the oath-swearing ritual of the Theran settlers of Cyrene.

Keywords: Atimia; sanctiones legis



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