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Definition: Carcer was the Roman state prison. The carcer was used primarily for detention, although it was also used for some executions. The underground section of the carcer was called Tullianum, perhaps having been built by Servius Tullius. Ancus Martius is also credited with building it and the name may derive from a word for spring, tullus. The seven-meter in diameter Tullianum was accessible through a hole in the roof.

A featured Thursday's Term.

Also Known As: Mamertine Prison
From the Latin carcer comes the English word incarceration (in - carcer - ation).

For a recent article on Roman prisons, see: "The Roman Carcer and Its Adjuncts," by T. J. Cadoux; Greece & Rome, Vol. 55, No. 2, 2008.

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