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APOTYMPANISMOS (ἀποτυμπανισμὸς), beating to death with sticks, cudgels, or clubs (τὸ τυμπάνω ἀποκτεῖναι, ὅπερ ἐστὶ ξύλον ὥσπερ ῥόπαλον, Lex. Rhet. p. 198), is mentioned as a mode of execution at Athens and elsewhere. It resembled, but was probably not identical with, the Roman fustuarium, an exclusively military punishment [FUSTUARIUM].

It is a question of some importance, as bearing on the Greek and especially the Athenian character, whether this and other cruel punishments were confined to slaves and aliens, or inflicted also upon free citizens. By far the most probable opinion is, that they were absolutely prohibited by Attic law in the case of the fully enfranchised; but, as in other things, the practice in bad times may not have been quite on a level with the theory. One Menestratus, who had been an informer under the Thirty, and was apparently a citizen, suffered this punishment as a murderer (ἀνδροφόνος) under the restored democracy (Lys. c. Agorat. § § 55, 56); but whether as an act of popular vengeance, or in consequence of a fresh crime, is not stated. In the same speech, two brothers of the defendant are said to have been thus put to death: one by Lamachus in the Sicilian expedition for sending [p. 1.144]the enemy secret intelligence by fire-signals (this would have been under martial law); the other as a λωποδύτης: but we are expressly told that Agoratus was the son of a slave (Lys. l.c. § § 67, 68). It is curious that Demosthenes in three passages somewhat brutally expresses a wish that this punishment had been inflicted on traitors, but nowhere mentions as a fact that it was so (de Chers. p. 104.61 ; Phil. iii. p. 126.61; de Fals. Leg. p. 388.137). The practice among barbarians or under tyrannies such as that of Aristion (or Athenion) is clearly irrelevant to this question (Ath. 4.154 c, 5.214 d); and it would not be safe to infer from the one doubtful instance in Lysias, that Athenian citizens were liable to be thus punished. Perrot (L‘Éloquence politique à Athènes, p. 130) holds that they were not; Caillemer the reverse (ap. D. and S.). The kindred question, whether torture to extract evidence was permissible in the case of citizens, is discussed under TORMENTUM


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