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Altering Infamy: Status, Violence, and Civic Exclusion in Late Antiquity

Sarah Bond
Classical Antiquity
Vol. 33, No. 1 (April 2014), pp. 1-30
DOI: 10.1525/ca.2014.33.1.1
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/ca.2014.33.1.1
Page Count: 30
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Altering Infamy
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Abstract

This paper investigates the application of the legal stigma of infamia (disrepute) in Late Antiquity. The legal status is used as a lens through which to view the changing systemic, religious, and social landscapes between the reigns of Diocletian and Justinian, indicating the various uses and, ultimately, abuses of the status, as well as the marked consequences of expanding its definition. The use of the legal status to marginalize religious deviants in particular is inspected. This analysis reveals that the amendment of infamia to include heretics, apostates, and pagans signals the use of classical law to define orthodoxy and to articulate the anxiety over the pagan-Christian religious transition. The unforeseen consequences of infamia's expansion were the abetment of violence in the fourth and fifth centuries. Moreover, the disqualification of religious deviants from serving on curial councils had a noticeable impact on some municipalities in the later empire, and may have created a loophole with which to avoid curial service altogether.

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