What does Capitis Diminutio Media mean? Why is it so important to know about this? What is the purpose of it? And why is this so secretly hidden for such a long time? In this blog I will try and give you a few answers, or at least a few links to other sites that enable you to investigate for yourself.
The Law dictionary describes capitis diminutio (the general description) as follows:
“In Roman law, A diminishing or abridgment of personality. Tills was a loss or curtailment of a man’s status or aggregate of legal attributes and qualifications, following upon certain changes in his civil condition. It was of three kinds, enumerated as follows: Capitis diminutio maxima. The highest or most comprehensive loss of status. This occurred when a man’s condition was changed from one of freedom to one of bondage, when he became a slave. It swept away with it all rights of citizenship and all family rights. Capitis diminutio media. A lesser or medium loss of status. This occurred where a man lost his rights of citizenship, but without losing his liberty. It carried away also the family rights. Capitis diminutio minima. The lowest or least comprehensive degree of loss of status. This occurred where a man’s family relations alone were changed. It happened upon the arrogation of a person who had been his own master, (sui juris,) or upon the emancipation of one who had been under the patria potestas. It left the rights of liberty and citizenship unaltered.”
Let us take a closer look on capitis diminutio media. It means that there is some loss of status to a certain degree involved. In Roman law, this occured where a man’s family relations alone were changed. It happened upon the arrogation [pride] of a person who had been his own master, (sui juris,) [of his own right, not under any legal disability] or upon the emancipation of one who had been under the patria potestas. [Parental authority] It left the rights of liberty and citizenship unaltered.
So, capitis diminutio media means a certain loss of rights, but not to its full extent (i.e. capitis diminutio maxima). Depending on the country you live in (with its particular maritime laws and legistlation) the extent to which you lose your rights varies indifferently. Yet again, everything is connected to the use of your name. Where capitis diminutio maxima writes your full name (last name as well as first name) in capitals, capitis diminutio media writes your name partially in capitals (usually only your last name or family name). Through capitis diminutio (especially maxima), companies can trade under YOUR NAME while maritime law rules!
Most of us, with a number of exceptions, are born on solid ground. Then how does maritime law apply to all of us under capitis diminutio? Find out for yourself, do some research and decide for yourself which action is proper to take in your particular case.