The right, held by every magistrate with imperium, of compelling reluctant citizens to obey his orders and decrees, by inflicting punishment. Against this compulsion, which magistrates exercised not as judges but as holders of executive authority, provocatio might be employed or an appeal to the tribunes. Moreover, the provocatio laws made it an offence to inflict capital punishment in face of appeal and banned the flogging of citizens, except in certain contexts, esp. those of military service, the games, and the stage. Hence, where citizens were concerned, coercitio would usually take the form of imprisonment (see prison), fine, exaction of pledges, or relegation from Rome.
Subjects: Classical Studies.