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In general, iniuria is whatever is not ius; hence a violation of law. In a special sense, it denotes a wrong against one's person as distinguished from a wrong against one's property. It involves an insult (ὕβρις, contumelia) and must include an intent to act unlawfully (dolus). Instances of iniuria are assault, noisy abuse (convicium), libellous writings, insulting gestures, spitting at a man (Ad Q. Fratr. ii. 3, 2), dunning him for a debt in such a way as to injure his credit, etc. Iniuria to a wife was also iniuria to her husband. No iniuria could be done to a slave, though iniuria to his master might be done upon the person of a slave. See Servus.

The penalty of twenty-five asses, which was provided by the Twelve Tables for iniuria, was subsequently found insufficient in many cases, and so an action was established by the praetor (actio iniuriarum aestimatoria), in which the injured party was allowed to claim such damages as he thought he was entitled to, and the iudex might give the full amount or less. This became the ordinary remedy on account of iniuria, but a Lex Cornelia gave a special action in cases of pulsatio, verberatio, and forcible entry into a man's house. The person who committed the iniuria was styled iniurius and later iniustus.

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