This essay focuses on a particular form of criminal responsibility reserved for officials in the late Roman empire. This discipline was regarded as one of the most effective tools for raising the status of officials who generally enjoyed little esteem. The ethical foundations and the disciplinary nature of this legal discipline are analyzed. Special attention is paid to the criteria of imputation, which present profiles of objective responsibility, which are accompanied, at the end of the late empire, by a form of patrimonial responsibility. The penal discipline applied to officials reached a moment of particular harshness during the Justinian age, and then diminished as a result of the strengthening of the importance and role of the Byzantine bureaucratic apparatus.
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