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τοιχωρύχος, effractarius). A burglar.

As the name τοιχωρύχος implies, the Greek burglar sought to effect an entrance through the wall of a house, rather than through the doors or windows. (See Domus, p. 538.) In Attic law he was reckoned among the κακοῦργοι whose crimes were capital (Demosth. c. Lacrit. p. 940.47); the summary processes called ἀπαγωγή and ἐφήγησις were available against him; he is often coupled with the λωποδύτης (e. g. Plut. 165), both offences being hedged in with special penalties because they were so easy to commit. The midnight terrors of a rich miser behind his flimsy walls are amusingly depicted by Lucian (Gall. p. 748, Reitz). See Klopes Diké.

The Romans did not shrink from capital punishments, at least under the Empire; and yet the crime of effractio was not visited with death, as among the Greeks. Their houses were better built than those of the Greeks, and thus they did not legislate under the influence of panic. The penalty was hard labour for life (opus perpetuum), and for burglary by night, in the mines (poena metalli). The trial was before the praefectus vigilum, or chief of police (Sidon. Apollin. Ep. ix. 7; Dig. 1, 15, 1).

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    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 9.7
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