The Role of Delators

O F Robinson

in Beyond Dogmatics

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780748627936
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651474 | DOI:
The Role of Delators

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This chapter focuses on the delatores, who were a vivid part of the image of imperial Rome. The picture is of low-born men, who had contrived to rise in the world through the rewards of their informing, pandering to the fears of imperial tyrants with unjustified accusations of treason, thus putting at risk the lives and estates of those honourable senators who scorned sycophancy; the implications are of calumny and greed. These men — accusers, informers — fall into the interesting area where law and history touch, and the word identifying them has even been accepted into the vernacular — delators, délateurs, delatori. But how far is the image true, and in what way? Tacitus is the chief foundation of our universal picture, but there is room to question both the reality and the context of what he says.

Keywords: delators; Tacitus; Roman Empire

Chapter.  7060 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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