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date: 22 June 2021

exile, Greeklocked

exile, Greeklocked

  • Simon Hornblower

Extract

Exile (φυγή, literally ‘flight’) is permanent (aeiphygia) or long-term removal from one's native place, usually as a punishment imposed by government or other superior power. In Greece it was from earliest times a standard consequence of homicide, and was as much a religious way of getting rid of a source of *pollution as a punishment. Thus *Zeus in *Homer's Iliad is said to make men exiles, driving them like a gadfly over the face of the earth (24. 532 f.).In Classical Greece exile was a punishment for various offences, such as professional failure by a general or ambassador (for Athens see e.g. Thuc. 4. 65, 5. 26. 5). Sometimes, however, the ambiguity of the word ‘to flee’—‘be exiled’ or ‘flee’—means we do not know if an individual was formally exiled or simply fled voluntarily to escape worse. In addition, we often hear of political exiles, as individuals or groups; where the latter feature in the sources, it is usually because they are intriguing against their home government (see e.g. Thuc. 1. 115. 4 or 6. 7. 1 and 3). Again, it is sometimes unclear whether such exiles were driven out by actual decree or because life was for whatever reason intolerable. Occasionally whole communities were displaced; these and other émigré groups in ancient Greece, as in other periods and places, tended to keep their sense of identity, see e.

Subjects

  • Greek Law

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