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INJU´RIA Injuria, in the general sense, signifies a violation of law, what is not jus ( “Injuriam autem hic accipere nos oportet non quemadmodum circa injuriarum actionem contumeliam quandam, sed quod non jure factum est, hoc est contra jus,” Dig. 9, 2, 5.1). Similarly a person acting unlawfully is called injurius (compare inlex), but later injustus (Voigt, Zwölf Tafeln, 1.39). Hence the phrase damnum injuria datum means unlawful damage to property [DAMNUM &c.].

Injuria, in a special sense, is the term which denotes a particular kind of wrong or delict, committed against a man's person, as distinct from his property. Injuria, in this sense, is any unlawful act by which an insult (contumelia, ὕβρις) is conveyed by one person to another. Thus every intentional violation of the right of another is injuria, as implying contumelia, though, if such a wrongful act falls under the category of any other offence, the penalty of the latter is applicable, and not that of injuria (Windscheid, Pandekten, § 472, n. 1). It follows from the nature of this delict that it cannot arise without an intention to act unlawfully (dolus). The external acts constituting it might be various in kind. Thus it might be done by assaulting a man, as by striking or beating him; by other conduct likely to bring a man into contempt or derision, as by vociferous abuse (convicium), scurrilous songs and verses, libellous writings of any kind; by insulting gestures, by spitting at a man (Plaut. Curc. 4.2, 17; Cic. ad Quint. fr. 2.3, 2); by going about unkempt and unshorn, or in mourning attire, with the object of falsely suggesting that the person so acting was suffering by the misconduct of another person; by demanding a debt in a way likely to injure a man's character (clamore, flagitare, poscere, Plaut. Pseud. 1.5, 143; 4.7, 46; Curc. 5.3, 5); by summoning a debtor to court (in jus vocatio) in an illegal manner (Porph. in Hor. Sat. 1.9, 77); by obtaining an execution order against a person as if he were insolvent; by illegally distraining on a man's goods, &c. A man might sustain injuria either in his own person, or in the person of members of his family who were in his power. Injuria to a wife was also injuria to her husband. No injuria could be done to a slave, but certain acts done to a slave were an injuria to his master, when the acts were such as appeared from their nature to be insulting to the master; as, for instance, if a man should flog another man's slave: but for verbal abuse of a slave, or striking him with the fist, Gaius (3.222) says, there was no formula provided, nor would an action be readily granted by the praetor.

The Twelve Tables had various provisions on the subject of injuria. The penalty of injuria for a limb broken was retaliation (Gaius, 3.223, “propter membrum ruptum talio erat;” cf. Festus, s. v. Talio); for a bone broken or bruised, three hundred asses if the person injured was a freeman, one hundred and fifty if he was a slave. It seems probable, however, that Gaius made a mistake in classifying these punishments under injuria, the prominent idea in the law of the Twelve Tables respecting them being that of damage to the person rather than that of insult. (Voigt, Zwölf Tafeln, 2.129.)

The ordinary penalty for injuria in the Twelve Tables was twenty-five asses (Gaius, 3.223). Gaius adds that such a sum seemed an adequate compensation in those days of excessive poverty. Libellous songs or verses (occentus: cf. Hor. Ep. 2.1, 145, “Fescennina per hunc inventa licentia” ), by which persons were frequently defamed at public festivities, were followed in addition by a punishment affecting the caput of the offender, which involved scourging as well as loss of liberty (cf. Hor. Ep. 1. 100.154), or which, according to one interpretation of a passage of Cicero (Rep. 4.10), was death. The penalty of twenty--five asses provided by the Twelve Tables was subsequently found insufficient in many cases, and so an action was established by the praetor (actio injuriarum aestimatoria), in which the injured party was allowed to claim such damages as he thought he was entitled to, and the judex might give the full amount or less. This became the ordinary remedy on account of injuria, but a Lex Cornelia gave a special action in cases of pulsatio, verberatio, and forcible entry into a man's house.

In determining the damages in the actio aestimatoria the praetor had to distinguish between an atrocious outrage (atrox injuria) and that of a less serious kind. An injuria had the character of atrox, either from the act itself, or the place where it was done, as for instance a theatre or forum; or from the condition of the person outraged, as if he were a magistratus, or if he were a senator and the wrong-doer were a person of low condition. Infamia was a sequence of condemnation in an actio injuriarum [INFAMIA].

The actio injuriarum was regarded as a vindictive action, in satisfaction of a purely personal injury (actiones vindictam spirantes), and [p. 1.1011]so could not be maintained by the heir of the person outraged. It became the rule that every kind of injuria might be made the subject of either criminal or civil proceedings (Inst. 4.4, 10). The criminal proceedings and punishment were extra ordinem [CRIMEN]. Various imperial constitutions affixed the punishment of death to libellous writings [LIBELLI]. (Gaius, 3.220-225; Paul. Sent. Rec. 5, 4; Cod. Theod. 9.34; Cod. 9.35, 36; Inst. 4.4; Dig. 47, 10; Keller, Inst. 141, &c.; Huschke, Gaius, 118, &c.; Rein, Criminalrecht, § 354, &c.; Voigt, Zwölf Tafeln, 2. § § 129, 130.)

[G.L] [E.A.W]

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