Capitis Diminutio Maxima
Sun, 10/26/2008 – 23:28 — Arthur Cristian
Capitis Diminutio Maxima (Name in ALL CAPITALS)
For purposes of understanding one’s legal or commercial status under the Admiralty system (the law system used in England, Canada and much of the US), it is necessary to examine the curious use of all CAPS -Capitis Diminutio Maxima- in legal and domestic income tax forms, credit cards & statements, loans, mortgages, speeding & parking tickets, car documents, road tax, court summons etc. While seemingly a trite concern, this apparently small detail has extremely deep significance for all of us!
Gage Canadian Dictionary 1983 Sec. 4 defines Capitalize adj. as “To take advantage of – To use to ones own advantage.”
Black’s Law Dictionary — Revised 4th Edition 1968, provides a more comprehensive definition as follows…
Capitis Diminutio (meaning the diminishing of status through the use of capitalization) In Roman law. A diminishing or abridgment of personality; a loss or curtailment of a man’s status or aggregate of legal attributes and qualifications.
Capitis Diminutio Minima (meaning a minimum loss of status through the use of capitalization, e.g. John Doe) – The lowest or least comprehensive degree of loss of status. This occurred where a man’s family relations alone were changed. It happened upon the arrogation [pride] of a person who had been his own master, (sui juris,) [of his own right, not under any legal disability] or upon the emancipation of one who had been under the patria potestas. [Parental authority] It left the rights of liberty and citizenship unaltered. See Inst. 1, 16, pr.; 1, 2, 3; Dig. 4, 5, 11; Mackeld. Rom.Law, 144.
Capitis Diminutio Media (meaning a medium loss of status through the use of capitalization, e.g. John DOE) – A lessor or medium loss of status. This occurred where a man loses his rights of citizenship, but without losing his liberty. It carried away also the family rights.
Capitis Diminutio Maxima (meaning a maximum loss of status through the use of capitalization, e.g. JOHN DOE or DOE JOHN) – The highest or most comprehensive loss of status. This occurred when a man’s condition was changed from one of freedom to one of bondage, when he became a slave. It swept away with it all rights of citizenship and all family rights.
Diminutio. Lat. In civil law. Diminution; a taking away; loss or depravation.
Capite. – Lat. By the head.
The information regarding the ALL CAPS is correct; however, technically speaking we should be using ALL CAPS now as the US Navy abandoned use of ALL CAPS in 2013 he he:
U.S. Navy adjusts to the times; ditches its ALL CAPS message format
By Ed Payne, CNN
Updated 0945 GMT (1645 HKT) June 13, 2013
talk about confusion:)