Andrew Lintott

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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At Athens and under the Roman republic was normally thought inappropriate for citizens. It might be used on slaves (see slavery) and perhaps on foreigners, for example prisoners of war. Slaves might be tortured in order to extract confessions of their own guilt or evidence against other persons (the unreliability of this second kind of evidence seems to have been recognized in practice at Athens). At Rome the investigation by torture was called quaestio; the evidence of the tortured was not testimonium. Evidence under torture by slaves was not accepted against their own masters, except in matters such as treason and sacrilege, as with the Catilinarian conspirators (see sergius catilina, l.) (Cic.Part. or.118). Augustus extended these exceptions to include *adultery in certain situations (Dig. 48. 5. 28 pref.) but preserved the letter of the principle by having the slaves sold to a representative of the public (Cass. Dio 55. 5; the change is wrongly ascribed to *Tiberius by Tac.

Article.  370 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Roman History

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