Ostracism: From Divine Punishment to Political Maneuvers

Ostracism: From Divine Punishment to Political Maneuvers

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As the world’s powers perpetually rise and fall, exile and banishment have forever been ubiquitous elements of human history. Exile and ostracism have afflicted individuals and nations, inspiring eminent works of Classical literature and immortalizing core themes of religious belief. The most illustrious stories from the ancient world revolve around banishment. Its status as a judicial and political maneuver traces back to the origins of democracy.

The Four Exiles of the Jewish People

The Arba Galuyot, or “Four Exiles” are a foundational component of Jewish history. The precursor galut (exile) began in 1523 BC, when disaster struck the land of Canaan (ancient Israel). In Genesis and Exodus, the Hebrew Bible tells that famine forced the people of Jacob to wander into Egypt. They settled there successfully before the Egyptian Pharaohs enslaved them for centuries. The belief is that God sent Moses and the famous plagues to liberate his people, and after 40 more years of wandering through the desert, they returned to Israel around 1313 BC.

The prophet Daniel supposedly foretold the four exiles that followed as four great beasts:

“I saw in my vision by night...four great beasts…The first was like a lion...and behold, another beast, a second one, similar to a bear…Afterwards I beheld, and there was another, similar to a leopard…After that, as I looked on in the night vision, there was a fourth beast—fearsome, dreadful and very powerful.”

Based on teachings by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, many Jews and Christians regard the ancient Jewish exiles as Yahweh’s divine punishment for disobedience and idolatry.

The Palace of Nebuchadnezzar at Babylon (David Stanley / CC BY 2.0 )

The First Beast: The Lion and Babylonian Captivity

Judeo-Christian faith maintains that both the Holy Temple and holiness itself reigned over Jerusalem until the early sixth century BC, when Israel crumbled at the hand of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The Jewish nation’s humble population were spared, and remained free under the Jewish King Zedekiah. But Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Holy Temple and banished 10,000 of the most prominent citizens – the wealthiest, the most skilled, the most holy and influential – to Babylon. Ignoring the pleas of their prophet, Jeremiah, those remaining in Jerusalem rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who in turn exiled them to Babylon as punishment as well.

2 Kings 24-25 recounts the resulting siege, the desecration and mourning, but the Jews eventually became accustomed to Babylon.

The Second Beast: The Bear and the Persian Kings

About 70 years later, in the 530s BC, the Persians came to power under King Darius. He purportedly took kindly to the Jewish people, appointing the prophet Daniel as his chief minister and sparking jealousy among his other officials. This brought about the Biblical story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. The envious officials of Darius convinced him to ban any prayer not directed at himself, which Daniel of course defied.

  • Anticipating Armageddon: The Interpretation of Daniel’s Dream
  • The Secret Strategic Plans of Darius the Great

Daniel in the Lions’ Den by Peter Paul Rubens (Jorge Elías / CC BY 2.0 )

When the king hesitantly punished Daniel by throwing him to the lions, he survived by a miracle of God. This caused Darius to throw the conniving officials into the den in Daniel’s place. Darius’s successor King Cyrus then brought the Jews back into Israel to rebuild.

The Third Beast: The Leopard and Greek Persecution

Alexander the Great conquered Persia during the fourth century BC, leaving Jewish people under the rule of the Greeks. This resulted in a major cultural conflict, as the Greek way of life encroached and corrupted Jewish tradition.

The Greek kings that followed made Jewish elders translate the Torah into Greek for the first time, and murdered and persecuted Jews. They attacked Jewish holy laws such as Shabbat, until a group of Jews called the Maccabees rose up to emancipate themselves, the event from which the holiday of Hanukkah derives.

The Fourth Beast: The Fearsome Beast of Rome

The Roman Empire annexed Judea in the 60s BC and Israel 30 years later. The Jews fractured into four sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Sicarii and Zealots, and they rose up in revolt against Rome. This set in motion an onslaught of oppression – from murder and the destruction of the second Holy Temple under Nero, Vespasian and Titus, through repeated banishments and bloodshed during the Crusades of Europe, and so on.

Ostracism Outside the Bible: Greek Politics

The democratic law imposed by the Athenians to root out governmental corruption is by far the most famous formal practice of ostracism in history. The renowned Greek philosopher Aristotle documented ostracism when he wrote his account, Athenian Constitution. The people engaging in ostracisms in ancient Athens left behind artifacts called ostraka (s. ostrakon), which have given scholars fascinating insights into Athenian society and culture.

Aristotle (Sergey Sosnovskiy / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

In the late sixth and early fifth century BC, before ostracism existed in Athens, Archons (rulers) came to power through indirect elections among democratically elected generals. Aristotle insists that they did not violate the newly reformed Athenian constitution, but generals had begun to resort to corruption by consistently granting power to members of their own groups.

Although there is some debate about exactly when the Athenians first enacted the ritual of ostracism, it is clear that Cleisthenes - who is known as the ‘father of Athenian democracy’ - adopted the law with the intention to punish convicted and potential tyrants and prevent their reinstatement. One possible starting point was when the Athenians won the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC over the Persians. Exiled former tyrant Hippias had returned alongside the Persians, planning to resume control over Athens.

The Official Process of Ostracism

The first step was a preliminary vote, probably in the weeks or days preceding the elections of generals. In the ecclesia (assembly), citizens of Athens would vote on whether or not they should hold an ostracism that year. If the majority approved, another meeting called the ostracophoria would commence weeks later for the second vote. A citizens’ council of over 500, called the “Boule”, along with 9 Archons, would supervise as citizens voted for whichever candidate they wanted to ostracize.

Voters would use pottery shards called ostraka as scrap paper, anonymously etching the name of the candidate they wanted to ostracize. Since not all citizens of Athens were literate, scribes would help some people write the name. If they tallied at least 6,000 votes, the person with the most votes was sentenced to exile for ten years. They would permit the ostracized individual ten days’ preparation to leave. There was no appeal process, and the consequence for returning before ten years had elapsed was death.

Who Was Ostracized, and Why?

It is not entirely certain exactly how many candidates were actually banished between 487-416 BC, when Athens practiced ostracism, but it is believed to be about thirteen.

Depiction of Ancient Greek Voting (Brygos Painter / )

Hipparchus, Hippias’s brother, was the first casualty of ostracism, because they were both related to Pisistratus, a powerful military commander and tyrannical leader. Scholars suspect that Hipparchus’s conduct around the time of the Battle of Marathon must have given Cleisthenes cause for alarm.

Megacles was ostracized in 486 BC. More than 4,000 ostraka denoting votes for him have been found in Athens. As Aristotle writes, “the Athenians continued for three years to ostracize the friends of the tyrants, on account of whom the law had been enacted,” which likely refers to Megacles.

Xanthippos was ostracized in 484 BC. Once the friends of tyrants were removed, Aristotle says, they “took to removing anyone else who seemed too powerful: the first man unconnected with the tyranny to be ostracized was Xanthippos son of Arriphron.” This may be the point when ostracism began to deteriorate into a sly political maneuver.

Aristeides was ostracized in 482 BC. The historian Plutarch recalls that one illiterate citizen who needed help writing Aristeides’s name on his ostraka admitted that Aristeides had done no harm. The citizen went on to remark, “I do not even know the fellow, but I am sick of hearing him called 'The just' everywhere!”

Hippocrates was ostracized in the 480s BC. He is otherwise unknown, but may have shared some relation to Pisistratus.

Later Candidates for Ostracism

Kimon was ostracized in 461 BC. In the decade before, he had been a soldier and politician, leading a faction of aristocrats. Kimon’s ostracism may have been the result of political rivalry with Pericles, and he was recalled to return to Athens within five years.

Ostracon bearing the name of Kimon, 486 or 461 BC. Ancient Agora Museum in Athens . (Marsyas, CC BY-SA 2.5 )

Interestingly, Pericles was a candidate for ostracism in the mid-fifth century BC, but he was never ostracized, despite being deeply corrupt. He was the son of Xanthippos, and gained influence after the ostracism of Kimon, continuing on to win numerous consecutive elections as general. He redirected defense funds towards grandiose construction projects like rebuilding the Acropolis.

Pericles (Vatican Museums / CC BY 3.0 )

Thucydides was ostracized in 443 BC. He was another political opponent of Pericles and opposed Pericles’ lavish building ambitions. Thucydides’ ostracism left Pericles uncontested as Athenian state leader.

Hyperbolos was the last person ostracized when his two political adversaries united against him and ostracized him merely as an act of sabotage in order to defeat him and share power.

  • The Battle That Inspired The Marathon
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In The Life of Aristeides, the historian Plutarch explains the desertion of the punishment of ostracism in 417 BC, saying:

“Now the sentence of ostracism was not a chastisement of base practices, instead it was speciously called a humbling and docking of oppressive prestige and power; but it was really a merciful exorcism of the spirit of jealous hate, which thus vented its malignant desire to injure, not in some irreparable evil, but in a mere change of residence for ten years. And when ignoble men of the baser sort came to be subjected to this penalty it ceased to be inflicted at all, and Hyperbolos was the last to be thus ostracized… The people were incensed at this for they felt that the institution had been insulted and abused, and so they abandoned it utterly and put an end to it.”

The Historical Implications of the Ostraka

Of all the ostraka shards discovered, 40% are from plain ceramic jars and pitchers, 27% from black-glazed vases, 23% of partially glazed bowls and vases and 10% come from vases painted with black and red figures, lamps, and terracotta pipes and roof tiles. Some of the ostraka with proper spelling and neat handwriting are of finer materials and even painted instead of etched, while some of the crudely-written and badly misspelled ostraka are from common, unglazed materials. With the specifics about Athenian education systems largely unknown, these clues seem to form a faint silhouette of implications about Athenian class, and resulting literacy divides.

Surviving ostrakon with a vote for Pericles (Wally Gobetz / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

Historians are certain that scribes assisted the illiterate in writing names on ostraka, but the portion of the Atheniansthat would have been literate or not remains somewhat of a mystery. Archaeologists did however uncover possible evidence of ostracophoria election fraud when they found nearly 200 ostraka bearing the same name hidden in a well. Handwriting analysis revealed only fourteen engravers of the 190 pottery shards.

Ostracism and Exile in Literature

Ostracism and exile, although intended to punish transgressors without executing them, was at times an infamous event fraught with yearning, and it influenced prominent works of classical literature.

Medea, the play by Euripides, saw its first performance in 431 BC. Princess Medea begins as a tragic and sympathetic character, who forfeits family and homeland for Jason, who has his heart set on the daughter of Creon. Creon exiles them both. Medea finds refuge in Athens, then tricks Jason and sends her children to poison his new bride and her father, before murdering the children as well.

The Exile of Ovid

The poet Ovid lived from 43 BC to 17 or 18 AD, some of his notable pieces being Metamorphosis and Fasti. He was a contemporary of Horace and beloved in Rome before Augustus unceremoniously banished him in 8 AD for no apparent reason. Some have speculated that Ovid’s rumored promiscuity might have implicated Augustus’s granddaughter or that his poems celebrating love and affairs offended the emperor’s morals.

The Ruins of Tomis (Denis Barthel / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Exiled to Tomis (now Romania) on the Black Sea , surrounded by more primitive shepherds of a different tongue and the threat of barbarians, Ovid continued to write- though his writing became more forlorn, and eventually made friends with nomads. Here he wrote Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto, unrequited love letters to Rome, full of longing. He never returned to Rome, and was buried in Tomis where he died.

The Psychology of Ostracism

Modern-day researchers have studied the effects of ostracism on people. Even the most brief and trivial ostracism, for only passing moments and under experimental situations, causes abrupt negative effects on behavior, mood, cognition, motivation and physiology. Long-term ostracism has proven to lead to depression and dysfunctional, antisocial behavior, including outright hostility, retaliation and further withdrawal.

Suffice it to say most people cannot imagine banishment from everything familiar and comforting. Through history, sometimes cultures and nations are exiled, sometimes offending individuals, and still today, countless people continue to become displaced from their homes and even severed from their families amid conflicts. The moving expressions in Biblical and Classical literature can provide a glimpse into their plights. For their worlds of the past are not very distant from our own.

Ostracism in Ancient Greece

Learn about how the ancient Greeks voted citizens&mdashincluding political leaders&mdashout of office.

Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

In ancient Athens, ostracism was the process by which any citizen, including political leaders, could be expelled from the city-state for 10 years.

Once a year, ancient Athenian citizens would nominate people they felt threatened democracy&mdashbecause of political differences, dishonesty, or just general dislike. Today, although we can vote politicians out of office, we can&rsquot exactly banish them from politics for a decade. Do you think ostracism would work in a democracy today? Would you vote to ostracize someone? Why?

loosely united civilization founded on and around the Peloponnese peninsula, lasting from about the 8th century BCE to about 200 BCE.

technology (such as a slip of paper or an electronic form) by which a voter casts their vote.

system of organization or government where the people decide policies or elect representatives to do so.

selection of people to public office by vote.

to exclude a person, by general consent, from a society or group

person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.

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Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society


Caryl-Sue Micalizio, National Geographic Society


Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society

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The Social Death Penalty: Why Being Ostracized Hurts Even More Than Bullying

In recent years, bullying and harassment at work and in school have been grabbing headlines, creating greater awareness. But there’s a dehumanizing experience that is just as common, perhaps even more damaging to targets, and far less well-understood.

We’re talking about ostracism, a form of social rejection that goes by many names and comes in many flavors. Some call it the “social death penalty.” It’s the feeling of being a pariah, of being shunned, ignored by the group, or given the silent treatment. It can mean anything from physical exile to subtle forms of psychological isolation. Whatever you call it, ostracism is a ghastly form of hurt.

You might think bullying is worse than ostracism, but recent research suggests that being frozen out is actually more painful. From social exclusion on the playground to being ignored in the workplace, ostracism is among the most devastating experiences we can endure, deeply connected to our most fundamental human need to be recognized and accepted. Ostracism can reshape the human brain, and in extreme cases, even make a person want to go on a killing spree. Isn’t it time we knew more about it?

The Ancient Roots of Ostracism

The modern word “ostracism” comes from an ancient Athenian political practice in which a person could be removed for 10 years if enough citizens expressed this desire through a vote cast on a pottery shard (ostrakon). Interestingly, ostracism was often used preemptively as a way neutralizing someone who might be a threat to the state. There was no trial, no jury and no defense. You simply had to pack your bags and get out of town. Political theorists have suggested that ostracism served to solidify group identity — clarifying what “we” are and what “we” are not. In the Athenian democracy, the rejection was often centered on a person, frequently powerful, with a tendency toward tyranny.

Throughout human history, ostracism has served this identity purpose and many others in communities and institutions, including the enforcement of conformity, punishment and control. In religious systems, those who are rejected are often excommunicated, an exclusion so profound it is sometimes considered eternal. Imprisonment, of course, is a form of ostracism, with solitary confinement being the most extreme example.

Ostracism often expresses group fear, either physical or spiritual. A person can be ostracized due to illness, physical difference, or even normal bodily functions considered threatening. Menstruating women have been considered threats and temporarily ostracized in many cultures. Ostracism has been a common strategy in dealing with those considered deviants or low-status by the group, and is inextricably linked to all forms of bigotry and prejudice. It manifests in activities as large-scale as apartheid and as understated as averting the gaze.

Why Ostracism Hurts

Human beings are social animals the ability to interact with others is among our most basic requirements. For all mammals, social distance from the group is every bit as dangerous as hunger, thirst, or physical injury. In human societies, ostracism can mean death if the target is deemed outside the protection of the law or cut off from group support, including access to food.

Because ostracism can be so deadly, researchers think we have developed acute sensitivity to it. It can freak us out even more than being hit, ridiculed or yelled at, causing our bodies and minds to suffer exquisitely. Our need to belong is so strong that we experience psychological and physical effects right away. Neuroscientists have found that social rejection is experienced much like physical pain — connected to the same neural circuitry.

In the short-term, ostracism can create a bad mood or other forms of physiological arousal. If it goes on, it can cause low self-esteem, profound feelings of helplessness, self-imposed isolation, and suicidal thoughts.

Research collected in The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying shows the myriad ways ostracism can harm both the target and the community. The work of Lowell Gaernter and Jonathan Iuzzini suggests that people who perceive that they have been rejected or excluded by a group are more likely to harm multiple persons if they become violent.

Why is the pain so acute? When you are the object of a heated argument, you may feel angry, but at least you are interacting with someone. When you get the silent treatment, a common form of ostracism, you feel as if you don’t even exist. There’s no playing field on which to influence the relationship or situation — you may not even know the nature of the offense. The imposition of silence is a power play that expresses the ultimate contempt for the target: as George Bernard Shaw put it, “Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.” The one giving the silent treatment — whether it’s not answering email, turning away in the middle of a conversation, or pretending not to hear a question — gets to feel control. In not explaining the cause, the perpetrator delivers particular pain. The message is loud and clear: “You do not matter.”

Another reason ostracism hurts so badly is that the hurt is not confined to the period when it happens. Researchers find that all you have to do is relive a past ostracism episode, or even imagine a future event, and you will feel psychological agony. So intense is the pain of ostracism that even being rejected from a despised group makes people upset. Observing ostracism distresses even bystanders.

The Young Brain in Pain

Children know all about ostracism. They know it so deeply that some of their most common games, like musical chairs, play out social exclusion. On the playground, the child considered the slowest, weakest, or different in some respect is marked for ostracism. Research suggests that children and adolescents may be impacted more negatively by ostracism than adults, with more extreme reactions.

The brains of adolescents who experience chronic ostracism may undergo telltale long-term changes, with normal development short-circuited. Through an online game called Cyberball, scientists have studied over 20,000 children to see how they are impacted by ostracism. Among the findings: ostracism adversely affects a young person’s cognitive ability. It can influence everything from food intake to hormonal systems, and it can induce symptoms ranging from paranoia to substance abuse.

Not only can ostracism damage the brain it is also more commonly directed at those who have cognitive and psychiatric challenges. One study found that children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders were more likely to be ostracized when compared to children with other special needs or those without a diagnosis.

Chronic ostracism in young people can be dangerous: One well-known analysis of 15 U.S. school shootings from 1993-2001 suggests that ongoing exclusion was a major contributing factor in 87 percent of events. More recent tragedies show patterns linked to ostracism response, like that of alleged Isla Vista shooter Elliott Rodger. A common reaction to the perception of social rejection is trying desperately to forge new group identities, such as those available online. Rodger, who felt ignored and rejected particularly by female peers, sought to forge a new group identity through online “Men’s Rights” communities. When he finally snapped, Rodger followed the predicted pattern of violence in the ostracized in not wanting merely to harm himself or random people, but members of the group from which he felt excluded.

Ostracism in the Workplace

Adults experience plenty of ostracism, too, in romantic relationships, family life and on the job. Researchers have found that in the workplace, ostracism is more likely to make someone feel horrible and want to quit than more overt forms of abuse. Sandra Robinson of University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business, who co-authored a recent paper on the subject, explained that adults may feel that ostracism is a more acceptable form of social control:

“We've been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable—if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all…But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all.”

One of the things about ostracism in the workplace that makes it so hard to deal with is that it can be very subtle. Getting ignored in a meeting is hard to prove and respond to, but it can be psychologically devastating. In the hands of a petty and malicious boss, ostracism becomes a finely tuned instrument of torture, and one that can be implemented with little fear. There is an ambiguity to it: the targeted person wonders if it’s really happening, and since no one tells the target what may be wrong, the person can’t address the problem. The target feels humiliated and without recourse.

In the corporation, ostracism is often used to deal with the threat of whistleblowers. Unlike other forms of retaliation, like termination, demotion or a poor performance review, ostracism is difficult to document and probably won’t qualify for legal intervention. It is extremely effective because it prevents the target from being able to do his or her work properly, which can create grounds for retaliation that appear to be legitimate.

A Building Crisis?

Social psychologists and others who investigate the malicious ways people treat each other are finding that in fragmented modern societies, where superficial relationships prevail, victims of ostracism are particularly vulnerable.

Kipling Williams, a psychologist who researches ostracism, warns that people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being done when they ostracize others. He notes “in the past, people who were ostracized at work or by a friend could seek support and control through another significant relationship. But because people report growing more distant from extended family and relying on fewer close friendships, they might lack the support to deal with ostracism."

Certainly, the evidence shows that ostracism should be considered a major concern for psychologists, educators, parents, and legal professionals.

Ostracism: 'Cancel culture' Ancient Greek-style

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, 'cancel culture' is defined as ‘a way of behaving in a society or group, especially on social media, in which it is common to completely reject and stop supporting someone because they have said or done something that offends you'. It is a method by which people can be called out and removed from mainstream culture they effectively become 'cancelled'.

Although it might seem like a recent phenomenon, cancel culture has been described as a modern form of ostracism - an Ancient Greek practice dating back over two thousand years that saw an individual sent into exile for a decade due to the results of a popular vote. The people exerted their democratic power to ensure those who threatened the system could be kept in check.

Around 13 men were ostracised from Ancient Athens between the years 487 – 416 BC,

The practice of ostracism was used in the Greek state of Athens, the world’s first democracy, during the 5th century BC. According to the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, Cleisthenes was said to have created the punishment of ostracism to prevent a single person from becoming a tyrant. Cleisthenes, who has been referred to by historians as the 'the father of Athenian democracy', helped reform the Athenian constitution during the late 6th century BC.

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Every year Athenian citizens were asked in the ecclesia (assembly), whether or not they wished to hold an ostracism that year. If an ostracism was voted for then a special meeting known as an ostracophoria (election to ostracise) would be conducted two months later in the agora (central public space).

The gap between the initial vote in the assembly and the final one in the agora allowed the public and any likely candidates to debate and discuss the upcoming ostracism. Much like a modern election, it was a period to present for and against cases in various public settings.

When it came time to vote in the agora, the boule (council of over 500 citizens) along with 9 archons (chief magistrates) supervised the election. Athenian citizens anonymously scratched the name of the candidate they wished to see exiled onto a piece of pottery known as an ostrakon, the origins of the word ostracism. The ostraka were an ancient kind of scrap paper not only were pottery shards in abundance but they were also cost-effective.

Those who could not write declared their wishes to a scribe who would then scratch their vote onto an ostrakon for them. A person then placed their scribed pottery shard into an urn.

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A minimum of 6000 votes had to be cast for the ostracism to be considered valid. When all were cast, the officials would sort the pottery shards into piles before tallying the number of votes. The individual with the largest count was ostracised. They would have ten days to collect their things and sort out any business before they had to leave the city. The decision was final, no appeal was allowed. If they refused or attempted to re-enter the city before the punishment had been completed, they were sentenced to death.

Although the ostracised individual could not return for ten years, they were allowed to hold onto any property as well as retain their citizenship. It seems that there was also no stigma attached to the punishment when the time had been served, as a person could come back with status still intact and even serve in public life.

Around 13 men were ostracised from Ancient Athens between the years 487 – 416 BC, demonstrating that the people didn’t wish to exile someone each and every year. Some of those ostracised didn’t even see out their entire sentences, with a couple of individuals being recalled to the city before their ten years were up. Xanthippus (ostracised in 484 BC) and Aristides (ostracised in 482 BC) were both pardoned and allowed to return to the city to help prepare for war against the Persians in 479 BC.

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The process did claim its fair share of notable figures from Greek history. Themistocles, who was once one of the most prominent statesmen in Athenian politics, was ostracised in 472 or 471 BC. His power and subsequent arrogance had earned him a few enemies who had become jealous of his prestige. Ostracism prevented him from becoming too big for his boots or as the Greek historian Plutarch wrote, '[ostracism] was not a penalty, but a way of pacifying and alleviating that jealousy which delights to humble the eminent, breathing out its malice into this disfranchisement.’

However, Ostracism was often not personal at all but rather based on politics, as was the case for the aforementioned Aristides. Aristides vigorously opposed Themistocles’ wish to expand the Athenian naval fleet. When a large amount of silver was discovered at an Athenian mine at Laurium, Aristides wished to distribute it amongst the citizens of the city whilst Themistocles declared it should go to building that new fleet.

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In the end, the ostracism vote of 482 BC came down to policies and the people endorsed those of Themistocles whilst Aristides was sentenced to exile. Although it should be noted that at least one vote cast against Aristides that year was purely down to spitefulness. In his writings, Plutarch recounts the story of an illiterate man who approached Aristides. Not recognising him, the man asked the politician to write the name Aristides on his ostrakon. When Aristides asked why, the man replied that he was fed up hearing the politician always being referred to as 'The Just', demonstrating how ostracism was sometimes nothing more than a popularity contest or in this case an unpopularity one.

Although nothing is known for sure, some evidence exists that suggests ostracism election fraud might have occurred. Archaeological excavations around the Acropolis, the city’s ancient citadel, uncovered 190 ostraka that had been placed in a well. They all had the name Themistocles scratched on them and analysis of the handwriting showed that only 14 people helped to write them.

They were obviously created to be handed out to voters, perhaps to help those who were illiterate or perhaps to help those who wished to fraudulently sway the results of the ostracism. Their discovery hidden away in a well suggests these ostraka might not have been entirely above board.

Ostracism continued to be proposed to the Athenian people every year well into the 4th century BC. However, it had clearly run out of favour with the public earlier than this, as 416 BC was the last time an ostracism was vote

Gab vs. Twitter: Which is better?

This is the discussion thread for the article, “Gab vs. Twitter: Which is better?”.

Thank you for offering this excellent analysis.

Still, I disagree. Gab is much much better because it isn’t censored, and the company doesn’t publish, whereas Twitter does. Twitter edits, censors, and deletes, shadowbans, and bans when the material is not to Twitter’s political and ideological philosophy of how the world should be. Twitter was the first of the two, so it’s natural that it has more users, but the company has destroyed its own search engine in the name of ideological control, and increasingly has ruined their format through the use of their company as a massive machine of propaganda and censorship. That renders it a disabled and rather useless online environment that is now increasingly threatened by lawsuits from all sides. It became too big, and now they think they’re God, and eventually, they may not be at all.

Well, I decided to rejoin Gab after a long hiatus. The site content has definitely gotten better and has grown with several million users added to the platform. It still has its limitations, but I have been enjoying it more than Parler so far.

Ancient World History

Ostracism was a well-established practice used in classical Greece during the fifth century b.c.e. to banish public figures from the city. Created by Cleisthenes, it was used in Athens for the expulsion of Hipparchos in 488� b.c.e.

Ostracism represented a ritual and symbolic course of action. Far from being a judicial mechanism (no debate or speeches were allowed), ostracism was an effective weapon to attack public individuals who may have gained too much power.

The threat of ostracism was also effective at dissolving open confrontations between enemy parties. However, only a few instances of successful ostracisms have been attested, in most cases against prominent citizens from propertied families, and its actual uses were infrequent.

Each year, during the sixth prytany of the assembly, the people decided through a preliminary vote whether an ostrakophoria should be organized that year. If they agreed on that, during the eight prytany—that is, two months after the decision—the polling itself took place in the marketplace (agora). During that meeting, each citizen marked a potshard (ostrakon) with the name of a person he wished to see expelled from the polis and put it into an urn.

No list of candidates was drafted before the election. The man whose name was scratched on the most ostraka was exiled from Athens for 10 years, but there is controversy on the number of votes needed for this result: For some specialists a quorum of 6,000 votes was required for the procedure to have effect, while others believe that a person had to be identified in at least 6,000 votes in order to be ostracized.

Thousands of ostraka have been found in different excavations, especially in the Kerameikos and the Athenian agora. Many of them were found bearing the same name (for example, Themistokles) and were apparently written by the same hand and were carefully painted.

It is possible that during the two months separating the first decision and the voting, a number of public campaigns were held in order to convince people on the need of ousting a certain person and that prepared ostraka were distributed among voters.

Contrary to legal punishments ostracism had rather mild consequences. It did not imply confiscation or loss of civic status, and in many cases evidence shows that ostracized individuals, like Kimon or Aristeides, were recalled to the city before the 10-year period had expired.

The last ostracism in Athens was probably held in 416� b.c.e., when the demagogue Hyperbolos wanted to banish Alkibiades or Nikias from the city.

Threatened by the possibility of being expelled, the two politicians managed to get rid of their common enemy, and Hyperbolos himself was ostracized. Sources indicate that the Athenian people were disgusted by the situation and that the procedure of ostracism was not implemented again.

The truth is that new legal mechanisms capable of dealing with the possibility of removing undesirable politicians through lawsuits, such as the graphe paranomon, were put into place by this time and helped to address these issues in less unpredictable manners.

Other Greek cities such as Argos, Megara, and Miletos implemented the process of ostracism as well. In Syracuse, it was called petalismos, because names were written in olive trees.

Shepherds who deny God sends chastisement are ‘immersed in atheism’: Catholic historian

Professor Roberto de Mattei speaks at the virtual Rome Life Forum, May 21, 2020. By Dorothy Cummings McLean
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

Urgent appeal to the bishops of the world: Feed your flock! Sign the petition here.

May 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) &ndash Renowned Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei stated that Catholic shepherds who deny the idea of God inflicting scourges on mankind because of sin are &ldquoimmersed in atheism.&rdquo

&ldquoBut when it is the very men of the Church who deny the idea of divine punishment, this means that the punishment is already underway and is irremediable,&rdquo professor de Mattei said today at his talk at the virtual Rome Life Forum. His talk was titled &ldquoThe Judgment of God in History&rdquo (read full talk below).

&ldquoIn the days of the coronavirus outbreak, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan even went so far as to say that &lsquoit is a pagan idea to think that God sends scourges,&rsquo&rdquo continued the scholar.

&ldquoIn reality, thinking that God does not send scourges makes someone not a pagan but an atheist. The fact that this is exactly what many bishops throughout the world think means that the Catholic episcopate throughout the world is immersed in atheism. And this is a sign of a divine chastisement that is already under way,&rdquo he added.

In this talk, De Mattei argued that God sends mankind chastisements in the form of &ldquowar, plague, and famine&rdquo because of sin and to call mankind back to God. He described the infinite justice of God, and what this means, not only for individuals, but for nations. Every person faces his particular judgement at the moment of death, but there will also be a second judgement at the end of time. This will be the universal judgement at which every human action, idea, and society that has ever been &ldquowill be perfectly and clearly judged.&rdquo

De Mattei explained that in order for perfect justice to be accomplished, reward and punishment must be assigned, for &ldquojustice means giving to each his own.&rdquo Human beings, who are eternal, will be rewarded and punished throughout eternity. However, nations are rewarded or punished throughout the course of history because they do not have eternal life.

&ldquoAll the misfortunes that strike the nations over the course of their history have a significance,&rdquo Mattei said.

&ldquoTheir causes sometimes elude us, but it is certain that the origin of every evil permitted by God lies in the sin of man.&rdquo

The historian pointed out that both Scripture and tradition agree that the punishment of God upon the nations in history are war, plague, and famine. Using St. Bernardine as his source, Mattei also described the signs by which we can know that the judgements of God are near. One sign is the inability of those who deserve the punishment to be aware they are approaching.

The professor makes the case that chastisement is not only an act of God&rsquos justice for sin, but also an act of mercy directed toward calling people back to right relationship with God.

Register for Rome Life Forum here.

The Judgment of God in History

Terra infecta est ab habitatoribus suits, propter hoc maledictio vastabit terram &ndash Isaiah 24: 6

In the era of the coronavirus, everyone is talking about all sorts of things, but there are certain topics that remain forbidden, above all in the Catholic world. The primary forbidden topic is that of judgment and divine retribution in history. The fact of this censure is a good reason for us to consider the argument.

The Kingdom of God and his Justice

We begin not in the Old Testament, where there are numerous references to divine chastisements, but with the very words of Our Lord himself who says to us: &ldquoSeek first the Kingdom of God and his justice, and all the rest will be given to you besides&rdquo (Mt 6:31-33).

These words of the Gospel are a program of life for each of us and they remind us of one of the beatitudes: &ldquoBlessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied&rdquo (Mt 5:6).

The sense of justice is one of the first moral senses of our reason: philosophers define it as the inclination of the will to give to each one his due. The yearning for justice is in the heart of every person. We do not seek only what is true, good, and beautiful, but also what is just. Everyone loves justice and detests injustice. And because the world is full of injustices, and human justice as it is administered by legal courts is always imperfect, we aspire to a perfect justice &ndash a justice that does not exist on earth and may be found only in God.

The most celebrated trial in history, the trial of Our Lord Jesus Christ, sanctioned the most egregious injustice of all time. But God is infinitely just, because he infallibly gives each person his own justice. The beauty of the universe consists in its order, and that order is the kingdom of justice, because order means putting each thing in its place and justice means giving to each his own: unicuique suum, as is established by Roman law.

The infinite justice of God

The infinite justice of God has its supreme manifestation in two different judgments that await man at the end of his life: the particular judgment, to which every soul is subject at the moment of death, and the universal judgment, to which all men will be subject in body and soul, after the end of the world.

This is the faith of the Church: every human being will appear before God at the end of his life to receive either reward or punishment from the Lord and Supreme Judge. For this reason, Sirach says: Memor est judicii mei, sic enim erit et tuum &ndash Remember my judgment if you also want to learn to judge well (Eccl 38).

Father Garrigou-Lagrange explains that in the particular judgment the soul understands spiritually that it is being judged by God, and in that divine light his conscience pronounces the same divine judgment. &ldquoThis happens in the first instant in which the soul is separated from the body, for which reason it is true to say that if a person is dead, then that person is also judged. The sentence is definitive and the execution of the sentence is immediate. (1)

The judgment of God is different from that of men. There is the famous case of Raymond Diacres, the esteemed professor of the Sorbonne, who died in 1082. A multitude of people attended his funeral at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, including his student Saint Bruno of Cologne. During the ceremony, a disturbing thing happened which was examined in all of its particulars by the Bollandist scholars.

The body of Diacres was laid out in the middle of the central nave of the church, covered only by a simple veil, as was the customary practice at that time. The funeral rites began and proceeded to the point where the priest said the words of the rite:

&ldquoAnswer me: how many iniquities and sins do you have. &rdquo Just then a sepulchral voice spoke from under the funeral veil: &ldquoBy the just judgment of God I have been accused!&rdquo

The funeral cloth was immediately taken off the body, but the dead man lay there cold and motionless. The funeral rite, which had been unexpectedly interrupted, was immediately recommenced amid the uproar of the entire congregation. The question was repeated, and the dead man cried out with a voice even louder than before: &ldquoBy the just judgment of God I have been judged!&rdquo

The terror of those in attendance reached its peak. Some doctors approached the body and confirmed that he was really dead. Amid the general fright and bewilderment, the ecclesiastical authorities decided to postpone the funeral until the following day.

The next day the funeral ceremony was repeated, but this time when they reached the same question in the rite: &ldquoAnswer me: how many iniquities and sins do you have. The body sat up under the funeral veil and cried aloud: &ldquoBy the just judgment of God I have been condemned to hell for ever!&rdquo (2)

Faced with this terrible testimony, the funeral was stopped. It was decided that the body should not be buried in the common cemetery. On the coffin of the damned man the words were written that he will speak at the moment of the resurrection: Justo Dei judicio accusatus sum Justo Dei judicio judicatus sum: Justo Dei judicio condemnatus sum. The accusation, the condemnation, the sentence &ndash this is what will await the reprobate on the day of the Universal Judgment.

For this reason, Saint Augustine says in The City of God: &ldquoall those who necessarily will die ought not to worry so much about how they will die as about the place where they will be forced to go after death.&rdquo (3) And this place, we should add, is either heaven or hell.

The Message of Fatima opens with the terrifying vision of hell and reminds us that our life on earth is very serious, because it places before us a dramatic choice: heaven or hell, eternal happiness or eternal damnation. According to how we choose, we will be judged at the moment of our death, and the sentence, once it is pronounced, will be unappealable.

The Universal Judgment

But there is a second judgment that awaits us after death: the universal judgment.

The existence of a universal judgment that will follow the particular judgment is an article of faith. Saint Augustine synthesizes the teaching of the Church in these words: &ldquoNo one can place in doubt or deny that Jesus Christ, as the Scriptures proclaim, will pronounce the final judgment.&rdquo (4) It will be the Last Judgment, which no one can escape.

In the hour of the Universal Judgment, Jesus Christ, the Man-God, will appear in the heavens, preceded by the Cross and surrounded by hosts of Angels and Saints (Mt 24: 30-31), seated on a throne of majesty (Mt 25: 30). The role of Judge has been given to him by his Father, as Jesus himself reveals to us in the Gospel: &ldquoBy myself I can do nothing I judge according to what I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of Him who sent me (Jn 5:30).

But why is a universal judgment necessary, since God judges every soul immediately after death and the universal judgment will simply confirm the sentence already given in the particular judgment? Isn&rsquot one judgment enough?

Saint Thomas responds: &ldquoEvery man is a person in himself and is at the same time a part of the entire human race therefore he ought to have a double judgment: one that is particular, after his death, when he will receive according to what he did in life, although not entirely, because he will receive not as regards the body but as regards the soul but there must also be another judgment in accord with the fact that we are part of the human race: the universal judgment of the entire human race through the separation of the good from the wicked.&rdquo (5)

The Angelic Doctor explains, in another passage, that although the temporal life of man ends with death, it is prolonged in a certain way in the future, because he continues to live in the memory of men, beginning with his children. Furthermore, the life of man continues in the effects of his works. For example, Saint Thomas says: &ldquoAs a result of the imposture of Arius and other impostors, unbelief will teem until the end of the world and likewise up to this same point faith will expand thanks to the preaching of the Apostles.&rdquo (6)

The judgment of God thus does not conclude with death but extends to the end of time, because the good influence of the saints and the evil influence of the reprobate extends until the end of time. Saint Benedict, Saint Francis, and Saint Dominic will merit to be repaid for all the good that their work continued to do until the end of the world, while Luther, Voltaire, and Marx will be punished for all the evil that their works have brought about until the end of the world. For this reason, there must be a final judgment, in which everything concerning each man in any way whatsoever will be perfectly and clearly judged. While in the particular judgment each person will judged above all as regards the rightness of intention with which he has worked, in the universal judgment his works will be judged objectively, above all for the effects that they have had on society.

After the immediate judgment before God at the moment of death, it is necessary that there be a public judgment not only before God but also before all men, all the angels, all the saints, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, because, as the Gospel says: &ldquoThere is nothing concealed that will not be revealed nothing secret that will not be known&rdquo (Lk 12: 2). It is right that those who have gained Heaven thanks to sufferings and persecutions will be glorified, while the many wicked and perverse people who have led a happy life in the eyes of men will be publicly dishonored. Father Schmaus says that the final judgment will reveal the truth or falsehood of the cultural, scientific, and artistic works of men: the truth or falsehood of the philosophical guidelines, political institutions, and the religious and moral forces that have moved history the significance of the various sects and heresies, of wars and revolutions. (7) The bodies of Arius, Luther, Robespierre and Marx are already dust, but on the day of judgment their books, statues and names will have to be publicly execrated.

We add that each man is born and lives within a nation, and his action contributes to transform the nations and peoples in which he lives for good or evil, and these peoples and nations will be judged in their culture, institutions, and laws. For this reason the Gospel says that when the Son of Man comes in his glory &ldquoall the nations will be assembled before him. And He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left&rdquo (Mt 25: 31-46).

Thus the judgment will not be pronounced only over individual men and individual angels. Nations are also called to fulfill the designs of Divine Providence and therefore must conform themselves to the divine will that rules and governs the universe. At the universal judgment it will be revealed if and how much each people has fulfilled the task assigned to them by God. (8)

Monsignor Antonio Piolanti writes: &ldquoReasons of wisdom keep secrets over the course of time, but, in the end, time will have to pour out its treasure before the eyes of the universal assembly. All the masks will fall and the happy Phariseeisms will bear the mark of an indelible infamy.&rdquo (9)

The judgment will extend to all of human history, which will be publicly unveiled to the greater glory of God. It will be the triumph of Divine Providence that over the course of history guides the destinies of men and nations in an invisible and impenetrable way.

In the presence of this unappealable sentence, everyone gathered in the valley of Jehosaphat will proclaim the great word: Iustus es Domine, et rectum iudicium tuum &ndash You are just, O Lord, and your judgment is full of equity (Ps 118: 137).

The particular judgment and the universal judgment are the two supreme moments in which the judgment of God is manifested over men and nations. This divine judgment is followed by a reward or a punishment. For individual people, the reward or punishment may apply either during their earthly life or in eternity, but for nations, which do not have an eternal life, the reward or punishment can be applied only within the course of history. And because the universal judgment brings history to a close, in that moment Jesus Christ will not condemn the various nations to eternal punishment, but rather he will open the eyes of all humanity that has been gathered together to see how each nation has been rewarded or punished throughout the course of history according to its virtues or its sins.

It is important to understand that, both for individual men as well as for nations, the universal judgment is the culminating moment of divine judgment, but God does not limit himself to judging only in that hour: we may say that he judges from the moment of the creation of the universe. At the beginning of the history of the universe, there is a judgment &ndash the judgment made by God against Lucifer and the rebellious angels &ndash just as at the beginning of creation of man there is a judgment made against Adam and Eve. From that time on until the end of time, the judgment of God does not cease to apply to his creatures, because Divine Providence sustains the entire created universe in being and directs it toward its end. All the movements of the physical world, the moral world, and the supernatural world are willed by God, excluding sin, which is caused by the free creature alone.

Jesus says that all the hairs of our head have been counted (Lk 12:8). Even more so is it true that every one of our actions, even the smallest, is judged by God. But God is not only infinitely just, he is also infinitely merciful, (10) and there is no divine judgment that is not devoid of mercy, just as there is no expression of divine mercy that is not without the most profound justice. Perhaps the most beautiful example of this embrace of justice and mercy is given to us in the great gift of the Sacrament of Penance. In this sacrament, in which the sinner is judged and absolved, the priest, who acts in persona Christi, exercises the judicial power of the Church but also exercises the maternal mercy of God, absolving us of our sins. The justice of God intervenes to reestablish order by means of the penance that the fault merits, and Divine Mercy manifests itself by means of the forgiveness of our sins by which God frees from eternal punishments.

The chastisement of the nations

What applies to men also applies to nations. God is not absent from history he is also always present in it with his immensity, and there is not a point or moment of created time in which he does not manifest his divine justice and mercy over all peoples. All the misfortunes that strike the nations over the course of their history have a significance. Their causes sometimes elude us, but it is certain that the origin of every evil permitted by God lies in the sin of man. Saint Prosper of Aquitaine, a student of Saint Augustine, says that &ldquooften the causes of the divine operation remain hidden and only the effects are seen.&rdquo (11) One thing is certain: whatever the secondary causes may be, God is always the first cause: everything depends on Him. At this point we should ask ourselves in what way God judges and punishes the behavior of various peoples and nations in history. The response of Sacred Scripture, of theologians, and saints is univocal. Tria sunt flagella quibus dominus castigat: war, plague, and famine. With these three scourges, Saint Bernardine of Siena explains, (12) God punishes the three principal vices of men &ndash pride, luxury, and avarice: pride, when the soul rebels against God (Rev 12:7-9), luxury when the body rebels against the soul (Gen 6:5-7), avarice when created things rebel against man (Ps 96:3). War is the punishment for the pride of the peoples, epidemics are the punishment for their luxury, and famine is the punishment for their avarice.

The signs by which we can know that the judgments of God are near

In his Sermons, Saint Bernardine analyzes Psalm 118, which says: Tempus faciendi dissipaverunt legem tuam: &ldquoIt is time for the Lord to act, for they have dispelled your Law&rdquo (Ps 118: 26). In this expression of the Psalmist, Saint Bernardine distinguishes three moments. Tempus &ndash the time that the mercy of God gives to people to change their ways. In this space of time God offers sinners the possibility of suspending the sentence, revoking the penalty, remitting the offense, receiving grace. God waits because he desires the conversion of sinners. The time of waiting may be long, but it has a limit. If during this time there is no repentance, punishment is logical and necessary.

In the second moment, God prepares punishment for impenitent sinners: a time that is expressed by the words faciendi Domine, which summarise, according to Saint Bernardine, &ldquothe bitter revenge and the harsh punishment of God,&rdquo if the people do not wish to change their ways. (13) The punishment however is an act of the Father&rsquos mercy. He does not wish the eternal death of sinners but their life, and through the scourges he inflicts on them he still tries to obtain their conversion. It is the time in which the axe is placed at the root of the tree: securis ad radicem arboris posita est (Mt 3:10).

The third moment is when the offense is complete: dissipaverunt legem tuam. It is the hour of taking up the sickle and reaping the harvest, as the angel says in the Book of Revelation: &ldquoUse your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth&rsquos harvest is fully ripe&rdquo (Rev 14:15). What are the signs that indicate the harvest is ripe? Saint Bernardine lists seven:

  1. The existence of many horrendous sins, like in Sodom and Gomorrah
  2. The fact that the sin is committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent
  3. That these sins are committed by entire people as a whole
  4. That this happens in a public and shameless manner
  5. That it happens with all the affection of the heart of sinners
  6. That the sins are committed with attention and diligence
  7. That all of this is done in a continuous and persevering way. (14)

This is the hour in which God punishes the sins of pride, luxury, and avarice with the scourges of plague, war, and famine.

Tempus faciendi Domine, dissipaverunt legem tuam

It is time to act, O Lord, for they have violated your law. Another great saint with a prophetic voice that echoes Saint Bernardine, Saint Louis Maris Grignon de Montfort, exclaims in his Fiery Prayer For The Apostles of the Latter Times:

&ldquoIt is time to act, O Lord, they have rejected your law. It is indeed time to fulfill your promise. Your divine commandments are broken, your Gospel is thrown aside, torrents of iniquity flood the whole earth carrying away even your servants. The whole land is desolate, ungodliness reigns supreme, your sanctuary is desecrated and the abomination of desolation has even contaminated the holy place. God of Justice, God of Vengeance, will you let everything, then, go the same way? Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Will you never break your silence? Will you tolerate all this for ever?&rdquo

Saint Louis Marie wrote these words at the beginning of the 18th century. Two centuries later, the Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima to announce that if the world continued to offend God it would be punished through war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and the Holy Father and that &ldquovarious nations will be annihilated.&rdquo

But today, one hundred years after the apparitions at Fatima, three hundred years after the death of Saint Louis Marie, has the world ceased offending God? Is the divine law perhaps less transgressed, the Gospel less abandoned, the sanctuary less profaned? Do we not see sins that cry out for vengeance before the face of God such as abortion and sodomy justified, exalted, and protected by the laws of nations?

Have we not seen the Pachamama idol welcomed and venerated even within the holy precincts of the Vatican? Should all of this not be judged by God by now? And should not whoever loves God also love and desire the hour of his justice, so as to respect, as on the day of the final judgment: Iustus es Domine, et rectum iudicium tuum: You are just, O Lord, and your judgment is full of equity (Ps 118: 137)?

Why the peoples do not realize the punishments that are looming over them

Among Catholics, whenever an affliction happens to a certain people or nation, there are those who say that they do not know if this is a punishment or a trial. But in contrast to trials that befall individual men, evils that afflict nations are always punishments. It may happen that a virtuous man must suffer much in order to be proven in his patience, as happened to Job. The sufferings that individual men encounter in their lives are not always a punishment more often they are a trial that prepares them to gain eternal happiness. But in the case of nations, the sufferings due to war, epidemics or earthquakes are always punishments, are always a punishment, because nations do not have an eternal existence. To say that a scourge could be &ldquoa trial&rdquo for a nation does not make any sense. It could be a trial for the individual men of a particular nation, but not for the nation as a whole, because nations receive their punishment in time, not in eternity.

The punishments of a nation increase in proportion to the sins of a nation. And in proportion to the increase of their sins, the wicked also increase their rejection of the idea of punishment, as Voltaire did in his blasphemous Poem on The Disaster in Lisbon, written after the terrible earthquake that destroyed the capital of Portugal in 1755. The Church has always responded to the blasphemies of the atheists by recalling that everything that happens depends on God and has a meaning. But when it is the very men of the Church who deny the idea of divine punishment, this means that the punishment is already underway and is irremediable. In the days of the coronavirus outbreak, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan even went so far as to say that &ldquoit is a pagan idea to think that God sends scourges.&rdquo In reality, thinking that God does not send scourges makes someone not a pagan but an atheist. The fact that this is exactly what many bishops throughout the world think means that the Catholic episcopate throughout the world is immersed in atheism. And this is a sign of a divine chastisement that is already underway.

Saint Bernardine explains that the more the punishment of God draws near, the less the people who deserve it are aware of it. (15) The reason for this blindness of the mind is pride, initium omnis peccati (Eccl 10:15). Pride darkens the intellect, prevents it from seeing how near the destruction is, and God desires by this blindness to humiliate the proud.

With the help of Saint Bernardine we can also interpret a line from the Book of Psalms that was incorporated by Leo XIII in his Exorcism Against the Rebel Angels: &ldquoVeniat illi laqueus quem ignorat, et captio quam abscondit, apprehendat eum et laqueum cadat in ipsum&rdquo (Ps 34: 8). The free translation of this passage could be: &ldquoLet the snare come, the trap he is not thinking of. Let the maneuver he is hiding seize him and let him fall into his own snare of death.&rdquo

Saint Bernardine says that this passage of the Psalms can be interpreted under three aspects.

First, from God&rsquos viewpoint: Veniat illi laqueus quem ignorat. The first cause of this ignorance comes from God, who in order to conceal his plans uses epidemics and famines: &ldquolaqueus est pestis vel fames et consimilia,&rdquo (16) says Saint Bernardine: &ldquothe snare is plague or famines and similar things.&rdquo First of all, God takes away the people&rsquos guides, not only their political and spiritual guides, but also the angels who preside over nations. God then takes away the lumen veritatis, which is a grace like every good that comes from God. Finally, God permits the sinful people to fall into the hands of their own vices, of demons who replace the angels, and of the wicked, who lead them towards the abyss.

Et captio quam abscondit, apprehendat eum. Once every guide has been taken away from them and also the light of truth, the impenitent people not only do not change when God announces the chastisement but they actually increase their sins. And this multiplication of sins increases the blindness of the peoples.

Et laqueum cadat in ipsum. The sinful people are unaware of the hour of punishment, which comes upon them suddenly and unexpectedly. The maneuvers with which they attempted to destroy the good turn against them. They are not only punished but humiliated. Thus the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled: &ldquoUpon you shall come a disaster, nor shall you know where it comes from upon you shall fall a calamity you cannot ward off upon you shall suddenly come a catastrophe you cannot imagine&rdquo (Isaiah 47:11).

The fear of God and human terror

When then the chastisement begins, the demon, seeing his plans being upset, spreads the sense of terror among the peoples, the antechamber of despair. The wicked deny the existence of the catastrophe the good understand that it has arrived, but instead of seizing the opportunity of their rebirth, they are tempted to see in it only the hour of their own ruin. This happens when they refuse to see behind the events the wise hand of God in order to chase after the maneuvers of men. An author dear to the heart of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, the archdeacon Henri-Marie Boudon writes: &ldquoDieu ne frappe que pour être regardé et l&rsquoon n&rsquoarrête les yeux que sur les créatures&rdquo (17) &ndash &ldquoGod strikes so as to be contemplated, but instead of turning our gaze to him, we turn it to creatures.&rdquo

This does not mean that the maneuvers of the revolutionary forces should not be observed, analyzed and combated, but never forgetting that the Revolution is always defeated in history by the self-destructive nature it intrinsically possesses in itself, while the Counter-Revolution always wins because of the fruitfulness of the good which it likewise possesses within itself.

Atheism is the expulsion of God from every aspect of human activity. The great victory of the enemies of God does not lie in suppressing our lives or restricting our physical liberties, but rather in removing the idea of God from our minds and hearts. All human reasoning and philosophical, historical, and political speculation in which God does not hold the first place is false and illusory.

Bossuet says that: &ldquoToutes nos pensées qui n'ont pas Dieu pour objet sont du domaine de la mort&rdquo (18) &ndash All of our thoughts that do not have God for their object belong to the domain of death.&rdquo This is true, and we can also say that all of our thoughts that do have God for their object belong to the domain of life, because Jesus Christ, the Judge and Savior of the human race, is &ldquothe Way, the Truth, and the Life&rdquo (Jn 14:6). To speak of the judgment of God in history and over history is therefore not to speak of death but life, and whoever speaks of divine judgment is not a &ldquoprophet of doom&rdquo but rather a herald of hope.

Those who today with ever greater force reject the idea of divine punishment are the men of the Church. They reject punishment because they reject the judgment of God, which they replace with the judgment of the world. But the fear of God is born from humility, while the fear of the world is born from pride.

To fear God is the highest wisdom: Timor Domini initium Sapientiae says the Book of Ecclesiastes, which concludes with these words: Deum time, et mandata ejus serva: hoc est enim omnis homo (Eccl 12, 13): &ldquoFear God and observe his commandments, because this is everything for man.&rdquo Whoever does not fear God replaces the divine commandments with the commandments of the world, for fear of being isolated, censured and persecuted by the world. The fear of the world, which is a consequence of sin, drives men to run away from battle, while the fear of God incites men to fight.

A great French author, Ernest Hello, says: &ldquoFearing the name of God does not mean not being afraid of anything.&rdquo (19) And Hello also reminds us of a word of Sacred Scripture whose depth will never succeed in fully understanding: laetetur cor meum ut timeat nomen tuum (Ps 85:11) &ndash &ldquomy heart rejoices that it may fear your name.&rdquo

Joy exists only where there is the presence of God, and God cannot be present if the fear of the Lord is not present. The Holy Spirit says that there is nothing greater than the fear of the Lord: Nihil melius est quam timor Domini (Eccl 23:27) the Holy Spirit calls the fear of the Lord the fountain of life: Timor Domini fons vitae (Prov 14: 27) as well as jubliation and joy: Timor Domini gloria, gloriatio et laetitia et corona exultationis! (Sir 1: 11).

It is this fear of God that leads us to recognize the divine hand in the tragic events of our time and to enter into the battle with tranquil courage.

The horseman, death, and the devil

The Horseman, Death, and The Devil is a copperplate engraving made by Albrecht Dürer in 1513. The work shows a horseman with a helmet on his head, armed with a sword and lance, riding on a majestic steed, defying death, who shows him an hourglass containing the timespan of life that is fleeting, and the devil, who is depicted as a horned animal holding a halberd.

Almost seventy years ago, in an article published in the journal Catolicismo in February 1951, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira used this image to illustrate the clash between the Revolution that cannot go back and the Church that, despite everything, has not managed to triumph. He wrote:

War, death and sin are preparing once again to destroy the world, this time in greater proportions than ever. In 1513 the incomparable talent of Dürer represented them in the form of a knight that is leaving for war, fully dressed in his armour, and accompanied by death and sin, the latter portrayed by a unicorn. Europe, which was even then immersed in the disturbances that preceded the Pseudo-Reform, was heading for the tragic age of the religious, political and social wars that Protestantism triggered off.

The next war, without being explicitly and directly a war of religion, will so affect the sacred interests of the Church that a true Catholic cannot fail to see in it mainly the religious aspect. And the devastation that will be unleashed will certainly be incomparably more destructive than those of the past centuries.

The clouds we have before us are not rosy. But they animate us with an unconquerable certainty and that is that not only the Church &mdash which is obvious, given the divine promise &mdash will not disappear, but in our days it will obtain an even greater triumph than that of Lepanto.

How? When? The future belongs to God. Many reasons for sadness and anxiety appear before us, even when we look at some of our brothers in faith. In the heat of the struggle it is possible and even probable that there will be terrible defections. But it is absolutely certain that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire in the Church admirable and indomitable spiritual energies of faith, purity, obedience and dedication, which at the opportune moment will once more cover the Christian name with glory.

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira concluded his article with the hope that the 20th century would be &ldquonot only the century of the great battle, but above all the century of the immense triumph.&rdquo We ourselves echo this hope, that extends into the 21st century, our century, the era of the coronavirus and of new tragedies, but also the time of a renewed faith in the promise of Fatima, a faith that we wish to express with the words that Pope Pius XII addressed to Catholic Action in 1948:

&ldquoYou know, beloved sons, the mysterious horsemen of which the Book of Revelation speaks. The second, third, and fourth horsemen are war, hunger, and death. Who is the first horseman on the white steed? &ldquoIts rider had a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode forth victorious&rdquo (Rev 6:2). He is Jesus Christ. The visionary-evangelist did not see only the ruin caused by sin, war, hunger, and death he also saw first and foremost the victory of Christ. And indeed the path of the Church down the centuries is but a via crucis, but it is also in every age a triumphal march. The Church of Christ, the men of faith of Christian love, are always those who bring light, redemption and peace to humanity that is without hope. Iesus Christus heri et hodie, ipse et in saecula (Heb 13:8). Christ is your guide, from victory into victory. Follow him.&rdquo (20)

1 Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, La vita eterna e la profondità dell&rsquoanima, Italian translation, Fede e Cultura, Verona 2018, p. 94.

2 Vita del gran patriarca s. Bruno Cartusiano. Dal Surio, & altri . Alessandro Zannetti, Roma 1622, vol. 2, p. 125

3 St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, I, 10, 11.

4 St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, 20, 30.

5 Saint Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent. 47, 1, 1, ad 1.

6 Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, q. 59, art. 5

7 Michael Schmaus, Le ultime realtà, Italian translation, Edizioni Paoline, Rome, 1960 p. 247.

9 Antonio Piolanti, Giudizio divino, in Enciclopedia Cattolica, vol. VI (951), col. 731 (731-732).

10 Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Dieu, son existence et son nature, Beauchesne, Paris 1950, vol. I, pp. 440-443.

11 Prosper of Aquitaine, De vocatione omnium gentium (La vocazione dei popoli, Città Nuova, Rome 1998, p. 74)

12 Saint Bernardine, Opera omnia, Sermo 46, Feria quinta post dominicam de Passione, in Opera omnia, Ad Claras Aquas, Florence 1950, vol. II, pp. 84-8,

13 Ibid., Sermo XIX, Feria secunda post II dominicam in quadragesima, vol. III, p. 333.

17 Henri-Marie Boudon, La dévotion aux saints Anges, Clovis, Cobdé-sur-Noireau 1985, p. 265.

18 Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Oraison funèbre de Henriette-Anne d'Angleterre (1670), in &OEliguvres complètes, Outhenin-Chalandre fils, Paris 1836, t. II, p. 576

19 Ernst Hello, L&rsquohomme, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris 1911, p. 102.

20 Pio XII, Discourse of 12 September 1948 to the Youth of Catholic Action, Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, X (1948-1949), p. 212).


Interesting post. Does the author include romantic rejection or the breaking up of a long term relationship to be a form of ostracism? Please comment.

Comment by Bruce Trueman — September 25, 2017 @ 7:45 AM

Does this include the rejection experienced by people who work in sales? It’s a double whammy when rejection also means no income.

Comment by Blue Lilac — September 25, 2017 @ 8:54 AM

My personal opinion would be Yes. The brain isn’t selective about the cause, just the fact that there IS. And if the experiment was with strangers, wouldn’t it stand to reason to be even MORE damaging with people you know and who may have accepted you previously. This is certainly a form of child abuse I would conclude. This is also why prisons are effectively inhumane. Isolation from human interaction. Not that I am advocating no prisons. Just the consequences on the human psyche.

Comment by shelia in TX — September 26, 2017 @ 5:12 PM

Probably and especially if you can’t separate the rejection of the product from a personal rejection. Which we all know , people buy primarily from people they like. In other words, if they like the salesperson, they are more likely to buy the product. So yes, there is some level of personal exclusion in my mind.

Comment by shelia in TX — September 26, 2017 @ 5:14 PM

I’ve been definitely and without explanation, been deliberately ostracised by my ENTIRE FAMILY!
The LIES TOLD TO INNOCENT CHILDREN who loved their Auntie ( and devastating of all, their Nanny!)
7 YEARS of being excluded in EVERY,
SINGLE OCCASION where they’ll gather like Christmas, Birthdays and Weddings!
I myself dread Days such as Christmas, Mothers and Especially my birthdays as even when my 50th hit, I’d been hoping against all logic that MAYBE…… but of course it came and went without receiving a card, phone call….nothing!

I’m going in to my 8th year and must inform the writer that there’s been three ocadssions in Rehab when I’d badly broken my leg- I was admitted with the agony of admiring, ‘no NOK’ I was looked at like some specimens, ‘you HAVE to have somebody……anybody you’re related to??’
When do hurt I replied, ‘Is that in case I die in your care and you’re stuck with a Stiff?
Thank you and such a ‘appreciative’ was that you’ve thanked me for donating my body to science!!I then in form them that that’s EXACTLY where I’m going! There’s NO ONE who’d go to my funeral let alone claim my body! If I’m murdered or go missing, NOONE WOULD NOTICE PERIOD !

I’ve had 4 ‘major cries’ over the burning question of WHY and actually ‘shocked’ a Neauro Psycologist over the EXTENT, DURATION AND BY JUST HOW MANY ARE IN THIS ‘ORGANIZATION OF CRUEL AND SPITEFUL BULLIES ‘!!
A nurse turned up incidentally to just take my observations and as I had been crying quite hard, my blood pressure was extremely high and I was in risk of having an aneurysm or stroke. I casually told them to all calm down because that was how I always felt after having a cry about this! Nevertheless, I was treated as a high risk patient for stroke aneurysm !
( I wish) so I suppose I do support your theory re ‘depths of pain’ as I promise you, I wouldn’t wish this on ANYBODY! It strips you of your self esteem, you can’t make old memories so stay ‘stuck in the past of your last memory’ but they’ve ALL MOVED ON, Children grown and you haven’t crossed their nasty, spiteful and hatred mind not even ONCE!!

I’ve read A LOT of your work and studies. Please would you consider replying?

Comment by MissSassyPant66 — April 29, 2018 @ 11:19 PM

Hello, thank you for reaching out and sharing with us. We will have a Care Coordinator reach out to you to discuss the specifics that you’ve mentioned.

Comment by Amen Clinics — April 30, 2018 @ 8:52 AM

I used to have a lot of friends from my kids’ elementary school. There was a whole group of moms that would go out, I was always included. About two years ago I suddenly stopped being invited. My older son is now in middle school and he has plenty of friends from his old school and new friends from the middle school. I’ve noticed that my younger son doesn’t get invited on playdates anymore or birthday parties. My husband and I have no idea why we have been ostracized. The part that hurts most for me is that I feel like these women just threw my friendship away, like I didn’t matter and never did. It also breaks my heart that my son doesn’t get invited anywhere, he only hangs out with other kids when he’s at practice for sports or knocks on a neighbor’s door. I know I need to find strength somewhere else b/c I feel myself falling into depression which makes me a terrible parent and role model. Any advise would be appreciated.

Comment by Sad — August 18, 2018 @ 12:58 AM

Having had a strict upbringing and made to feel inferior, I keep myself to myself. Most of my life has been spent living quietly, not going out much or if so, keeping to a corner of the room. Now nearing 64, I have resigned myself to the fact I will be without friends but to be honest, I prefer it that way. People let you down and I have had some nasty comments made about me from neighbours and strangers passing by me in the street. At least I can return home and punch my pillow where nobody can see or hear me plus I receive unconditional love from my cat, so all is not lost.

Comment by Rufonious — September 13, 2018 @ 10:44 AM

I can’t tell you how relevant and specific this is for me and my situation at work.
I have been so harsh and critical of myself thinking “I should be able to handle this better” and realize that all of my feelings and needs are completely valid and my colleagues/bosses will not understand b/c they’re not ostracized.
Thank you for bringing light to the darkness.

Comment by Jennifer — December 14, 2018 @ 11:53 AM

I was estranged from my whole family but my son. Both parents, divorced and my daughter. It’s horrific and bleeds into relationships when I’m not included. Fight with my dude this weekend. Cancer diagnosis hasn’t changed…still not invited to anything, never called, random texts, I just wanna be apart of. Thanks for this article. It definitely is relevant and I appreciate knowing there’s stages.

Comment by Mookie — December 17, 2018 @ 5:33 AM

I’ve been going through this for years. They know about this in the office and I’ve been trying hard not to be affected. I don’t expect people to like me — no one can please everyone. But in my case, it’s like as a group, they have the “We can’t be bothered by your feelings of worthlessness” attitude. They’re not bad people. It’s just they don’t want to be bothered with including me in their group anymore. It’s like one big school with the popular ones excluding the least favorites from activities and such. I’ve accepted that a long time ago even if it hurts. But when EVERYONE except you is invited or given consideration, when even those they don’t always interact with are invited and not you, when they do that to your face and not care how you take it…IT EFFIN’ HURTS. You just want to cry. But you don’t want to do that in front of them ’cause they’ll think you’re being a drama queen again, being unreasonable again. I have acknowledged to myself that I have a problem, but how I wish they stop causing more pain and just be sensitive enough. I don’t really mind not going to or joining activities. But it won’t hurt to ask me, right?

I EFFIN’ want to stop this tendency to be depressed. I wish I were as cool as other people. Obviously, I’m not or I wouldnt have this problem.

Comment by J — January 21, 2019 @ 2:40 AM

I’ve been ostracised by my entire family going on eight years now but the thing is, I reached out to my dad who doesn’t understand the long-lasting pain that this disastrous thing has caused. I am a ghost, I have no legacy and no one can even notice if I go missing. My dad keeps telling me to move and just won’t recognise what damages it’s done!
He gets to see everybody I don’t. I wish I could find something on the Internet to do with people not understanding is just how emotionally! and physically devastating ostracism can be so I can send it to him instead of him always telling me to forget about it and move on i’m absolutely heartbroken then he can recognise that my pain is real

Comment by Cheryl-an Peters-Richards — March 13, 2019 @ 3:23 AM

Dear Cheryl, I understand your pain honey.

Please believe in yourself & that you dont deserve to be treated like that.

Your family have failed you & the shame belongs to them.

My father, who i thought loved me …has chosen to side with my family & i have been shut out. My mother has painted me black to all of them…she is narcissistic & tells lots of lies. I have reached the point that i cannot change them, nor their faulty perceptions of me.

I have faced the pain & decided my life is better without that behaviour from them.

Stay strong & find your true self, its a new life for us now. maybe not what i would have chosen…

Give yourself unconditional love & let them go….they dont deserve you…

Comment by Leslie — March 16, 2019 @ 6:40 AM

I was ostracized as a child… I’m anti social, it’s too late for me, but not for others to find friends and acceptance

Comment by Bizarre Boy — March 29, 2019 @ 1:38 AM

I am in the same boat! I have no hope and I don’t know of one single place to reach out for help! I am autistic and I want to die!
Can you plz at least point me in the direction of somewhere to go for help.

Comment by Debbie M — April 22, 2019 @ 9:50 AM

Hello Debbie, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly via email to discuss options with you.

Comment by Amen Clinics — April 22, 2019 @ 10:43 AM

Dear Cheryl -an,
When I read your post it described me completely, i understand exactly how you feel. Hurt, worthless….I have been ostracised by all 4 of my adult siblings and the pain is unbearable. Like your father my father thinks I should just move on – he sees them I don’t.
The world thinks we’re the perfect family if only they knew what a cruel, narcissistic bunch of morons I’m related to.

Comment by Bell — May 12, 2019 @ 2:26 PM

This. Isn’t the 1st for me and in late 2015 I went no contact with my 6 older siblings. Fast forward four months the “Golden Child” showed up the morning of my Husbands surgery to my surprise. To be a support of course , I ddI say to her she was like MRSA and didn’t go away to which she laughed. But . within the setting I didn’t want to even address it. However, what was to be non problematic surgery turned into a shocking 10 days life support. I was making decisions left and right as Power of Attorney and he miraculously came to. Still on a ventilator but rather miraculous.
The following day he was scheduled to go to a rehab to get off the vent , however I was in a room watching open chest resuscitation for 30 minutes and I was left traumatized, My other siblings showed at the funeral but it was for face value and after my no contact it was they who came and silently shunned me while I stood there and nobody knew. I lost 120 lbs in 3 months and with my children every thing I built was sabotaged and my sister has my kids and documents are illegal and school officials, social workers have dismissed me from my children as have they. I am silently stalked and am in therapy but feel it’s a waste of Time. in February I uncovered the illegal school affidavit and that led to danger. My daughter posted a fb tribute to me that we don’t talk and how she loves me but that is different from the text I have. I go to the store and I am called a whore. dr.s ,therapist don’t seem to care , I can’t time them but I am putting paper work in a safe deposit box so that there is a paper trail. Mostly ,the fact that nobody even gives me a thought and were at the funeral. I had 150 at my wedding. I seemed to have vanished. I am mostly hurt by my children who are strangers and raised better than that. I have made 300 calls in the alt year and I can’t help myself regardless. Superintendent of a school, children youth workers , etc don’t even care to see my face and I have been dismissed fraudulently which I can’t get close ? Even my HIPPA laws violated and my Doctor isn’t concerned. So why should I ?

Comment by malificent — May 16, 2019 @ 3:46 AM

This shines light on why I contiinue to experience deep pain, as the family scapegoat. Helps to know it is unintentional, they too are coping with our family dysfunction. I experience much satisfaction and belonging socially and professionally. I have successfully distanced myself from my family but am reminded on holidays and birthdays. Realizing the shame I carry and at the same time understanding why I am such a fan of the under dog and work in the field I do It is somewhat lke a physical disability in that I can’t get rid of it and coping with the consequences at times is big work and will be a life long challenge. I have unsuccessfully worked on these relationships and moving forward will no longer allow myself to feel guilt for not. I will take that effort and apply to learning to love myself. I am beautiful and important! and so are all of you.

Comment by Budeez — July 7, 2019 @ 4:14 AM

I am impressed by the thoughtfulness and sincerity of the comments here.

Ostracism becomes a heaviness carried about . . it lingers. And yet, somehow, we maintain the morning routine and find joy in the intimate, simple necessity of daily living ..

I appreciate the thought of the heightened sensitivity to others who are left behind. Somehow, it seems to lend purpose to the carrying of this burden in my heart.

Comment by Lisa — September 16, 2019 @ 5:58 AM

I have been ostracized since childhood starting from my mother, down to friends, college, ex husband, my entire family EXCEPT FOR ONE AUNT. Now I have no self esteem, self worth, and I feel like a speck of sand in a overcrowded city. I am unemployed and isolated. This has been going on for 54 years. I feel like a wasted space on this earth. I do not reach out to anybody anymore because it is pointless. People I know only want to text and not hang out or hang out only where there is alcohol involved. I am lost. I have a husband who listens if tolerated. I hate it when I wake up in the mornings because I have a whole day ahead of me and it sucks. I have had “so called friends” that turned their back on me because of my depression and one even spread deep personal information about me regarding a health issue I have. She even twisted the story around that is totally false. Sad thing, she is a nurse yet she spread everything about me to the city. Life sucks

Comment by donna isbell — October 6, 2019 @ 1:11 PM

I am in a similar situation to you and understand how debilitating it is. I have a lovely counselor who believes I have a lot to offer the world as does my partner so I hang on to them. I still feel chronically alienated from the world around me and fear that this is my lot. Just wanted you to know that you’re not alone in feeling like this xox

Comment by Jo — October 8, 2019 @ 1:57 PM

You don’t need the approval of anyone for your life. Try not spend any more time replaying the hurt. You will be as confident as you tell yourself. You know you are a good person so why allow other people’s small mindedness to rob you of a happy life. You are the only person who can decide your worth. You don’t need to please others. Love yourself. Maybe decide when you wake up tomorrow that no more time will be spent reviewing the hurts. There are wonderful people around just waiting to be your friend. Work out how you can meet them. Little by little you can get some joy in your life. XX All the best

Comment by Coral — October 13, 2019 @ 6:10 PM

We are empathetic, those of us who have been marginalized. We can’t wrap our heads around being delibritely cruel for sport, pretty much. Holidays are really tough and I get off of FB during the season as to not add insult to injury by looking at all of the happy (supposedly happy) families out there. My ostracism started when I was a toddler and witnessed abuse. I was to be silenced at all costs. My mother told everyone about my over active imagination and that I was prone to fibbing. She set me up.. and I have managed to keep going despite her. My advice is to be a shining example of strength. They can’t kill our spirit, although they try. I honestly believe my family would be pleased if I died so they could be comforted and receive casseroles, etc. I plan to live as long as I can just to be a constant reminder of their sh#% show they call a family!

Comment by KD Welles — December 31, 2019 @ 9:58 AM

I’ve never fit in anywhere. I wonder if I’m on the autism spectrum or have non verbal learning disorder. Everyone has always said of me (or even told me) that I’m just too weird yet they don’t explain WHAT is weird I do or say when I ask except for 1 thing years ago & it’s that I divulge too much information about myself. So I consciously avoid that since but still I have no friends or boyfriend. I don’t have any addictions, don’t have face piercings or tattoos that might put ppl off, don’t dress weird or have weird hair. Don’t have weird hobbies, no scandal in my past, no criminal record. So the problem is how I act but idk what! Sometimes when I speak (if I’m really nervous) I blush, stutter& have a hard time making eye contact. I can’t help the first two but I work on eye contact all the time with hit & miss success depending who I’m talking to. I’m often at a loss for words what to say. I know my body language must be a problem but I dk what exactly so I can work on it. I also think I probably say the WRONG things but again idk what I’m saying wrong or not saying which I should. My neighbors all avoid me, won’t even say a hi or wave back. Some even give me dirty cold looks when I greet or if I try to say something friendly (like when one is out with their dog, I’ll say something about the weather to come/are having, or “such a cute dog, what kind is he? Or even pretend Idk something & ask “is this the week for recycling pick up?” Because it picks up every other week. Nothing I try to say chatty wise gets a reaponse. Depending on the neighbor I’ll get totally ignored like I don’t exist & they didn’t hear me or they’ll acknowledge me with a wilting look & then ignore my comment or question. It’s very hard to deal with this every. single. day. Family has nothing to do with me either. Not for anything I’ve done. No falling out or anything either. I am left out of everything news wise or gatherings wise. The few who had me on their fb have unfriended me since the last election because I post political things they don’t like. They’re very conservative. I’m embarrassed that I’m childless & single. I’ve been asked by several people in my history if I’m gay. Which I’m not so that makes me feel even more like a freak because I wonder if others assume so too. It sucks being a weird spinster. I’m also the “weird one” wherever I work. I try hard to be pleasant & compliment but the range of treatment is bad. From total ostracism to outright cruelty. Still I keep acting like things they’ve done didn’t happen & like today is a new clean slate. It’s impossible to work on myself when I don’t know what to work on but I know the problem is me.

Comment by Lone wolf in life — January 17, 2020 @ 10:19 AM

Hey, I feel similar. I went through a really rough time and went really awkward socially, do you have those silver tooth fillings? Because that was the cause of my social anxiety, they are 50% mercury. If you ever want to chat you are welcome.

Comment by Joe — January 30, 2020 @ 12:39 PM

I was the scapegoat, my mother convinced everyone I was bad. Completely evil. Maybe you had something similar? Comes from having narcissistic parent(s)

Comment by Joe — January 30, 2020 @ 12:41 PM

Hey, I’m the scapegoat too. Remember we are the empathic truth tellers. Sending you lovely vibes

Comment by Joe — January 30, 2020 @ 12:42 PM

Yes we are too real for the world. A part of a new energy birthing on the planet

Comment by Joe — January 30, 2020 @ 12:42 PM

My mother scapegoated me too, convinced the world I was bad. To take the heat off of her

Comment by Joe — January 30, 2020 @ 12:43 PM

I have been contending with being ignored, ostracized, and mobbed for 3 years within my place of employment. A professional environment. A mental health care facility. Mobbed by colleagues who are professionals serving clients with mental health issues. The effort has been led by one colleague, and followed by several others. I am broken. Finding another job is not as easy as it sounds.

Comment by M — February 2, 2020 @ 4:23 AM

What I have noticed is that this mob behavior spreads like a cancer. It’s bled from the origin – my family into the second and third community I have lived in. I actually had lunch with a friend and i told her of this growiing “problem” and the pain it caused. this is a friend I have gone through the fire with. She asked “well, what do you do to make that happen?” she seemed equally mystified and felt my pain. then SHE vanished too not before she overtly compared me to Tonja Harding! That is one I’ve meditated on. It seems a requirement that we go inside. No wonder. I have been a successful professional, charismatic of a sort. It seemed that everything I did got the mob’s approval. But that slowly eroded away.
I recently lost my mentor and best friend who stuck with me through decades of trials that both of us endured. just in the last few months but as he saw the mob grow became wary, then critical, then abusive, so I had to end a friendship that I valued most.

I know that I’ve done nothing to lose these people. I paid careful attention to how I interacted with them. these are people I grew up with, who I joked with, who I grieved with. I did not lose respect for them but I was aware of the process. I won’t take responsibility for their cowardice. they listened to the mob. but it begs the question: why?

Comment by Jim — February 2, 2020 @ 6:14 PM


Comment by James Greene — February 21, 2020 @ 3:28 AM

I have.been ostracized by my whole hometown, Church I grew up in and used to be so loved. That’s why after 3 years of bullying (At age 59), all of this started after I had 8 surgeries. The count now is Appx. 6000 people that have heard something I did to one of their beloved Church going men. He said something so mean to me at a grocery store and remembering that he date raped me at 21 and never apologized.. I said to him.. The next time his Church frat weren’t around. I said. Do not ever embarrass me again. And that His old boss didn’t want to work with him. Well guess what? He passed away .. I guess the same night. That is when I got kicked out of 2 Bible Studies, got no invitation to 45th reunion and have asked 25 people “what did I do?” ” why is his wife making me the murderer of him? He had an aneurysm. He had humiliated me in public . All of the 400 people at my wedding, all of my Mom’s friends even hate me. I can’t tell you how being ostracized and gaslighted.. Bullied has led to 3 years of wailing tears every am. My psychiatrist is nice but I want to quit life. I am so so lonely and everyone has labeled me a bitch. I was so happy before the surgeries. The pain medicine .. Made me uptight. I cry over a dog or cat that is abused. All that keeps me going is my Angel spouse. But mainly my poodle. My family won’t help. I love all of you btw.

Comment by Katie — April 30, 2020 @ 2:58 AM

Its not hard to be civil. When you are down people stay away from you. Maybe its an evolutionary survival technique. Its like zebra finches or chickens. if one is sick the others will peck it to death to save the herd.

its very depressing not having anyone to talk to.

Comment by You guys. I just want to say you are not alone. Its a rough world we live in and people are default mean. I don't find this time in the world to be a friendly place at all. It really sucks how unfriendly people are. — April 30, 2020 @ 4:25 AM

Hang in there Donna, I know you’re speaking the truth, as it has happened to me. Alcohol will only make things worse, as it ultimately brings people down. Again you are not alone, God bless you.

Comment by Terry — May 25, 2020 @ 9:59 AM

Same here. I am 20 years younger. If you could give yourself advice 20 years ago what would it be? I don’t want to suffer anymore. And it’s hard to find people that have been through stuff like this. But I don’t want to be miserable. I know you don’t either- maybe this could help both of us…

Comment by DeterminedtoHeal — June 6, 2020 @ 5:26 AM

I agree it is because we are emapthic. I studied this problem because of my situation. The only logical explanation I found was this. We all have auras. Some are good, some are bad. I believe we who are ostracized carry good auras. When we are in the presence of bad auras the two fight it out. Neither person is aware of the battle. It sounds crazy I know. But I even read one article where a woman who had been ostracized by her family for years asked her sister why. The sister said she honestly didn’t know why. Almost like a trance. After that meeting the sister no longer treated her mean.

I feel for you all. The pain is indescribable. Yet I am sure it has purpose. It is my understanding that we come to earth to learn lessons that teach us compassion. The more suffering the more we learn. So in a way we can look at this as a blessing so our souls can elevate our vibrations and we can ascend into peace and love. So don’t let them make you vicious. Stay good to yourself and be compassionate to each other if not those who hurt us. don’t let them ruin your life.

Ostracism, political practice in ancient Athens

Example of Ostraca. Pieces of pottery within the name of Themistocles who was expelled from Athens in 471 BC

In ancient Athens, there was an unusual method of condemning and banishing important political persons: it was voted by the Athenians in the so-called “Ostracism or Ostrakismos” judgment and final decision was question whether a person was potential threat for Athens democracy and whether the person should leave the Athens. The term “ostracism” was named after the Greek word ostrakon (also ostraca) which means a peace of pottery. The Ostracism or Ostrakismos in ancient Greek were firstly introduced in Athens by Cleisthenes (cca 570 – 506 BC) at the end of the 6th century BC. The ostracism was part of Cleisthenes far-reaching reforms, which established the first ancient democracy in Greece. Cleisthenes devised the Ostracism as political practice to protect Athens and newly created democracy from potential tyrants. For example, demagogues were able to gain influence at the popular assembly through their speeches and question the democratic system. And since it was very difficult to prove in court that a particular individual was a danger for Athens democracy, Cleisthenes devised a different procedure: only if a certain number of people believed that the person represented a danger could it banned. This is how the procedure of the Ostracism started. The first known practice of the Ostracism held in 488/7 BC because Cleisthenes afraid that Hippachos (who was a relative of the tyrant Peisistratos) could become a new tyrant in Athens.

A process of the octracism consisted of the two steps. The first step was to decide at the Ekklesia (the democratic assembly of the people of Athens) whether an octracism should take place or not. The vote took place by hand lifting. If the majority at the assembly gave their voice, two months later the process of “ostracism” begins again on the Agora (Central Market and Assembly Square in Athens) after gathering participants who had the right to vote. This was the second step of the sham court: Around the agora, a wooden barrier with ten gates was set up, a gate for every tribe in Athens. Just like the National Assembly, only free men were allowed to participate in the process, and women and slaves were excluded. On potsherds the participants now scratched the name of the person who wanted to banish from Athens. Everyone had only one shard at their disposal. Then the pieces were collected and counted. The historical sources are unclear as to whether 6,000 shards with the name of a person were necessary to banish them, or whether 6,000 shards were needed in total for the ostracism to be valid at all. However, it can be stated with certainty that a minimum number of broken pieces with a specific name was necessary to obtain a banishment. If someone was convicted by the cullet, the culprit still had exactly 10 days to prepare from leaving Athens. After that, he was exiled for 10 years and that person was not allowed to enter the city anymore. Other penalties were not provided.

This practice were often used for political struggle between opposing sides. During the Greco-Persian Wars, Themistocles had a plan to build a strong Athenian fleet but Aristides opposed him. Because of that, Aristides was exiled with by ostracism in 483/2 BC. After about 12 years Themistocles had the same destiny and he was also expelled from Athens by the ostracism. In the biography of Cimon (Kimon), Plutarch wrote that the immediate cause of Themistocles exile from Athens was his quarrel with Aristides and Cimon. According to Plutarch, this dispute was due to the fact that the Themistocle “aspired to democracy more than it needed”. In some cases decision of the ostracism were annulled and the person could return in Athens. Thus in 461, Cimon was expelled from Athens. But at the suggestion of Pericles, Cimon was invited to return in Athens around 457 BC because he was previously good at negotiation with Spartans. Cimon was able to make short peace with Sparta. Later with the money gained throughout Delian League, Cimon started in Athens many construction projects because many buildings in Athens were destroyed in war against Persian Empire. Individuals who had to leave Athens by decision of the ostracism were:

  • 488/7 Hipparchos son of Charmos, a relative of the tyrant Peisistratos
  • 486 Alcmaeonidae Megacles, Cleisthenes’ nephew
  • 485 Kallixenos Cleisthenes nephew
  • 484 Xanthippus, Pericles’ father
  • 483/2 Aristides son of Lysimachus
  • 471 Themistocles Athenian politician and general known who fought at the Battle of Marathon
  • 461 Cimon son of Miltiades
  • 460 Alcibiades, Athenian statesman, orator, and general who changed his political allegiance several times during the Peloponnesian Wars (possibly ostracised twice)
  • 457 Menon son of Meneclides
  • 442 Thucydides son of Melesias
  • 440 (around) Callias son of Didymos
  • 440 (around) Damon son of Damonides
  • 417/16 Hyperbolus son of Antiphanes

The last practice of the ostracism held in 417/16 BC. Thereafter, the shard dish was never used again. Democracy came at the end of the 5th century BC. In a crisis and was replaced by an oligarchy. Although there were democratic structures in Athens after that, there was also a vote on the ostracism. But never again a majority of citizens decide to use it. Perhaps because the Athenians had learned from crises in the past that decision to exile people by the ostracism was not always the measure of all things.


The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly that in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept.

Historically, the word defenestration referred to an act of political dissent. Notably, the Defenestrations of Prague in 1419 and 1618 helped to trigger prolonged conflict within Bohemia and beyond. Some Catholics ascribed the survival of those defenestrated at Prague Castle in 1618 to divine intervention.

  • Around the 9th century BC, Queen Jezebel was defenestrated by her own eunuch servants, at the urging of Jehu, according to the Hebrew Bible. (2 Kings 9:33)
  • In the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, the accidental autodefenestration of a young man of Troas named Eutychus is recorded. The Apostle Paul was travelling to Jerusalem and had stopped for seven days in Troas. While Paul was preaching in a third-story room late on a Sunday night to the local assembly of Christian believers, Eutychus drifted off to sleep and fell out of the window in which he was sitting. The text indicates that Eutychus ultimately survived. (Acts 20:6–12)
  • It has been suggested by several chronicles (notably the Annals of Westhide Abbey) that King John killed his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, by defenestration from the castle at Rouen, France, in 1203.
  • In 1378, the crafts and their leader Wouter van der Leyden occupied the Leuven city hall and seized the Leuven government. Most of the patricians left the city and fled to Aarschot. After negotiations between the parties, they agreed to share the government. The patricians did not accept this easily, as it caused them to lose their absolute power. In an attempt to regain absolute control, they had Wouter van der Leyden assassinated in Brussels. Seeking revenge, the crafts handed over the patrician to a furious crowd. The crowd stormed the city hall and defenestrated the patricians. At least 15 patricians were killed during this defenestration of Leuven.
  • In 1383, Bishop Dom Martinho was defenestrated by the citizens of Lisbon, having been suspected of conspiring with the enemy when Lisbon was besieged by the Castilians.
  • In 1419 Hussite mob defenestrates a judge, the burgomaster, and some thirteen members of the town council of New Town of Prague.
  • In 1452, King James II of Scotland murdered William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas, with his own hands and defenestrated him at Stirling Castle.
  • On April 26, 1478, after the failure of the "Pazzi conspiracy" to murder the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici, Jacopo de' Pazzi was defenestrated.
  • In 1483, Prague's Old-Town portreeve and the bodies of seven murdered New-Town aldermen were defenestrated.
  • On May 16, 1562, Adham Khan, Akbar's general and foster brother, was defenestrated twice for murdering a rival general, Ataga Khan, who had been recently promoted by Akbar. Akbar was woken up in the tumult after the murder. He struck Adham Khan down personally with his fist and immediately ordered his defenestration by royal order. The first time, his legs were broken as a result of the 12-metre (40-foot) fall from the ramparts of Agra Fort but he remained alive. Akbar, in a rare act of cruelty probably exacerbated by his anger at the loss of his favorite general, ordered his defenestration a second time, killing him. Adham Khan had wrongly counted on the influence of his mother and Akbar's wet nurse, Maham Anga, to save him as she was almost an unofficial regent in the days of Akbar's youth. Akbar personally informed Maham Anga of her son's death, to which she famously commented, 'You have done well.' She died 40 days later of acute depression. [8]
  • In 1572, French King Charles IX's friend, the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, was killed in accordance with the wishes of Charles' mother, Catherine de' Medici. Charles had allegedly said "then kill them all that no man be left to reproach me". Thousands of Huguenots were killed in the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre after soldiers attacked Coligny in his house, stabbed him, and defenestrated him.
  • In 1618, rebel Protestant leaders in Prague defenestrate two Catholic Royal regents and their secretary, who survived the 20-metre (68-foot) fall out of the windows of Prague Castle.
  • On the morning of December 1, 1640, in Lisbon, a group of supporters of the Duke of Braganza party found Miguel de Vasconcelos, the hated Portuguese Secretary of State of the Habsburg Philip III, hidden in a closet, killed him and defenestrated him. His corpse was left to the public outrage.
  • On June 11, 1903, a group of Serbian army officers murdered and defenestrated King Alexander and Queen Draga.
  • In 1922, Italian politician and writer Gabriele d'Annunzio was temporarily crippled after falling from a window, possibly pushed by a follower of Benito Mussolini. [9]
  • In March to April 1932, Ivanovo region of Soviet Union, due to ration cuts and labor intensification measures, strikes and spontaneous assemblies broke out. Ten thousand demonstrators ransacked the party and police buildings with slogans like "Toss the Communists . . . out the window." [10]
  • On March 10, 1948, the Czechoslovakian minister of foreign affairs Jan Masaryk was found dead, in his pyjamas, in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial investigation stated that he committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although some believe that he was murdered by the ascendant Communists. A 2004 police investigation into his death concluded that, contrary to the initial ruling, he did not commit suicide, but was defenestrated, most likely by Czechoslovak Communists and their Soviet NKVD advisers for his opposition to the February 1948 Communist putsch. [11]
  • On November 28, 1953, the U.S. biological warfare specialist Frank Olson died after a fall from a hotel window that may have been an assassination by the CIA. [12]
  • On April 15, 1966, two suspects in the so-called Bathroom Coup in Sri Lanka, Corporal Tilekawardene and L. V. Podiappuhamy (otherwise known as Dodampe Mudalali), were said by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to have jumped to their deaths from the fourth floor of the CID building in the Fort. At the inquest, following receipt of new evidence, the magistrate altered the verdict of suicide to one of culpable homicide. [13] The remainder of the suspects were acquitted.
  • In 1968, the son of China's future paramount leaderDeng Xiaoping, Deng Pufang, was thrown from a window by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.
  • In 1970, Turkishidealist student Ertuğrul Dursun Önkuzu was defenestrated from the third floor of a school by a group of left-wing students in Ankara. [14]
  • In 1977, as a result of political backlash against his album Zombie, Fela Kuti's mother was thrown from a window during a military raid on his compound, the Kalakuta Republic by 1,000 Nigerian soldiers. The injuries sustained from the fall led to her death days later. In addition, the commanding officer defecated on her head, while the soldiers burned down the compound, destroying his musical equipment, studio and master tapes, and jailing him for being a subversive. [15]
  • In 1991, British informer Martin McGartland was abducted by members of the Provisional IRA. As he waited to be interrogated, tortured and subsequently executed, McGartland escaped being assassinated by the IRA by jumping from a third floor window in a Twinbrook flat where he had been taken for interrogation following his abduction, and survived the fall.
  • On July 9, 1993, the prominent Toronto attorney Garry Hoy fell from a window in a playful attempt to demonstrate to a group of new legal interns that the windows of the city's Toronto-Dominion Centre were effectively unbreakable. He had performed the same stunt on several previous occasions – dramatically slamming his body against the window – but this time it popped out of its frame and he fell to his death. The accident was later commemorated for its unusual nature by a 1996 Darwin Award and has been re-enacted in several films and television shows. [16][17][18]
  • On October 26, 1997, NBA player Charles Barkley was arrested for hurling a bar patron through a plate-glass window after the man tossed a glass of ice at him. [19]
  • The 2000 Ramallah lynching included throwing the (already-dead) body of either Vadim Nurzhitz or Yossi Avrahami out of a second-floor window, after those two Israeli soldiers had been lynched.
  • On March 2, 2007, Russianinvestigative journalistIvan Safronov, who was researching the Kremlin's covert arms deals, fell to his death from a fifth floor window. Friends and colleagues discount suicide as a reason and an investigation was opened looking into possible "incitement to suicide". [20]
  • In 2007 in Gaza, gunmen allegedly affiliated with Hamas killed a Fatah supporter by defenestration, an act repeated the next day when a Hamas supporter was defenestrated by alleged supporters of Fatah. [21]
  • 2017 Murder of Sarah Halimi, an antisemitic and Islamism-inspired terrorist murder of a French woman in her home near Paris.

Self-defenestration or autodefenestration Edit

Self-defenestration or autodefenestration is the act of jumping, propelling oneself, or causing oneself to fall, out of a window. This phenomenon played a notable role in such events as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and other disasters. In December 1840, Abraham Lincoln and four other Illinois legislators jumped out of a window in a political maneuver designed to prevent a quorum on a vote that would have eliminated the Illinois State Bank. During the Revolutions of 1848, an agitated crowd forced their way into the town hall in Cologne and two city councillors panicked and jumped out of the window one of them broke both his legs. The event went down in the city's history as the "Cologne Defenestration". [22]

Self-defenestration is also a method of suicide. In the United States, self-defenestration is among the least common methods of committing suicide (less than 2% of all reported suicides in the United States for 2005). [23]

In Hong Kong, jumping (from any location) is the most common method of committing suicide, accounting for 52% of all reported suicide cases in 2006, and similar rates for the years prior to that. [24] The Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of the University of Hong Kong believes that it may be due to the abundance of easily accessible high-rise buildings in Hong Kong (implying that much of the jumping is out of windows or from roof tops). [25] Recent notables choosing this method of suicide include singer-actor Leslie Cheung. On April 1, 2003, the Hong Kong superstar committed suicide by jumping from the 24th floor of Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the centre of Hong Kong, mentioning "depression" in a note. [26] Population density is such that it is not uncommon for the defenestratee to kill or maim a passerby upon arrival at the pavement below.

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