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Comedy and the Rise of Rome$
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Matthew Leigh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266760

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266760.001.0001

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The Captivi and the Paradoxes of Postliminium

The Captivi and the Paradoxes of Postliminium

(p.57) 3 The Captivi and the Paradoxes of Postliminium
Comedy and the Rise of Rome


Oxford University Press

This chapter combines a close reading of the text entitled Captivi, with consideration of the attitude of the Roman ruling class to those members of its armed forces who exposed themselves to enslavement by becoming prisoners of war to an enemy power. In particular, it investigates the response to Roman prisoners who tried to extricate themselves from this situation by means not unlike those adopted by the heroes of the Captivi. It examines the means by which society might validate the recovery of status lost in time of war. Its provisions not just for a returning prisoner to re-establish himself as a free citizen but also for a recovered slave to revert to the power of his master make the law of postliminium a promising area of investigation.

Keywords:   Captivi, Roman law of postliminium, Roman ruling class, Roman prisoners, war, slave, Livy, Polybius, mid-Republican period

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