DELGADO AITOR – Capitis deminutio

Capitis deminutio : Exile, banishment and punishments to ambassadors during Justinian’s era
Aitor Fernández Delgado, Université de Alcalá de Henares.

The Sixth century, recently defined by Michael Maas as «Justinian’s era», is a key moment to understand the characteristic features of the Early Byzantine world. It is also a time in which the convulsive political circumstances promote a deep redefinition of the diplomatic activity, along with a significant increase of its volume, becoming so one of the main tools of the State regarding to his «foreign policy». Thereby, along this paper I pretend, within the framework of my doctoral thesis, about the «long sixth century» diplomacy and its implications and as part of the research project «Exiliados y desterrados en el Mediterráneo (siglos IV-VII) -HUM 2011/22631-»; to consider one of the hardest punishments of this historical context, from a diplomatic perspective: the exile or interdictio aquae et igni. First of all, I will depict the general scene of the Late Antique Roman diplomacy along this «long sixth century (491-630)», focusing on the main characters for its proper performance: the envoys. Considering them profile, juridical status and main pursuing goals, I will observe if they were susceptible of being punished or not because a diplomatic failure or because another reasons. If so, relying on the evidences provided by the written sources of the period, I will note the reasons why they were punished and the end of such penalties; considering, of course, the kind of punishments of which they could be object. Finally, and after having defined what is considered as exile and banishment, I will notice if among that possible kind of punishments it was applicable or not to the diplomatic corps.