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p564 Fustuarium

Unsigned article on pp564‑565 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

FUSTUARIUM (ξυλοκοπία) was a capital punishment inflicted upon the Roman soldiers for desertion, theft, and similar crimes. It was administered in the following manner:— When a soldier was condemned, the tribune touched him slightly with a stick, upon which all the soldiers of the legion fell upon him with sticks and stones, and generally killed him upon the spot. If however he escaped, for he was allowed to fly, he could not return to his native country, nor did any of his relatives dare to receive him into their houses (Polyb. VI.37; cf. Liv. V.6). This punishment p565continued to be inflicted in the later times of the republic (Cic. Philip. III.6),a and under the empire (Tacit. Ann. III.21).

Different from the fustuariumb was the animadversio fustium, which was a corporal punishment inflicted under the emperors upon free men, but only those of the lower orders (tenuiores, Dig. 48 tit. 19 s28 § 2). It was a less severe punishment than the flogging with flagella, which punishment was confined to slaves (Dig. 48 tit. 19 s.10; 47 tit. 10 s45).


Thayer's Notes:

a See also Vell. Pat. II.LXXVIII.3; and, more cautiously, Caesar, B. G. VI.44.

b This article isn't as clear as it could be, mostly because it assumes you know that fustis is Latin for "stick". Both punishments consist of beating a man with sticks, but the animadversio fustium is a controlled corrective measure rather than a mob execution.


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