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ἄσυλον). Among the Greeks the right of sanctuary appertained to those who took refuge in temples, altars, sacred groves, and at statues of the gods, and these were resorted to by debtors, slaves, and criminals as places of refuge. Only certain definite places, however, gave absolute protection, and we read of persons being forced from the sanctuary by the application of fire, while others were starved out, as in the well-known case of Pausanias (q.v.). In Roman times the ius asyli was so frequently an obstruction to the course of justice that the Senate limited it to a few cities (Tac. Ann. iii. 60).

The Roman law did not recognize the right of sanctuary in general, and Livy speaks of it as a Greek custom (xxxv. 51). Yet by special enactment the Temple of Divus Iulius was made an asylum of refuge (Dio Cass. xlvii. 19), and slaves in the provinces, if ill-treated by their masters, could take refuge before a statue of the emperor (Gaius, i. 53; cf. Servus).

On the general subject, see Förster, De Asylis Graecorum (Berlin, 1847); Neu, De Asylis (Göttingen, 1837); Bringer, De Asylorum Origine, Usu, etc. (Leyden, 1828); and Rein, Criminalrecht der Römer, p. 896.

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Tacitus, Annales, 3.60
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 51
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