properly a rope with a noose in it, whereby
anything might be pulled or led (according to Corssen's reference to
), used to signify the punishment of
death by hanging, called triumvirale supplicium,
Tac. Ann. 5.9
(6.4). Hence “Fortunae
laqueum mandare” (Juv. 10.52
“to bid Fortune go hang” (see Mayor's note). This mode of
punishment was never performed in public, but only in prison, as in the
Tullianum. Hence we find laqueus
), and with carnifex
14.48). See also the account of the punishment of the Catilinarian
conspirators (Sall. Cat.
55), where the punishment is
inflicted by “vindices rerum capitalium.” Mommsen identifies
2.595) these with the
triumviri or tres viri capitales, and thinks that, in the case of important
criminals and women, these officials were the actual executioners, for which
theory he quotes Sallust (l.c.
), V. Max. 5.4
the same time it is possible, and in the nature of things probable, that
these high officials are spoken of as strangling, when they were merely
present to see that the carnifex did his duty. The passage in Tac. Ann. 5.9
(or 6.4) at any rate shows that
the execution of women was sometimes left to the carnifex, if not always.
The punishment was not uncommon under Tiberius (Tac. Ann.
cc., 6.39; Suet. Tib. 61
); but in the
ordinary course of law the milder punishment of exile was inflicted for
crimes which in old times were capitally punished, and executions were
mainly reserved for real or imaginary crimes against the emperor. (Cf. Tac. Ann. 14.48.