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This Greek word does not imply dishonour in the modern sense, but deprivation of civil rights, whether partial, complete, temporary, or perpetual. Partial atimia at Athens might consist, for instance, in depriving a citizen of the right to appear again as prosecutor, in case he had, in this capacity, failed to obtain a fifth part of the votes; or of the right to propose a law again to the assembly, if he had been three times condemned for making illegal propositions. In cases of complete atimia, a person was excluded from taking part in any public proceeding whatever. He was forbidden access to the agora and the public sanctuaries; he was incapacitated from appearing in court as a prosecutor. In case of very serious offences the atimia might be followed by confiscation of property, and might even be extended to a man's children. Atimia might also be inflicted on debtors to the State, if the debt was not paid within the appointed time. It was then accompanied with a fine equivalent to the amount already owed. The payment of the debt brought the atimia to an end. But where it was inflicted for other offences, it was seldom removed, and then only after a vote of at least six thousand citizens. In Sparta complete atimia was mostly inflicted on persons who had been guilty of cowardice in war. The offender was not only cut off from all civil rights, and from the common meals and exercises, but had to submit to every kind of insult. At the public festivals he had to take a low place. He was obliged to wear a patchwork cloak, to have his hair cut on one side; to give way in the street to every one, even to young men; no one would give him light for his fire, marry his daughter, or give him his daughter to wife. [Plutarch, Agesilaus 30.] Bachelors were also subject to a kind of atimia. They were not allowed to be present at certain festivals, and had no claim to the marks of respect which the young, in other cases, were expected to show. The full possession of civic rights and privileges was called epitimia. (See INFAMIA.)
Type: Standard
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