2010 | LXXXII (82) | 107-124
Article title

Szkice z zakresu rzymskiego prawa karnego – damnatio ad bestias

Title variants
Essays about roman criminal law – damnatio ad bestias
Languages of publication
Damnatio ad bestias is definitely one of the most amazing institutions of Roman criminal law. It was an aggravated form of death penalty used in public procedure, mostly against noncitizens and humiliores, from I century a. D. As it seems however, it had already appeared before in domestic jurisdiction of the owners of the slaves, in the frames of ius vitae ac necis, but not as a death penalty. Such slaves were sold to lanistae in order to fight with wild animals. The interesting point about damnatio ad bestias is, that it was omitted in the legal catalogues of inflicted penalties. It was the consequence of its characteristic – it depended on organization of the games and some infrastructure, like amphitheatres or animals. So there were just few occasions during the year to inflict this penalty. Other aggravated forms of death penalty, crucifixion and burning alive, were equivalent and could be inflicted interchangeably with analyzed punishment, despite few exceptional texts. Damnatio ad bestias could be also executed in the situations of aggravation of perpetrator’s responsibility resulting from the use of arms, in cases of organized crimes or committed by night. Sometimes it was also replacing other traditional penalties, like for example poena cullei.
Physical description
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Document Type
Publication order reference
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