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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In ancient Roman culture, infamia (in-, "not," and fama, "reputation") was a loss of legal or social standing. As a technical term of Roman law, infamia was an official exclusion from the legal protections enjoyed by a Roman citizen, as imposed by a censor or praetor.[1] More generally, especially during the Republic and Principate, infamia was informal damage to one's esteem or reputation. A person who suffered infamia was an infamis (plural infames).

Infamia was an "inescapable consequence" for certain professionals, including prostitutes and pimps, entertainers such as actors and dancers, and gladiators.[2] Infames could not, for instance, provide testimony in a court of law. They were liable to corporal punishment, which was usually reserved for slaves.[3] The infamia of entertainers did not exclude them from socializing among the Roman elite, and entertainers who were "stars", both men and women, sometimes became the lovers of such high-profile figures as Mark Antony and the dictator Sulla.

A passive homosexual who was "outed" might also be subject to social infamia, although if he were a citizen he might retain his legal standing.[4][5]


The modern Roman Catholic Church has a similar concept called infamy.

See also


  1. ^ McGinn, Thomas A.J. (1998). Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome. Oxford University Press. p. 65ff.
  2. ^ Edwards, Catharine (1997). Unspeakable Professions Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome. Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 9780691011783.
  3. ^ Edwards, Catharine (1997). Unspeakable Professions Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome. Princeton University Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780691011783.
  4. ^ Richlin, Amy (1993). "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men". Journal of the History of Sexuality. 3 (4). pp. 550–551, 555ff.
  5. ^ Edwards, Catharine (1997). Unspeakable Professions Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome. Princeton University Press, 1997. p. 68. ISBN 9780691011783.

External links

  • Smith D.C.L., LL.D, William (1875). "Infamia". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray. pp. 634‑636.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
This page was last edited on 19 February 2021, at 21:21
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