(lit. ‘more honoured’) The Romans made a broad distinction, which was at first social but acquired in the Principate and thereafter an increasing number of legal consequences, between an upper class usually termed honestiores and a lower class of humiliōrēs (lit. ‘lowlier’). No legal definition of the two classes is found, and the allocation of an individual to one or the other was probably at the discretion of the court. The legal consequences were most marked in the criminal law, honestiores being subject to milder penalties than humiliores (rarely the death penalty, never death by crucifixion or by being thrown to wild beasts; relegation to an island in place of forced labour in the mines, etc.).
Subjects: Classical Studies.