Gdikiomos

The gdikiomos or dikiomos was the unwritten law in Mani in which people solve any differences in Mani. It was the way of unjust retaliation to someone. It is not a vendetta, and was not considered as a way to take the law into one’s hand because according to gikiomos the person does not freely dispense justice, but he did so in disciplined way and under the laws and orders of the family.

The solution can be given peacefully, by calling the senile or by deciding that the only solution is the conflict of families. If the decision was the war, then the enmity between the clans became known throughout the area as the villagers also had to choose a side. From that moment every person of the family had the right to kill any other person of the other family.

Main “target” of gdikiomos was male children who were able to preserve the integrity of the family and even more the best ones of each clan, the strongest, the most educated and the most powerful ones.

Females were in second place, although if there were no males in the family, women took the law into their own hands for the vindication of the lost father, brother or son.

Whoever killed according to gdikiomos, was not considered criminal as he performed the commands of the family trying to preserve its honor, driven by the laws and rules of society.

At times the clans were making a truce, known as treva. Most common reasons for a truce were agricultural works, celebrations (weddings, baptisms) or common threat of an external enemy.

A family could put an end to gdikiomos apologizing to the other side with a ritual, called “psychico”. So they openly declare the defeat of the family, something that proud people from Mani did not prefer because it was considered a blow to their pride.

There were cases where both sides went to a compromise in equal terms, in the so-called soul-brotherhood. Then representatives of both clans gave their hands and end any differences between them.

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