Perjury, honour, and disgrace in Roman Antiquity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Perjury–swearing to a false statement or not fulfilling a promissory oath–attracted universal condemnation in Antiquity, as well as promises of harsh divine retribution. Human responses to perjury, however, varied among the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean. This article surveys these responses, locates their cultural contexts, and explains them by examining perjury as an affront to honour. Legal penalties, expiation rituals, and other social responses highlight the various ways that society reifies, performs, and transforms the changing social status of the perjurer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-41
Number of pages23
JournalMediterranean Historical Review
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • divine
  • late Antiquity
  • oaths
  • perjury
  • punishment
  • Roman Empire
  • shame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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