previous next

CARN´IFEX

CARN´IFEX the public executioner at Rome, who put slaves and foreigners to death (Plaut. Bacch. 4.4, 37; Capt. 5.4, 22), but no citizens except in the case of those convicted of perduellio, and occasionally under the empire. It was also his business to administer the torture. He was usually a public slave, and his office was considered so disgraceful that he was not allowed to reside within the city (Cic. pro Rab. Perd. 5, 15), but he lived without the Porta Esquilina (Plaut. Pseud. 1.3, 98; cf. Ritschl, Opusc. 2.382), near the place destined for the punishment of slaves (Plaut. Cas. 2.6, 2; Tac. Ann. 15.60; Hor. Epod. 5.99), called Sestertium or Sessorium under the emperors (Plut. Galb. 28).

It is thought by some writers, from a passage in Plautus (Rud. 3.6, 19), that the carnifex was anciently keeper of the prison under the triumviri capitales; but there does not appear sufficient authority for this opinion. (Lipsius, Excurs. ad Tacit. Ann. 2.32.) [W.S] [A. S. W.]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: