Brill’s New Pauly

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(741 words)

[German version]

(ἱερὸν ἄσυλον; hieròn ásylon). An inviolate sacred area (ἀ and συλᾶν, ‘remove’, ‘practise self-help’), from which it was not permitted to forcibly remove either objects or people seeking asylum.

This institution which is well attested in Greece since the early period has its roots in the widespread idea (Ancient Near East, Egypt, Israel) [1] that persons at a sacred site are safe from their persecutors. Their forced removal, which was in effect robbery of a part of a sacred site, was regarded as a sacrilege a…

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Chaniotis, Angelos (Heidelberg), “Asylon”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 27 February 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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