Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity

Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity

by Julia Hillner


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This book traces the long-term genesis of the sixth-century Roman legal penalty of forced monastic penance. The late antique evidence on this penal institution runs counter to a scholarly consensus that Roman legal principle did not acknowledge the use of corrective punitive confinement. Dr Hillner argues that forced monastic penance was a product of a late Roman penal landscape that was more complex than previous models of Roman punishment have allowed. She focuses on invigoration of classical normative discourses around punishment as education through Christian concepts of penance, on social uses of corrective confinement that can be found in a vast range of public and private scenarios and spaces, as well as on a literary Christian tradition that gave the experience of punitive imprisonment a new meaning. The book makes an important contribution to recent debates about the interplay between penal strategies and penal practices in the late Roman world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521517515
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/05/2015
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 6.26(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Julia Hillner is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield. She is co-editor, with Kate Cooper, of Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300-900 (2007).

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Punishment, Reform and Penance: 1. Philosophical and domestic foundations; 2. Punishment and reform in early imperial legal thought; 3. Christian principles of punishment; 4. Punishment, reform and penance in late Roman law; Conclusions; Part II. Prison and Punishment: 5. The public prison in late antiquity; 6. Private power and punitive confinement; 7. Exile and confinement; 8. Exile, prison and the Christian imagination; Conclusions; Part III. Prison and Penance: 9. Monastic confinement and ecclesiastical justice; 10. Monastic confinement and imperial justice; Conclusions; Appendix I. Places of forced residence; Appendix II. Places of exiles' confinement; Appendix III. Places of monastic confinement.

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